Cambridge is a small town with big style that keeps growing year after year. As the largest town in Dorchester County, Cambridge boasts an enviable location that welcomes visitors from the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond. And while it is all about the water in the area—from the boating and fishing to the bounty of fresh seafood—the area is also rich in history. Cambridge’s history begins with the Choptank Indians years before the town was settled in 1684. The story continues with historical luminaries like Annie Oakley, the famed Wild West sharpshooter, and Harriet Tubman, who shepherded slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Cambridge played a vital role in the region’s nautical history as watermen handcrafted wooden boats, including the state boat, the skipjack. Visitors can learn more about the region’s history through self-guided tours or by visiting the museums. While maintaining a strong sense of identity with its past, Cambridge is a city that’s looking ahead. Since gaining Main Street status in 2003, the city has been in the midst of a renaissance, which celebrates the town’s deep historic roots while welcoming a vibrant arts scene that has revitalized the community. Just take a walk through the downtown area and you’ll notice the stately homes converted into charming shops, friendly restaurants and inspiring artists’ galleries. After a day in town, discover some of Cambridge’s natural wonders with a hike or chartered boat ride. Kick off your downtown exploration with a visit to the concierge or stop in the Visitor Center that greets guests at the foot of the Frederick C. Malkus Bridge. Both can provide enough information to ensure an unforgettable experience. From historic schoolhouses to a vibrant artists’ community, Dorchester County offers a bit of everything. Check out a sampling of the area’s most unique attractions. Attractions Visito rs Cente r at Sai lwinds Park. 2 Rose Hill Place, off Route 50, Cambridge. 410-228-1000, 800-522-TOUR, www.tourdorchester.org. This handsome, modern visitor center is near the bridge on the banks of the Choptank. You can’t miss the giant sail outside. Stop in to get your bearings and take in the intriguing exhibits that describe the area. You’ll find brochures, maps, an informational video and cordial advice. There’s also a playground with plenty of tunnels and slides and telescope binoculars for a close-up view of the boats plying the Choptank. You may even spot a blue heron or watch a mother duck and her fuzzy ducklings waddling by on their way to lunch in the Choptank. Open daily from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Historic High Street. Cambridge was founded in 1684 as a port of entry on the Choptank River. Privately owned 18thand 19th-century houses and public buildings line High Street’s brick-paved street, with architecture representing different periods and styles. Highlights include the Dorchester Arts Center, Dorchester County Courthouse, the Richardson Maritime Museum and Christ Church. Pick up a “Historic Walking Tour” brochure at the Visitors’ Center at Sailwinds Park or at the kiosk located near the courthouse. Dorchester Arts Center. 321 High St., Cambridge. 410-228-7782, www. Dorchesterartscenter.org. A gallery for the work of local artists, the center has an artisans’ gift shop and changing exhibits of pottery, paintings, prints, baskets, quilts, hand-dyed silks and more. Artists teach more than 80 ongoing classes and special workshops for adults, teens and children on everything from oil painting and watercolor to ceramics, stained glass, mosaics and even ballroom dancing throughout the year. Open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Richardson Maritime Museum. 401 High St., Cambridge. 410-221-1871, www.richardsonmuseum.org. This collection celebrates the art of wooden boat building for which James B. Richardson was world-renowned. Intricate models of Chesapeake craft—bugeyes, pungys, skipjacks and log canoes—are on display, as well as watermen’s artifacts, boat builders’ tools and photos dating back to the 1930s documenting the area’s boating history. It’s open Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and on Wednesday and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. or by appointment. Ruark Boatworks. 100 Maryland Ave., Cambridge. 410-221-1871. Individuals and groups are invited to this modeler’s workshop to learn more about the art of building wooden boats and models from local legend Harold Ruark. The impressive restoration area is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., and a docent is available on Saturdays from 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Brannoc k Educationa l and Research Center. 103 Hayward St., Cambridge. 410-310-2108. Steamboats, the saga of the “oyster wars,” boat construction and local maritime history are highlighted here with photographs, ship models and tools. Founded and built by Earl Brannock, the museum houses his and his uncle’s extensive maritime collection. LaG ran ge Plantation . 