Featured Tour

Follow the Road to Freedom on the Eastern Shore

Discover the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Scenic Byway. Immerse yourself in the powerful history of  Maryland’s Eastern Shore where Harriet Tubman lived, worked, worshiped, and led others to freedom. Before the Civil War, many enslaved African Americans fled from slavery by way of a secret network of roads, waterways, trails, and hiding places that became known as the Underground Railroad. They were helped along the way by black and white anti-slavery activists. In the Chesapeake region, the Bay's many tributaries were often used as routes for escaping slaves.

A drive along the 64 mile Underground Railroad Scenic Byway highlights the life of Harriet Tubman and many historic places connected with her in Chesapeake Bay country. From Dorchester County and scenes of her early life, you can follow the trail north through Caroline County, where many Maryland free blacks and white abolitionists supported the cause of freedom.

Stop 1: Begin Your Byway Adventure

Dorchester County Visitor Center

Dorchester County Visitor Center
Cambridge, MD 21613

Overlooking the Choptank River, the Dorchester County Visitor Center is the perfect place to begin your byway adventure. Inside the center, an exhibit provides background information on Harriet Tubman and Underground Railroad activity in the area. Knowledgeable staff can assist you in planning your tour and will provide information on events, accommodations, dining opportunities, shopping, and outdoor experiences.

Stop 2: Harriet's Life and Legacy

Harriet Tubman Museum and Educational Center

Harriet Tubman Museum and Educational Center
Cambridge, MD 21613

The Harriet Tubman Organization is one of the oldest community organizations dedicated to the memory of Harriet Tubman. Over the past three decades, their efforts have included memorials to Tubman, tours to significant sites associated with her life, museum exhibits, educational programming, celebrations and community outreach.

Inside the museum, visitors will find exhibits and resources. Volunteer members of the organization answer questions and provide information on Harriet Tubman and the region.

Stop 3: Unchanged Landscapes

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
Cambridge, MD 21613

The forests, marshes, and waterways that characterize the 28,000-acre refuge are largely unchanged from the time that Harriet Tubman lived and worked in Dorchester County. Knowledge of the terrain was vital to survival while hiding and trying to flee.

Blackwater also serves as a haven for several threatened or endangered species, including one of the largest concentrations of nesting bald eagles along the Atlantic Coast. While primarily a tidal marsh, the refuge also includes a mature pine forest. Guest activities include wildlife drives, fishing, birding, and nature walks.

Stop 4: Keeping the Dream Alive

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historic and State Park

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park
Church Creek, MD 21622

Adjacent from Blackwater National Wildlife Center is the soon to be opened Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center. Operated by the Maryland Park Service in partnership with the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park, the 10,000 square foot visitor center includes exhibits as well as a theater that tell the stories of Harriet Tubman’s life and work.

It also includes a classroom, museum store, and library. The state park’s 17 acres include a meditation garden, nature trails and an outdoor pavilion available by rental.

Megan McSwain

Megan McSwain is a recent graduate of Stevenson University with a Bachelor's in Business Communication. She works with both the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay and the Chesapeake Conservancy to develop public awareness of our joint efforts.

March 11, 2017

Main image: Several gravestones in the cemetery of Malone's Church in Madison, Md., pictured on Feb. 9, 2015, are marked with the surname Tubman and perhaps belong to relatives of Harriet Tubman's husband, John Tubman. (Image courtesy: Chesapeake Bay Program)
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