Hello! I'm going to be down on the eastern side of the Chesapeake Bay for a week this summer, on a family reunion-type vacation. Any recommendations for the area? I'm sure with so many people under one roof, my husband and I won't mind getting out of the house here and there! The house we're renting is in Cambridge, MD, and I'd love to hear if there are can't-miss restaurants, stretches of shore, preservation lands, you name it! Thank you!
There's actually quite a bit on the Eastern side especially if you're willing to drive a bit.
Just to the south, you'll find an amazing wildlife refuge at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. It's beautiful - a great place for bird watching.
Just north, go to Saint Michaels (Maryland). It's a historic town with the old Hooper Straight Lighthouse on the bay that is very popular with locals and tourists alike.
If you don't mind driving, head East to the Atlantic. You're less than an hour from Ocean City (Maryland). This is a typical tacky tourist town with lots of shops and restaurants and things to do. I prefer heading just south of here and seeing the beaches and wild horses of Assateague Island National Seashore. Berlin is a small historic town on the way to and from that is cute and fun to explore. There are some good antique shops here.
Head north on the Atlantic just a bit and you can see Lewes, the first city in the first state. It's another cute town. Here, you've got to eat at Touch of Italy II LLC. It's like eating in Italy. The ingredients are fresh and authentic. So delicious! There are whale and dolphin watching trips leaving just across the bridge that last about 3 hours. North you can explore Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge and just minutes south, you'll find beaches and a pretty lighthouse at Cape Henlopen State Park.
The Chesapeake Bay is known for great fishing. Even if you aren't a big fisherman, there are charter fishing boats that will provide everything you need to catch your own rockfish or croaker or spot. That can be fun.
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In addition to Blackwater Distilling Inc already mentioned there is the new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, part of the State Park/National Historic Park that just opened this Spring. It is on the way to Blackwater, where there is also a visitor center and then the loop drive. Blackwater Paddle and Pedal Adventures rents kayaks or will take you on a guided trip through the refuge.
Downtown Cambridge (Maryland) is getting nicer with restaurants & shops. RAR Brewing is popular, as is the The High Spot. visitdorchester.org has lots of good information and so does the Visitor Center at Sailwinds Park.
Also in Saint Michaels (Maryland) is the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum which is very well done. You can also drive over to Oxford (Maryland)which is a cute town and get ice cream at the Scottish Highland Creamery
You really can't go wrong with anything that gets you on the water on the Eastern Shore, whether its the Bay or the Atlantic. And eat crabs & oysters!
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