902 LaGrange Ave., Cambridge. 410-228-7953. This historic plantation is the home of the Dorchester County Historical Society, and there are a number of historical sites on The grounds. The Meredith House, an 18thcentury Georgian home, has been enlarged and remodeled over the years. Exhibits include antique toys, dolls and other memorabilia. The “Governor’s Room” has pictures of the former Maryland governors who resided in Dorchester County, including Charles and Phillips Lee Goldsborough, Henry Lloyd, Emerson Harrington, Thomas Holiday Hicks and Thomas King Carroll. Today, the mansion hosts special events, including tea parties. The Neild Museum features an extensive collection of maritime, industrial and agricultural artifacts, including a McCormick reaper built in 1831. There’s also a stable dating back to 1790, a stronghouse once used to store food and smoke and cure meats, and a Colonial herb garden. The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and tours are available by appointment. Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. 2145 Key Wallace Drive, off Route 335, 12 miles south of Cambridge. 410-228-2677, www.friendsofblackwater. org. This 27,000-acre tidal marsh sanctuary, home to various wildlife, can be explored on bike, foot or boat. There are trails for biking and walking, and a seven-mile wildlife drive. Fishing is permitted from canoes and kayaks. Paddling is permitted all year long; however, the purple trail is closed from October 1 to March 31 to avoid interference with the migratory birds. All visitors must purchase a daily permit at the Refuge Visitor Center, open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m.-5 p. m. on weekends. The refuge’s outdoor facilities and Wildlife Drive are open from dawn until dusk. Harriet Tubman Birthplace. Greenbriar Road, a right turn off Bucktown Road, about seven miles south of Route 50. Born a slave on the Brodess Plantation, Harriet Tubman escaped to the north at age 29, but returned 19 times to free more than 300 slaves. A roadside marker pays tribute to this heroine, and the surrounding farmlands and woods give a sense of the challenges she faced. Stop by the Visitor Center at Sailwinds Park for brochures and more information. Harriet Tubman Museum and Educational Center. 424 Race St., Cambridge. 410-228-0401. This information center hosts exhibits that celebrate Harriet Tubman’s life and work. Visitors can pick up reading materials and watch a video about Harriet Tubman, or schedule a tour for a more interactive experience. Open Tuesday through Saturday or by appointment. Bucktown Village Store. 4303 Bucktown Road, Cambridge. 410- 228-7650. It is believed that on this site Underground Railroad heroine Harriet Tubman received a blow to her head with a two-pound weight that nearly killed her and left her with a lifelong infirmity. The Bucktown Village Foundation operates the shop, with hours by request. In addition to offering history and tours, the store rents bikes, canoes and kayaks to visitors. Taylors Island Museum. 4212 Hoopers Neck Road, Taylors Island. 410- 221-1207. Local and regional antiques and memorabilia are on display in this museum, located in the Old School (c. 1916). Open by appointment. The J.M. Clayton Company. 108 Commerce St., Cambridge. 410-228-1661, 800-652-6931, www.jmclayton.com. Take a break from exploring historic buildings and check out a part of culinary history at the oldest working crab-processing plant. During the peak of the crabbing season, J. M. Clayton processes hundreds or thousands of pounds of crabmeat to sell to individuals and businesses around the country. A tour of the plant lets visitors see the “Quik Pik” crab picker, a machine that picks 100 pounds of crabmeat an hour. Tours are available by appointment only for groups of 10 or more for $5 a person. The retail market sells all things crab, from mallets and t-shirts to steamed crabs and frozen crab cakes. The market is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Old Trinit y Church. 1716 Taylors Island Road, Church Creek (8 miles west of Cambridge). Www.oldtrinity.net. 410- 228-2940. This steep-roofed, small brick chapel was built in 1675 and is one of the oldest Episcopal churches in continuous use in the United States. Its park-like setting is along Church Creek, which served as a highway for the original parishioners. The shaded cemetery is the final resting place of veterans of every American war, as well as the former Maryland governor Thomas King Carroll and his daughter, Anna, an adviser to Abraham Lincoln. Services are held at 11 a.m. on Sundays. The newly restored grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk. Viena Heritage Museum. 303 Race St., Vienna. 410-943-1212, www. Viennamd.org/vhf.html. This collection includes personal family heirlooms and displays of the rural life and industries located in and around Vienna, including the last operational mother-of-pearl button factory machinery in the country. Open the second and fourth Sunday of the month from 1 p.m.