To Do & See
a bicycling Retreat?
whether you are birdwatching, taking photographs, or just
absorbing the sunlight, most of Dorchester County in Maryland's eastern shores is friendly
to bicyclists. The county is a broad, flat swatch of coastal
plain, making biking easy, and its maze of quiet, winding
tar roads offers an endless number of options for a lazy afternoon
ride, a full day of site-seeing, or for a long workout. In
fact, the county has published a free cycling trail guide
with miles of places to explore by bike that notes mileage,
food and parking. At the center of it all is Ransome's Chesapeake
Retreat, right on the Bay with a 1 mile shoreline.
of where or how long you peddle, it may be a good idea to
take along a camera - for Dorchester County is a beautiful
backdrop to any cycling adventure. From forest to fields to
vast freshwater and salt marshes, the curving roads lead cyclists
past a variety of east coast habitats, thanks to the natural
beauty and protected areas of the county.
among these places is Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge,
where an easy three mile trip, along the Wildlife Drive, will
bring cyclists close to thousands of waterfowl during the
cool months of the year or to nesting egrets and herons during
the spring and summer. Two half mile hiking trails also sit
off the drive for those who wish to walk. Blackwater boasts
287 birds on its checklist and is home to one of the largest
concentrations of bald eagles in the lower 48. It is also
a good place to look for the endangered Delmarva fox squirrel
and the sika deer - an Asiatic species that shares the region
with the white-tails. Two longer biking routes (20 and 23
miles, respectively) follow Maple Dam Road - officially labeled
a "Scenic Route" - and border the vast wetlands of the Refuge.
Both are noted on the county cycling map, and Blackwater's
own cycling map.
are many other great biking roads - such as Elliot Island
Road - that pass you through the beauty of Dorchester County.
For that matter, almost every road in the county is scenic
- whether for pristine natural beauty, old barns in green
farm fields, or for marinas and small fishing boats. And Dorchester
County has many historic landmarks which can fill a day of
cycling. For instance, the work of the Underground Railroad
and Harriet Tubman in the county are well documented and the
self-guided tour available at the Visitor Center in Cambridge
notes important buildings to that cause, such as the Village
Store near Bucktown, or the Dorchester County Courthouse on
historic High Street in Cambridge. You should also check-out
the Old Trinity Episcopal Church in Church Creek or Spocott
Windmill, located just east of Cambridge. And then return
to Ransome's Retreat for an evening in the hot-tub, while
watching the sun set over the Bay.
easy to do because many of these routes are within biking
distance of the Retreat or a few minutes by car. Hooper's
Island Road, for example, presents about a thirteen mile round
trip to the tip of the island and back to the Retreat - past
marshes, marinas, small towns and views of the Chesapeake.
Pack a lunch if you want, or stop by Old Salty's Restaurant
for some down-home seafood. Just remember not to eat too much
- you'll still have a few miles to peddle back to the Retreat
and I'm not going to let you ride double while I do all the
For bicycle and kayak rentals,
please click here to view the Blackwater Paddle & Pedal Adventures.
If you mention Percy Ransome's name, you will receive a free rental offer for a limited time. Please call Percy at 888-726-7662 for additional details.