The Chesapeake Bay is about 200 miles long, from the Susquehanna in the north to the Atlantic Ocean. It touches six states and the District of Columbia, and is North America’s largest estuary. And it is a national treasure.
Everyone seems to agree that its name comes from the Algonquian Chesepiook. Some would translate that as “village at a big river,” while others assert it’s “great shellfish bay.” Our understanding of the name goes back to 1585 or 1586, when members of the Roanoke Colony first explored the Bay.
I vote for the shellfish interpretation, because we love the Chesapeake’s treasure of seafood. Oysters… blue crabs… rockfish… scallops… clams. The Bay’s oyster population has been damaged due to environmental issues and over-harvesting, but it’s slowly rebounding due to careful attention to this valuable resource.
Some fascinating and charming towns can be found along the bay. You could easily spend a vacation on a driving tour along the Bay’s coastline. From tiny fishing villages like Urbanna, to historic towns like Havre de Grace, to charming Annapolis and richly diverse Baltimore. And the bay offers lots of opportunities for boating and sailing, with abundant marinas and frequent races and regattas.