-4 p.m., from April to November. Group and personal tours available by appointment. Spocot Windmill Complex. 1625 Hudson Road, Cambridge, seven miles west of Cambridge on Route 343. 410-476- 5058. Spocott’s English-style post windmill, originally for grinding grain, is the only one remaining in Maryland. Visitors can climb the windmill to the height of the blades, but it operates only twice a year, usually on a Saturday in May and October (call in advance for dates). The complex also exhibits a Colonial tenant farmhouse, a one-room Victorian schoolhouse built in 1870, a smokehouse and a blacksmith shop, which are open daily from 8 a.m.-5 p. m. The country-store museum is open by appointment. Hopers Island. From Route 50 in Cambridge take Route 16 West and 335 South. A 40-minute drive from Cambridge through marshland and loblolly pines takes you to Hoopers Island, an authentic seaside waterman’s village composed of three islands. Some properties were carved from land grants issued as early as 1659. Your objectives are the seafood-packing houses and restaurants, where you can enjoy the harvest of both the sea and land, and a cast-iron caisson lighthouse that was first lit in 1902. Taylors Island. From Route 50 in Cambridge take Route 16 West. Located in the southern part of Dorchester County, Taylors Island is a small community known mostly for its unique homes. There are also three churches, a museum and a one-room schoolhouse in town. History buffs will be pleased to learn that many of the island’s sites are part of the National Historic Register. Outdoorsy types will appreciate the tidal marshland and the animals, including the endangered Delmarva fox squirrel, ospreys and bald eagles native to this habitat. East New Market. From Route 50 in Cambridge, take Route 16 East about 12 miles from Cambridge. East New Market was settled in 1660, and its landmarks include a trading post built in 1767 and 75 structures representing a variety of 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century architectural styles. A church still stands at each of the four entrances to the town, and the entire town was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Take a self-guided walking tour through this National Historic District to truly appreciate the architectural gems of Colonial times. Hurlock. From Route 50 in Cambridge, take Route 16 to MD-392, about 13 miles from Cambridge. Www.hurlockmd.net. Thanks to thriving railroad facilities, Hurlock became known as a commercial hub in Dorchester County and earned the town motto “On track since 1892.” The train station, built in 1867 by the Dorchester & Delaware Railroad, has been restored and is the center of the town’s annual fall festival on the first Saturday in October. The festival features a parade, arts-and-crafts Exhibits and the main event—a scenic ride on the restored “Hurlock Express.” Oxford. Route 33, about a 30-minute drive from Cambridge. Dating from 1683, Oxford is one of the oldest towns in Maryland and surely one of the prettiest. A sleepy little village on the Tred Avon River, it has tall trees, graceful houses, front porches and quiet streets. Once a bustling center of trade, Oxford is now a yachter’s haven and summertime retreat, with a number of boatyards and boating services, including charters and yacht sales. Easton. Route 50, about a 15-minute drive from Cambridge. Www.eastonmd.org. Landlocked Easton boasts of its ranking as one of the Best Small Towns in America and an arts and cultural center. Beautifully preserved historic buildings, restaurants, shops, Colonial street lamps and brick sidewalks grace the center of town. St. Michaels. North of Cambridge and west of Easton on Route 33. Www. Stmichaelsmd.org. Boutiques, restaurants, galleries and gift shops draw visitors to Talbot Street, but St. Michaels also hosts the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, located on 18 acres of waterfront property at the end of Mill Street. The museum displays the history of the Chesapeake in nine exhibit buildings and in the 1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse. Narrated cruises, ecotours and ghost tours are available. Sports To best experience the beauty of the Chesapeake, it’s essential to get outside. Give your arms a workout while paddling through the marshland or get your heart rate up by biking the Blackwater Refuge Loop. That’s not all—there’s fishing, birding, hunting, golf and plenty of adventures waiting right outside your room. Cycling. Biking is a great way to explore all of Dorchester County’s natural wonders. Both casual cruisers and serious cyclists will find a suitable trail. Blackwater Refuge is a great first stop for a biking trip. Cyclists can choose from a 4-mile or 7-mile loop around the Wildlife Drive, where conditions are flat and the paved roads provide a bump-free surface. Two additional loops of 20 and 25 miles take cyclists along the nature trails and scenic country roads outside of the refuge. Route maps are available at the Blackwater Visitor Center. For a longer ride, cyclists can head to historic Vienna and hop on the Vienna Blackwater Loop. This 41-mile loop starts from the old fire hall’s parking lot on Race Street and takes a short course along the water before heading out of town on Market Street. Even on a warm day, cyclists should be able to catch a breeze while cruising along the picturesque Cambridge Loop. This 6. 