When we lived outside of Baltimore I knew about Ocean City, Md. and I had also heard of Assateague, but that was about it. My knowledge of Maryland’s eastern shore was limited to Ocean City, Assateague, and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge that you had to drive over to get there.
Once my husband took me to Cape Charles, Va. and that might have been the first time I heard someone reference Delmarva. I am sure, like most people, I thought what the what? Then we moved to Delaware and decided that we would live at the beach. That is when we learned that not only do we live in Delaware, but we live on Delmarva.
Delmarva is a rather large peninsula on the East Coast of the United States.
It encompasses all of Delaware. Delaware is often a forgotten state sandwiched between Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey. It is a slice of rural amidst densely populated Mid-Atlantic states. Delaware is three counties large and has less than 1 million people. When we moved here, people said that everyone knows everyone in Delaware. I have found this is pretty much true. Maybe that is why people are so nice here or maybe it is that they live at the beach? I don’t know, but I will take it.
So Delaware explains the Del in Delmarva, so what about the rest? Well, if you have ever looked at a map of Maryland you would notice that it is has a pretty odd shape and a body of water splits the state. The mainland has Baltimore, the D.C. suburbs, Annapolis, and Frederick. The land separated from the mainland by the Chesapeake Bay is Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Think Ocean City and Assateague. To get there from the mainland, you have to drive over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. For me that is scary, white-knuckle driving. I cringe every time I drive over it. Maryland’s Eastern Shore is the Mar in Delmarva. Maryland takes up a large middle chunk of the Peninsula.
Virginia’s Eastern Shore looks like the tail. Virginia’s Eastern Shore is connected to Virginia by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel that connects the Peninsula to Virginia Beach., Va. The kids loved going through the bridge-tunnel. It is a 20-mile ride above the bay and under it. They did not talk at all when we took the bridge-tunnel. They were too busy taking it all in. If you have kids that tells you something about this engineering marvel. How do they build such things anyway? We were in awe. Virginia’s presence on the bottom of the peninsula puts the Va in Delmarva.
Some people believe that Delmarva comes from the U.S. Postal services abbreviations for the states. I looked it up. It doesn’t. Maryland has always been Md; not Mar.
Regardless of the name’s origin, it is an amazing place that seems largely unknown and unexplored and it is all located just two hours away from Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia. The Peninsula is nearly surrounded by water. The Chesapeake Bay is to the West of the peninsula. The Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean is to the East. Delmarva is 183 miles long and 71 miles wide, according to the World Atlas.
We have not explored every inch of it, but we are trying. If you are intrigued like we are and want to visit. It is an easy drive from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. You can take a train down from NYC to Wilmington, DE and take a Dart bus down from there or drive. If you are flying into the area, most people fly into Philadelphia International Airport or Baltimore Washington Airport and rent a car. You can also take the Cape May-Lewes Ferry if you are coming from New Jersey. You can drive your car, minivan or RV onto the ferry and cross over the Delaware Bay.
Need some more encouragement to come explore Delmarva? Think about this: This is where Capt. John Smith docked his ship and explored many centuries ago. It was ripe for exploration when he arrived, and in many ways, it still is so many centuries later. Come see for yourself. Enjoy!