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58 miles SE of Annapolis; 85 miles SE of Baltimore; 86 miles SE of Washington, D.C.; 99 miles S of Wilmington

Since its foundation in 1684, Cambridge has drawn those who love the water. Once acting as a harbor for trading ships taking tobacco to England, and later serving as a deepwater port for 20th-century freighters, Cambridge was also a shipbuilding town. The town still draws boaters -- but now they're pleasure boaters.

Cambridge lies just across the Choptank River Bridge from Talbot. Still more of a commercial center than a tourist town, it has its charms. High Street leads to the Choptank -- a lovely stroll with a great view at the end. History buffs, especially those interested in the Civil War era, may be interested in the town's connections with the Underground Railroad. Nature lovers find it a nice stop on their way to Blackwater Refuge or to a hunting or fishing trip. Visitors planning a Mid-Shore visit to Easton or St. Michaels may prefer this quiet place as a base.

In its prosperity in Colonial times and again in the early 20th century, Cambridge became the home of governors, lawyers, and landowners. Their beautiful homes line High Street, Water Street, Mill Street, and Hambrooks Boulevard. Sharpshooter Annie Oakley built her house at 28 Bellevue Ave., on Hambrooks Bay. The roofline was altered so Oakley could step outside her second-story windows and shoot waterfowl coming in over the bay. The house is now privately owned, but the owners have erected a small sign in Annie's memory.

Harriet Tubman's home no longer exists, but she often walked the streets and country roads around here as she led more than 300 slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad. She is remembered in monuments, markers, a museum in Cambridge, and a driving tour.

Anyone who has read James Michener's Chesapeake or John Barth's The Sot-Weed Factor may recognize some of the places mentioned -- this is one of the towns that inspired these novels.