3-mile loop provides a sea breeze from the Choptank, as well as lovely views of the water, boatyards and snazzy waterside homes. This ride starts and ends at the park on the end of High Street. Fishing. The Chesapeake Bay is known for its good fishing and crabbing, and there are plenty of local experts around who just might share their fishing secrets. Here, you’ll find rockfish and speckled trout in the shallow waters. Anglers over the age of 16 must have a license to fish most of the waters around town. These can be purchased at local sporting good stores and bait shops in the county. One exception is the Long Wharf in Cambridge, located at the end of High Street. Here, anyone can bring along his or her tackle box and try the waters without a permit. Anglers line up waiting for the catch of the day along the Choptank River. The Choptank River Fishing Pier, which is the original bridge into town that runs parallel to the Malkus Bridge, is a great place to fish for perch, striped bass, hard heads, sea trout, and catfish. Another fishing hotspot is Great Marsh Park at the end of Somerset Avenue. Open waters offer the potential for a bounty of bluefish, rockfish, flounder, trout and Spanish mackerel from the bay. Local companies organize fishing excursions that leave early in the morning. These charters often include all necessary licenses and permits in their fees, as well as tackle and bait. Padling. Outdoors enthusiasts who would rather focus their energies on the beautiful scenery instead of waiting for the fish to bite, have a wealth of paddling options. Bring your own canoe or kayak or set up a trip with a local tour outfitter. These organizations provide equipment and guidance, which is essential for beginners. The 1,700 miles of shoreline in Dorchester County are perfect for exploring from a low-lying canoe or kayak. With this plethora of watery trails and unique seaside wildlife, it’s no surprise this region is often called the Everglades of Maryland. Skilled paddlers can look for wildlife as they paddle through the Blackwater and Little Blackwater River systems’ protected marshlands. Taylors Island Passages offers a wide watery trail framed by piney hummocks. Another great spot for kayaking can be found along the Transquaking River, which is about nine miles from Cambridge. Only the most skilled paddlers should attempt the twists and turns of World’s End Creek. Wildlife, Hunting and Birding. Dorchester County has a number of wildlife areas to inspire nature enthusiasts and challenge hunters. Cambridge is along the Atlantic Flyway, which makes this refuge a prime spot to view migrating peregrine falcons, ducks and Canada geese. The best birding spot in the county can be found in the 27,000 acres that make up Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. More than 100 bald eagles make this Eastern Shore refuge their yearround home. Bring along binoculars or stop by the visitor center to peek through the telescopes at the large eagle nests. The area’s other large wildlife management area is Fishing Bay, a nearly 21,000- acre spread of coastal wetlands and marsh ecosystems, and a great place to catch sight of the area’s birds. Hunters head to Taylors Island wildlife management area for the variety of deer and waterfowl. Bird watchers will have plenty to look at in this 1,120-acre tidal marsh habitat that’s home to osprey, bald eagles, heron, egrets and shorebirds like plovers and sandpipers. The 313-acre Linkwood wildlife management area is home to the endangered Delmarva fox squirrel, white-tailed deer and a variety of songbirds. At the 485- acre LeCompte wildlife management area, Delmarva squirrels live in the oak and pine forests alongside wild turkey, cottontail rabbits and sika deer. Hunting is allowed during shooting season where permitted, but permits are required for trapping. Squirrel hunting is generally not permitted at any time in any of the protected areas. Motor vehicles are not permitted in most wildlife management areas. Golf. The best golf in Cambridge comes with a view of the Choptank and a collection of challenging holes at the resort’s River Marsh Golf Club. It’s hard to beat this beautiful course designed by Keith Foster, but there are other courses in the area worth a visit. The following courses are recommended: Blue Heron Golf Course, 101 Queen Colony High, Stevensville. 410-643- 5721. Located an hour from Cambridge, this course features 18 holes with bent grass greens and rye fairways. Clearview at Horn’s Point, 5650 Clearview Key, Cambridge. 410-221-0521, www.clearviewathornspoint.com. You’ll need a connected friend to hit the links at this members-only club. With an 18-hole, par 72/73 course, the greens offer great views of the Choptank along the 6,450 yards from the back tees. Easton Club, 28449 Clubhouse Drive, Easton. 