The Visit Dorchester Audio Tour Guide invites visitors to immerse themselves in the rich history, culture and traditions of the Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area. The free cell phone app features a suite of three self-guided walking and driving tours. They cover the Chesapeake Mural Trail, Downtown Cambridge history and the history of the African-American Pine Street community.
Take the tours at your own pace. Visitors enjoy convenient access to relevant and interesting details for iconic sites and historical events in this unique county whose history dates to 1669.
In addition, an interactive badge feature is available for all the tours. Take a tour, absorb a little history, have a little fun and get rewarded! When you earn all the badges by completing a tour, you win a prize. For the two walking tours – Pine Street and Downtown Cambridge – badges are triggered by GPS when you visit a site. For the Mural Trail, you simply have to answer a question about each mural, and you earn a badge.
Pine Street Tour
The Pine Street Tour focuses on African-American history and heritage. Beginning at Long Wharf Harbor, the narrator shares his connections to the deep-water port where enslaved Africans once were bought and sold as property.
The tour proceeds up historic High Street with stops at a house along the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway and the Dorchester County Courthouse. As visitors continue to Pine Street, narrators share first-hand memories of the neighborhood’s heyday. They recall when the area had so much energy it was nicknamed “Little New York.” As part of the Chitlin’ Circuit, entertainment venues hosted some of the greatest names in music during the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s, ’50s and early ’60s.
As you walk in the footsteps of Gloria Richardson, you’ll hear compelling descriptions of the turbulent 1960s. At that time, Pine Street thrust Cambridge before a worldwide audience, emerging as one of the most important battlegrounds in the Civil Rights movement. And you will hear the reminisces of long-time residents who attended the segregated school on Pine Street and helped make the renowned pies and “beaten biscuits” that were the specialty of the neighborhood bakery.
Downtown Cambridge Tour
The Downtown Cambridge Tour gives you historical details about events like the devastating fires that destroyed so many buildings in Cambridge in the late 1800s and early 1900s. As well as pointing out significant architectural and design details about the buildings that you might not notice on your own, local narrators share authentic, personal experiences as they describe their connections to the sites. For instance, a 100-year-old great-grandmother, who grew up down the street from the former Phillips Hardware store, remembers being captivated by the toy display there at Christmas.
Other storytellers include one of the owners of RAR Brewing, who shares his delight at being able to buy the old pool hall where he hung out a teenager and convert it to a successful business, compete with the very same working hot dog maker from his childhood. Down the street, a local African-American historian recalls spending Saturdays watching cartoons in the segregated balcony at the former Arcade Theater.
Chesapeake Mural Trail
The Chesapeake Mural Trail Tour, which is a driving tour, takes travelers through Cambridge, Vienna, East New Market and Hurlock. Along the way, they view Michael Rosato’s murals, highlighting bits of Dorchester’s culture and history along the Michener Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway. The tour also includes Rosato’s powerful, new Harriet Tubman Mural that was just completed in May 2019.
Rosato, a nationally known muralist who lives in Dorchester County, narrates each stop. He shares details about the artistic techniques he used, the history that is illustrated and the passages from James Michener’s Chesapeake that inspired some of the scenes.