The Eastern Shore

Maryland's Eastern Shore is readily accessible from the north via any number of routes out of eastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware and from the east out of Delaware. The William Preston Lane Jr. Bridge, "the Bay Bridge," crosses the Chesapeake Bay northeast of Annapolis; its dual spans stretch 4.5 mi across.

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  • 1. Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge

    At the tip of the Eastern Neck peninsula, 8 mi south of Rock Hall, and at the mouth of the Chester River, this 2,285-acre park is superb. It's a prime place to spot migratory waterfowl, wild turkeys, Delmarva fox squirrels, and southern bald eagles, undeterred by the experimental power-generating solar panels and wind turbines installed nearby. Nearly 6 mi of roads and trails and an observation tower provide excellent vantage points.

    1730 Eastern Neck Rd., Rock Hall, Maryland, 21661-1815, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Daily dawn–dusk
  • 2. 5&10 Antique Market

    Originally the Hotel Cecil, this market became Cramer's 5&10, an old-fashioned variety store operated by a pair of proprietors who themselves became historic treasures. The building's enterprising current owner created an antiques mart, but fully restored the building's exterior and retained its well-worn wood flooring, candy jars, and display counters. You could spend a weekend here!

    111 S. Main St., North East, Maryland, 21901-3911, USA
  • 3. Sultana

    Nautical Site/Lighthouse

    This reproduction of a 1768 Colonial schooner by the same name was launched in 2001. With a length of 97 feet, the original Sultana was the smallest schooner ever registered on the Royal Navy Lists. The modern mission of this "Schoolship of the Chesapeake" is to provide unique, hands-on educational experiences in Colonial history and environmental science. Several two-hour public sails are available each month from April through November. Daylong public sails are scheduled on occasion. The Sultana can be seen close-up when she is anchored in the Chester River, at the end of Cannon Street. Additionally, half-day guided paddle tours operated by Sultana management are also available a few times a year in various Kent Count rivers.

    105 S. Cross St., Chestertown, Maryland, 21620-1513, United States

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $30, Reservations essential,
  • 4. The Patriot


    This 65-foot steel-hull yacht departs four times daily, from March through September, for one-hour cruises on the Miles River. The tour covers the ecology and history of the area as it passes along the tranquil riverfront landscape.

    Docked near Crab Claw Restaurant and Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, End of Mill St., at Harbor, St. Michaels, Maryland, 21663-1206, United States
  • 5. Academy Art Museum

    This nice local museum houses a permanent collection of fine art by such American artists as James McNeil Whistler, Grant Wood, Lichtenstein, and Rauschenberg, as well as Chagall and Dürer. Special exhibitions often cover local artists, and the juried art show held here in early October is one of the finest in the region.

    106 South St., Easton, Maryland, 21601-2917, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $3, Mon., Fri., and Sat. 10–4; Tues.–Thurs. 10–8
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  • 6. Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

    The largest nesting bald eagle population north of Florida makes Blackwater its home. You can often see the birds perching on the lifeless tree trunks that poke from the wetlands here, part of nearly 28,000 acres of woods, open water, marsh, and farmland. In fall and spring, some 35,000 Canada and snow geese pass through in their familiar V formations to and from their winter home, joining more than 15,000 ducks. The rest of the year, residents include endangered species such as peregrine falcons and silver-hair Delmarva fox squirrels. Great blue heron stand like sentinels while ospreys dive for meals and tundra swans preen endlessly. By car or bike you can follow a 5-mi road through several habitats or follow a network of trails on foot. Exhibits and films in the visitor center provide background and insight.

    2145 Key Wallace Dr., Cambridge, Maryland, 21613-3788, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $3 car, $1 pedestrian or cyclist, Wildlife drive daily dawn–dusk. Visitor center weekdays 8–4, weekends 9–5
  • 7. Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

    One of the region's finest, this nine-building complex chronicles the Bay's rich history of boatbuilding, commercial fishing, navigating, and hunting in compelling detail. Exhibits on the 18-acre waterfront site include two of the Bay's unique skipjacks among the museum's more than 80 historic regional boats. There are also the restored 1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse, a working boatyard, and a "waterman's wharf" with shanties plus oystering and crabbing tools. In the Bay Building you can see a crabbing skiff as well as a dugout canoe hewn by Native Americans. The Waterfowl Building contains carved decoys and stuffed birds, including wood ducks, mallards, and swans.

    213 N. Talbot St, St. Michaels, Maryland, 21663, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $15, Open daily year-round—except Tues.–Thurs. Nov. 14–Jan. 14, but hrs vary seasonally.
  • 8. Day Basket Factory

    You can often watch the crafting of oak baskets by hand, done here since 1876. Skilled craftspeople and weavers use techniques passed down through the generations.

    714 S. Main St., North East, Maryland, 2190-41261, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Wed.–Fri. 10:30–5, Sat. 10–5 (until 6 in summer), Sun. 1–5
  • 9. Delmarva Discovery


    Opened in 2009, this modern structure on the banks of the Pocomoke River delivers hands-on experiences of the region's history. Exhibits focus on the work- and lifestyles of indigenous communities and early settlers, on local wildlife, and on the river as a fishing and shipbuilding industry hub and a major port for Chesapeake Bay steamers during the 19th century. The center's aquarium has a 6,000-gallon tank containing fish found in the Pocomoke River.

    2 Market St., (BR 13 at Riverside Dr.), Pocomoke City, Maryland, 21851-1023, United States

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $10, Wed.–Sat. 10–4, Sun. 12–4
  • 10. Dixon's Furniture Auction (Crumpton Auction)


    About a 10-minute drive east of Chestertown is Dixon's Furniture Auction (Crumpton Auction), a Maryland Eastern Shore institution—with much more than just furniture (although there are literally a couple of acres of that). Hundreds of pieces, " OTHER people's junk" and real treasures, are sold out in the open, regardless of the weather. A huge shed houses smaller items defying easy description, from atlases to zithers. The auction is held every Wednesday of the year (Christmas week excepted) beginning at 8 am.