800-277-9800, www.eastonclub. com. This championship course has 18 holes and a par 71 to challenge all golfers. Hole #15, aptly called “No Corner for the Devil,” is a true par 5. Hog Neck Golf Course, 10142 Old Cordova Road, Easton. 410-822-6079, www.hogneck.com. There are two options for golfers—the 18-hole, par 72 championship course or the 9-hole, par 32 executive course. The 18-hole course provides two different experiences as golfers must battle the wind and water hazards on the front nine holes and successfully navigate through the woods on the back nine. Linkwood Family Golf Course, 37125 Linkwood Drive, Cambridge. 410- 221-8700. This 18-hole, par 64 public golf course and driving range is a casual alternative to some of the area’s fancier clubs and an inexpensive place to enjoy a quick round of golf. Tee times are not necessary, making it a nice choice for an impromptu game. Visitors are welcome to experience the water riding on the skipjack Nathan of Dorchester. This volunteer-built boat may have been constructed in 1994, but it reflects the oldfashioned style of the wooden skipjacks. Interested passengers can take a their cue from the captain by taking a turn at the ship’s helm. Public sailing excursions depart on Saturdays and Sundays from the Long Wharf, from May through October. (www. Skipjack-nathan.org) Shopping Shopaholics and seasoned window shoppers will all delight in the abundance of shops surrounding Chesapeake Bay. You can tailor a shopping experience to meet your needs, whether it’s a full day of hitting the stores in search of a bargain or a quick trip to find the perfect keepsake from your trip. With so many options, there’s no excuse for not bringing home a carefully chosen gift for the loved ones you left at home, whether they are in their golden years or just heading off to preschool. With all of the temptations, it might be a challenge to not buy yourself a little something. You don’t even need to head into town to start some serious shopping. Pintail Point Outfitters, an official Orvis dealer within the resort, carries clothing, fly-fishing gear and home accessories. On-site specialty shops sell all of the essentials for a day on the greens or out at sea. You can buy custom-fit golf clubs at the River Marsh Golf Clubhouse, or pick up your bait and fishing essentials at the Quarterdeck marina store. Continue your resort shopping adventure with a trip to the Bay Country Market. You’ll find plenty of treats to commemorate your trip to the bay, including logo gear as well as handmade goods and paintings from local artists. You can also take a part of your vacation home with you by ordering a serving piece or dishes just like those used in the dining rooms. To enhance the Bay Country Market’s selections, the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay welcomes local artists every Saturday to exhibit and sell their works. Some favorites include painters Virginia Hladki, Sarah Hutchison, Becky Love and Beebe Winterbottom; photographer and author Pat Vojtech; and artists Jim Turner (paintings on collages), Don Willey (model boat builder), Warren Saunders (waterfowl and decoy carvings), Karen Baker (potter) and Charlotte Meyer (paintings and Christmas gourds). Not in town on a Saturday? Many of these artists display their works in the shops and galleries in town. The concierge also has a list of the artisans scheduled for the year, along with their contact information. Once you’re ready to take your shopping to town, Cambridge is a great place to start. Race and Poplar streets are the epicenter of the town’s shopping area, with lots of fun and quirky shops. Many stores in town carry works from local artists, includIng paintings and photographs, which can make lovely souvenirs. Cambridge also has a number of shops that specialize in creative gift items and boutiques known for unique clothing, handmade textiles and jewelry. Enhance your wardrobe with one-of-a-kind pieces that are sure to stand apart. Check out the consignment shops for funky clothing and fashion treasures from designers like Lilly Pulitzer and BCBG, as well as high-end jeans at reasonable prices, and browse the used bookstores for “steals” on old favorites and last year’s bestsellers. Downtown Cambridge gears up for “Second Saturdays,” each month, when the shops stay open late and offer special sales, and locals and visitors hit the town for lively music, gallery events, food, contests and activities for the kids. The rest of the month, most stores in the historic district are open from 10 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m., but you should call ahead just to be safe. Many of the shopkeepers have been around for a long time and can be a great source for tips on local favorites. You might strike up a conversation while deciding on a new purse, and leave the store with a shopping bag and tips on where to get the best crab cakes in town and the best place to catch the sunset. The first-class shopping doesn’t stop at Cambridge. Nearby Easton and St. Michaels have a wealth of independently owned shops that offer personal service and a friendly shopping atmosphere, even if you’re just window shopping. Both towns boast their share of art galleries and clothing boutiques. A number of shops peddle interior decor, kitchen essentials, specialty Tools, children’s clothing, holiday treasures, books, pottery, nautical supplies and even treats for your pampered pet. Now that you know where to shop, what are you going to buy? The quintessential souvenir from this region is a duck decoy. