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Maryland: Eastern Shore & Chesapeake Bay

The lure of the sea runs deep in Chesapeake Bay; a rising tide of maritime traditions, close-knit communities, distinctive cuisine, and protected seashores, marshes, and coastal islands, all of which make for a spectacular trip biking the Eastern shore.

The towns and villages of Maryland’s bay region have been home to generations of dedicated fishermen, craftspeople, and culinary artisans who provide a warm welcome to visitors. From the elegant 18th-century brick mansions to the weathered crab shacks by tidal ponds, you’ll experience the warm glow of daily life in a way only possible on bike and on foot. This active vacation features an exceptional bicycling landscape, delicious food, and warm and friendly people.

Tour Highlights

  • Sail the eastern shores with Captain Ed aboard the skipjack HM Krentz
  • Feast on the region’s famous seafood
  • Ride through the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, a haven for more than 250 bird species, and learn about Harriet Tubman at the newly opened Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center
  • Travel on the country’s oldest privately owned ferry (since 1760), across the Tred-Avon River between Oxford and Bellevue
  • Cycle the quite country roads leading to the charming small towns of Oxford, St. Michaels, Rock Hall and Easton

What to Expect

This tour offers easy ride options with only a few gradual hills. It is possible to ride the entire week without the need for the support vehicle, but our VBT support vehicle is always available in cases of inclement weather or for those who wish to shorten their rides.

  • Daily Mileage: 6 - 33 miles|
  • Biking: 1 - 4 hours|
  • Group Size: 20
Activity Easy Easy
Cycling
Bar Graph Beginner - Experienced
Cyclists
Vehicle Support Vehicle
Support

Average High /
Low Temperature (°F):

Apr67º/48º

May75º/57º

Jun83º/65º

Sep80º/65º

Oct71º/53º

Average
Precipitation:

Apr2.9 in

May3.5 in

Jun4.4 in

Sep4.0 in

Oct3.4 in

Tour Only

5 nights in charming country inns Check
11 meals: 5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners Check
Transportation from Baltimore/Washington International Airport to Easton Check
Transportation from Rock Hall to Baltimore/Washington International Airport Check

Road Bicycle (Carbon frame)

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Step-Through Electric-Assisted Bicycle (E-bike) 1

Step-Through Electric-Assisted Bicycle (E-bike)

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Step-Through (Mixte Hybrid) Comfort Bicycle

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Step-Over (Diamond) Comfort Bicycle

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Biking Packages Include:

Custom VBT Bike and Helmet

Two Local, Bilingual Trip Leaders

Support Vehicle

Luggage Transportation

Ride with GPS and Daily Route Notes

Welcome Reception

Facilitated Cultural Experiences

Your Choice of VBT Branded Gear for Your Adventure

Itinerary

Sun, Apr 16 to Fri, Apr 21 - 2023

Show Itinerary:

VBT provides a shuttle from Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) to the Tidewater Inn in Easton, departing at 1:00 p.m.

Travel to Easton and the Tidewater Inn where your group and trip leaders will meet at 3:00 p.m. for a safety and bike-fitting session, followed by a short warm-up ride. At 5:00 p.m., meet up with the group for an orientation and welcome reception before a 7:00 p.m. dinner at the inn.

Today’s Ride Choices

Afternoon: Warm-up Easton — 6 miles

What to Expect:

Your warm-up ride gives you the opportunity to get acquainted with the bicycle that will be your stalwart companion for the week. Leave the Tidewater Inn and enjoy a ride on the quiet Easton Rails to Trails path.

Cumulative Distance Range: 6 miles

Included Meals: Dinner

Today you are in for a treat. The Oxford/St. Michaels loop is considered one of the premiere biking routes on the East Coast. You will ride a clockwise route from your inn, through Oxford, a 17th-century town with a long tradition of boat building. Cutts and Case Boatyard has number of classic wooden boats on display, two short blocks from our rest stop.

The modest Oxford-Bellevue ferry, the oldest privately owned ferry still in operation in America will carry you across the Tred Avon River. From Bellevue, you will ride through the small town of Royal Oak, stopping for an included lunch in St. Michaels, a small bayside town on a long, narrow neck of land.

