Longstreet Highroad Guide to the Chesapeake Bay
By Deane Winegar
[Fig. 20] Dorchester County is nearly as much a part of the Chesapeake Bay as it is a part of the Eastern Shore. The bay and its tributaries permeate the county deeply and form a good part of its boundaries.
On its 70-mile journey to the bay, the Choptank River, the largest of some 20 rivers on the Eastern Shore, flows along the northern border of the county. Marshyhope Creek, a Nanticoke River tributary, meanders through the eastern part of the county near the Delaware line and the Nanticoke itself forms the county’s southeastern border with Wicomico County. The Chesapeake Bay is on the west and south. Inland are the open waters and marshes of Fishing Bay, the sprawling Blackwater River, and innumerable other rivers and creeks.
In fact, where water ends and land begins is a mapmaker’s nightmare, as much of the land area is comprised of wetlands, marshes, inlets, coves, and bays. Every storm that sweeps across the bay from the west or swirls in from the northeast does its job at resculpting the boundaries.
Both the human and natural history of Dorchester are inexorably linked to the watery surroundings. Fishing villages with workboats tied to docks and crab pots piled high are a common find for those who explore the back roads. Anglers can hire half- and full-day charters in summer for flounder, sea trout, spot, and drum. Ravenous striped bass, known locally as rockfish, tear into bait during special seasons in spring and fall. The bay’s tributary rivers hold white perch, catfish, and largemouth bass.
Six museums display the county’s maritime and agricultural heritage and depict the life of the waterman and farmer. Wildfowl blinds invite hunters and photographers to the edges of ponds and marshes where the air is often filled with the chatter of geese and ducks.
The Underground Railroad Tour (410-228-0401) includes the Brodess Plantation, birthplace of Harriett Tubman. Called the Moses of her people, Tubman was a runaway slave who came back many times to the Delmarva peninsula to help some 300 slaves escape along the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. A highway marker on Greenbrier Road off US 50 south of Cambridge honors the brave woman.
A partial list of annual events is further evidence of Dorchester’s close ties to the bay. There’s the Nanticoke River Canoe/Kayak Classic, the Nanticoke River Shad Festival, the Bay Country Festival, the Cambridge Sail Regatta, the Cambridge Classic Powerboat Regatta, the Seafood Feast-I-Val, the Chesapeake Bay Log Canoe Races, the Warwick Riverfest, and the Grand National Waterfowl Hunt.
Weekends in Dorchester County bring karaoke and other types of music at Joyce’s and Mike’s Tavern (410-943-1207) on Main Street in East New Market and at the Suicide Bridge Restaurant at Secretary (410) 943-4689. Billiards and arcade games are available at Cambridge Arcade at 403 Race Street (410-228-9683) in Cambridge.
Visitors can easily get caught up in the county’s past and present. Many seafood restaurants and lodging Facilities have waterfront views. There’s a skipjack to sail, a riverboat to ride, seafood to sample, rivers to canoe, and sanctuaries where river otters play.
Settled in 1864, Cambridge is the county seat and among the oldest towns in Maryland. For centuries, the town has served as a port for watermen harvesting the Chesapeake Bay’s crabs and oysters. Processing plants became an important industry here, both for seafood and for crops produced by area farms. The industry spawned other work, such as barrel-making, a tradition that a local cooper carries on. Likewise, other handmade crafts of the community show the influence of the past.
In its early history, before the days of processing plants, the town served as a market for tobacco, then as the site for lumber and flour mills. A shipbuilding industry, supplied by oak and pine from the lumber mills, grew along the banks of Cambridge Creek. Skipjacks, bugeyes, and log canoes were among the vessels fashioned by local craftsmen.
