2019 Program Schedule and Descriptions

Chesapeake Bay by Air

Sunday, April 21 at 6pm

Chesapeake Bay Week

Chesapeake Bay by Air captures the unparalleled wild beauty, rich history and natural serenity of the bay from 2,000 feet. The program marries gentle verse, prose and music with dramatic images captured by high-definition cameras, which bring the region into razor-sharp perspective. Chesapeake Bay by Air's meandering aerial journey transports viewers to many of the Chesapeake Bay's stunning locations - from dawn over the Susquehanna River and the mysterious carved marsh of Blackwater Wildlife Refuge to the tranquil fishing village of Smith Island and the smokestacks of Sparrow's Point. Cameras also soar above the ancient Calvert Cliffs, Annapolis and bustling Baltimore, the steel spans of the Chesapeake Bay Bridges and historic Point Lookout.

NEW The Wild Ponies of Chincoteague

Monday, April 22 at 8pm

Chesapeake Bay Week

The Wild Ponies of Chincoteague follows the annual Chincoteague wild pony swim and auction, as well as one teenager's journey to buy her first foal. The one-hour documentary begins with a legend. In the 17th century, the Spanish galleon La Galga crashed off the Virginia coast. In the hold was a band of ponies. The sinking ship fractured on the shoals, spilling the ponies into the Atlantic Ocean. The ponies swam for their lives and reached the barrier island of Assateague. Their descendants roam free on the island today. Ownership of the herd now belongs to the volunteer fire company on nearby Chincoteague Island. To keep the population in check, the firemen hold an annual auction and sell the foals. Buyers come from across the country and Canada for a chance to bid on a Chincoteague pony. Sabrina Dobbins, a teenager who has struggled with depression, is attending the auction this year to find a pony to help with her recovery. Her dream of owning one of the wild Chincoteague ponies is being realized by a local nonprofit that helps deserving children purchase an auction foal. With her hand held high, the auctioneer barks "Sold!" and, just like that, Sabrina happily becomes the proud owner of Blessing the pony.

NEW The Chesapeake & Delaware Canal

Monday, April 22 at 9pm

Chesapeake Bay Week

The little-known but fascinating story of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, a critically-important 14-mile long trade route used extensively by international shipping. It's called "Baltimore's back door" because it's a money-saving shortcut between the port of Baltimore and points north via the Atlantic Ocean.

NEW Maryland Crabs: Tradition & Taste

Monday, April 22 at 9:30pm

Chesapeake Bay Week

The story of Maryland's all-important crabbing industry, capturing the stories of watermen and waterwoman who chase and catch the Chesapeake Blue Crab; processors who buy and sell them to restaurants,groceries and crab shacks; and, restaurateurs who buy and sell them again. All, with the goal of telling the crab-eating public the little-known collection of hurdles - and successes - facing this economically and culturally critical 21st century Maryland Industry.

For Educators: » Maryland Crabs: Tradition & Taste instructional content

Major funding is provided by

Maryland's Best Seafood

NEW Maryland Farm & Harvest

Tuesday, April 23 at 7pm

NEW Outdoors Maryland

Tuesday, April 23 at 7:30pm

NEW An Island Out of Time

Tuesday, April 23 at 8pm

Chesapeake Bay Week

An Island Out of Time is a half-hour documentary about Smith Island that features Mary Ada and Dwight Marshall. Their lives personify the Chesapeake Bay’s seafood-harvesting culture and history, but their four children chose to break with that tradition. The film, like Tom Horton's 1996 book, An Island Out of Time, is both a celebration and elegy for a place beset with erosion, dwindling population and vanishing economic opportunities.


Wednesday, April 24 at 7pm

Chesapeake Bay Week

Bugeye is the Chesapeake Bay's water-borne workhorse that plied this region's waters for more than a century. As the precursor to the Skipjack, the Bugeye did it all - oyster dredging, fishing, and long-and short-haul transport of just about any kind of cargo - even watermelons grown on the Eastern Shore. Maryland Public Television started following the story of Dixon and his Bugeye in 2004, visiting his St. Michael's boatworks shed regularly to capture the tradition of hand-built boatmaking first-hand. The finished product is Bugeye: A Chesapeake Legacy, a fun-loving look at Dixon's labor of love from keel-laying to launch to time under sail on the open Chesapeake Bay.

