One hundred years ago, Chef Gwyn’s great-grandfather Mortimer Bowen purchased waterfront property on Solomons Island, Maryland. It was here in 1918 that he built Bowen’s Inn. This thriving hotel, restaurant, bar and marina quickly became one of the favorite fishing headquarters for many congressional and sports figures out of Washington, D.C.

Prominent among them was Sam Rayburn, longtime Speaker of the House of Representatives. The inn enjoyed a fine reputation for its good food (fried chicken & crab cakes) and played host to such notable figures as Arthur Godfrey, John F. Kennedy, Harry Truman, and Robert Mitchum.

Captain Mort Bowen in the beer garden mingling with customers.


Postcard from Bowen’s Inn


Chef Gwyn’s grandmother, Althea

Chef Gwyn’s grandmother Althea took the Inn over from her father and ran the business for some 40 years, all while raising three girls as a single mom in a house on the other half of the property. Her recipe for crab imperial was much sought after by the editors of Gourmet Magazine. Despite their repeated requests, Althea never divulged the recipe!

Ultimately, the Inn was passed down to Althea’s middle daughter Joan in 1986, who took up the mantle until it tragically burned down in 2006. And now Chef Gwyn and her husband Donald – the 4th generation – operate No Thyme to Cook on the same spot that was once her grandmother’s house.


“This is such an honor for me to be able to continue the tradition my family began of creating great food and extending hospitality to our community.”

— Gwyn Novak


“I would spend summers helping out in the kitchen at Bowen’s Inn. I’d like to think that my grandmother would be proud of what we’re doing here.”

A graduate of the Baltimore International Culinary College and a member of the United States Personal Chef Association, Gwyn has been cooking and writing about food for more than 25 years. She has worked in numerous B&Bs, country inns, and country clubs on the East Coast. And now, as a native of Southern Maryland, she offers her special skills and passion for good food and nutrition to help you improve yours in the kitchen.