bicycling at chesapeake bay


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Need a bicycling Retreat?

Bicyclists, 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.

Regardless 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.

Chief 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.

There 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.

That's 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 work.

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.

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   For reservations or further information, please contact Marie & Percy:
           888-726-7863  (Toll Fee)            856-981-6612  (Marie's cell)
           609-975-8127  (Work)            215-350-1165  (Percy's cell)
           609-257-3719  (Work Fax)            856-231-8873  (Home Fax)