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Discovering the Eastern Shore One Paddle at a Time

As featured in Montgomery Magazine, September/October 2012

Click here to see the full article

 

 

Our Eastern Shore neighbors take pride in their unique surroundings— endless farmland intermingled with meandering rivers, creeks and bays. Things to do and see include crabbing and fishing, discovering pristine roads and waterways, learning about history that dates back to the 1600s and enjoying local cuisine and quaint towns. So how could I do it all in one weekend? I decided that kayaking was the best way to discover Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

To get started, I contacted Adrenaline High, a certified outdoor tourism company specializing in custom biking and/ or kayaking tours of the Eastern Shore. For more than 10 years, Adrenaline High has been creating kayaking experiences for all levels and ages, using tandem, solo or stand up paddling boats. Whatever a paddler’s needs, Adrenaline High supplies all of the equipment and guidance needed for a customized tour.

Fueled by the never-ending enthusiasm of owner Stan Shedaker, Adrenaline High is not a kayaking outfitter that simply rents equipment. Shedaker believes with his heart and soul that the Eastern Shore is an “enchanted treasure.” His destination tours marry the best of the Eastern Shore with visitors’ interests, helping them to “build memories that they will
take home with them forever.”

For example, if you like wine tasting, Adrenaline High offers a two-hour paddle along the scenic Wicomico Creek to a local winery for a tasting/tour before shuttling you back by van. If you are more of a foodie, kayaking and biking tours can include an Eastern Shore restaurant experience ranging from “All U Can Eat” crabs to elegant dining. And if you are a nature nut, there are birding and Assateague pony destinations as well. In addition to the variety of tours, Adrenaline High provides interesting commentary from experienced guides who know the area intimately and take pleasure in sharing their world with you for $45 per person (the fee for most tours).

How does Shedaker make all of these destination options possible? He persistently works to partner with other Eastern Shore businesses to develop interesting tours. His Energizer Bunny spirit soars when he talks about his “tank of gas x four theory.”

“If people spend a tank of gas to get to a destination, they expect to stay at least four times as long as it took them to get here. I team up with  ocal businesses to include a meal, fishing excursion, museum tour, or all of the above. If people want to stay overnight, we partner with B&Bs and other lodgings to accommodate their needs.“

Since I love all animals, large and small, I selected nature-related kayaking tours. On Day One, we started at the Adrenaline High site in Frontier Town, a huge campground and water park minutes away from the heart of Ocean City. Our group ranged in age and experience and included 7-year-old Laurel and a father-and-son team out for a day of bonding.

I was on a solo, sit-on-top kayak. The weather was perfect. A light ocean breeze and the bluest of skies made paddling a pleasure. Breathtaking surroundings included several Assateague ponies wading
across the Sinepuxent Bay.

After a while, Stan suggested that we all hop out of our kayaks and go
clamming! At first, it was weird to feel the mushy sand between my toes and then the hard clam. But I got a feel for it and in minutes our group filled a large bucket. Although we could see crowded Ocean City in the distance, our kayaking group had the entire bay to itself, which made me as happy as a clam (pun intended).

Dan Olson, our Adrenaline High guide, was a font of information. When
he and Shedaker scooped up creatures in a vertical seine fishing net—crabs, tiny jellyfish and long-nosed little pipefishes— we learned all about them and then returned them to the bay.

On Day Two, six of us headed out on the Manokin River in Somerset County.
This part of the Eastern Shore is one of Shedaker’s “favorite paddling sites,” a gorgeous, winding piece of river surrounded
by tall sea grasses, white marshmallow flowers and Great Blue Herons. For an extra treat, bald eagles (five adults plus a fledgling) flew around us the entire time, joining in our paddling adventure.

Although the Eastern Shore is only a little more than two hours from
Montgomery County, the scenery and stress level change dramatically once you cross the Bay Bridge. Surprisingly, most people rush by to crowded and commercial Ocean City. Little do they know that just a mile or two off the main road, a special world awaits their discovery.

So next time you are whizzing down Route 50, get out of the car for heaven’s sake! Experience the Eastern Shore and all it has to offer on bike, kayak and/or on foot with Adrenaline High as your host.

 
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