Photos and text by Algerina Perna
Kent Island isn’t just an island hop on the way “downy Ocean.” Maryland’s largest island is a destination in itself, boasting beaches, fishing piers, bike trails, boat rentals, water trails, nature parks, historic buildings and other attractions.
Inhabited first by Native American tribes, the island was later settled by Englishman William Claiborne in 1631. The Chesapeake Heritage & Visitor Center in Chester houses a permanent history exhibit of the island and also offers expansive views from the center’s three towers.
Travelers can begin their island tour watching the sunrise over the Romancoke Pier, followed by visits to the historic post office, train station and oldest house in Stevensville, as well as Christ Church, recognized as the oldest Christian congregation in the state. Restaurants in Kent Narrows and throughout the island provide sustenance with an emphasis on crabs.
The 276-acre Terrapin Beach Nature Park on the west side joins with the Cross Island Trail through marshlands, wetlands and woodlands, giving the visitor a first-hand encounter with the local flora and fauna.
Before retiring to one of the many hotels or the Historic Kent Manor Inn built in 1820, one can take in the sunset over the Matapeake Pier on the Chesapeake Bay.