|Sandaway Waterfront Lodging is a popular Bed and Breakfast in Oxford, Maryland on the Eastern Shore.|
Have a Chesapeake Bay Getaway at Sandaway. Sandaway is one of the few B&Bs or Eastern Shore hotels
with a private sandy beach.
Eastern Shore of Maryland
Caroline County has no Bay shoreline. Only Worcester County has seashore, consisting of coastal bays and marshes behind two barrier islands. The number of barrier islands on the Maryland seacoast and the location of inlets has varied over the years.
Northern and southern boundaries of the Eastern Shore of MD
On the south, the Calvert-Scarborough Line separates the Eastern Shore of Maryland from that of Virginia. A modern Worcester County highway map (PDF) shows its location. While not exactly where it was laid down in the 17th-18th century, it has moved little once everyone could agree on where Watkins Point, on the western side of the peninsula, is and where the shore of the Bay began (since the bay side peters out into marshes and wetlands).
In 1668, Philip (Calvert -ed.)obtained recognition from Virginia of Maryland's claims to what is now Somerset County and actually participated in the survey of the dividing line between the two colonies with the Surveyor General of Virginia, Edmund Scarborough. At about the same time, he negotiated treaties with Lower Eastern Shore Indian tribes who were harassing English settlers. The terms of these treaties established rules of behavior in Indian-English relations that applied to whites as well as Indians, and on the whole, kept peace in the area thereafter.
The northern limit is harder to place.
Some dispute Cecil County as a true Shore county, however, because of the presence of I-95 and related development, proximity to and influence from nearby urban areas such as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Wilmington, Delaware, and the state of New Jersey, as well as its position straddling the Elk River - leaving half geographically west of the Shore, if the Elk River is taken as its northern edge.
Land and water both figure in the argument about whether Cecil County is part of the Eastern Shore, and so do man-made features.
Like New Castle County Delaware, Cecil County is crossed by the fall line, a geologic division where the rockier highlands of the Piedmont region becomes the coastal plain, a flat, sandy area that forms the coast. The coastal plain includes the Delmarva Peninsula and that includes the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The geology of Delmarva is an inseparable part of the Eastern Shore, which has few rocky outcrops south of Kent County, Md.
The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal crosses from Back Creek on the Elk River to Port Penn, Del. While it was a shallow canal with locks after its construction in 1829, it was deepened in the early 20th century to sea level, and physically separates the Delmarva Peninsula from the rest of the United States. Maryland, south of the canal, is usually considered the Eastern Shore by residents. (The term "Western Shore" is less common).
The north-south section of the Mason-Dixon Line forms the border between Maryland and Delaware. Like the canal, it's a manmade construct, originally marked every mile by a stone, and every five miles by a "crownstone." The line is not quite due north and south, but is as straight as survey methods of the 1760s could make it and is completely artificial.
It was surveyed as a compromise solution to a century-long wrangle between the Penn and Calvert families of England. If the Chesapeake Bay/Delaware Bay watershed was taken as the borderline, Delaware would be about half its current size.
Finally, although this has received less attention than other parts of Eastern Shore culture, commercial east-west ties between Delaware towns and Maryland towns were culturally significant in Colonial and Early American periods despite the border line (which largely cut through woods and swamps). Trade with Philadelphia was conducted by overland routes to Delaware towns like Odessa (then called Cantwell's Bridge) and Smyrna (then called Duck Creek). Agricultural products and milled grain were taken up the Delaware River by "shallop men" in small vessels called shallops. These cultural connections continue to this day.
Eastern Shore of Maryland Travel and Commerce
|Oxford, Maryland has a car ferry creating a short-cut to St. Michaels, MD.|
Photo: Jame Thomas, IAN Image Library (ian.umces.edu/imagelibrary/)
A west-east rail route ran from a ferry terminal at Claiborne, west of St. Michaels, to Ocean City, via the Baltimore and Eastern Shore Railroad and the Wicomico and Pocomoke Railroad. Travelers could also take a ferry to Love Point on Kent Island, board a Queen Anne's Railroad train, and travel east to Lewes and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
Area and population of the Eastern Shore of Maryland
Although the Eastern Shore comprises more than a third of Maryland's land area, it has a population of 420,792 (2004 census estimate), about 8% of Maryland's population.
The main economic activities on the Eastern Shore are vegetable and grain farming, seafood, large-scale chicken breeding (Perdue Farms was founded in Salisbury, Maryland and is headquartered there today), and tourism. Tobacco was grown during Colonial times but no longer. The farm economy switched to grain in the second quarter of the 18th century.
