8/26/18 – 8/28/18: After Oxford, we went to Cambridge. The biggest draw for Cambridge is that it’s where the Underground Railroad was born. Harriet Tubman, whose name is almost synonomous with the network, was also born nearby. There was a museum in Cambridge dedicated to her life and her legacy.
On the way from Oxford to Cambridge, we anchored for a night in Lecompte Bay, about half way in between. It was a huge bay, and with the winds predicted to shift from SW to W, we chose the western shore to anchor against. This shore also had a nice beach and wooded area so it was more scenic than further in, which had more homes on the shore. But the winds were more S than SW, which didn’t give us any protection at all. By evening they hadn’t shifted and the waves were rocking the boat more than we liked, so we pulled up anchor and headed further in to the SW corner. Much better! We spent a quiet evening alone in the bay. In the morning we kept getting rocked back and forth from boat wakes. We got up, looked outside, and here was some crabber who set his crab line about 100 feet off our bow. He’d go down the line, zip back to the other end, and go down it again. Over, and over, and over. He was so close that we were worried we’d pull up his line with our anchor, but he was just far enough away that it wasn’t an issue. Around 10:00am we headed for the marina in Cambridge.
One thing we needed to do was make a run to a store and luckily Cambridge had a Walmart. Unfortunately, it was about 3 miles from the marina, so walking wasn’t an option. We hailed an Uber and off we went! We did all our shopping, and brought up Uber to “hail” a ride back. “No cars available”. What? Check again. “No cars available”. This can’t be right – we just got an Uber here not an hour ago! Wait 5 minutes and check again. “No cars available”. Uh oh. OK, check Lyft. “No cars available”. Oh crap, now what? We have a full cart of stuff, some of it perishable, and there’s no Ubers or Lyfts available (apparently there’s only a couple Uber drivers in town so service is hit or miss). So, we looked online for a taxi service. We found “Elliot’s Taxi Service”, and called. A person answers, “Um yeah, hello?”. “Is this Elliot’s Taxi?”, we ask. “Um, yeah, Elliot’s, this is Elliot’s”. “Can we get a taxi?”. “Um, yeah, sure, be there in 5 minutes”. About 15 minutes later, a beat up minivan shows up with a cheap sign on the door “Cambridge Taxi”. A rough looking guy gets out and we think: “Breaking News: Two travellers found dead on the side of the road. Details tonight at 11”. We get in and he says, “Sorry about the air conditioning, it just broke today”. Uh, huh, did you see the rest of your van, buddy? So he drives to the other end of Walmart and picks up another woman who seemed just as, um, interesting, as he did. But it all worked out – he was a really nice guy and so was the lady he picked up (she was a “regular”) – we talked and laughed about our adventures and how we got from Wisconsin to Cambridge. We also learned about scrapple (don’t ask) and the proper way to eat soft-shelled crab (again, don’t ask).
We took a walk through the downtown area, which was OK. There were lots of bars and restaurants, and quite a few shops, too. The shops were all high end retailers like jewelers and art galleries, or specialty niche shops like leather shops and kitchen supply shops. The Harriet Tubman Museum and Learning Center was also right downtown. Harriet Tubman was born in Dorchester County near Cambridge, and the Underground Railroad got it’s start in the county. The railroad was already in existence when Ms. Tubman fled slavery to become a free person. She used this network to subsequently help over 300 other slaves to freedom. The museum is dedicated to her life and her legacy. It was a very small museum and didn’t have many exhibits. But they did an excellent job presenting the history of slavery in Maryland and how Harriet Tubman escaped to freedom and then returned numerous times to help hundreds of others to also escape to freedom. It was very educational.
Other than the scarcity of public transportation, Cambridge was a nice place to visit. There’s certainly a bit of history here, other than the “here’s what life was and is like on the Chesapeake Bay” that we’ve seen at our previous stops. Granted, it’s a history fraught with untold injustice and suffering, but also with perseverance and hope. It was a good stop.