If you’re in Annapolis for the boat shows, or simply cruising through the Chesapeake on your way south for the winter, give yourself a treat and stop across the bay at Oxford on Maryland’s eastern shore. Founded in 1683, Oxford is small, with only 651 people, and quiet (its most prosperous time was during the Revolution), but it’s a picturesque boating haven simply invites you to slow down and relax a bit.
Oxford is almost surrounded by water, with the Tred Avon River and Town Creek wrapping around it on three sides. Their banks are lined with restored 18th and 19th century homes. The Oxford Ferry, which shuttles across the river to Bellevue, is the oldest privately-owned ferry in the U.S., and it affords the best views of the colonial-era town.
For boaters, Oxford has a Hinckley yard, where all makes of boats are welcome, and the large Safe Harbor Oxford Marina, a full-serivce yard with 152 slips, a fuel dock, pool and the usual first-class marina amenities. You can walk to the Ice Creamery or the general store just a few blocks away for provisions, or you can rent a bike – Oxford is the start of a 30-mile bike trail. The trail passes by Royal Oak and an oak tree that still holds a cannon ball fired in the War of 1812.
You also can tie up at the Cutts & Case Shipyard, which has slips for 36 boats. It has been restoring wooden boats since 1965, and they’ll take transients if they have room (they usually do). I tied up there a few years ago when I was cruising with Billy Black, the photographer, and we spent a few hours in the yard, particularly going through Morris Rosenfeld’s 33-foot Foto boat, built in 1929, that Rosenfeld used to shoot the America’s Cup. Cutts & Case had restored it to immaculate condition.
If you want to stay ashore, the Robert Morris Inn, which opened in 1710, is the oldest full-service inn in the United States; it was the childhood home of the signer of the Declaration of Independence. You also can visit the Oxford Museum, founded by local residents to celebrate the town’s history. It’s filled with artifacts and memorabilia. Read more: