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What's Up Magazine

May is Heritage Month for Dorchester County

Apr 26, 2011 08:09PM ● By Anonymous

From the daring escapes of Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman to legends about skipjacks and the Oyster Wars to a farming heritage that goes back to Native American times, Dorchester County’s past and present is full of fascinating people, places, and events.

To help draw attention to some of the little known stories, Dorchester County Tourism has declared May as Heritage Month. “Whether you’ve lived here all your life or you just moved here last month, it’s a great opportunity to explore and discover,” said Amanda Fenstermaker, director of Dorchester County Tourism and the Heart of the Chesapeake Country Heritage Area. “People travel hundreds and thousands of miles to see our county, but some of us who live here forget that we’re just a few minutes away from these interesting places.”

“There are lots of ways to experience Dorchester County,” she added. “You can sail on the skipjack Nathan and learn about oystering. You can join the weekly Cambridge walking tours. You can see how canning shaped life here at the Dorchester County Historical Society. You can watch how they used to make buttons at the Vienna Heritage Museum. The possibilities go on and on.”

Dorchester’s museums and attractions are hosting special events throughout the month of May (see list). The Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area holds its annual Heritage Awards event on May 25, when people and organizations that preserve and promote our local history are honored for their hard work. (See sidebar.)

Celebrating Dorchester’s heritage, not only in May, but all year long, also has a very practical side, pointed out Ceres Bainbridge, project manager with the Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area. “By tapping into the growing popularity of ‘heritage tourism,’ in which travelers are drawn to particular destinations because of their distinctive character, we can stimulate our local economy. Travelers who come here stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants, and shop in our stores.”

Visitors to Dorchester County spent more than $53 million in transportation, food, lodging, shopping, and entertainment in 2009 (the most recent figures available), and tourism provided more than 900 jobs and $29.4 million in wages. Tourism also brought in more than $13.3 million in federal, state, and local tourism taxes, according to the Global Insights Report.

Why let the visitors have all the fun? To find out more about where and how to explore during Heritage Month, visit or stop by the Dorchester Visitor Center at 2 Rose Hill Place in Cambridge.