In February, the town is home to an annual Outdoor Show with the National Muskrat Skinning Championship, an unusual event that grew out of a once-brisk fur trade here. A modern development called Sailwinds Park (410-522-TOUR or 410-228-SAIL) on the Choptank River is the site of many more festivals such as the Bay Country Festival in early July, the Seafood Feast-I-Val in August, and the Native American Festival in September. Speedboat, sailboat, and log canoe races are held here. A nonprofit corporation with a goal of revitalizing the community and the county is developing the multimillion-dollar, 35-acre waterfront park. The newest attraction is a state-of-the-art visitor center with two floors of information and exhibits on Chesapeake Bay heritage. The park also includes a boardwalk, a sandy beach with nettle nets, and a popular 14,000-square-foot festival hall. The visitor center at 2 Rose Hill Place off US 50 houses the Dorchester Department of Tourism and is open daily, year-round.
For the flavor of bygone days, take a self-guided historic walking tour along the tree-lined and historic streets of town, where homes date back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The tour begins on brick-lined High Street, which is located about a dozen blocks west of US 50 and stretches from Washington Street (MD 343) north to the Choptank River. The Richardson Maritime Museum (410-221-1871) at 401 High Street pays tribute to the wooden boat-building heritage of the Chesapeake Bay.
Feel the power as wind fills the sails during a river cruise aboard the Nathan of Dorchester (410-228-7141). This authentic skipjack is berthed at Long Wharf at the northern end of High Street on the Choptank River. For narrated boat tours aboard Cambridge Lady, call (410) 221-0776.
The Brannock Maritime Museum at 210 Talbot Avenue contains artifacts from the Chesapeake Bay and displays on the shipbuilding industry and what was called the Oyster Navy. The Oyster Navy consisted of a fleet of 40 boats that enforced fishing regulations in the 1800s and the first part of the 1900s. Those were violent times for Maryland and Virginia watermen, who fought sometimes bloody fights over fishing rights during what was called the Oyster Wars. The museum is open Fridays through Sundays or by appointment.
At 902 LaGrange Avenue is the Meredith House and Nield Museum (410-228-7953), a 1760 Georgian that is headquarters for the Dorchester Historical Society. Artifacts from six Maryland governors who were born in the county are on display in the Meredith House. The museum contains relics from the area’s cultural, agricultural, maritime, and industrial past. Doors are open from 10 to 4, Thursday through Saturday, year-round, except major holidays.
Good fishing is available from a pier jutting into the Choptank River on the east side of the US 50 bridge. The pier, which is actually the remains of an earlier bridge, is part of Choptank River Fishing Piers State Park.
At 1716 Taylors Island Road (MD 16) west of town is Old Trinity Church (410-228-2940), the oldest Episcopal Church in continuous use in the United States. In the old cemetery are the remains of a Maryland governor and one of Abraham Lincoln’s aides. The simple brick building, built about 1675, stands among tall trees and boxwoods on the banks of Church Creek about 7 miles southeast of Cambridge.
[Fig. 20(1)] The Dorchester Heritage Museum, located on a former duPont estate on Horn Point Road west of Cambridge, focuses on the county’s colorful past, which is closely tied to the Chesapeake Bay. The four main areas of the museum are the Heritage Displays, the Waterman Room, the Archeology Room, and Aviation Hall. There are also exhibits designed especially for children. In May, antique and classic airplanes from across the country land here to be judged in the Antique Airplane Fly-in.
Also on the 850-acre former estate, along the shores of the Choptank River, is Horn Point Environmental Laboratories (410-228-9250), which is part of the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental and Estuarine Studies. Both global environmental issues and local Chesapeake Bay resources are subjects of interest. Bay studies focus on aquaculture of striped bass and oysters, seafood science, and the role of wetlands and submerged aquatic vegetation in the health of the estuary. Several nature trails lead along the shores of the Choptank River. Tours of the center and of the aquaculture hatchery are available by appointment.
[Fig. 20(2)] Six miles west of Cambridge on MD 343 at Lloyds is the Spocott Windmill, the only grist post windmill still used for grinding grain in Maryland. Buildings that were once part of a small community are now open to the public as a museum. Included are a Colonial tenant house, a Victorian schoolhouse, and Lloyds Country Store Museum, which has World War II antiques on display. Twice annually (May and October), Spocott Windmill Day is held to celebrate the operation of this historic structure.
[Fig. 20(3)] When people think of refuges, they normally think of quiet places. At Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge there are certainly no honking horns, wailing sirens, or semis changing gears. But quiet is not necessarily the word you’d choose to describe this refuge that was established in 1933 for migratory birds.
In fall, the 23,000 acres of Blackwater come alive as thousands upon thousands of migratory ducks, geese, and tundra swans come cackling, squawking, and honking to a splashdown in the rich tidal marshes, freshwater ponds, and managed pools here. The various species come through in fairly predictable waves on their way south along the Atlantic Flyway. The beautiful blue-winged teal (Anas discors), for example, pass through in September.
Mornings and evenings most any time of year are full of the song of restless waterfowl, of warblers feeding among the bayberry, or of songbirds staking out territory. Even when visitors have gone home and the cold of a December night ices the bulrush fronds, the stillness may be broken by the wild, haunting yodeling of loons (Gavis immer) that head south to escape the frigid winters of northern Canada.
Noisy though it may be at times, the refuge is an exciting place, full of wonder. A place where schoolchildren laugh at the inelegant squawk of that graceful flyer, the great blue heron (Ardea herodias), or a photographer films a common merganser (Mergus merganser) as it runs across the water surface to become airborne like an airplane on a runway.
More than 250 species of birds including 20 species of ducks have been documented here. Two of them—the brown-headed nuthatch (Sitta pusilla) and chuck-will’s-widow (Caprimulgus carolinensis)—are at the northern extent of their range at Blackwater. The nocturnal chuck-will’s-widow, named for the sound of its evening and morning call, is a bit larger than its woodland cousin, the whip-poor-will.
When warming temperatures in late winter cause the ice in the ponds and marshes to break up, pied-bill grebes and great-crested cormorants arrive. During the nesting season, both expert and novice bird watchers enjoy observing or listening to the osprey, black-crowned night heron, great blue heron, glossy ibis, and willet.
If the very vocal willet (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus) is not noisily crying "will-will-willet," this large sandpiper gives away its identity when it spreads its flashy black-and-white banded wings. The willet resembles the greater yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) in size and shape, but the greater yellowlegs normally nests farther north. Several species of flycatchers, vireos, and orioles also nest at the refuge
Marsh vegetation in the Chesapeake Bay suffers for many reasons—rising sea levels, siltation, and destruction by exotic animals, to mention a few. The impoundments at Blackwater allow control of such factors as water level, salinity, and siltation. The pools are drawn down in spring to stimulate the growth of vegetation important to waterfowl. The draw-downs attract shorebirds such as dowitchers, dunlins, semi-palmated plovers, killdeer, and least sandpipers. Bird watchers are even rewarded with occasional glimpses of such rare migrants as the ruff (Philomachus pugnax), a sandpiper noted for its courtship dance that takes place in leks, or dancing grounds, established by the males.
The refuge is best known to travelers for its Wildlife Drive, a 3.5-mile auto tour along the dikes between pools and open marshland. The road is open to automobiles, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Allow extra time for getting out of the car with binoculars or spotting scope, but watch your step. Goose and duck droppings are everywhere. The trailheads for two short walking paths are also on the drive.
