Curiosity got the better of me a few years ago as I kept noticing signs for “Chesapeake Country” on roads I traveled in the Easton area. Usually, these signs were affixed to a Scenic Byway sign.
Learning that advisors to the State of Maryland had suggested our region seek a stronger, more unified identity by channeling the famed book CHESAPEAKE by James A. Michener, I decided to travel the Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway. Now, I did not cover the entire 419 land miles that makeup the Byway. I did stop and visit the furthest point north, Chesapeake City; and, I traveled to the southernmost point, Crisfield. And, there were lots of interesting destinations in between.
Many of the storied places along Chesapeake Bay are quiet today, belying their bustling past and commercial centers. Still, they are attractive locations for boating and recreation; and, I found their history as enjoyable to learn as relaxing in their historic sites.
While we’ve enjoyed our Byway for over two decades, it was the Federal government that recognized the northern portion. Turns out the U.S. Department of Transportation ended the national recognition effort some years ago. So, the southern roads had just the state designation. And, while much is described online, not even some of the Visitor Centers I stopped at were all that clear about just what Chesapeake Country was all about.
Well, it is a new day. Not only is the Federal government now in the business again of recognizing special areas and special routes, recently they designated our Chesapeake Country Byway an All-American Road. This is the highest designation a road can receive from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration.
As one who traveled most of the route, I can attest to the special nature of this now All-American Road on the Eastern Shore. If the urge for safe and local travel exists in your household, you might just enjoy charting a course for yourself on the Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway.
Thanks to the Spy and a series done a few years ago, you can even get a sense of just what awaits you:
Easton to Blackwater Refuge
Chestertown to Eastern Neck Refuge
Cambridge to Taylors Island
Letters to Editor
Brian Doak says
Awesome….nice story at a time where we need them. Save the Bay!