Hailed as the “Moses of Her People,” Harriet Tubman was a heroic leader in the fight against slavery. Her selfless efforts helped more than 70 enslaved people make their way north by way of the Underground Railroad. This Eastern Shore byway traverses a region abundant with African-American heritage, following a mostly northern path across a landscape that has changed little in the 150 years since Tubman and others risked their lives for freedom.
Cambridge to Bucktown
46.1 miles via MD 341, MD 16 and MD 335 | Directions
Your journey begins inside the Cambridge-based Visitor Center at Sailwinds Park East, where staff members offer insight into the historic landmarks you encounter along the way. What lies outside, beyond the Choptank River Bridge, are museums, home sites, meeting houses and other landscapes that takes travelers back to the 1850s.
Visit the Dorchester County Courthouse, which was once the site of slave auctions and trials. Just a short walk away is the Harriet Tubman Museum and Educational Center, dedicated to preserving Tubman’s legacy as a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad. After the museum, enjoy pleasant dining, galleries and shopping.
Cambridge is also in the Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area and part of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, providing convenient entry points to recreational opportunities on the water.
Follow the byway westward, and visit Stanley Institute, a one-room African-American school established by the newly freed black community, just after the Civil War.
In Madison, Tubman learned navigation and survival skills while working beside her father, Ben Ross. Drive over Joseph Stewart's Canal, hand-dug by enslaved people and used to transport timber. Next, explore the water trails of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge before observing nature along Wildlife Drive.
In Bucktown, there’s a village store where, as a teenager, Tubman in her first act of defiance, was nearly killed when she tried to help an enslaved man avoid capture. Meanwhile, guided historic and nature tours, as well as bike, canoe and kayak rentals, are also offered in Bucktown.