The National Wildlife Federation conducts an annual survey to count bald eagles at the refuge. In January of 1996, 129 were counted—the highest number since the survey began in 1976. The concentration of nesting bald eagles at Blackwater is one of the largest on the Atlantic Coast. Dead trees have even been installed at several locations by a power company as eagle perches.Generally speaking, the larger and more cumbersome the bird, the shyer it is of humans. The hummingbird and the chickadee can be taught with relative ease to perch on a person’s finger. The bald eagle, on the other hand, may not tolerate the intrusion of humans within 100 yards of a nesting site. The wide expanses of wetlands seem to be just what the eagles are looking for. For many people, the amazing sight of a soaring bald eagle over the refuge marshes forms a memory to last a lifetime.Blackwater Refuge also has one of the largest concentrations of endangered Delmarva fox squirrels (Sciurus niger cinereus) in existence. Raccoons, rabbits, otters, opossums, white-tailed deer, red foxes, and muskrats are other inhabitants of the refuge and its environs. Non-native species such as the diminutive sika deer and the nutria must be controlled by hunting and trapping to keep them from overpopulating and destroying the wetlands. The nutria (Myocastor coypus) is a large rodent similar in appearance to the smaller and more valuable muskrat, but the voracious nutria destroys a wide variety of plants, roots and all, undermining the foundation of the wetlands. A list of other resident mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians is available at the visitor center.Bicyclists can also obtain a map of two suggested bike loops. A 20-mile trail uses Key Wallace Drive, Maple Dam Road, MD 16, and MD 335 to form a loop between the refuge and Cambridge. A 25-mile southern loop connects Key Wallace Drive with MD 335, MD 336, Andrews Road, and Shorters Wharf Road. The terrain is flat and automobile traffic is usually light, especially on the southern loop.Crabbing and fishing are permitted from April through September from boats, which must be launched outside the refuge or from Little Blackwater Bridge on Key Wallace Drive. Fishing is fair at best, with catches limited to white and yellow perch, sunfish, catfish, and an occasional largemouth bass.The Spring Fling in May and an open house in December attract hundreds of people to demonstrations, exhibits, and discounted books and gifts at the refuge visitor center. Bird walks, eagle prowls, youth deer hunts, children’s Activities, and other events are scheduled throughout the year.
The 0.33-mile Marsh Edge Trail and the 0.5-mile Woods Trail are both connected to the Wildlife Drive. The Woods Trail, which loops through pines and mixed hardwoods, offers perhaps the best opportunity to spot the Delmarva fox squirrel. The trail is located on the Wildlife Drive about 1 mile from the entrance, on the right. Pets are not permitted on either trail.
Marsh Edge Trail. [Fig. 20(4)] Allow 30 minutes for a leisurely walk along this self-guided nature trail that begins in a mature loblolly pine forest. The loblolly is at the northern end of its range on the Eastern Shore. The endangered Delmarva fox squirrel eats the tree’s seeds, while bald eagles find its branches suitable for nests. The long, yellow-green needles of the loblolly grow in bundles of three.
The path emerges from the pines and leads along the edge of a typical Eastern Shore marsh on the Little Blackwater River. In the transition area between forest and marsh are shrubby plants such as groundsel-tree (Baccharis halimifolia) and northern bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica). These shrubs have adapted to the semi-saturated soils on the higher part of the marsh at the edge of the forest.The bayberry is a wax myrtle with shiny evergreen leaves that have an aromatic smell when crushed. Cooks are familiar with the value of bay leaves in seasoning. Ingenious early settlers, who called it the candleberry bush, discovered that boiling would remove the waxy covering on the bayberry’s fruits, leaves, and twigs. With the wax, they made candles, tallow, and soap.An 80-foot boardwalk extends into the lower, wetter areas of the marsh. Look for plants tolerant of brackish wetlands such as cattails (Typha augustifolia) and three-square sedges such as saltmarsh bulrush (Scirpus robustus) and Olney three-square (Scirpus americanus). The three-squares have triangular stems. Their flowers are encased in overlapping scales, looking like little bunches of buds on the plant stem. The pink, five-petaled blossoms of the marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) reward visitors from July through September. This showy hibiscus grows about 3 feet tall.Avoid the three-leaved poison ivy, which is common here. Pack repellent to ward off biting insects from April to October.
Four wildlife management areas totaling nearly 27,000 acres provide ample places for wildlife observation, hunting, boating, fishing, and crabbing in Dorchester County.
