Story by Lindsey McClain, RHS Intern
On the outskirts of Wayne County between Hagerstown and Centerville lies a quaint town with historical murals, landmark houses, and mom and pop shops fit for everyone's needs. Each shop is just as thoughtful and distinct as the next. Children ride their bikes and play tag, and all the while there's the smell of coffee coming from King’s Cafe down the street. Cambridge City has a cottage town vibe complete with quaint, aesthetically pleasing shops, and friendly, smiling faces. It’s no wonder this Hallmark-esque town has such a homegrown feel and so many lifelong residents.
Cambridge City is home to a number of Wayne County landmarks and historical sites dating all the way back to the town’s platting in 1836. It is this history and tradition that still resides in Cambridge today. From the small businesses across city limits like King’s Café, Café Neo, and soon its own vineyard, Pilgrimage Wine Company, to the impressive array of antique stores, you'll feel the longstanding resilience of the town and its inhabitants. As well as small businesses, two of the largest employers in the area call Cambridge City home. Both Dot Foods and Sugar Creek supply numerous jobs for the area and in turn strengthen the overall economy in Cambridge and Wayne County.
Cambridge truly shows its vibrance during holidays when festivals such as Canal Days draw in crowds from all across the region. This festival is rich in the town's history by celebrating the building of the Whitewater canal over 150 years ago. Another festivity to check out would be the Christmas lights in the park each year that attracts both local families and visitors.
The Overbeck Sisters are a famous historical family to leave Cambridge and have their work featured in the local museum. The sisters were some of the first women to ever openly display and sell their art without hiding their status as women, which spurred even more people to love and respect their work. It has also helped to make Cambridge a sought after destination for art and history lovers.
Brenda McLane is a long-time resident of Cambridge City and owner of Hometown Media Group, which publishes Western Wayne News and the Nettle Creek Gazette. She often covers news stories around Wayne County ranging from sports, government meetings, students of the week, and anything interesting happening around town. Her ideal day would be biking around town, visiting shops, and in the evening going out to eat at the local grill. She’s made it clear there are a number of things to enjoy here, from playing frisbee golf in the park to antiquing in town or visiting the museum. She also has genuine hopes for the future of the town, hoping that eventually it will “attract a younger crowd” and have a few more restaurant choices.
Despite its size, there are many ways to enjoy the day here. Bike around town and stop by the beautiful library, or drive to Dougherty Orchard to pick apples and buy fresh cider! Each year Cambridge City sets the standard with high safety rankings, which means you can feel relaxed walking around town. Although the shops, the park, and the beautiful historic murals help give Cambridge its unique charm, it is the people there that make Cambridge truly special. It is the ease with which people are welcomed and the warmth you feel from getting to know a neighbor. In a large city it's easy to get lost in the crowd, but a town like this means that people care about each other and residents want to see each other succeed.