Chestertown is a town at the head of the Chester River, in Kent County, and used to be one of Maryland’s busiest ports. Although having a population of less than 5,000, Chestertown was named as one of America’s ‘Dozen Distinctive Destinations’ by the National Trust. It is a favorite destination for those wanting to be near the water or to enjoy the historic sites.
Located on the eastern shores of Maryland, Chestertown offers a range of activities for visitors. First, for nature lovers, Kent County spreads across the coastline and encompasses tidal shores and beaches with breathtaking coastal views. The coastal area around Chestertown is home to numerous species of wildlife, especially birds, making it a popular destination with birdwatchers. Second is Chestertown’s history and rural life. Agriculture and farming are still an important part of Chestertown’s economy and local produce is available at the numerous farmers’ markets. Being a rich shipping town, the area is also home to many magnificent and historic homes, many of which are open to visitors.
Exploring Chestertown by foot is the best way to experience the history and culture of the town. Quaint red brick sidewalks add to the ambiance, with streets lined with small antique shops, galleries, cafés and restaurants. In the summer, the antique fountain in the center of town is host to concerts and fairs. The historic Chestertown Tea Party is re-enacted each year on Memorial Day.
Candlelight Walking Tour: is sponsored each September by the Kent County Historical Society and allows participants to visit many historical homes in the area that would otherwise be closed to visitors.
Washington College: is the tenth oldest liberal arts college in the US, boasting a beautiful campus and gardens. It was founded with the help of George Washington in 1782.
Waterman’s Museum: is located in a renovated little house and shows everything to do with water, such as oystering and crabbing, fishing gear, artifacts and even boats.
Kent Museum: aims to preserve Kent County’s rural heritage and was established in the 1960s with donated agricultural equipment and household items; here you can get a feel for farming life in the 18th century.
Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge: covers an area of 2,285 acres and is where migratory and wintering waterfowl nest during the year; other than bird watching, the refuge offers numerous trails for hiking.
Betterton Beach: is a favorite destination for swimmers, sunbathers and those wanting more active pursuits such as sailing, windsurfing and water skiing.
Schooner Sultana: a replica of a traditional 18th century schooner showcases Chestertown’s shipbuilding legacy.