LeCompte Wildlife Management Area is a 485-acre tract of large oaks and loblolly pines that was set aside specifically to provide habitat for the Delmarva fox squirrel, which has been on the federal Endangered Species List since 1967. The area is located in the eastern part of the county about 5 miles southwest of Vienna. The habitat is so successful here that biologists have been able to trap and relocate squirrels from here to other promising locations in Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia.
Wild turkeys trapped in western Maryland were released at LeCompte to resupply the Eastern Shore’s turkey population, which was once decimated by non-regulated hunting. Other wildlife that might be spotted along the numerous trails includes cottontail rabbits, bobwhite quail, woodcock, white-tailed deer, and sika deer.Deer hunters come for muzzleloading, rifle, shotgun, and bow seasons. There are small-game seasons for rabbit, quail, and woodcock. Gray squirrels may not be hunted in order to protect fox squirrels, which can be hard to distinguish at a distance.
About 7 miles east of Cambridge is 313-acre Linkwood Wildlife Management Area, comprised of a mix of oaks, maple, black gum, and loblolly pine. Despite its small size, the dense forest provides an important nesting area for songbirds such as the scarlet tanager (Piranga olivacea). Tanagers and many other birds suffer from forest fragmentation in North American and from degradation of their winter range in the rain forests of South and Central America.
Bow, muzzleloading, and shotgun seasons draw deer hunters to Linkwood in the fall. Gray squirrels may also be hunted, but hunters must be able to distinguish between the gray squirrels and the endangered Delmarva fox squirrels, which are here in smaller numbers than at the LeCompte area. Hunters, hikers, and bird watchers should put boots in their car in case the ground is soggy.
Fishing Bay and Taylors Island wildlife management areas, which are more closely linked to the Chesapeake Bay, are described next. During warmer months at all these areas, bring inspect repellent and watch for poison ivy.
[Fig. 20(5)] Fishing Bay is the state’s largest wildlife management area. With 25,000 acres of tidal wetlands broken only by little islands of loblolly pine, it’s a good place to bring a boat. In addition to excellent opportunities for saltwater fishing and crabbing, the area is prime territory for observing nesting and wintering waterfowl.The huge area complements the adjacent Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge by providing bay and river habitat and inland ponds for mallards, black ducks, teal, gadwall, pintails, scaup, and Canada geese. Sandpipers, plovers, and even the shy black rail (Laterallus jamaicensis) make use of the tidal flats. Even birders count this sparrow-sized rail a treasured find. Though it may be common in some areas, it is extremely wary as it pokes about under dead marsh grasses.In Fishing Bay are Guinea and Chance islands, the ancestral home of the Nause-Waiwash Indian tribe. Descendants of the islanders still make annual visits.Hunting is open seasonally for white-tailed and sika deer that live along the wooded marsh edges and for ducks and geese. Yearly leases may be obtained for fur trapping.
[Fig. 20(6)] The state wildlife management area on Taylors Island is a good place to experience a tidal marsh that is relatively untouched by human encroachment. Only a small part of the 1,100 acres of wetlands is accessible to those without boats. A state boat landing on Beaverdam Creek offers an entry to fishermen, crabbers, and nature enthusiasts.
Raccoons, muskrats, and river otters are some of the mammals that inhabit the marshlands. Small stands of loblolly pine and cedar forests support the Delmarva fox squirrel, white-tailed deer, and Asian sika deer, which is actually a species of elk. Because they are more strictly nocturnal, sika deer are less apt to be seen than white-tailed deer. Exposed mud flats at low tide are endlessly probed by plovers and sandpipers such as the dunlin (Calidris alpina), which breeds in the Arctic but migrates south during the winter. Look for the slight downward droop at the tip of the long bill to distinguish this very approachable sandpiper from others.
Out on more open water, osprey and eagles search for fish at the surface. Diving ducks such as scaup, canvasbacks, goldeneyes, and buffleheads disappear and reappear as they feed underwater. The small buffleheads (Bucephala albeola), also known as butterballs or spirit ducks, feeds on insects, crustaceans, and weeds. Males are predominantly white, with black markings.
