The real treasures of Dorchester County are found off Rt. 50, the main thoroughfare which wanders through the county, on the backroads leading to scenic agricultural and marshland landscapes and quaint fishing villages. Dorchester has two well-known attractions, Historic Cambridge and Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, as well as a variety of small museums and historic homes. Cambirdge, founded in 1649, offers stately homes of the 18th and 19th century, which grace brick paved, tree-lined High Street, the centerpiece of the historic district.
Home to six governors of Maryland, the magnificent waterfront along the Choptank River offers breathtaking vistas of pleasure and working craft. Skipjacks can still be seen in the harbor where at one time hundreds plied the oyster trade and a working seafood house carries on the heritage of the native watermen. Stop at the Richardson Maritime Museum to learn more about this seaport town, view works by local artists at the Dorchester Arts Center or tour Christ Church and its historic graveyard. Nearby the Harriet Tubman gift shop offers tours of landmarks where this leader of the "Underground Railroad" lived and worked. Wild Goose Brewery offers visitors tours through its micro brewing process.
With over 21,000 acres, Blackwater is home to an abundance of bald eagles and thousands of Canada geese and other migratory waterfowl during fall and winter. While in the country, visit one of the picturesque small towns. West of Blackwater, visit Hooper Island where you will see workboats tied to the wharves, crab pots piled high and the aroma of steamed crabs. To the east, visit historic Vienna on the banks of the Nanticoke River. Landmarks here date to 1768 when Vienna was an international port. To the north explore East New Market. The entire town is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Just a few miles west of Cambridge on Route 343 is Spocott Windmill, a working replica of a wooden post mill used for grinding grains. On the complex, you can explore a one-room Victorian schoolhouse, tenant house and country store museum. Further along this road is found the Dorchester Heritage Museum.
Dorchester County Historical Society
The Dorchester County Historical Society, located east of Rt. 50 at 902 LaGrange Avenue, is a complex of the Meredith House (pictured) and Neild Museum. The Meredith House, built circa 1760, has an early house contained within the present one. It looks much as it did in the 1850s, after Greek Revival accents were added. The Society began in 1953 and purchased the home in 1959, assisted by a generous contribution from Thomas Steele Nichols. One of few Georgian structures, it is the only home in the county maintained as a museum. Once know as La Grange, it was renamed Meredith House in honor of Mr. Nichols' grandfathers and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. The living room is graced by portraits of A. LeCompte and Tench Tilghman's mother. An addition hosts dinner meetings and welcomes weddings.
On the second floor is the Governor's room which exhibits memorabilia of the seven Dorchester governors and the gown worn by Mrs. Holliday Hicks for the inauguration of Governor Hicks, who turned the tide for Maryland to be on the side of the Union in the Civil War. Governor Hicks had received requests from southern states for Maryland's secession. On April 22, he called the special session of the legislature that Maryland secessionists needed to take the state out of the Union. But with Butler occupying Annapolis, he scheduled the meeting in Unionist Frederick, and many delegates could not attend. An adjacent room of the Meredith House features a collection of antique dolls and prams, a cradle from colonial times and another from the Civil War era. The third floor displays a sewing table and antique four poster bed with an award winning star quilt.
The Neild Museum near the beautiful herb garden houses items illustrating industrial and agricultural life from pre-colonial times to the present. Discover a collection of Native American artifacts, agricultural tools, such as a circa 1820 McCormick Reaper, marine vessels and implements, and kitchen utensils including butter churns. The Goldsborough Stable, moved in 1987, is all that remains of the Shoal Creek estate of Governor Charles Goldsborough. Restored circa 1790, it contains transportation related items. The Society's research collection of genealogical materials is housed in the Dorchester County Library. The Museums are open for tours from 10am until 4pm Thurs - Sat except on major holidays. The office is open Tues - Sat 9am to 5pm. Call 410-228-7953.
Old Trinity Church
Old Trinity Church is the central focus of an 85 acre Glebe (church lands) on Church Creek, in Cambridge. The church was constructed circa 1675 to 1690. The parish was established in 1692 as Dorchester Parish and was known until 1853 as Dorchester Parish Church, built by the English settlers to match what they understood a rural parish church to be. Original are the tiles of the floor, the altar table and the exterior brick walls. The large brick floor tiles were laid on a bed of burnt oyster shells. The building has been renovated twice. In 1853, it was reconstructed by the Right Reverend Henry L. Whitehouse, to conform to the then popular "modern" style of Medieval Gothic. The windows were made smaller and given pointed arches. Those behind the altar and over the West entrance were closed off. The older boxed pews and high pulpit were removed. It was named "Trinity Church" at that time and lovingly called "Old Trinity" since.
From 1952 to 1960, William McClelland, then rector, established the first of several endowments to provide for the maintenance of the Church and graveyard. From 1953 to 1960, Col. Edgar W. Garbish and his wife Bernice, took over the building and restored it to 17th Century ideal. The closed off windows were discovered and a south transept was removed. The 19th century windows were removed and replaced with double casements, leaded glass green-hued panes in a diamond shape contemporary with the 17th century. Fifteen 17th century style boxed pews and high north pulpit were built from 17th and 18th century wood discovered in old barns. All the iron work is hand done. The three-tiered pulpit contains the clerk's reading desk. At the next level is the reading pew. An authorized King James Version (circa 1611) of the Bible lies open on the desk. Loftiest of all, is the pulpit.
The nave, seating about 90, is 38 feet long and 20 feet wide. The half-circle apse where the altar table sits has a radius of six feet and is of particularly fine craftsmanship. The church has excellent acoustics which enhance the singing on Sunday morning. There has been a worshipping congregation here for over 300 years. The graveyard is a regional burial ground, containing colonial and historic graves The church is open on a regular basis and is visited by tourists from all over the world.
Lodgecliffe On The Choptank B&B County - Dorchester CountyLodgecliffe On The Choptank
Lodgecliffe on the Choptank B&B was the first inn of its kind in Cambridge. Originally opened in the 80's by Sarah Richardson, Lodgecliffe has recently been lovingly restored and renovated by her son, Dawson Richardson. A stately turn-of-the-century home, the inn offers truly exquisite views (especially the sunsets) on the Choptank River! Whether you prefer the open-air deck or cheery sunporch, you'll appreciate the gentle breezes that drift up from the river mere yards away from the back door, as you relax your day away.
All the rooms of the inn have been tastefully decorated with a blend of Victorian antiques and contemporary comforts to make each guest feel not only at home, but richly pampered. Innkeepers, Scott and Jennifer Mills take southern hospitality to its highest level. Absolutely no request is too small or too great, and, with enough notice, they even welcome and would love to accommodate special request for breakfast.
Their home is your home. Come make yourself comfortable.
INNKEEPERS: Scott and Jennifer Mills. ADDRESS: 103 Choptank Terrace, Cambridge 21613. PHONE: 866-273-3830 (410)228-1760. PAYMENT: VS,MS,AE,DS checks, cash, all cheerfully accepted. ROOMS: three with private baths. Child friendly. Pets considered on an individual basis. NEARBY: National Wildlife Refuge, Dorchester Heritage Museum, Neild Museum and Meredith House.
Lodgecliffe on the Choptank
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