    1921 Dudleys Cr. Rd., at intersection of Rtes. 290 and 544, Millington, Maryland, 21651, United States
  • 11. Dumser's Dairyland

    Jacob Fussell began a wholesale ice-cream business in Baltimore in 1851, the first in the United States. Today privately owned and operated ice-cream parlors abound along Maryland's Eastern Shore, but Dumser's Dairyland, established in 1939, is the choice for longtime beachgoers; its vast "factory" and parlor are open from noon to midnight in the summertime. In addition to its main South Atlantic Avenue outfit, it also operates branch locations at 49th Street and Coastal and 124th Street and Coastal, as well as three smaller outlets on the boardwalk.

    601 S. Atlantic Ave., Ocean City, Maryland, 21842-4084, USA
  • 12. East New Market

    Believed to have been first settle on the Choptank Native American trail in the 1660s, the East New Market contains some 75 buildings of historic significance—churches, schools, businesses, and residences—representing three centuries. In this living museum of architecture, every exhibit is in its original location. An illustrated walking-tour map is available from the Dorchester County Tourism office.

    East New Market, Maryland, USA
  • 13. Elk Neck State Park

    About 6 mi south of the town of North East, this park juts into the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay to its west, with the Elk River flowing along its eastern flank. You can drive almost the length of the peninsula and then walk about a mile through pleasant woodlands to the cliffs on its tip. There you can find the sparkling-white Turkey Point Lighthouse, albeit no longer in use. The 270-plus-degree view from Turkey Point is stunning. Campsites are available here, as are some charming 1950s-era wooden cabins that are admirably well maintained. Elk Neck is a prime location for picnicking as well as for fishing and swimming off sandy beaches.

    4395 Turkey Point Rd., North East, Maryland, 21901-6201, USA
  • 14. Historical Society of Kent County

    home of the Historical Society of Kent County, is a splendid Federal-style home containing 18th-century furniture and an impressive teapot collection, a historical library, and a shop. It's a good place to begin a visit to Chestertown.

    101 Church Alley, Chestertown, Maryland, 21620, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Hrs. vary seasonally., Closed Sat.--Mon.
  • 15. Historical Society of Talbot County

    The Society maintains a small museum of local history and manages Tharpe Antiques. Housed in a three-story Federal brick house restored by a Quaker cabinetmaker in 1810, the society also operates Three Centuries Tours, a one-hour overview of authentically furnished homes of the 17th through 19th centuries.

    25 S. Washington St., Easton, Maryland, 2160-30141, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $5, Mon.–Sat. 10–4. Guided house tours Tues.–Sat. 11:30 and 1:30
  • 16. J. Millard Tawes Museum & Visitor's Center

    Visitor Center

    There is not a lot to do in town, but to learn about its history, stop by this center operated by the Crisfield Heritage Foundation. Guided tours of Crisfield are run from here; from May through October the tours include a visit to a crab processing plant.

    3 9th St., Crisfield, Maryland, 21817-0253, United States

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Weekdays 9 am–3 pm; Sat. 9 am–4 pm
  • 17. La Grange Plantation

    Headquarters to the Dorchester County Historical Society, this property houses two historic homes. The three-story, 18th-century Georgian Meredith House is rich with Chippendale, Hepplewhite, and Sheraton period antiques, and the Children's Room holds an impressive doll collection, cradles, miniature china, and baby carriages. Portraits and effects of seven former Maryland governors from Dorchester County adorn the Governor's Room. In the Neild Museum are agricultural, maritime, and Native American artifacts. There's also a restored smokehouse, blacksmith's shop, and medicinal herb garden on the grounds. Fall is ablaze with vibrant leaves and many family activities.

    902 La Grange Ave., Cambridge, Maryland, 21613-2009, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Weekdays 10–3, and by appointment.
  • 18. Ocean City Life Saving Station Museum

    This attraction on the southernmost tip of the island traces the resort to its days as a tiny fishing village in the late 1800s. Housed in an 1891 building that once held the U.S. Lifesaving Service and the Coast Guard, the museum's exhibits include models of the grand old hotels, artifacts from shipwrecks, boat models, five saltwater aquariums, an exhibit of sands from around the world, and even itchy wool swimsuits and an old mechanical laughing lady from the boardwalk. Press the button, and you can be laughing with her.

    Ocean City, Maryland, 21842-3235, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $3, June–Sept., daily 11–10; May and Oct., daily 11–4; Nov.–Apr., weekends 10–4
  • 19. Old Trinity Church

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Seven miles southwest of Cambridge stands this tiny church that was built around 1675. In the churchyard are the graves of four governors of Maryland and several members of the distinguished political and clerical Carroll family. Services are still held here every Sunday at 11. Extensively altered in the 1800s, the church has been restored to its 17th-century appearance.

    Rte. 16 near Church Creek, Cambridge, Maryland, 21613, United States

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tours by appointment.
  • 20. Oxford Museum

    View displays, models, and pictures of sailboats. Some boats were built in Oxford, site of one of the first Chesapeake regattas (1860). Check out the full-scale racing boat by the door. Other artifacts include the lamp from a lighthouse on nearby Benoni Point, a sailmaker's bench, and an oyster-shucking stall. Docents elaborate on the exhibits, which set the context for a walking tour of nearby blocks.

    100 S. Morris St, Oxford, Maryland, 21654, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Apr.-Oct., Fri.-Sun. 2-5, Closed Tues.--Thurs.

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