For those who would like to camp nearby, Taylors Island Family Campground (410-397-3275) is located on Bay Shore Road. Tideland Park (800-673-9052 or 410-397-3473) is at 525 Taylors Island Road.
[Fig. 20(7)] In 1974, the Smithsonian Institution surveyed Chesapeake Bay natural areas and designated a portion of Taylors Island as a significant wetland. The undisturbed tidal marshlands make ideal waterfowl habitat, while the forested uplands provide sanctuary for the endangered Delmarva fox squirrel (Sciurus niger cinereus) and nesting space for the bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). Frank M. Ewing donated the land to The Nature Conservancy in 1977. The 920 acres of pines and marshlands of the Robinson Neck/Frank M. Ewing Preserve represent one of the Conservancy’s largest holdings in the state of Maryland. The preserve, which consists of half pine forest, half brackish tidal marsh, is open year-round for bird-watching and nature walks.
In the forest understory are wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), American holly (Ilex opaca), and a profusion of poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans). If catbirds and cedar waxwings don’t get them first, beautiful red berries adorn the female hollies through the winter. Together, the berries and prickly leaves have inspired much Christmas card art. In the marsh, look for the typical wetland plants such as Olney three-square (Scirpus americanus), narrow-leaved cattail (Typha augustifolia), black needlerush (Juncus roemerianus), big cordgrass (Spartina cynosuroides) and saltmarsh cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora).
The preserve’s nature trail begins at an old logging road and passes through the loblolly pine forest and marsh as it leads eastward to Slaughter Creek. To the north, this tidal creek joins the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Little Choptank River. Look for deer tracks along the trail and the prints of muskrats and wading birds along the marsh edge, and be alert for possible sightings of the northern harrier, bald eagle, and osprey or fish hawk. Many migratory birds make use of the preserve in fall. Ducks and geese seek winter refuge. As in all preserves, stay on the trail to keep from damaging sensitive plants and habitat.
Several varieties of ferns thrive in the damp habitat along the trail. In waterlogged soil, royal fern (Osmunda regalis) can grow as tall as a man can. Cinnamon fern (Osmunda regalis) and netted chain fern (Woodwardia areolata) add their lacy accent to the understory.
Boaters may put into Slaughter Creek at Taylors Island Marina on the east side of the Taylors Island bridge and head southeast. After a 1.5 mile down the creek, the preserve is along the southwestern shore. Wildlife and waterfowl that are hard to approach on foot may be easier to study from a boat.
The preserve is adjacent to Taylors Island Wildlife Management Area. Wear bright clothing during hunting seasons. Prepare to deal with biting insects and poison ivy seasonally.
[Fig. 20(8)] This round tower on a caisson foundation was built in 1901 and began operating the next year. It is located exactly halfway up the Chesapeake Bay in Dorchester County, about 3.5 miles west of Hooper Island. The 63-foot-high lighthouse stands in 18 feet of water and is accessible only by boat. For two years, a white light flashed, magnified by a Fresnel lens. Then the light was changed to a steady white light with a flash every 15 seconds. The original fog bell was upgraded to a foghorn. Finally, the lighthouse became automated. It is not open to the public.
[Fig. 20] At the southernmost tip of Dorchester County is little 80-acre Holland Island. Just 1.5 miles long and vulnerable to the storms that sweep across the wide-open Chesapeake Bay from the west, the island and its trees serves as a buffer and a windbreak for the shallow waters and wetlands of Holland Straits to the east. Over the years, the island has been reduced by half from its original 160-acre size.
Bird watchers have identified hundreds of shorebirds, waterfowl, and migrating songbirds. The trees and isolation of Holland Island are perfect for the nesting bald eagles and the rookery of great blue herons. Oystercatchers and curlews poke about the shoreline. Geese, egrets, swans, ducks, gulls, and terns nest here. Osprey cruise the shoreline, looking for a fish swimming too close to the surface. Brown pelicans soar by in formation, sometimes gliding so close to the water they disappear from sight briefly behind the small waves. Diamondback terrapins and even occasional white-tailed deer that swim to the island to feed have been spotted.
