Maryland Crab & Oyster Trail: Upper Eastern Shore
Top of the Bay
Turkey Point Lighthouse at Elk Neck State Park in Northeast
Explore Historic Chesapeake City on the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, where lighted boats and barges pass between the Chesapeake and Delaware bays. Stop at the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Museum. The town is especially charming when decorated during the winter holidays.
On Kent Island, you’ll find yourself immersed in a bounty of seafood restaurants with spectacular water views, like Hemingway’s and The Narrows. Take your time and explore the island, which is at the eastern end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and boasts a half dozen marinas. If you get off the beaten path, you’ll find sandy beaches and trails to explore. The Cross Island Trail and the Kent Island Trail traverse wetlands, surrounding you with tall grasses, the stately and towering loblolly pines and stunning bay scenery.
The pace of living seems to slow on the Upper Eastern Shore, rejuvenating the weariest of souls. For the perfect ending to your fun-packed day, soak up a peaceful crimson sunset reflecting over the water while on a chartered sailing excursion out of Rock Hall – then sail by the light of the moon.
Museums, Festivals, and Events
Discover the remarkable artistry and craftsmanship of traditional Maryland decoy carvers at the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum. Located on the banks of the Susquehanna Flats, the museum’s deck is a great spot to see migratory flocks of waterfowl over the Chesapeake Bay. Then explore the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum, where a working boat shop and environmental center are attractions that feature the history and ecology of the Bay.
In Rock Hall, check out the Rock Hall Watermen’s Museum to see tools of the watermen’s trade and learn about their lifestyle. A reproduction crab shanty house is a highlight. The Upper Bay Museum and C&D Canal Museum in North East and Chesapeake City are others waiting for you to explore.
Fall is a great time to visit the Upper Chesapeake: the crabs are fat, the weather is mild, the land and sky are painted with gorgeous colors, and wild oystering season has begun. Plus there are lively festivals with delicious seafood waiting for you. Come for A Taste of the Chesapeake in October at Chesapeake City to share the region’s seafood in a family-friendly atmosphere. The Rock Hall Fall Fest celebrates the start of the traditional oyster harvesting season and this tidewater town’s heritage. In November, head to The Great Havre de Grace Oyster Feast to find oysters cooked every way. You’re sure to find numerous tasty dishes you’ll love.
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The waters at the head of the bay have protected coves that can be calm and are a great place to try Stand Up Paddle-boarding. Take a lesson and launch from Kent Island Yacht Club and wind along marsh inlets to find solitude and connect with nature. After working up an appetite, you’ll have your pick of island restaurants with fresh seafood.
Travel on a Wednesday to Dixon’s Crumpton Auction for an unusual pick of furniture, jewelry, coins, antique smalls and household items at a fast-paced venue with three or four auctions running simultaneously.
Charter a day sail or sunset cruise from Rock Hall and then visit Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge for a chance to view bald eagles in flight year-round. Visitors make a special trip to see tundra swans on the shoreline in the winter months, when they rest and eat grasses before heading north.
Sail aboard the historic Schooner Sultana, based in Chestertown. The two-hour sails are a great way to learn about the Chesapeake Bay ecology. Passengers are encouraged to help raise the sails, steer the ship and explore the authentically reproduced crew’s quarters below-decks.
Discover the remarkable artistry and craftsmanship of traditional Maryland decoy carvers at the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum. Located on the banks of the Susquehanna Flats, the museum’s deck is a great spot to see migratory flocks of waterfowl over the Chesapeake.
The paved Cross Island Trail on Kent Island is a favorite place for biking and enjoying bay breezes.
Travel through the town of North East to Elk Neck State Park for a wooded camping experience on a peninsula high above the Chesapeake Bay. Access the bay from Rogue’s Harbor on the Elk River. Swim in the North East River and hike to Turkey Point Lighthouse, which is perched on a 100-foot tall bluff at the head of the bay with sweeping views of the Susquehanna River Flats.
A commercial crabber will typically set 50 to 200 crab pots a day. A crab pot is a square trap, which is baited and thrown into the water. The pot is attached to a rope that is then attached to a buoy or dock. The crabs are harvested every day or two.