How quickly we forget! It’s fun to look back and see what happened in the past year in Dorchester County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The Harriet Tubman Bicentennial brought international attention. More than 20 new tourism-related businesses opened. Two new murals were added (bringing our total to more than 20!), as well as a new sculpture. Two IRONMAN events brought more than $12 million into the county. The Packing House project is up and running. And plans for the waterfront development Cambridge Harbor are moving along. We’re looking forward to seeing what 2023 brings to Dorchester County!
Harriet Tubman Bicentennial draws international attention
Harriet Tubman was born here in Dorchester County 200 years ago. The bicentennial of her birth inspired events, drew visitors to the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, which begins in Dorchester. It also inspired media coverage from major players including National Geographic, Smithsonian, BET, Ms. Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, the New York Times, Canada’s Globe & Mail, and many others. Our favorite quote comes from National Geographic: “For travelers, there is no better way to experience Tubman’s history than along the 125-mile Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway. Spanning three states and more than 30 sites, the self-guided driving route immerses people in the places where Tubman worked, lived, and later found freedom.” Learn more about planning your trip along the road trip known as the Harriet Tubman Byway.
New murals created
Artists added color and interest around the county with outdoor murals, including the Dorchester Women’s Mural by Bridget Cimino of Baltimore and made possible by the Cambridge Community Arts Foundation. And the Hoopers Island Mural “Bungalow Wings” by Ed Krell and made possible by vacation rental owner Kellie Ellis-Neal. (It was also the site of a new event in 2022 – the Hoopers Island Chalk Arts Festival – in November).
See all of Dorchester County’s murals.
A transformed Packing House opens
Once part of the factory complex for Phillips Packing Company – employer of 10,000 and one of the largest canning operations around in the early 1900s – the Packing House is being transformed from a long empty shell to a 60,000-square-foot “center for local food/beverage production, food business incubation, non-profit groups and entrepreneurs.” The first tenants moved in in 2022. Watch for news on an oyster bar!
Plans for the long-discussed 30-acre waterfront project on the banks of the Choptank River in Cambridge moved forward, with an official name (Cambridge Harbor) and proposals submitted from 27 developers and others to help plan, develop and activate the project. According to Cambridge Waterfront Development Inc. (CWDI), the non-profit development corporation formed to develop Cambridge Harbor, “Cambridge Harbor will be a highly activated waterfront district to include public spaces, amenities and events focused on promoting the City of Cambridge and Dorchester County’s multi-faceted history, heritage, and culture while creating a unique destination for tourism.” Development plans include a continuous waterfront bike/walk promenade, boutique hotel, multiple food and beverage, entertainment and public recreation space, retail, office, educational, creative spaces, and mixed-use residential. Stay tuned for more on this continuing story.
Several of our tourism-related businesses marked milestones in 2022, including Simmons Center Market at 85 years; Spocott Windmill & Village and the Harriet Tubman Museum & Educational Center both at 50 years; Portside Seafood Restaurant at 25 years; and the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay and Blackwater Adventures at 20 years. Happy Anniversary to all!
“Beacon of Hope” Sculpture
A new 11-foot bronze sculpture of Harriet Tubman “Beacon of Hope,” was created by artist Wesley Wofford and permanently installed at the Dorchester County Courthouse in Cambridge in honor of the bicentennial of Harriet Tubman’s birth. Hundreds from near and far attended the dedication during the Day of Resilience event in September. Thanks to Alpha Genesis CDC and all the volunteers, donors, and supporters who made this happen!
IRONMAN events bring $12 million to Dorchester County
Dorchester County once again hosted two major IRONMAN events – the 70.3-mile Eagleman in June and 140.6-mile IMMD in September. Together, the two races made a tremendous economic impact, with more than 11,500 visitors (athletes and their guests) coming to our county. Combining visitor spending, as wells indirect effects and induced effects, with $7.14 million impact from IMMD and $4.57 million impact from Eagleman. Mark your calendars for the 2023 events: Eagleman is June 11; IMMD is September 16, 2023.
New and expanding businesses
We welcomed more than 20 restaurants, shops, and other attractions. Stop in if you haven’t checked them out yet!
ArtBar 2.0 – 420B Race St., Cambridge; 443-988-1554
Big Daddy’s Soul Food Kitchen – 748 High St., Cambridge; 443-225-9737
Boats & Hose – 514 Taylors Island Rd, Taylors Island; 410-901-1070
Breckenridge Barn (wedding venue booking for 2023) – 4032 Mill Road, Linkwood
Cafe Underground – 420 Race Street, Cambridge; 443-988-1554
Capt’n Phil’s Seafood Carryout – 421 Academy St., Cambridge; 410-330-5500
Carol’s Kitchen – 1504 Glasgow Street, Cambridge; 443-225-5889
Choptank River Crab & Oyster Co. – 203 Trenton St., Cambridge; 410-228-CRAB (2722)
DoCo Axe Co. – Added escape rooms and golf simulator. 520 Race St., 2nd Floor, Cambridge; 443-225-5659
El Cabrito Grill – 535 Poplar St., Cambridge; 443-477-6444
Free Spirit Threads – Opened second location at 3123 Aireys Spur Rd., Cambridge; 443-521-0858
Harriet’s Homemade Ice Cream & Cakes – 428 Race St., Cambridge; 410-449-0431
High Spot – 305 High St., Cambridge; 410-264-1295
Hoopers Island Seafood Market – 837A Chesapeake Drive, Cambridge; 410-397-3664
Hopefully Yours Consignments – 322 Sunburst Highway Suite A, Cambridge; 302-258-9664
JNK Consignments – 404A Washington St., Cambridge; 443-521-9296
Old Salty’s Restaurant – Added a Tiki Bar. 2560 Hoopers Island Rd., Fishing Creek; 410-397-3752
Phippin’s Crafting Corner – 201 Maryland Ave., Cambridge; 410-330-2529
Pizzeria Rosita – 309 Sunburst Hwy., Cambridge; 410-901-3968
Rusticana Pizza – 2831 Ocean Gateway, Cambridge; 410-228-2399
ShoreLife Home & Gifts – 421 Race St., Cambridge; 410-725-1890
Shorty’s Kitchen – 2600 Cambridge Beltway, Cambridge; 443-205-5173
SoulShine Emporium – 317 High St., Cambridge; 410-901-3941
Taqueria Floritas – 1721 Race St., Cambridge; 443-225-5152