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a duck for your bookshelves or to take out on your next hunting trip, as many shops in the area carry both decorative and working ducks. How can you tell the difference? It mostly comes down to price. A small souvenir decoy may cost about $20, while an actual work decoy is much larger with a heftier price tag—sometimes reaching into the thousands. Good places to seek out decoys and other interesting handicrafts are the museum shops. Boat models and beautiful paintings can also be found at many of the museum shops around the county. Antique stores in the area sell everything from silver tea sets to rare books. Antiques are serious business in Dorchester, mostly because the towns and communities have such a long history themselves. While the shops might not promise low prices, true treasure hunters can get lost in the shops and booths packed full with old furniture, glassware, china and other decorative items. Even if your tastes run along the more eccentric side, there are antique stores carrying more “modern” collectibles, including favorite toys and nostalgic figurines from childhood, old lunchboxes, bobble head collections, vintage postcards, sports memorabilia and costume jewelry. With a bit of determination, there is no limit to what personal treasures you might discover. The main event for antiquing is the Dixon’s furniture auction in Crumpton. This weekly event starts at 9 a.m. every Wednesday and continues until the last item is sold. Interested buyers can engage in bidding wars for everything from china hutches and antique headboards to cases of silverware and collectibles. Most of the bidding starts at $20, but there is also a $5 section for trinkets and household items of all kinds. Can’t resist the lure of the mall shops and designer labels? There are outlet shopping centers in both directions from Cambridge. Just 35 miles away, the Queenstown outlets has approximately 60 stores, promising great discounts on designer clothing, shoes, handbags, housewares and books. It’s almost three times the distance, but there are even more outlets in Rehoboth, Delaware. With over 130 stores, bargain shoppers should prepare for a marathon day of browsing. The shopping experience is certainly less personal than that found at the mom-and-pop shops around the smaller towns, but the bargains can be irresistible. Even the best packers can easily forget a vacation essential when packing for a big trip. Some big-box stores and strip malls are close enough to the resort for a quick trip to stock up on those must-haves, whether it’s a pair of water shoes, baby wipes for the diaper bag, camera batteries or a good novel to maximize your poolside relaxation. Even foodies can get in on the shopping fun around town. Follow your nose to one of the specialty shops offering gourmet foods and wine. Choices include exotic coffee and tea blends, heavenly chocolates, local wines and, of course, crab seasonings. Bring home a container of the famous crab blend to season seafood at home or a bottle of spicy Bloody Mary mix that reflects the tastes of the Chesapeake. After a long day of shopping, a snack just might be in order. The bounty of Chesapeake crops is displayed during the summer at local farmers’ and watermen’s markets. Every Friday from May through October and every Tuesday in July and August, local farmers gather at Sailwinds Park to sell the freshest fruits, veggies and flowers. The market runs from 8 a.m.-12 p. m., but, as with any farmers’ market, the early bird gets the worm—or in this case, the best pick of sweet corn and the juiciest red tomatoes. The Cambridge Main Street Farmers’ Market opens Thursdays from May through October from 3:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. in the Academy Street parking lot. If you miss the Cambridge Farmers’ Market, there are plenty of others around town. Most farmers’ markets take place on Saturday mornings and have the same 8 a. m. start for early risers. The market in Centreville at Court House Square runs from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays from May through October. In Easton, farmers gather at the parking lot off Harrison Street to sell their freshest goods from 8 a.m.