Skip to main content

Welcome to my first Shore Fun sampler—something I’ll do once in a while if you all seem to like it.

My 2023 book, Shore Fun! The Wanderer’s Guide to Delmarva, is an all-in-one travel guide that connects you with more than 150 annual events and more than 125 destinations. The three outdoorsy destinations below come from a 25-item chapter on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

Four other chapters cover four other regions of Delmarva, each one with 25 destinations and itineraries. That makes up one-half of the book. The other half is those 150-plus annual events, organized by seasons of the year.

Let the sampler begin:

Savage Dunes Natural Area

Find your way into the countryside near Eastville along Savage Neck Road (Route 634) and keep going until you reach a pull-off at a little parking area for Savage Neck Dunes Natural Area Preserve. At this 300-acre slice of Delmarva heaven, you’ll need to take a mile-or-so stroll through maritime forestlands and then climb up and over some gentle sand dunes in order to reach an expansive and pristine beach looking out over the broad Chesapeake Bay. Maybe pack a picnic?

If you’re a history buff, do a little advance reading about Thomas Savage, the man behind the name here. He arrived, flying solo, at historic Jamestown at the tender age of 13. Captain John Smith ordered him to live with local Indians in a 1600s version of a cultural-exchange program. He fled that tribe when war broke out, then worked as a translator, fur trader, and farmer. The reason this land bears his name is that he received it as a gift from a friend, the Indian chief Esmy Shichans—a guy everyone knew as the “Laughing King.”

Tourism info: Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism

Cruising Seaside Drive

For a great backroads drive on the lowest end of the peninsula, find your way to Seaside Road (Route 600) as it parallels Route 13 on the oceanside from south to north. Be sure to make the turn into Oyster for a glimpse at a timeless old fishing village. On one side of the water is a boat ramp and marina where you can check out the local fishing activity. On the other side of the water along Sunnyside Road is a relatively new strolling option, the Oyster Village Horse Island Trail. Hopefully, the sweet old plank-on-a-rope swing will still be hanging from a tree on the day you reach the end of that stroll.

Shore Fun Book Cover LowResBack on Seaside Road, keep a close eye out on the oceanside when you get around 20190 Seaside Road—it’s easy to miss the Brinkley Nature Preserve entrance, but well worth a little aggravation to get there. Named for a local birding enthusiast, the preserve features a large, deep lake that draws lots of ducks, grebes, gulls, and other birds, especially during the winter months. A little farther up the road is Seaview Farm. Organic farming is done here on lands surrounded by woods and marshlands that are protected through a conservation easement with the Nature Conservancy—visitors are welcome to stroll the short trails there. This entrance is easy to miss, too. It’s near 18119 Seaside Road, but the trick is to find an oceanside pull-off about 100 yards south of a house that has a small sign out front painted on an oar, reading “Seaview.”

North of that, keep your eyes out for Indiantown Neck Road, Route 631. That road ends at Indiantown Recreational Park, which has a little hiking trail through lands that housed the Gingaskin Indian settlement in pre-Columbian times. Here, too, was the only Indian reservation ever established on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, set up in 1640. After that, stay on Seaside Drive and enjoy the scenery on a lovely ride into the town of Nassawadox.

Tourism info: Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism

Brownsville Preserve

Pack up your binoculars for the stroll that awaits along the birding trail at the Brownsville Preserve, which is on the oceanside of Nassawadox along Route 608. The small trailhead parking area at 11332 Brownsville Rd. will put you in position to set off on a 3.5- mile round-trip hike through woods, meadows, and marshlands, all managed by the Nature Conservancy to be as friendly as possible to birds and other wildlife. Trail guides should be available at a kiosk in that parking area.

You’ll feel like you’re walking through a timeless refuge of nature, but the reality is different. For more than three centuries, the land here was in the hands of a single family, the Upshurs, and did duty as farmland and a trading center. From a colonial-era wharf on Brownsville Creek, the Upshurs shipped corn up the Atlantic to markets as far away as New York and New England.

Tourism info: Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism


• Here is info where to buy Shore Fun! The Wanderer’s Guide to Delmarva–from the author (hey, that’s me!). Scroll down a bit there and you will find where to buy the book in stores and online.

Here is a more in-depth description of the book, also with purchasing info.

Happy wandering!

–posted by Jim Duffy for Secrets of the Eastern Shore/Whimbrel Creations LLC in May 2023. Thanks for reading!

Leave a Reply