Between bay and ocean lies a landscape blessed with small-town charms and filled with unforgettable moments.
Marylanders refer to the area between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean as the "Lower Shore" or the "land between the waters." A great place to start your exploration of the unique watermen and farming communities that make up this region is in Cambridge, where the Historic High Street Walking Tour passes immaculate 18th- and 19th- century homes on a shaded, brick-lined road. History comes alive at the Dorchester Heritage Museum and the Richardson Maritime Museum, but one of the best ways to see the town is aboard the skipjack Nathan of Dorchester. Don't forget to take a snapshot of the Spocott Windmill, the only windmill in Maryland still used to grind grain, situated just outside Cambridge.
The city of Salisbury, at the heart of this peninsula, presents a picturesque collection of colonial homes and inns along the Wicomico River. Visit the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art for a look at birds decoratively carved in the region's rich tradition, or head to the free Salisbury Zoo to see their non-wooden counterparts, as well as alligators, bison, and jaguars. Before you settle in for the night, sample some of Maryland's world-renowned seafood at a local restaurant.
After a leisurely breakfast, set out for nearby Crisfield, a port town that prides itself on its historical landscape. From here, you can arrange a cruise to Smith Island, where the natives speak an ancient-sounding English much like that of the area's original settlers and where Maryland's official dessert is made. Then make your way into Maryland's only seaside county, Worcester. The Furnace Town Historic Site in Snow Hill (founded in 1642) features the 19th-century Nassawango Iron Furnace. Your Lower Shore adventure leads you to the Assateague Island State Park and National Seashore, with its famous wild ponies roaming the beaches. As the afternoon fades, you can take a long, slow walk down the historic boardwalk and expansive sand of one of the region's most popular resort destinations, Ocean City. Kids of all ages will be thrilled to a ride on the restored 109-year-old, hand-carved carousel - one of only ten of its type still in operation in the United States. Finally, grab some ice cream and find a spot to relax with the sounds of ocean waves lapping at the shore.