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What You'll Love About North East, MD

Perfectly located at the headwaters of the Upper Chesapeake Bay, at the head of the Northeast River, North East, MD, has long been an idyllic boating destination. Not only does this scenic town have local marinas, like Nomad at McDaniel Yacht Basin and Nomad at Shelter Cove Yacht Basin, but the town itself loves, and caters to, their boating folk.





The town of North East is proud of its rich maritime history, and a stroll down Main Street will slowly unfold its past. Its quaint shops are filled with one-of-a-kind artisanal goods and antiques, while its restaurants serve up the freshest catches and micro-brewed beers in a laid-back atmosphere. If you haven’t charted a course to this remarkable destination, read on to see why you should.


Places to visit in North East

Savor Maryland’s fruit of the vine at the Turkey Point Vineyard. This family-owned vineyard is absolutely worth stopping for, with its tasting room and store in the heart of downtown North East serving up an inviting atmosphere just right for tasting and talking. Wine tastings are available most days of the week and the store sells wines and gift items. The actual vineyard where the grapes are grown is located outside of town and is open for special events or by appointment.


The North East Community Park located at the end of Walnut Street on the North East River, is a nice place to enjoy a quite walk and scenic views. This 10-acre waterfront park has paved walking paths, plenty of benches, picnic tables, playgrounds, four pavilions, and restrooms. It also has plenty of space for fishing and day docking at the pier.


The premiere home for arts and entertainment in the greater upper Chesapeake area is the Milburn Stone Theatre at Cecil College. Great shows and well-known names fill their impressive calendar of theatre, music, dance and art. It’s also home to this area’s much-loved annual film festivals. Plan some extra time when you go so you can stroll the attractive grounds of Cecil College. If you enjoy college sports, check the college’s schedule of upcoming sporting events.


The Upper Bay Museum, located in the North East Community Park on the banks of the North East River, houses a rare collection of hunting, boating, and fishing memorabilia. It tells a colorful story and is dedicated to preserving the heritage of the Upper Bay area. To make it even better, admission is free!


Since 1833, the majestic whitewashed stone tower of Turkey Point Light Station has stood upon its bluff in the northern Bay. It’s been home to a string of hardy lighthouse keepers, many females. For that matter, its last female lightkeeper, Fannie Mae Salter, who retired in 1948, was also the last female lightkeeper in the United States. The lighthouse has since been automated, ending a memorable era on the Bay. To this day the lighthouse is nicknamed “The Lady’s Light” in honor of Salter and all the prior female lightkeepers.


Just 10 miles south of North East is Elk Neck State Park. Its sprawling 2,200 acres of lush waterfront forests, rustic cabins and campsites is a hiker and camper’s dream. The park boasts 10 miles of hiking trails, a sandy beach, and miniature golf. The large park is divided into four areas. The Turkey Point Lighthouse Area at the southern tip of the Elk Neck Peninsula, with a trail to the historic Turkey Point Light Station and striking views of the Chesapeake Bay. The North East Beach Area is a popular day-use area located in the western portion of the park with a swimming area, canoe/kayak launch, picnic shelters, picnic tables and grills. The Rogues Harbor Boat Launch Facility, offers public boating access to the Elk River and fishing piers. And, the Elk River Camping Area, located on the eastern portion of the peninsula, boasts over 250 campsites, 16 cabins, a youth group camping area, park store, playground and a nature center - this park has it all.


If you’re up for some leisurely exploring of the natural beauty of the North East River, get out your kayak or stand-up paddleboard (SUP) and explore this glorious tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. It’s fully tidal and extends about five miles from the town of North East, south to the Chesapeake Bay.


With so much to do, you’re bound to work up an appetite. And when you do, head to where the locals go for the best food at the best prices. One delicious stop is Bay Crawlers Crab Shack. This seasonal stop is known for its fresh all-you-can-eat crabs, steamed seafood and full bar. It’s an informal go-to for seafood and drinks for lunch or dinner. Another well-liked spot, whose name is deceiving, is Wayside Snack Bar. It’s much more than a snack bar! It serves up fried fish, BBQ and Delicious ice cream - both soft serve and hand dipped. They’re also known for their great prices, super friendly staff, and large selection.


Best marinas for a great stay

If you’re looking for a full-service marina with the quaint and welcoming Chesapeake Bay feel, you and your crew are in luck! We know two, guaranteed to take the best care of both you and your boat; McDaniel Yacht Basin and Shelter Cove Yacht Basin. These fine marinas have experienced, friendly and knowledgeable staff, and a boat-load of amenities. Boaters from near and far give them the thumbs up!


Written by: Jo Montgomery

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