Cambridge  is a small town of 10,000 on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland's Eastern Shore. The harbor town was founded in 1684, making it one of the oldest cities in the state. It's seen ups and downs throughout its long history, at times a residence of choice for wealthy colonials, and not long ago a site of conflict and heavy job losses in the 60s during desegregation, racial violence, and the closing of the local cannery. It also has had several very famous residents: Harriet Tubman, Annie Oakley, and even a president of Liberia have all known the town as home. Today's Cambridge has seen rising fortunes from tourism (especially following the construction of the huge Hyatt resort) and professionals moving in who like the laid back, charming, maritime atmosphere.
Cambridge is about halfway between the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Ocean City on US-50, the Ocean Gateway. Maryland Ave leads right from the highway to the historic town center.
The town harbor is just up the Choptank River from the bay. The most busy marina belongs to the Hyatt; the city's marina is just north of the historic center:
- Cambridge Municipal Yacht Basin, 4 Mill St, ☎ +1 410 228-4031 ([email protected]). 1 May–31 Sep: 8AM-6PM daily; winter: weather dependent.
- Cambridge-Dorchester Airport (FAA:KCGE) is a small, regional airport with no scheduled commercial flights. Private planes park within walking distance of Kay's resturant. Courtesy transportation to town may be available.
The town center is small and easily walked, while getting around surrounding areas will require a car or a bike (the Eastern Shore is good bike riding territory—not a hill in sight).
Boats to be repaired at the Ruark Boatworks
- Harriet Tubman Museum, 424 Race St, ☎ +1 410 228-0401. A small museum dedicated to the famous African-American abolitionist and Underground Railroad conductor who lived here. The museum is small—call ahead to make sure it will be open. The staff offer tours within and outside Cambridge, of places where Harriet Tubman lived, worked, prayed, etc.
- Richardson Maritime Museum, 401 High St, ☎ +1 410 221-1871, . W,Su 1PM-4PM, Sa 10AM-4PM. Suggested donation: $3.
- Ruark Boatworks, Maryland Ave & Hayward St, ☎ +1 410 221-8844, . M,W,F 9AM-2PM. Though affiliated with the Richardson Maritime Museum, this is no museum—it is an active boatworks working exclusively on wooden boats and models. Visitors get to see how it's done, and can participate in model building. Suggested donation: $3.
- Visitor Center, 2 Rose Hill Pl, ☎ +1 410 228-1000, . The staff here are available to give information about the area's history, and advice on what to see when. They also offer a free self-guided walking tour of the town's historic center.
- Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, 2145 Key Wallace Dr (Take MD-16 (Church Creek Rd) south from the town, then turn left on MD-335 (Golden Hill Rd)), ☎ +1 410 228-2677, . dawn-dusk daily; visitor center: M-F 8AM-4PM, Sa-Su 9AM-5PM. The prime visitor attraction here is the Wildlife Drive, which visitors can drive, walk and cycle on in order to get close to the local wildlife. In addition, the Refuge has four land trails and three paddling trails, as well as hunting/fishing/crabbing opportunities. Finally, the Refuge staff and volunteers also offer a variety of environmental educational opportunities for young people at both the Refuge Visitor Center and also at the Refuge environmental education building, located at the entrance to the Wildlife Drive. If you are in the mood to see a bald eagle soaring over the Chesapeake wetlands, this is the place.
- Skipjack Nathan, (Long Wharf Park at the end of High St), ☎ +1 410 228-7141, . The wooden skipjack is the traditional sailboat of choice for Chesapeake oystermen, and remains in use to this day in parts of the bay where motorboats are not allowed. The Nathan is moored here only for pleasure, though, and offers several activities for visitors, including sailing cruises and educational programs with Chesapeake watermen.
There is a good collection of shops and art galleries along High St and Race St in the historic center.
- Bistro Poplar, 535 Poplar St, ☎ +1 410 228-4884, . M,Th-Sa noon-11PM, Su tapas: 5PM-11PM. A pleasant spot for excellent French bistro fare in the center of town. $20-40.
- Portside Seafood Restaurant, 201 Trenton St, ☎ +1 410 228-9007, . This is the obvious choice in town, with a big outdoor wooden deck overlooking the Cambridge Harbor, and serving a crab-heavy menu. $15-40.
- Cambridge House B&B, 112 High St, ☎ +1 410 221-7700, . Located in the "1847 sea captain's manor," this is a small "green" B&B in the historic center, with period furniture, a charming garden, and is one block from the Wharf. $125-175.
- Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay, 100 Heron Blvd, ☎ +1 410 901-1234, . This is one of the bigger resorts on the Chesapeake, and has all the amenities you'd expect, plus an on-site marina, beautiful 18 hole championship golf course, and a gigantic spa. $220-320.
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