George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore, won Maryland in a game of cards with King Charles I in 1632. The Potomac River as its southern border gave the state its unique shape and a prosperous seafood industry. Its decidedly Catholic heritage, as opposed to Protestant Virginia, is only the tip of how these neighbor states differ. There is character packed into the old fishing and farming towns of the Eastern Shore, or the railroad and logging towns of the mountain regions. Fast-changing urban regions around Baltimore and bordering the nation’s capital seem to melt away as the countryside moves toward the lowlands of the Chesapeake Bay. I ts proximity to the major cities of Washington DC and Baltimore has caused Maryland’s portion of the Eastern Shore to develop more rapidly than Virginia’s. The largest towns are lively and crowded beach and bay getaways, with top-notch shopping and sailing. Smaller towns still retain their fishing village charm, where you can watch crab and oyster boats bringing in their catch, then sample some of it at a down-home restaurant. Off the busy town of St. Michaels, Tilghman Island’s biggest claim to fame is something worth seeking out. Down Gibsontown Road on Dogwood Harbor is the home of the last commercial fishing sailing fleet in North America. Between six and 10 skipjacks work out of Tilghman each winter. The rich and famous, as well as everyday sportsmen, have found the small town of Easton on the Eastern Shore a most genteel host for sport fishing and waterfowl hunting. In the last 25 years, the Waterfowl Festival has grown to bring upwards of 20,000 people to the town each November. The Duck and Goose Calling Contests bring competitors from all over the world. Crisfield is an unpretentious port town with a clear sense of identity. Here, it’s all about seafood – the catching, packaging and consumption of it. Several seafood restaurants have views onto Somers Cove or the Chesapeake Bay. In season, charter fishing and sightseeing boats stay busy entering and leaving the harbor. A long fishing pier attracts anglers of all ages, while a museum and a handful of shops have nautical themes. This is just a fraction of the details in this guide to Maryland. The restaurants, the hotels, all the activities, what to see and do – it’s all here, with color photos throughout.
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