Monday, November 16, 2020

Travel: The Choptank River Lighthouse

I have visited Dorchester County, Maryland many times over the years. I've visited Blackwater National Wildlife refuge, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical park, and a pavilion area on Fishing Bay during a tropical storm. But I had never seen The Choptank River Lighthouse in Cambridge - until recently.

It was a drab and rainy day. We were driving around, exploring. We had visited Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge again but with the pouring rain, it was difficult to get photos of the birds. There were plenty of birds to see... being water birds, they didn't seem to mind the rain.  We also drove around the small town of Cambridge, Maryland. 

We ended up in Long Wharf Park. With the heavy rain, the birds outnumbered humans. And we had a perfect view of The Choptank River Lighthouse from the comfort of the Jeep.

The Choptank River Lighthouse, Cambridge, MD

This lighthouse is a replica of historic, river lighthouses of Maryland. Specifically, a replica of one of the Choptank River Lighthouses that were at Choptank River Station. Yes, "lighthouses" plural at that original site. The first lighthouse at Choptank River Station was built in 1871. After that structure was destroyed by an ice floe, a different lighthouse was moved to the site in 1921. Then in 1964, that lighthouse was removed and replaced with a modernized flashing light.

With visiting the current Choptank River Lighthouse, I learned that it is a screwpile style lighthouse. I have seen many photos of this style of Maryland river lighthouse but never thought about the architecture.

This structure also houses a small lighthouse museum. It is normally (pre-pandemic) open to the public, no charge but donations are welcome. The space (also during normal times) can be rented for events. 

I definitely plan to visit again on a sunny day so I can sit and watch the boats sailing in and out of the marina.

Dorchester County, Maryland is a wonderful place to visit. It is a rural area teeming with wildlife, migratory birds, and recreational activities related to water. Every single time I visit I wonder about Harriet Tubman's life and marvel at her bravery walking though these marshes and forests. 

Related Links:

Our Mary Beth is the Review This lighthouse contributor and photographer. If you love lighthouses, be sure to look for her lighthouse reviews and her photography store. I enjoy touring this wonderful lighthouse parks through her stories and photos.

If you are unable to travel to Maryland's eastern shore in person, and enjoy reading historical fiction I recommend Chesapeake by James Michener. You can see my book review here. The area and it's rich history makes my visits even more meaningful.

For more information about the history of the original Choptank River Lighthouse, it's replacement, and this replica in Cambridge, refer to Choose Cambridge: About the Lighthouse.

For more information about types of lighthouses, including the screwpile style and Alexander Mitchell refer to Chesapeake Chapter United States Lighthouse Society: Types of Lights.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. How interesting to read your Choptank River Lighthouse travel review this morning, Dawn Rae, as this whole past week I have been reading a fiction book series that is based in a small Maryland town located on Chesapeake Bay. So I have felt totally transported to your part of the country. I would love to see this area as I have never been to the Eastern Shore except for one quick driving trip from Norfolk up the Delmarva Peninsula to Ocean City, Maryland. I would enjoy exploring Cambridge and Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and the small towns along the Bay.

  2. What a beautiful lighthouse! Even on a dreary day, it is beautiful, but I guess bad weather days are actually when a lighthouse shines it's brightest. I've only passed through Maryland, never had the opportunity to stop and visit. I can see it should be a destination though. I would love to visit this lighthouse and sit with you watching the boats sail in and out of the marina.

  3. Until these Reviews of Lighthouses started, I had no idea there were so many different styles. I thought a lighthouse, was a lighthouse! I've learned so much and also learned to enjoy the surroundings! They certainly have piqued an interest for me. I have read many a story that contains references to Lighthouses and that has given me a new appreciation for these outstanding buildings. Thanks Dawn Rae for adding another one to the many I've seen so far.

  4. It's always more peaceful when the birds outnumber humans. LOL. I visited that lighthouse once and received a souvenir replica.

  5. What wonderful photos and background information, Dawn Rae! My first husband grew up in Rockville, MD, and we used to drive down from New York City frequently to spend time with his parents when I was in my 20s. However, we never did much sightseeing during those visits, and this style of lighthouse is distinctly different than the ones I've seen during our trips to Maine, Cape Cod, and California. Thanks so much for the vicarious visit!

  6. Thanks so muych afor a very interesting review Dawn Rae! I discovered those Screwpile lighthouses several years ago when we visited Maryland. Fortunately, for me, it was pre-Covid and I was able to climb up into one of the lighthouses and visit the museum. It was so interesting. You must try it someday.

  7. Love your review of The Choptank River Lighthouse. This sounds a lovely place to visit and spend awhile. I love your descriptions and beautiful photographs. You really brought it to life for me, Thank you!

  8. I have always been a collector of lighthouse experiences. When I lived in Michigan, my goal was to visit, and photograph, every lighthouse in the state. I still have a few to go. All this to say I truly enjoy learning about lighthouses, especially those I have yet to visit. Thanks for sharing the Choptank River Lighthouse. Maybe, just maybe, I will one day have the pleasure of seeing this lighthouse in person. If not, you have made this one accessible to me through your travel writing. Thank you for that!

  9. Every time we would travel (pre-covid) and we would see a lighthouse, I think of you and all your travels and beautiful photos. There's a longing beauty about a lighthouse. Beautiful review.


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