Then board the HM Krentz and sail the Eastern Bay. Our skipper, Captain Ed, has spent more than 35 years dredging oysters and sailing skipjacks and his boat is a broad-beamed former working skipjack. Her stable decks are perfect for enjoying the bracing sea air. There is time to visit the impressive Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum for a self-guided tour. The museum has over 10 exhibit buildings, the 1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse, a working boatyard, and the world’s largest collection of Bay boats. St. Michaels also offers wonderful shopping, snacking, and plenty of people-watching opportunities.

Mileage hounds may increase your ride total by riding toward Tilghman Island from St. Michaels after lunch before backtracking to St. Michaels.

Easton has been featured on many “best small towns in America” lists. The village is small in scale, but packed with great dining, antique shops, galleries, and stores. The Tidewater Inn has played a central role in the village since 1712. The hotel features great eating and drinking at Hunter’s Tavern.

This evening meet for a walking tour of Easton and then you will be on your own for dinner and additional exploring. Your VBT trip leaders or your walking tour guide will be happy to give you suggestions for great local restaurants. Tomorrow night we will dine as a group at Out of the Fire, so you may want to choose a different location for dinner tonight.

Today’s Ride Choices

Morning: Easton to St. Michael’s — 19 miles

Afternoon: St. Michael’s to Claiborne Landing to St. Michael’s — 10 miles

What to Expect:

The St. Michael’s Loop is recognized as one of the premier bike trails in the Mid-Atlantic region. The popular tourist destination of St. Michaels has many shops. Here, you will enjoy lunch and a self-guided tour of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.

This afternoon’s route delivers more scenic views of the water at Claiborne Landing before returning back to St. Michael’s.

Cumulative Distance Range: 10 — 29 miles

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Leaving Easton this morning, shuttle 30 minutes to nearby Cambridge. Today’s ride starts in front of the town’s Harriet Tubman ‘take my hand’ mural (note that the museum is not open on Tuesdays).

Our scenic ride takes place in the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Called one of the “Last Great Places” by the Nature Conservancy, these 32,000 acres offer quiet roadways, ideal for cycling. Established 90 years ago, this preserve was created as a haven for migrating birds and to protect endangered birds and animals. Here, nature lovers will enjoy stepping off their bikes for strolls along the marked trails through protected marshland.

You may also stop in the recently established Harriett Tubman Underground Railroad State Park, with an opportunity to tour the visitor center.

After exploring and relaxing over a picnic lunch provide by your trip leaders, you’ll shuttle 90 minutes to Rock Hall and our inn, where a swim in the saltwater pool and a cool drink on the dock may be in order. Your hosts Jim and Joanne welcome us. Dinner is at the inn tonight.

Please note: guests who have driven to the start of the tour will collect their cars as we pass back through Easton, and will accompany our shuttle to Rock Hall where cars may be parked at the inn for the remainder of the tour.

Today’s Ride Choices

Morning: Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge — 20 miles

What to Expect:

Your morning ride takes you to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge for some bird-watching. Scenic riding is on paved, quiet roadways. Stop to enjoy a picnic lunch provided by your trip leaders, and for a chance to visit the newly established Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park before shuttling north to Rock Hall and our inn for the next three nights.

Cumulative Distance Range: 20 miles

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

More than half of the land in Kent County is devoted to farming. Spend the morning riding through its peaceful agricultural terrain.

Pedal past rows of wheat, corn, and soybeans on shaded lanes leading down to rewarding views of the Sassafras River and Turner’s Creek. Stop at Sassafras Natural Resources Management Area for a relaxing respite. This area is noted for its views of the Sassafras River and Chesapeake Bay from the high banks that face south. The river’s edge is an active birding area, and you may spot a mix of songbirds, waterfowl, and raptors.

Later, ride to the Crow Vineyard & Winery. This 365-acre, third generation working farm produces award winning wines, among other things. After a tour and tasting here, you may continue riding or shuttle to the village of Crumpton, where today’s riding ends with a short shuttle back to the inn.