Eastern Shore of Maryland Tourism click here for Eastern Shore Hotel Deals
|Ocean City, Maryland|
Photo: J Woerner, IAN Image Library (ian.umces.edu/imagelibrary/)
In the late 1950s and early 1960s developers began selling lots on Assateague Island, south of the inlet. However, a hurricane in the middle of the decade destroyed houses, shacks, and roads. The state and federal governments intervened before reconstruction by creating the Assateague Island National Seashore and Assateague State Park.
Ocean City has long been popular with Baltimoreans and Marylanders from the Western Shore in general, thus rendering the flavor of Ocean City life unlike that of the rest of the Shore. The skyline, featuring many tall hotels and condominiums, is also a stark contrast to the rest of Delmarva. On the southern end of Ocean City is a highly popular recreational boardwalk spanning over thirty blocks and featuring carnival rides and games, restaurants, bars, arcades, and clothing boutiques.
|Robert Morris Inn located in Oxford, MD is a famous Eastern Shore restaurant.|
Eastern Shore of Maryland Transportation
Automobile transportation across the Chesapeake Bay was by ferryboat until 1952, when the first Chesapeake Bay Bridge was opened for traffic. The bridge spans 4.35 miles (7.00 km) of the Chesapeake Bay and at the time of construction was the longest continuous over-water steel structure. A second parallel span was added in 1973 and a third has been discussed, most recently in 2006. A third span would not open, according to state officials, until about 2025.
The bridges made Kent Island, site of the first English settlement on the Shore, into a bedroom community for Washington, Annapolis and Baltimore. Kent Island is part of Queen Anne's County. The county is included in the Washington-Baltimore SMSA.
The Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport has daily flights in to the Eastern Shore.
Secession History of the Eastern Shore of Maryland
The Eastern Shore has always been a distinctive region, and has several times attempted to split off from the state of Maryland. Proposals have been debated in the Maryland General Assembly in 1833-1835, 1852 and recently in 1998 for the Eastern Shore becoming its own state. Early proposals encompassed a state of the entire Delmarva Peninsula. The proposal in 1998 by state Senators Richard F. Colburn and J. Lowell Stoltzfus did not specify the status of the nine counties of the Eastern Shore after secession.
Sports and Outdoor Activities on the Eastern Shore of Maryland
An Eastern Shore Baseball League operated on three different occasions between the 1922 and 1949. It was a Class D minor league with teams in all three states of Delmarva.
The Delmarva Shorebirds are a minor league baseball team who play low level Class A baseball in the South Atlantic League at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, affiliated with the Baltimore Orioles.
Duck and goose hunting from blinds is a popular activity using carved wooden duck decoys, which can also be prized works of art.
Political Environment - Eastern Shore of MD
Though six of the nine counties have a majority of Democratic-registered voters, the shore consistently supports Republicans in presidential and gubernatorial elections, and sends mostly Republicans to the Maryland General Assembly. The entire Eastern Shore is in Maryland's 1st Congressional district.
Nine-term Republican Congressman Wayne Gilchrest was defeated for his party's nomination in February 2008. The 2008 race for Congress was won by Frank Kratovil, the first Democrat to represent the district in Washington, DC, since 1991, narrowly defeating Republican Andy Harris by less than 3,000 votes. Harris defeated Kratovil on November 2, 2010
Eastern Shore of Maryland County Seats:
Denton -- Caroline County
Elkton -- Cecil County
Cambridge -- Dorchester County
Chestertown -- Kent County
Centreville -- Queen Anne's County
Princess Anne -- Somerset County
Easton -- Talbot County
Salisbury -- Wicomico County
Snow Hill -- Worcester County
- See this essay by Dr. Lois Green Carr and Dr. Edward C. Papenfuse.
- The Encyclopedia Americana: A Library of Universal Knowledge, Encyclopedia Americana Corp., 1919, pp. 352, http://books.google.com/?id=8VwMAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA352&lpg=PA352&dq=tobacco+%22eastern+shore%22+maryland, retrieved 2008-03-02
- City on the Sand, Mary Corddry. Tidewater Publishers, 1991.
- Ocean City History. ococean.com. Retrieved July 1, 2008.
- Assateague Island Administrative History. nps.gov. Retrieved July 1, 2008.
- Baltimore Sun - Chesapeake Bay Bridge Summary. baltimoresun.com. Retrieved July 1, 2008.
- Maryland Senate Bill 564. mlis.state.md.us. Retrieved July 1, 2008.
- MLB Top 100 Teams. MLB.com. Retrieved July 1, 2008.
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