Cambridge, Maryland | Chesapeake Bay Magazine


brief info

  • The hotel is 13 miles up the Choptank River from the Chesapeake Bay
  • Settled in 1684 and named after the English university town in 1686
  • Home to the Harriet Tubman Museum and Mural and a key stop on the Harriet Tubman Byway

What makes it unique

Cambridge is one of the earliest English settlements on the Chesapeake, but the city has been ravaged by several devastating fires throughout its long history. The area suffered another major blow in the mid-1960s when the Phillips Packing Company (Cambridge’s largest employer) closed. But in the decades that followed, the citizens of Cambridge worked hard to bring the city back with new shops, museums, restaurants and all the other things that draw happy visitors. Today, its sheltered pool and deep-water creek make it ideal for boaters who want to stroll the tree-lined streets lined with beautiful old houses and stroll to great restaurants. At Long Wharf and Ruark Boatworks, immerse yourself in unique history and appreciate the tributes to her hometown heroine, Harriet Tubman, who is rightly honored with a museum, stunning murals and a national historic trail dedicated to her life and culture their movements in Cambridge and beyond trace the neighboring Dorchester County landscape.

get there

By boat

The entrance to the Choptank River is about 23 miles south of the Bay Bridge. It then goes about 13 miles upstream to Cambridge. You can shave off a few miles by taking the Knapps Narrows Cut-Through near Tilghman Island, which is a shortcut from the bay to Choptank. It has a control depth of 8 feet and gives you the opportunity to travel through what is known as the busiest drawbridge in the world.

If you are coming from the Norfolk area you will find the entrance to the Choptank about 100 miles up the bay. Either Deltaville or Crisfield would make good stops along the way. From Deltaville, the Choptank is about 65 miles away.

Travel up the Choptank River to Green 25, the last marker before the US 50 Bridge, then proceed to either the Cambridge Municipal Marina or locate markers 1 and 2 for the entrance channel to Cambridge Creek. Another equally appealing option is to continue under the bridge (sailboats beware, clearance is only 50 feet) and dock at the Hyatt Regency Marina.

By car

If you are driving, you will find Cambridge just off US 50; You’ll recognize your presence by the sail-shaped awning of the visitor’s pavilion on the southeast side of the bridge over the Choptank River. From Baltimore, it’s about a 90-minute drive across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. From the Norfolk area it is a three hour drive via the Chesapeake Bay Bridge tunnel and US 13 to Salisbury, then US 50 for the rest of the way.

Marina basics

Cambridge Yacht Basin is nearby.

If you want to be within walking distance of almost everything in town, slide into the breakwater at Cambridge Yacht Basin, managed by Oasis. Or better yet, try the Cambridge Yacht Club, which shares basins with the city’s marina and usually has a few moorings open to visitors. (They also have reciprocity for members of the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Club Association clubs.) Farmers’ market and Long Wharf events and the Choptank River Lighthouse are a short walk along Water Street, and restaurants, shops, and museums are a little longer be Walk up the High Street.

Cambridge Creek

If you like the idea of ​​anchoring or docking at the city’s free dock, follow the canal into Cambridge Creek, one of the Chesapeake’s deepest and one of the main reasons for the city’s long success as a port. On the way you will pass the Yacht Maintenance Company and then the turning basin. You will find JM Clayton Company Seafood immediately to the right. Founded in 1890, the company is still family-owned and is believed to be the oldest active crab processing plant in the world. On the adjacent wall you will find the clear bulkhead behind several office buildings in Dorchester County. There are plenty of cleats but be very careful to protect your boat from the long bolts that protrude from the bulkhead in several places. If you prefer to drop anchor, leave room for JM Clayton’s shrimp boats.

Also try the Generation III Marina, located at the head of the creek. It has a depth of 8 to 12 feet and slides for those passing through or anyone in need of repairs. Cambridge is a great city for both leisure and commercial boating and the Wheatley family have a reputation for fine craftsmanship and attention to detail in all types of services which has earned them a loyal following in over 30 years in the business.

River Marsh Marina/Hyatt Regency Chesapeake

If you want to be pampered, then the marina at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Marina (or the Hyatt Regency itself) is for you. You could treat this as a separate destination altogether, but it’s easy to get to downtown Cambridge from here.

By boat, simply pass under the US 50 Bridge (remember the 50 foot clearance, sailboats) to green 27. From there, face south and you will see the marina breakwater, its entrance pointing to the downstream side. The marina has all the standard amenities, although they’re a bit of a walk away, and the additional resort fee gives you access to everything the hotel complex has to offer.

stay ashore

Cambridge House B&B was built in 1847 as the home of a local sea captain.