Dinner is on your own tonight in one of Rock Hall’s restaurants.

Today’s Ride Choices

Morning: Rock Hall to Kent County — 29 miles

Afternoon: Kent County to Crumpton — 14 miles

What to Expect:

Today’s ride will take you deep into the farmland of Kent County.  Approximately 60% of the county land is devoted to a variety of crops. You’ll stop for a picnic break at Sassafras Natural Resources Management Area. After lunch, visit the Crow Vineyard & Winery for a tour and a tasting of the family’s award winning wines. Continue riding through the countryside before returning to the inn with transportation from the village of Crumpton.

Cumulative Distance Range: 14 — 43 miles

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast, ride north today to Chestertown, a historic colonial town located on the Chester River. Chestertown was founded in 1705 and was one of Maryland’s six Royal Ports of Entry. In the mid-18th century, it was the second leading port in Maryland. With this important designation and the resulting shipping business, the town became quite wealthy, which becomes evident as you pedal past the brick mansions and townhouses along the waterfront. Your VBT trip leaders will offer you a self-guided cycling tour of the historic section of Chestertown.

Continue exploring along the town’s brick sidewalks, visiting shops and galleries along the way. Take the time to enjoy lunch on your own at a local cafe, bakery, or one of the town’s numerous restaurants. Your VBT trip leaders will provide you with some great recommendations.

If you prefer a non-riding option, you may spend the day at the inn or enjoy browsing the charming shops and relaxing in the cafes in Rock Hall.

Tonight, we gather for a festive farewell dinner to celebrate your trip biking the Eastern shore.

Today’s Ride Choices

Morning: Inn to Chestertown — 19 miles

Afternoon: Chestertown to Inn — 14 miles

What to Expect:

Today’s ride is in the country. Cycle along quiet roads surrounded by farmland into Chestertown, a historic colonial town on the Chester River. Once there, enjoy lunch on your own and explore the town.  You have the option of taking a self-guided architectural tour by foot or by bike. Your leaders can provide you with a locally-produced map and brochure.  After your exploration, cycle back to the inn or shuttle back with your leaders in the van.

Cumulative Distance Range: 19 — 33 miles

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a quiet ride from the inn this morning, out into a peaceful wildlife refuge with views of the Chester River all around. You might want to take a walk along the wooden Tubby Cove Boardwalk which extends over the marsh to a wooded island. Once on the island, the boardwalk continues to two viewing platforms and a rough walking trail off the main path which ends at an elevated viewing platform providing vistas of Chesapeake Bay and into Tubby Cove and Calf Pasture Cove.

Your biking the Eastern shore vacation concludes mid-morning at the inn. Your included shuttle is available to take you back to Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI), arriving around 12:00 p.m. We suggest a flight out of BWI no earlier than 2:00 p.m. For guests who parked at the Tidewater Inn, a shuttle will be provided leaving the Inn at Huntingfield Creek at 10:00 a.m. arriving in Easton around 12:00 p.m.

Today’s Ride Choices

Morning: Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge — 12 miles

What to Expect:

Your morning ride takes you to the Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge for some bird-watching before breakfast and departures for home.

Cumulative Distance Range: 12 miles

Included Meals: Breakfast

Maryland: Eastern Shore & Chesapeake Bay 20

Download PDF Itinerary:

Tour Only (PDF)

Accommodations (May vary depending on departure date. )

Reviews
57 out of 73 (78%)
4.6 out of 5 stars.
Read More Reviews

Beautiful area of our country to bike . The route was mostly flat and very scenic. Great tours of Chesapeake area. Sailing adventure of the Bay was delightful. Our guides were very informed about the area . They went out of their way to make us all comfortable.

, Michigan

Maryland: Cycling the Chesapeake Bay

What a fantastic trip! Our tour leaders Mark and Barney took excellent care of us. They really worked with us to make sure we had a good comfortable riding experience. The rides, the food, the additional tours, and the hotels were all excellent and very enjoyable. It was wonderful to meet so many new friends from all over.

Sandy P, Orange County, CA

Maryland: Cycling the Chesapeake Bay

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