Chesapeake Ghost Walks Win 2013 Heritage Award for Best New Heritage Initiative
Largest regional cluster of heritage walks in America
MARION STATION (March 24, 2014) Chesapeake Ghost Walks, a new company offering ghost tours on Delmarva will receive the Best New Heritage Initiative award for 2013 given by the Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Council (LESHC) at their Annual Meeting on March 27th. The award recognizes new events or products begun in the previous year that educate the public by expanding understanding of the region’s rich heritage. Chesapeake Ghost Walks is a series of 12 separate walks through historic towns on Maryland’s Eastern Shore that tell the haunted history of that town and get visitors into the historic landscape, close to the buildings, learning about how that town was formed and who the town heroes and villains were … especially if said heroes and villains are still lurking around.
The walks were designed and crafted by Mindie Burgoyne, author of Haunted Eastern Shore: Ghostly Tales from East of the Chesapeake. The book, now in its 6th printing has been so successful that the tours came at the request of readers who wanted more. Burgoyne began doing bus tours in 2010 but stopped because she didn’t enjoy them. In 2013 she decided to try a few ghost walks in towns she was familiar with thinking walks would be easier and more intimate. She started with ghost walks in Cambridge, Easton, Denton, Snow Hill and Crisfield, and every walk sold out within days of being announced. So she added St. Michaels, Berlin, Pocomoke, Princess Anne, Salisbury and finally Ocean City. At Halloween she does a special tour of her hometown, Marion Station listed as one of 6 ghost towns in Maryland according to ghost towns com. During the winter months when walking is less comfortable, she offers three bus tours that cover the rural areas not featured on the walks. There are 120 ghost walks scheduled for 2014.
Though the walks cover different towns, a common theme runs through all the walks – a theme that promotes the Eastern Shore as one destination with many dimensions. “Our ghosts are connected across towns” states Burgoyne. “Guests on the Ocean City tour, hear out about Rosalie Shreve who built the Plinimmon Hotel which is now the Plim Plaza. On the Easton walk guest hear about how Rosalie’s brother, Col. Oswald Tilghman haunts Foxley Hall. Rosalie and Oswald are mentioned on both tours as is Oxford where guests can still see the old Plinhimmon estate and Chestertown where Tench Tilghman (their great grandfather) is still seen on mad ride to Philadelphia ” Burgoyne believes this encourages the guests to keep following the story through her tours – and to venture off on their own and seek out new sites. She further states “This pattern of related spirits and sites repeats on all 12 tours encouraging our guests to register for more than one walk. And many do. Guests who come back start to see these towns as old friends.”
The Largest Regional Cluster of Heritage Walks in America
The 3 bus tours and 12 ghost walks together feature 130 haunted sites and stories and 15 graveyards making Chesapeake Ghost Walks the largest cluster of regional heritage walks in America. Even well traveled regional destinations like the Outer Banks, Down East Maine, Charleston, Williamsburg, Napa Valley, the Four Corners and the Adirondacks don’t have a cluster this size of related walking tours that spreads over 100 miles promoting the region as a single destination. Chesapeake Ghost Walks has 120 walks scheduled for 2014.
The Best New Heritage Initiative Award is a big honor for Mindie Burgoyne. Previous winners include the Smith Island Cake (2008) and Furnacetown Living Heritage Museum (2007). Jay Parker, the Executive Director of LESHC said, “Mindie has created an engaging visitor experience for the Eastern Shore. Each of the twelve towns is carefully researched and the walking tour and stories are based on documents and enlivened with personal anecdotes.” Burgoyne mentions her sources for stories on every ghost walk. She states her use of the Folklore Collection at the Nabb Research Center, Libraries, books and over 100 personal interviews, and says she’s always finding new stories.
“We’re very proud to receive this award” states Burgoyne. “And we’re grateful to all the guests who’ve attended. They’ve made our walks so successful that we’ve hired five guides to help us this year. We’re looking for to growing even bigger in 2014.” She’s frequently asked if she will add any new walks this year. “I’d like to add Oxford and maybe Chincoteague. But for now it’s all I can do to manage the twelve we have.”