NEW Welcome to the Table

Wednesday, April 24 at 8pm

Chesapeake Bay Week

Long-time residents and new arrivals reveal how local foodways provide a powerful connection to the land and water, to family and community, to memory and tradition. The movie is filled with great stories, told by all kinds of local characters, about their personal relationship to the land and the water that defines this region. Visually, it is an absolute treat!

NEW Smithville

Wednesday, April 24 at 8:48pm

Chesapeake Bay Week

Smithville, Maryland is at risk of losing its history. The predominantly black town had more than 100 inhabitants a century ago, now only four remain. A historic cemetery and church stand for now, but sea level rise threatens to wipe them out. Despite being a stop on the Underground Railroad Tour, and bordering a national wildlife refuge, Smithville is slowly turning from solid ground to marsh.

High Tide in Dorchester

Wednesday, April 24 at 9pm

Chesapeake Bay Week

The film, High Tide in Dorchester, aims to foster a conversation about climate change and related impacts of sea level rise and erosion, and leverage that conversation into action. The focus, Dorchester County, MD, is already experiencing the future that increasingly faces coastal areas worldwide. This low-lying county on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay is the fourth largest of Maryland’s 23 counties by land area, but it is destined to drop to the 14th largest by 2100 — or sooner — as waters rise and erosion worsens. Dorchester is the coal miner’s canary; ground zero for the Chesapeake Region.

High Tide in Dorchester is a wake-up call: It’s time for a retreat from the shoreline, of which the Chesapeake estuary has some 11,000 miles. Historically, millions of people have sought to live as close to that shoreline as possible, but few communities are doing adequate planning to meet the imminent challenges of restraint, retreat and adaptation to living on the edges of a rising tide.

Rising seas also threaten many species of waterfowl and other birds that nest in Dorchester’s extensive wetlands — 45 per cent of Maryland’s total tidal wetland acreage. It is imperative that we give these wetlands space to migrate upland as they are flooded in the lowlands. The film looks closely at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, where scientists and managers are already dealing with the impacts of the rising tide.

Healing Baltimore's Harbor: A Pipe Dream?

Thursday, April 25 at 7:30pm

Chesapeake Bay Week

Baltimore's harbor is a national landmark and a source of pride for the people of the city. However, water pollution is a serious issue in Baltimore, affecting human health, wildlife and the city’s economy. Every year, millions of gallons of sewage seep of out of the city’s aging underground sewage infrastructure and into Baltimore’s waterways. The resulting bacterial presence in streams, rivers and the harbor can be a threat to anyone who comes into contact with the water.

Healing Baltimore’s Harbor: A Pipe Dream? explores the challenges facing the city as it works to meet the requirements of a federal consent decree calling for it to fix and rebuild its infrastructure. And it tells the stories of citizens committed to protect the city they love - and the water they need.

NEW Saving Ellicott City

Thursday, April 25 at 8pm

Chesapeake Bay Week

This is the story of a Maryland mill town that has lived with floods for two hundred fifty years...always rebuilding. But rains have worsened, and development has increased. Residents face the possibility of tearing down historic buildings to save lives. After four deaths, and losing businesses in two, thousand-year-floods in twenty-two months' time, this may be the new normal for Ellicott City.

NEW Anacostia Revealed

Thursday, April 25 at 8:30pm

Chesapeake Bay Week

The Anacostia is more than just a river in the nation's capital, it's home to thousands of people. The waters are beautiful, but they are troubled. While city efforts have been implemented, a series of passionate local residents have turned their attention to the watershed. The aim is a swimmable and fishable Anacostia for generations to come. Can it happen? Our experts weigh in.

NEW The Legacy of Gilbert Klingel: Man of Steel

Thursday, April 25 at 9pm

Chesapeake Bay Week

Gilbert Klingel was a naturalist, director of the Maryland Historical Society, reporter for the Baltimore Sun, chief metallurgist for ARMCO, and author of four books including The Bay. Gilbert Klingel did all of these things and also built a boat yard on Gwynn's Island, Virginia, to fulfill his dreams as a self-taught naturalist and explorer.

