An authentic Chesapeake town on Maryland’s storied Eastern Shore, historic downtown Cambridge is in the midst of an exciting renaissance!
Located on the broad Choptank River, the seat of Dorchester County dates back to 1684, making it one of the oldest colonial cities in the state. Originally a seaport community along the Choptank River, it has a rich maritime heritage that can be explored in museums, through historic district tours and river cruises. When James Michener was doing research for his novel Chesapeake, he reportedly called Cambridge’s High Street one of the most beautiful streets in America. He modeled his fictional city Patamoke after Cambridge. Many of the gracious homes on High Street date from the 1700s and 1800s.
Today you can join a historic walking tour of High Street each Saturday at 11am, April through October (weather permitting). To reserve and for information on cost, call 410.901.1000. The town’s rich maritime history — building boats, sailing the waters, catching crabs, oysters, and other seafood — is celebrated at the Richardson Maritime Museum and the Ruark Boatworks. You can also join a short cruise on an authentic skipjack, Nathan of Dorchester, which is an oyster dredging vessel.
Famed Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman was born nearby, and a museum honoring her stands in the heart of the downtown district. Several downtown art galleries regularly feature work tied to the one-of-a-kind traditions of the Chesapeake – shipbuilding, sailing, fishing, crabbing, waterfowling and more.
An expansive mosaic mural on Race Street depicts the history of Cambridge’s working people through the centuries. Other historic highlights include Christ Episcopal Church, a Gothic structure dedicated in 1884. Its roots go back to 1694. In its cemetery are buried four governors of Maryland (as well as a monument to a fifth governor). Across the street from the church is the historic county courthouse, with a historic marker.