Rackliffe House Reopens For Tours After Extended Closure

Rackliffe House Reopens For Tours After Extended Closure

BERLIN – Following a year-long closure, the Rackliffe House is now open for the 2021 season.

Earlier this month, Rackliffe House reopened to the public after the COVID-19 pandemic forced its closure for the 2020 season. Tours are now available on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., by appointment only.

“The Rackliffe House was closed for tours and private events the entire 2020 season,” said Rackliffe House Trust Board Member Mandy Lynch. “Typically, Rackliffe House is open to the public for tours from May through October.”

Located a half mile from the Assateague Island Visitor Center, Rackliffe House is a restored 18th century manor house overlooking Assateague Island and Sinepuxent Bay.

Constructed in the 1740s by Captain Charles Rackliffe – one of the earliest and wealthiest English immigrants to Maryland’s Eastern Shore – Rackliffe House has witnessed Spanish galleons, Barbary pirate ships and English men-of-war, and has stood through the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the Civil War.

Today, thanks to the restoration efforts of the Rackliffe House Trust and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, historic Rackliffe House now serves as a coastal museum that interprets 18th-century life along Maryland’s seaside.

“Rackliffe House is a true historic gem on the Eastern Shore dating back to 1740,” Lynch said. “Visitors will learn about the Rackliffe family and history of the house through artifacts and displays. Visitors will also learn the pivotal role African and Native Americans had in the success of 18th century estates such as Rackliffe House.”

Docents interpret life on the 18th-century coastal plantation through artifacts on display in the kitchen, spinning room, children’s room, and the original milk house. Visitors will also experience an eight-minute introductory film about the Rackliffe family, the history of the house, and those who lived on the land, as well as an illustrated timeline.

“Visitors of Rackliffe House will need to make tour reservations online,” Lynch said. “This helps us ensure small groups and allot time between groups for cleaning. Visitors and docents wear masks while inside Rackliffe House. Masks are not required while exploring the gardens and grounds. As the state of Maryland loosens COVID restrictions, the Rackliffe House will also update its safety measures.”

Tours of Rackliffe House are available on the half hour by appointment only for groups of the same party of six or less. Private group tours are also available.

Entrance fees are $5 for adults, $2 for children ages 4-12 and $3 for visitors with a valid military ID. Officials say entrance fees are critical for the preservation of the property.

“We were not able to hold our Colonial Fair in 2020, but are looking forward to holding this event again in 2022,” Lynch added. “Rackliffe House is grateful for the generosity of private donations and for several grants we received during the pandemic.”

To schedule a tour, email [email protected] or call 410-629-1011.

Rackliffe House is ADA accessible. For more information, call 410-629-1011 or visit www.RackliffeHouse.org.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.