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African Americans were an integral part of the cultural heritage of the Eastern Shore. While the slave trade began in the 1640s, it did not slow down until the 1780s and did not finally end until the mid-nineteenth century. Though this region did not have many large slave holding, agrarian based estates, slavery did exist. In some cases, the lower Eastern Shore served as "market" for slave buyers from the western shore of Virginia. There are also cases of some slaves attaining early freedom, but their freedom may have been marginal at best with little improvement over slavery itself.
 
Make a weekend or day bike trip tour through the lower Eastern Shore for an unforgettable experience. Whether you are traveling singly or with a small group, you will find the back roads of this region are "user friendly."
 
Birding on the lower Shore is nothing short of fantastic. The region is an important resting and breeding stop along the Atlantic Flyway for countless birds, with more bird sightings recorded here than anywhere else in the state. Canada geese, snow geese, brant, tundra swans, canvasback ducks, pintail, widgeon, mergansers, bufflehead and many others use this area for their winter resting and feeding grounds. Late November is the peak time for waterfowl migration.
 
Bays and waterways are the most distinct features of the region. If you agree with the Eastern Shore axiom "that one cannot have too many boats" then welcome! Even if you don't have your own boat, borrow or rent one.
 
Discover beautiful sandy beaches, quiet tidal creeks, expansive marshes and majestic loblolly pine forests. rom the maritime forests of Janes Island State Park along the shores of the Chesapeake to the saltwater marshes of Assateague Island National Seashore and State Park, camping enthusiasts find accommodations to suit their needs.
 
Maryland's Lower Eastern Shore possesses an extensive variety of environments, including barrier islands, coastal bays, tidal wetlands, cypress swamp, upland fields, and old growth forests. Located in the geographic province known as the "Embayed Coastal Plain," Worcester, Somerset and Wicomico counties link the fragile barrier island system on the east with the Chesapeake Bay and islands on the west. The counties lie within the watersheds of the Wicomico, Manokin, Big Annemessex and Pocomoke rivers. Dominated by wetlands, each of these watersheds contains a diversity of natural, physical and social characteristics. The Maryland Coastal Bays Program is an important organization that works to improve water quality, protect habitat and enhance forests and wetlands.

 
This region is an exceptional sportfishing paradise. For generations sportsmen from all over the eastern seaboard have gravitated to this area to take advantage of the great fishing. Fish the unsurpassed myriad of coastal bays, saltwater creeks, open bays including both the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Compete in one of the world class tournaments held here.
 
Wildlife artists abound. The lower Eastern Shore has a high concentration of wildlife artists attracted by the bio-diversity and health of the natural ecosystems here. The area's history and natural habitat inspire them to practice their craft.
 
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This area is blessed with natural beauty, proud cultural heritage and gracious people. To walk among its forest trails, gentle shorelines and historic streets is a rewarding outdoor experience.
 
Traverse 300 years of architecture
Architecture that reflects the prosperity, poverty and perseverance against the natural elements. It is common to see architecture that spans from very early Colonial through late Victorian periods. While most homes are private, there are many others open to the public throughout the year.
 
Hunting is a regional tradition that spans generations. This is waterfowl country. Its signature is on numerous bill boards, t-shirts, restaurant signs and store fronts. The area's abundant fresh and saltwater marshes attract sportsmen from around the United States each year to participate in world class waterfowl hunting.
 
Kids find there are lots of adventures for them. Explore the ruins at Furnace Town Historic Site and participate in an archaeological dig.
 
While water is certainly the life blood for all three lower counties on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, each has developed its own special character. Water provided a transport and communication link for most early settlers along the Chesapeake Bay region and the Atlantic Coast. Early colonial homes lined the seaside or bay side of the peninsula. After roads developed, followed by the railroad, water transport began to wane. But the water's importance was already ingrained into its people.
 
The Nanticoke River separates Wicomico and Dorchester Counties. This wide river is navigable from the Cheseapeak Bay to Seaford, Delaware. Barges and commercial fishing boats share it with recreational boaters, bird watchers, water skiiers, wind surfers, crabbers, otters, owls, and muskrats, to name but a few who enjoy the Nanticoke. This river is one of the least spoiled rivers in the Chesapeake Bay.
 
"They Passed This Way"
The history of the lower Eastern Shore of Maryland begins with the arrival of the first natives during the late Paleo period (8500 B.C.). As technology and food resources changed, their numbers expanded leading into the Archaic period (1500 B.C.). They lived in semi-nomadic groups, periodically migrating to follow large wild game. The final phase, known as the Woodland period (1500 A.D.), led up to colonial contact. The Woodland period of Indian life was characterized by sedentary living in permanent camps taking advantage of abundant wild game and shellfish found throughout the region. In this phase, tribes established distinct cultural context and tribal dialects.
 
The Lower Shore has carved a distinct culinary niche over the last few centuries. Mixing a blend of influences from English, Native American, African American and other ethnic groups, the region offers food reflecting this varied heritage. Truly the words, "The Land of Pleasant Living" stretch into her abundance of food resources. Taste traditional foods at local restaurants or purchase local food in small town markets. Seafood is the culinary centerpiece of the Eastern Shore.
 
There are two working ferries on the Wicomico River--Upper Ferry and Whitehaven Ferry. These two-car cable ferries give passengers a short ride to the opposite bank and a pleasant opportunity to observe this beautiful, busy waterway. The City of Salisbury is at the head of navigation and the Wicomico has brought commerce to it for the past 250 years. In 1994 1,154,200 tons were shipped along the Wicomico with an estimated value of $217 million.
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. AFRICAN AMERICANS
. BICYCLE TOURING
. BIRD WATCHING
. BOATING
. CAMPING
. ENVIRONMENT
. FISHING
. HERITAGE & NATURE
INTERPRETIVE SITES
. HIKING & WALKING
. HISTORIC BUILDINGS
. HUNTING
. KIDS STUFF
. LOWER SHORE ARTS
. MARITIME HISTORY
. NANTICOKE RIVER
. NATIVE AMERICANS
. TRADITIONAL FOODS
. WICOMICO RIVER

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