NEW Ocean Cities: Exploring Our Connection to the Sea

Thursday, April 25 at 10pm

Chesapeake Bay Week

In this era of climate change and sea level rise, how can coastal cities around the world innovate and connect to the oceans they border? Join Professor Timothy Beatley in this documentary as he explores urban projects around the world representing the new green movement that hopes to move beyond our urban environments to a regenerative way of living.


Thursday, April 25 at 11pm

Chesapeake Bay Week

A sentimental look at the history of an iconic Maryland fishing vessel, the Skipjack, through the eyes of Deal Island locals who have sailed these "Mack Trucks of the Chesapeake" for decades in search of the once-ubiquitous Maryland oyster.

Conowingo Dam: Power on the Susquehanna

Friday, April 26 at 9:30pm

Chesapeake Bay Week

Second in size only to the massive hydroelectric works at Niagara Falls, New York when it was opened in 1928, the Conowingo Dam was celebrated worldwide as a miraculous engineering feat. Now, the dam’s unique story and place in Maryland history is told by Maryland Public Television in a one-hour documentary that recalls the drama and controversy that has swirled around the structure since its opening in 1928.

From the drowning of an historic Maryland village and rich valley farmland, to stories focusing on town life downriver, the Conowingo Dam’s story is rich in history and irony–a tale that has waited nearly 90 years to be told.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge: Spanning the Bay

Friday, April 26 at 10:30pm

Chesapeake Bay Week

Explore the far-reaching effects the Chesapeake Bay Bridge has had on everything from commerce to commuting. It helped fuel the growth of the tourism industry, transforming tiny beachside resorts like Ocean City into crowded summertime destinations. Come along for an exciting look back at the monumental creation of the Bay Bridge, plus a 3-D trip across the bridge!

NEW Borneo's Vanishing Tribes

Saturday, April 27 at 7pm

Chesapeake Bay Week

For millennia the Dayak people relied on Borneo's rainforests for nearly everything. These tropical forests also function as a global engine to help regulate our planet's climate. But decades of poor management and land clearing carried out on behalf of palm oil corporations, has razed huge swathes of forest using "slash and burn." The Dayak community and the earth itself are in jeopardy.

Search for the USS Scorpion

Saturday, April 27 at 7:30pm

Chesapeake Bay Week

Hidden beneath the muddy Patuxent riverbed, a nearly forgotten tale of courage has slumbered… The War of 1812 hit the Chesapeake hard: Britain’s Royal Navy was the most powerful force in the world and her warships raided bayside towns with impunity. In Baltimore, Revolutionary War hero Joshua Barney could not sit idly by. To mount a counterstrike, he assembled a mosquito fleet dubbed The Chesapeake Flotilla … and from his flagship The USS Scorpion, Commodore Barney led a charge against the fearsome Royal Navy. After a series of daring battles, the Flotilla was chased up the Patuxent River and intentionally scuttled to prevent them from falling into enemy hands.

Any local would be happy to tell you about the shipwrecks – that their grandparents used to cast fishing lines into them – yet for those that went looking, the lost fleet always remained elusive. Was local legend and lore all that remained of the Flotilla? Search for the USS Scorpion is a documentary special that puts the viewer on the front lines of marine archaeology. Embedded with a team of scientists from the US Navy and State of Maryland, we travel over river and underwater to follow the clues and piece together a mystery of history. Could it be that we have finally found the lost flagship of Commodore Barney’s Flotilla? There is only one way to find out, so put on your scuba gear and dive into the deep with Maryland Public Television!

Eatin' Crabs Chesapeake Style

Saturday, April 27 at 8pm

Chesapeake Bay Week

We've roamed the state in search of the greatest stories of the blue crab and tell all in Eatin' Crabs Chesapeake Style, MPT's rollicking foray into the world of the blue crab, from dockside to table. From Baltimore's busiest harborside districts and most famed crab shacks to beloved and isolated locales from Ocean City to Oakland, Eatin' Crabs Chesapeake Style captures the world of crab-loving, a uniquely Maryland slice of life and cracks it open for all to see.

