Maryland's Lower Eastern Shore is a rural region with a wealth of historic, cultural and natural resources that distinguish it from other places in the state and country. The lower shore counties of Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester encompass a vast region stretching from the shorelines of Tangier Sound and Chesapeake Bay to the washed beaches of the Atlantic seaboard.
From earliest time, life on the Lower Eastern Shore has depended on the ocean, the bay and its tributaries and the marshes and land between. Compelling evidence of past peoples and cultures reverberates throughout the various corners of the region. The Manokin, Nanticoke, Pocomoke and Wicomico Rivers and the outer bays connect the past and present, towns with history, and homes with open spaces.
The seafood industry and agriculture have long formed the backbone of the lower shore economy and sustained a way of life built on the resources of land and water. A number of factors have adversely affected these traditional industries over the past decade, decreasing the economic base of the area and threatening its rich heritage.
The best season depends on your birding preference as there is no "bad" time to bird on the Eastern Shore. Spring hosts shorebirds, neo-tropicals (birds that winter in South America and spend summers in the north) and summer residents; summer sponsors gulls, pelicans, cormorants, ibis and graceful herons; fall has an overlap of incoming waterfowl and outgoing summer birds; and during winter there are loons, hawks, quail and owls to name just a few.
Sailing is part of the regional cultural heritage. Once bugeye, skipjacks and log canoes plied our waterways, harvesting seafood or delivering supplies. Sail the bay and listen for the distant rumble of ghost cannon from historic sea battles fought long ago.
Boats can be rented in several parks and marinas located throughout the region. There are also a number of tour boats that operate in the area including Ocean City, Crisfield, Janes Island and on the Pocmoke River (check county tourism offices).
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.
Pemberton Historical Park (Salisbury) is a 225 acre public facility which encompasses over two centuries of growth and development of the land we know as Wicomico. It is located on the western bank of the Wicomico River and is the site where Isaac Handy arrived and built his home and working plantation. Pemberton Historical Park offers a 4.5 mile trail providing public access to 5 distinct ecosystems. Interpretive nature programs are offered for groups of all ages and interests.
There are guided walks available at the state parks where a naturalist will point out natural habitat and ecology. Wildlife management areas are open to the public, but are rarely used. There are also wonderful nature trails in many small towns, such as Cypress Park in Pocomoke City where there is a unique interpretive wooden boardwalk that traverses a bald cypress swamp.