Schooner Sultana on the Chester River, Chestertown, Maryland (Photo: Acroterion)
Please Note: This tour accommodates 42 participants by motorcoach. Once in Chestertown, groups are divided for the cruise and town tour portions. CDC and Smithsonian Covid-19 guidelines in effect at the time of the program will be followed. Updates will be posted to SmithsonianAssociates.org. Protocols such as distanced seating, mask mandate, and/or proof of vaccination may be required. Read the COVID requirements prior to registration.
Get back on the road again with a full-day exploration of the Chesapeake Bay and its environs. The Sultana was a Boston-built merchant vessel that served for four years as the smallest schooner ever in the British Royal Navy. Manned by a 25-person crew, it patrolled the coastline of colonial North America from 1768 to 1772 enforcing the hated Townsend Acts or “tea taxes.” Its journeys took it to the Chesapeake Bay, and in 2001 the Sultana Educational Foundation in Chestertown, Maryland, launched a reproduction of the schooner as a key tool in its work to bring the maritime history of the Chesapeake region to life, as well as in its environmental science programs.
A 2 ½-hour cruise on the vessel is part of regional historian Hayden Mathews’s full-day exploration of the rich heritage of Chestertown, located in Kent County, the oldest on the Eastern Shore. Step aboard the Sultana, one of the most accurate 18th-century replicas in the world, for a vivid picture of working life on the water, including a glimpse at navigational tools and original log books. The cruise also offers an opportunity to learn about the ecology of the area and the importance of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
On land, Chris Cerino, Chestertown’s mayor and vice president of the Sultana Education Foundation, leads a walking tour of the town’s National Register Historic District, which includes many restored Georgian-style homes. History abounds on these charming streets: The town served as a port of entry during colonial times, and is also the home of Washington College, the oldest liberal arts college in Maryland.
The group enjoys lunch at a local restaurant.
Additional Date Option
- Registration for this tour will end by 2 p.m. ET on Friday, October 1, 2021.
- The tour meets and leaves by bus at the Holiday Inn Capitol at 550 C Street, SW (corner of 6th and C Sts.), with a pickup stop at the New Carrollton Metro Route 50/east-side Kiss and Ride kiosk at about 8:10 a.m.