- 1 p.m. on Saturdays from April through December and on Wednesdays from June through September. Weekend visitors to St. Michaels can stop by Muskrat Park on Saturday mornings at 8:30 a.m. from April through October to pick up the latest crops. Don’t worry if you miss one of the farmers’ markets. There are plenty of small roadside stands selling regional specialties and fresh produce. Take a taste of the Chesapeake home in the form of a dozen ears of sweet corn, some homemade pies and local honey from a farmer’s stand. Nightlife It’s a good thing that there are plenty of opportunities for relaxing during the day, because when the sun goes down there’s even more to do in the area. It’s no problem if you want to stay close to your ”home away from home.” There are plenty of places for socializing right here at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay. Pull up a chair near the romantic fireplace and enjoy one of our specialty cocktails at Michener’s Library. When you’re ready to hit the town, you’ll find dozens of bars and restaurants in Cambridge and the surrounding areas. There are even some waterfront bars in town, some with tiki bars and outside areas that create an island-escape atmosphere. Most bars have Djs and dancing, some have live music on the weekends. Other music venues have concert schedules that include big-name performers and wellknown acts. Sailwinds Park on the Choptank in Cambridge has a 14,000-square-foot festival hall that is the scene of many outdoor and indoor concerts and music festivals. Country music artists and other musicians draw in crowds from the Eastern Shore for rocking outdoor summer concerts. Past performers have included Dwight Yoakam, Loretta Lynn, and the Drifters, among other musical talents. Check out the website at www.sailwinds.org for a full listing of events. A short drive away is another popular music venue, the Avalon Theatre in Easton. This restored theatre has become a central force in the cultural community of the Eastern Shore. An impressive lineup of performers attracts crowds from the entire Maryland region. The musical styles range from acoustic acts, ragtime, jazz and swing bands to country and Dixieland. Past performers include Los Lobos, Patty Griffin, Cowboy Junkies, Joan Baez, Deanna Bogart and Charlie Hunter. For a complete calendar, check out the website at www. Avalontheatre.com. If rhythm and blues isn’t your thing, the Mid- Atlantic Symphony Orchestra might be more your speed. This traveling orchestra plays throughout the region from October through April and stops at the Avalon Theater. The Choptank Riverside Concert series kicks off in April with free family-friendly Saturday afternoon concerts at the amphitheatre in Sailwinds Park East. Cambridge plays host to many social events throughout the year, from crab feasts to music festivals. The Groove City Jazz and Blues Fest held in May heralds the return of jazz to Cambridge, a city once known as “Groove City.” Fourth of July is festive with Fireworks and family fun. Also in July, the Taste of Cambridge Crab Cook-Off kicks up the competition among local restaurants for the best crab soup, crab cakes, crab dip and open crab category featuring gourmet bites of crab gazpacho or crab wontons. August brings the Seafood Feast- I-Val at Sailwinds Park with even more crabs and local seafood. The town bids farewell to the summer season with the two-day long Summer Send-Off Beer and Wine Block Party featuring live music, wacky events like the Main Street mile relay race and vendors serving plenty of food, wine and beer. Baltimore’s Camden Yards may be a bit too far for an evening baseball game, but you can still catch some baseball action with a Baltimore Orioles’ Class A affiliate team. The Delmarva Shorebirds play at the Arthur W. Perdue stadium in Salisbury, only a 30-minute drive from the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay. The stadium is big enough to hold 5,200 seated with an additional 3,000 on the lawn, but still small enough to maintain a hometown stadium vibe. General admission is only $6 for basic seats, while the field box seats and luxury level tickets go for $12. With such low prices, it’s not a big deal if the kids get distracted by the time the seventh-inning stretch rolls around. The stadium also has a carousel and playground, speed-pitch machine and an arcade to keep the little ones occupied. And then there’s the lovable “Sherman the Shorebird,” the goofy team mascot who mingles with the crowd during the games. Special promotions throughout the season recognize special groups, such as a salute to mothers or fathers, and there are occasional displays of fantastic fireworks after some games. The Eastern Shore Sailing Association hosts a number of sailing events throughout the year, including sailing races on the Choptank in Cambridge on Wednesday nights from May to September. Take a walk to the Long Wharf Basin after an early dinner and cheer for your favorite boat to win. In July, the Choptank powers up with the annual Cambridge Classic Inboard Powerboat Regatta, a free and fast-moving community event. In October, the Schooner Rendezvous brings music, tours and plenty of sails to Long Wharf Park to celebrate the schooners. Celebrating a holiday at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay? Check out some local events to enhance your