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The only Eastern Shore county not bordered by water, Caroline is known as the “Green Garden County” for its rich heritage of commercial agriculture. Its 120,000 acres of farmland represent more than half of the county’s total acreage. Caroline County’s forests, wetlands, rivers and streams provide critical habitats for endangered plants and animals, as well as spawning and nursery areas for Chesapeake Bay fish species. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy hiking, canoeing and cycling through the county’s 8,000-plus acres of wildlife sanctuaries, nature preserves and public parks. Recreational activities are plentiful; boating, camping, hang-gliding, bird watching, fishing and hunting abound. Small, historic towns dot the landscape and offer varied guest accommodations, from quaint bed-and-breakfast inns to a modern, 60-unit Best Western Hotel. Caroline County is within 50-95 miles of major metropolitan areas including Annapolis, Baltimore, Washington, DC and Philadelphia, PA. Approximately 55% of residents work outside of Caroline County or out of state. A hand-engraved crown stone in the famous Mason-Dixon Line is located in the Caroline County town of Marydel and marks the division between Maryland and Delaware at that point. Caroline County was the site of at least three “stations” associated with the Underground Railroad in helping slaves escape during the Civil War.
Dorchester County is often called “The Heart of Chesapeake Country,” because of its shape and its mid-shore location. An area of 600 square miles of land and 100 square miles of water makes it the largest county on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Its shoreline along the Chesapeake Bay and the Choptank River totals 1700 miles, including islands and streams. Boaters and other sportsmen share the waterways with commercial watermen, who continue to harvest oysters and Maryland blue crabs. The 25,000-acre Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge provides safe habitat for a diverse population of birds, mammals and waterfowl. Because of its location along the Atlantic Flyway, Blackwater NWR serves as a wintering area for migrating ducks and Canada geese. The colorful history of Dorchester County includes such notables as slave trader Patty Cannon, sharpshooter Annie Oakley and Underground Railroad “conductor” Harriet Tubman, who helped more than 300 slaves escape to freedom during the Civil War. Two modern industrial parks are located in Dorchester County and accommodate both large and small businesses. Manufacturing accounts for nearly one-fourth of total employment, with the balance represented in the service and trade industries.
Much of Talbot County’s history and character is defined by its 600-plus miles of tidal shoreline. In colonial times, the shipbuilding industry flourished in Talbot County. Some early settlers made their living trading tobacco for manufactured goods with English vessels that anchored off the plantation wharves. Today, the tobacco industry has been replaced by vegetable and poultry farming but the water still fosters the harvesting and processing of seafood, as well as tourism and associated water sports. Nature enthusiasts will delight in bird watching and other activities throughout the 950 acres of forests, meadows and wetlands. The charming, small towns of Talbot County are rich in culture and history, with a remarkable collection of museums, art galleries, theaters, inns, restaurants and boutiques. Chesapeake author James Michener is said to have spent a lot of time at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels. Michener reportedly penned the outline for his famous book in the tavern of the Robert Morris Inn in the town of Oxford. Easton, the county seat, has been designated one of the Top Ten Best Small Towns in America and one of the Top 100 Small Arts Communities in America.