A trip to the Eastern Shore in Maryland is enough to make anyone nostalgic. There’s something about the bayside colonial towns, the water lapping at the old piers and the sailboats gliding on the bay that can make you wistful for a simpler time. For a little rest, a little history, and a lot of blue crab, you can’t beat it. Book a room at the stunning Lodgecliffe On The Choptank, a B&B in Cambridge, MD. The Lodgecliffe was built in 1898 and has been impeccably restored by the current owners. The location, on a bluff overlooking the Choptank River with a vast lawn that spans to the river’s edge, is gorgeous and a setting for some stunning sunsets. At dusk, the fireflies put on a show to rival the sunset. The hosts serve local, organic coffee, and prepare a delicious breakfast using eggs from local free-range chickens and herbs from the on-site organic garden.
The town of Cambridge has seen some hard times in the past but is now putting a valiant effort into revitalization with new restaurants and shops popping up. For under $200 per night the Lodgecliffe is a deal compared to the B&Bs in the tony town of St. Michaels.
From Cambridge, drive north to the historic town of Oxford. Founded in 1683, Oxford is one of the oldest towns in Maryland and it retains its small town charm today. It’s worth it to park your car and take a stroll down its pretty streets and admire the historic houses. If you have the time, take the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry across the Tred Avon River. You can drive your car right onto the tiny ferry, step out and breathe the fresh briny air while enjoying the scenery. For those that prefer the two-wheel variety of transportation you can take your bike onto the ferry. After that it’s a pretty seven-mile ride from Bellevue to St. Michaels.
When you get to St. Michaels give yourself some time to explore the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Composed of several outbuildings, it is right on the waterfront and is a fantastic place to learn about the history of the Chesapeake, see an authentic 1879 lighthouse, and visit a boatyard where you can talk to the shipwrights as they restore the old working boats of the bay.
If exploring museums makes you hungry you are in luck, because on the opposite end of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s parking lot stands the classic blue crab restaurant, The Crab Claw. Their formula is simple: a table on the dock, a pile of steamed and perfectly seasoned blue crabs served on newsprint, and an icy cold beer all accompanied by a gentle bay breeze. You have to work hard to get all of the sweet tender meat out of these small crabs, but the effort is worth it. The blue crab is truly a culinary gift from this famous bay.
After you finish gorging on crab, make your way back to the Lodgecliffe on the Choptank and walk along the riverfront. Watch the sun sink below the horizon, take a deep breath, and soak in the glorious view. If you’re lucky you may see a river otter silently floating by or an osprey feeding her hatchlings. And then, when the last firefly flickers its farewell, you can head back to your room for a blissful night’s sleep.
Photos 1-4 and vintage boat being restored by Peter Grant.
All other photos by Harriet Grant.