Relish in the Groaning Board That is Chesapeake Bay

Expert Advice, Food & Beverage

Somewhere between “Where’s lunch?” and dining, groups following the Chesapeake Bay Loop can tap into their hunter-gatherer past with a food experience. Food experiences keep Maryland ahead of the curve.

“Maryland has always been known for our crabs, so a tour often includes a crab cake meal or a crab feast,” said Rich Gilbert, travel trade sales manager for the Maryland Office of Tourism. “You can’t get much more authentic than a crab picking experience.”

At the Crab Capital of the World, Crisfield, Maryland, groups can trace seafood from crab pots to table tops.

Discover the Lower Shore’s maritime past, seafood harvesting and processing at the J. Millard Tawes Museum. The museum provides insight into the lifestyle of today’s watermen and their forefathers. Don’t miss exhibits of hand-carved decoys created by two local brothers, Stephen and Lemuel Ward. The Wards founded the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, located in Salisbury.

In season, witness how crab is processed for shipping at MeTompkin Bay Seafood. Plan to stick around for a chef-led, DIY crab cake lesson.

The Crab Place is a local and tour favorite. Groups can dine on site, either al fresco or indoors, and see demonstrations on crab streaming, picking and crab cake making. A Smith Island Cake maker also shows up. A Smith Island Cake tops off between eight and 12 razor-thin layers of yellow cake iced with cooked chocolate fudge. It is Maryland’s official state dessert.,

Tilghman Island is one of the last working waterman villages on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The Phillips Wharf Environmental Center is home to a working oyster house where groups can take a lesson in oyster aquaculture and visit estuaries for a closeup look at the creatures that inhabit the area. Guests can also step into a kayak or canoe to access a water trail among the marshes or a more challenging open-water paddle.,

Rehash experiences with a cup of oyster stew at Characters Bridge Restaurant. It’s a local favorite for the menu and the view. Primed by the day’s touring, step aboard a national historic landmark, the Rebecca T. Ruark, a skipjack oyster dredging boat, circa 1896. It is the oldest skipjack still working on the Chesapeake. Get out on the water while listening to stories celebrating the world of oystering. Assistance is welcome to raise the sails, even steer.,

By Mary Lu Laffey

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