Eatin' Crabcakes: The Best I Ever Had

Saturday, April 27 at 8:30pm

Chesapeake Bay Week

From G&M's goliath-sized crab cakes to tried-and-true recipes that have survived kitchen-based tests and trials of the ages, Eatin' Crabcakes: The Best I Ever Had is the ultimate crab cake treasure hunt across the Chesapeake region. This follow-up to the popular Eatin' Crabs Chesapeake Style is a fun-loving, kitchen-hopping adventure that traverses the state in search of crabcake heaven.

We tested crabcakes from:
1. Faidley's at Lexington Market, Baltimore
2. Sip n Bite in Canton, Baltimore
3. LP Steamers in Locust Point, Baltimore
4. Harrison's Chesapeake House on Tilghman Island
5. The Cove in Crisfield
6. Suicide Bridge, north of East New Market
7. Solomon's Pier in Solomon's Island
8. G&M in Linthicum
9. Johnny on the Half Shell in Washington, D.C.
10. Island View Restaurant in Essex
11. Roy's Hawaiian in Baltimore
12. Jerry's Seafood in Bowie

Eatin' Oysters: Chesapeake Style

Saturday, April 27 at 9pm

Chesapeake Bay Week

The lowly oyster is a delicacy the world over, yet many people say enjoying one is an acquired taste. Here in Maryland though, home of the Chesapeake Bay - the Chesapeake Oyster is King. Whether it’s slurped raw on the half shell or fried, baked, braised or roasted, it’s a favorite. Eatin’ Oysters: Chesapeake Style!, takes viewers around the Chesapeake region in search of who’s eating oysters, who’s shucking, why they love them, where to find the best of them, and the best ways to eat them.

Eatin' The Chesapeake: Five Feasts

Saturday, April 27 at 9:30pm

Chesapeake Bay Week

Cream of Blue Crab soup, butter-broiled Bluefish, St. Leonard’s Stuffed Ham with collards, Wicomico Barbequed Chicken, baked n’ buttered yeast rolls, Crab Loaf, scalloped corn pudding, summer stewed tomatoes, fried clam fritters, sherry-dressed Crab Imperial, Smith Island Cake, Dog Days Succotash, Highlandtown Sauerbrauten and spätzle, Mock Turtle Soup, Duck in Aspic, Raised Pie, Fried Oysters, Baked Crab-Stuffed Rockfish, Sauteed Softshell Crab, icebox Crab Salad with Cantaloupe, farm-Beaten Biscuits and Lady Baltimore Cake.

It reads like a banquet menu, but it’s really a Chesapeake feast. In fact, The Five Feasts. Made up of Bay-region, time-tested and family-treasured recipes that we at Maryland Public Television rediscover, re-create and sample in Eatin’ the Chesapeake: The Five Feasts.

From the quiet brackish shallows at Elk Neck, Maryland to the rolling hills and beauty of southern Maryland farms, and on to the lively talk and song of Eastern Shore church halls, 400 years of seafood, seashore and traditional cooking is coming home to Marylanders and their neighbors. There are favorite Chesapeake-born dishes from colonial cookbooks, crab shacks, German home-kitchen cooks, southern Maryland farms, Eastern Shore chicken-fry kitchens and Smith Island fresh-off-the-boat Chesapeake supper tables.

So pull up a chair and sample the best dishes the Chesapeake region has the offer in Eatin’ the Chesapeake: The Five Feasts.

Secrets of the Chesapeake

Saturday, April 27 at 10pm

Chesapeake Bay Week

Secrets of the Chesapeake travels the Chesapeake region – east and west, north and south, from mountain to marsh – to ask locals for sage advice to discover and uncover the most unusual places to explore and things to do for the weekender. But these aren't ordinary tourist destinations. Instead, they're spots that only a native would point to: remote shorelines where beachcombers can find beautiful and rare sea glass; an island gem-of-a-seafood-shack; quiet crossroads where tragic local history comes alive. Secrets of the Chesapeake takes viewers to places they'll never forget where they'll meet people they've only read about.