The island was not always so undisturbed by humans, however. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, about 360 people maintained a general store, a church, a grade school, a post office, and a fleet of schooners and skipjacks that prowled the bay. Erosion gradually wore away the island’s west side until residents were forced to leave. Three graveyards were left to the vagaries of the sea. Two remain, but one has slipped beneath the waves.
Recently, a nonprofit organization has surfaced to save what is now called the Holland Island Preserve by shoring up the western side. With luck, the work will keep shellfish beds from being silted over, protect wildlife and wildfowl habitat, save valuable underwater grasses, and preserve the remaining two cemeteries.
Cambridge, the only large town in Dorchester County, is the obvious place to find good seafood restaurants. But several more are tucked into out of the way places. Here are a few selections:
Portside Seafood Restaurant. Cambridge Creek, Cambridge. Casual dining overlooking Cambridge Creek. Sample the local seafood, which includes steamed crabs, soft crabs, and oysters. Inexpensive. Phone (410) 228-9007.
Snapper’s Waterfront Cafe. 112 Commerce Street, Cambridge. Enjoy fresh seafood in a casual waterfront atmosphere on Cambridge Creek. The huge variety of menu items also includes southwestern fare, Jamaican items, steaks, and ribs. Inexpensive to moderate. Phone (410) 228-0112.
Spicers Seafood. Woods Road, Cambridge. Casual dining, featuring fresh salads and seafood. Closed Tuesdays. Inexpensive to moderate. Phone (410) 221-0222.
Old Salty’s Restaurant. Hooper’s Island Road, Fishing Creek. This casual restaurant sometimes offers family dining. Creative menu and excellent food. Inexpensive. Phone (410) 397-3752.
Taylors Island General Store. Route 16, Taylors Island. Where there’s a glut of local parked cars at lunchtime, the food is sure to be good. Try the crab or lima bean soup, oyster chowder, or crab cakes. Soup and sandwich menu. Inexpensive. Phone (410) 221-2911.
Suicide Bridge Restaurant. 6304 Suicide Bridge Road, Secretary. Fresh seafood and steaks are on the menu at this waterfront restaurant next to the paddlewheel boat, Dorothy Megan. Inexpensive. Phone (410) 943-4689.
There are several bed and breakfast inns in Dorchester County, in addition to a couple of motels and a retreat.
Northfork Bed and Breakfast. 6505 Palmers Mill, Hurlock. Accommodations are in a main house and guest house in a pastoral waterfront setting. Open year-round. Moderate. Phone (410) 943-4706 or (800) NFORK-BB.
Cambridge Inn. Route 50 East, Ocean Gateway, Cambridge. Motel with 96 rooms is just east of Cambridge. Moderate. Phone (410) 221-0800.
Glasgow Inn. 1500 Hambrooks Boulevard, Cambridge. Colonial riverside plantation bed and breakfast, circa 1760, in a small park. National Register of Historic Places. Moderate to expensive. Phone (410) 228-0575.
Lodgecliff on the Choptank. 103 Choptank Terrace, Cambridge. Country bed and breakfast with an outstanding view overlooking the Choptank River. Moderate. Phone (410) 228-1760.
Becky Phipps Inn. Taylors Island Road, Taylors Island. Bed and breakfast with four rooms on Slaughter Creek near the Choptank River. Convenient to several areas that offer birding, boating, hunting, fishing, and bicycling. Moderate. Phone (410) 221-2911.
Twin Willows Farm. Meekins Neck Road, Golden Hill. This 1200-acre retreat is adjacent to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and Taylors Island Wildlife Management Area, catering to sportsmen and naturalists. Two spacious homes for up to 20 guests. Expensive. Phone (888) 726-7863.
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