The southernmost place on the Chesapeake Country Scenic Byways map is Crisfield, Maryland [insert Maryland state Scenic Byways website. A visit from Easton takes you 87 miles along the Scenic Byway and there are a number of interesting stops along the way. On this day, direct to Crisfield was the plan with a few decades having passed since the last visit.
One is immediately struck by the contrasts. Fast food places with long established seafood diners along the route…no longer the train track, but highway 413 about as straight as the rail. The route ending at the decades-old pier with a skyline that now shows condominiums next to the fresh seafood delivery trucks.
A fascinating history has not made the struggle in the present any easier. However, a determined community offers its visitor a number of enjoyable sites, tours, meals and activities.
Located on Tangier Sound, Crisfield was originally a small fishing village, Annemessex Neck. As Europeans colonized the area, it was renamed Somers Cove. The active fishing village grew and reportedly, in 1804 there were over 100 buildings in the area, making it one of the largest places on the Delmarva Peninsula. The growth continued as the town became known as Crisfield for the man who decided to bring the Pennsylvania Railroad to the fishing village in 1866. The fishing village grew to become known as the “Seafood Capital of the World.”
Crisfield would grow to about 25,000 people in 1904 making it the second largest city in Maryland after Baltimore. And, seafood from Crisfield was being shipped throughout the country.
Decades later, as the health of the Chesapeake Bay declined, the way of life for the watermen became more difficult. Then, in 1976 the railroad shut down.
Today, with not quite 3,000 residents, Crisfield remains a tourist location and jump off point to Smith Island and Tangier Island. There are seafood restaurants and beautiful camping areas and of course an historic marina. There is even an airstrip for the adventuresome pilots.
TripAdvisor provides interesting options for visitors to consider
This southernmost point of Chesapeake Country delivers on its promise as scenic, especially when viewed through the lens of its rich history.