Cambridge House Bed & Breakfast is an 1847 former sea captain’s home on the High Street with six period bedrooms, a pretty lily pond in the garden and an outdoor hot tub.

The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina is a destination unto itself. This sprawling AAA Four Diamonds resort has everything you need for a weekend getaway with 400 newly renovated rooms (all with balconies or balconies), a pool and waterslide, an 18-hole golf course and the elegant Water’s Edge Grill. The airy atrium bar Michener’s Library is the perfect place to take it all in over a cocktail. And they welcome dogs with a one-time fee of $150.

Exploring on the water

Nathan of Dorchester runs on Saturdays from May to October.

There is an excellent launching area at the Franklin Street Boat Ramp with plenty of overnight parking. Here you will find two docks, four ramps and a breakwater to launch straight into the choptank. The nearby Trenton Street Boat Ramp is much smaller but takes you into Cambridge Creek. Neither requires a license to use. North of town, you can launch at Gerry Boyle Park at the Great Marsh Boat Ramp.

The period-correct Skipjack Nathan of Dorchester was built by volunteers in 1994 as a tribute to the unique wooden vessels used for centuries to dredge oysters in the bay. Join them on a Saturday for a 2-hour cruise down the river and learn how watermen would work the bay from these one-of-a-kind vessels that became Maryland’s State Boat in 1985.

Just 12 miles from Cambridge, the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is a wildlife sanctuary established in 1933 to protect migratory wild birds along the Atlantic Flyway. Bring your own kayak or SUP, or join Blackwater Adventures Chesapeake Bay for guided paddle tours on waterways that meander through the landscape. Blackwater has a large selection of boats for hire, bikes and can deliver equipment by prior reservation.

Explore by land

Just past the US 50/Choptank River Bridge, the short but deep Cambridge Creek divides the city in two. Most of the old town with its old buildings, newer restaurants, Long Wharf and the city marina and yacht club is on the west side of the creek. The leafy residential streets are lined with beautiful old houses, while the main part of downtown can be found a few blocks inland. Walk up the High Street (which starts at Long Wharf) and then turn left onto Poplar Street and you’ll be right in the middle of the action. If you keep walking you can find Sailwinds Park and Visitor Centre, Ruark Boatworks (part of the Richardson Maritime Museum) and other businesses a short walk east of the creek.

As with many Chesapeake towns, the water dominated the economy for centuries, and Cambridge, with its deep-water creek, served as the main port for the area. Here in Long Wharf, tobacco came and went, tomatoes and yes, people in torturous slavery. Today, shrimp boats still pass Long Wharf en route to Cambridge Creek to JM Clayton Seafood, whose crab meat is sold across the country. Enter the Choptank River Lighthouse to see artifacts of the bay’s lighthouse culture and for a good view.

The free, downloadable Visit Dorchester Audio Tour Guide app is a great way to discover more of the city, including the rich history of the Dorchester County Courthouse and the home of sharpshooter Annie Oakley and her husband for a short time. And you’ll learn about Groove City, the name of the Pine Street neighborhood where Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and Duke Ellington played. The third tour tells fascinating stories about all of the murals on the Chesapeake Mural Trail, including the viral mural depicting Harriet Tubman with arm outstretched, located at the Harriet Tubman Museum & Education Center on Race Street.

Across Cambridge Creek, the Richardson Maritime Museum is closed for works, but you can still catch a glimpse of the restoration work they’re undertaking at Ruark Boatworks, a celebration of the East Coast’s long and colorful history of boatbuilding. You’ll see volunteer boat builders build and restore the Chesapeake’s iconic watercraft, including the skipjack, pungy schooner, and log canoe.

pub crawl

RAR Brewing is a national success story that started here. They make excellent beer (try the Nanticoke Nectar IPA) and make great dogs and burgers from their side restaurant Chessie Burger. Then head across the street where retro speakeasy Blue Ruin specializes in the lost art of creative cocktails, with over 150 on the menu paired with small plates. Vintage 414 is part wine bar (also serving beer and cocktails), part restaurant (flatbread and cheese boards), and part deli.


Portside Seafood Restaurant has been serving fresh seafood overlooking Cambridge Creek for 25 years. Cambridge has two popular restaurants you may recognize from St Michaels: Ava’s Pizzeria & Wine Bar and Theo’s Steaks, Sides & Spirits. Ava’s offers fantastic stone oven pizza while Theo’s has steaks and more. Harriet’s Homemade Ice Cream & Cakes is a sweet new addition to town. Maryland Blue is located on the water in nearby Madison, which is worth the trip by boat or car.


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