Experience nature's beauty as you paddle through the calm waters
By Tracey F. Johns
Our fondest memories are often made by experiences engaging our senses and connecting us to a genuine sense of place — especially places rich in history and that touch our souls in some way. Blackwater Adventures in Cambridge, Maryland delivers on both with unforgettable Chesapeake experiences for locals and area guests alike to enjoy up-close and personal kayaking, bicycling, and other adventures.
Blackwater Adventures’ Little Blackwater River location includes a 1930s-era tomato cannery that now serves as a beautiful backdrop for cycling and touring groups by day, and beautiful weddings and other private gatherings by night. The expansive, waterfront building is also where an impressive inventory of kayaks, bicycles, jet skis, small powerboats, and more are maintained and stored in the colder months.
You can also find Blackwater Adventures on the Choptank River at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay with additional motorsport options. For those that want to experience the Chesapeake closer to home, Blackwater Adventures also provides delivery services to your waterway or door within seven Eastern Shore counties.
For my adventure, I headed from Easton to Dorchester County’s Harriett Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park and within the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge to Blackwater Adventures’ flagship location on the Little Blackwater River.
Flat roads and wide horizons interrupted by an occasional hammock greeted me as I crossed over the Key Wallace Bridge to arrive for my Little Blackwater River adventure. Brackish breezes carried osprey and other shorebirds along a pristine shoreline, as Blackwater Adventures’ Matt Meredith helped me gear up, choose a kayak, and launch from their protected beach, with only the sounds of quiet stillness and my paddle lapping in the water. Pure bliss.
I paused just in time to watch a bald eagle land nearby with what looked like a fresh catch of shad in its talons, according to Meredith, 33, a tenth-generation Eastern Shore native. She is one of three siblings who own and operate the 19-year-old adventure business, along with their mother and father, Susan and Jay Meredith. Siblings are Kasey Knox, 29, and Wesley Meredith, 37, with the next generation of children ages nine months to nine years all tour guides in training. The company employs up to 15 locals during the warmer months and attracts customers from throughout the D.C. Metro, Philadelphia, and New York City areas.
“All of our guides are local,” Meredith says. “They aren’t reading from a script, they are telling their story as they live it. Our experiences leave you with an understanding of an incredible sense of place.”
The family all live in Bucktown, in a 1790 family home and operate the Bucktown General Store that their fifth great-grandfather owned.
“We’re here to show the story, not just tell the story,” says Meredith. “Our eco and history tours show the unchanged waterways that Harriett Tubman used in the Underground Railroad for example. And we share first-hand stories about the local seafood and trapping industries, the land, the habitat, the significant people of Dorchester County, and more.”
He explains to me that a bridge where I had crossed the Little Blackwater Bridge has been there since the 1700s, when Harriet Tubman’s grandmother, Modesty, was enslaved on a riverside tobacco farm, as he points to the location — Tubman’s mother was also born there.
I could hear a group of bicyclists quietly turning the road’s corner as I settled into my kayak’s adjusted seat to begin paddling for my self-guided tour, at my own comfortable pace.
I was ready for my unforgettable Chesapeake experience.
I paddled for a bit and stopped to take in the reverence of this sacred place. The shallow, dark waters holding this very history lapped beside me, as I watched for native wildlife including muskrat, otters, songbirds, snakehead, shad, perch, catfish, and more. The experience has forever etched memories upon my soul. I can’t wait to go back.
Blackwater Adventures Chesapeake Bay
Flagship Location: Little Blackwater River 2524 Key Wallace Dr., Cambridge
Choptank River: Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay 100 Heron Blvd., Cambridge
Delivered to your waterway or doorstep: Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s Somerset, Talbot, and Wicomico Counties
See website for discounts and hours email@example.com