festive spirit. Fireworks displays occur around the area all summer long, but the best displays go up around the Fourth of July celebrations. You don’t even need to leave the resort to get a great view of the lighted boat parade and spectacular fireworks that illuminate the Choptank for Independence Day. Fireworks shows are also held in Easton, Oxford and St. Michaels. The party doesn’t have to end in the fall. Come autumn, Easton’s Waterfowl Festival (second weekend in November) welcomes more than 18,000 visitors for a celebration of wildlife art. December brings a number of holiday events to Dorchester County and the surrounding area, including candlelight caroling, festival of trees and holiday concerts. So, whether it’s music and dancing or a heated baseball game, check in with the concierge to find the nighttime events that “float your boat.” Dining One of the hardest decisions you’ll make while staying at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay is where to enjoy your next meal. Whether it’s at breakfast, lunch or dinner, local restaurants serve dishes reflecting the Bay’s culinary delights. Start your day with a special local breakfast entrée. How ‘bout lumps of fresh crabmeat hidden under a cover of creamy hollandaise sauce in Chesapeake Eggs Benedict? Or homemade waffles drizzled with sticky syrups made from fresh strawberries or blackberries? Chase these dishes with chilled Bloody Marys, often served in glasses rimmed with a salty crab seasoning concoction. Crab cakes are found on just about every menu. The ideal crab cake combines lump and backfin crabmeat with just enough breadcrumbs, egg and seasonings to hold it all together. Some chefs add either dry or wet mustard while others swear by Worcestershire sauce to enhance the flavor. Crab cakes come broiled or fried and can be served on a sandwich, over a salad or just plain, with some crackers to scoop up the chunks of goodness. Most restaurants offer crab balls or miniature crab cakes as an appetizer, too, so you can get a taste of crab alongside your main dish. Soft-shell crabs are another local delicacy. Soft shells are blue crabs that have just shed their hard shells during the molting stage. When the chef prepares soft-shell crabs, he or she clears away any of the inedible parts. That means you can eat the entire crab—shell and all. Soft shells are best enjoyed pan-fried, which gives the shell a light and crispy texture. At raw bars, clams and oysters—including locally harvested Blue Pointes and other varieties—are served chilled on the half-shell. These slippery, briny treats are often served with just lemon and cocktail sauce on the side. Another great appetizer or happy hour snack is steamed shrimp, flavored with beer and seafood seasoning. Aside from shellfish, the day’s other catches might include rockfish, flounder, shad, mackerel or trout. All of these fish can be sautéed, broiled, blackened, baked, fried or, in keeping with the crustacean theme, even stuffed with crabmeat. Landlubbers can find something to tempt their taste buds as well. Everyone knows the Eastern Shore is big on fish, but it’s also known for its poultry. Delmarva fried chicken is popular, especially with a selection of southern-style sides, including baked beans, hush puppies and corn bread. For a truly authentic Eastern Shore experience, ask the concierge about oyster roasts or chicken barbecues hosted by local organizations and civic associations. It would be nice to dine on crabs alone, but then you’d miss out on the great local produce. The most popular Eastern Shore veggies include Silver Queen corn and vine-ripened tomatoes. Roadside markets also boast a full array of the usual summer veggie treats, including cauliflower, green and yellow beans, eggplant and fresh herbs. Sweet Eastern Shore cantaloupe makes a great breakfast treat. Save some room for dessert. Local chefs find sweet inspiration from the area’s bounty of fruits. Mouthwatering pies and cobblers are filled with juicy peaches, ripe strawberries and tart blackberries. Try a local beer to accompany your regional feast. Many bars and restaurants carry local brews in bottles and on tap. Watch for Dogfish Head Brewery from Delaware, Clipper City from Baltimore and Fordham Brewery from Annapolis. If you’re still not sold on the magic of the Chesapeake’s culinary treats or if the kids are craving just a slice of pizza, plenty of restaurants in the area will meet your needs. You don’t have to travel far to find Chinese, Italian, French and other ethnic cuisines, as well as recognizable chain restaurants, if you need a fast, familiar fix. Jennifer Plum Auvil is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in a number of local and national publications, including The Washington Post, Go magazine, Baltimore magazine and the Travel Channel website. Since moving to Baltimore 15 years ago, Jenn has continued her search for the ultimate bowl of cream of crab soup and looks forward to teaching her daughter the art of eating steamed crabs.
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