The Eastern Shore – Part II

Written Oct 12, 2021

A Little More St Michaels

Jim and I really have been enjoying the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Before leaving St. Michaels for the Wye River, popped back into the maritime museum to finish the exhibits we’d not seen. They had quite a nice exhibit on oystering and fishing in general in the Chesapeake, from the Indigenous Peoples to modern efforts to save the bay as it has been terribly over fished of all wildlife and been poluted by farming.

I have heard stories of the size of oysters in the past but this really hit home of how we have modified the environment. I also noticed in pictures of folks fishing from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s vs more recent pics. The fish were several feet long in size, now they are no more than a foot. The other thing that struck me in this exhibit was that oysters grew in big reefs in the Chesapeake that were hazardous to the ships on the Bay. After 100 years of dredging for oysters, the reefs are gone.

They also had an extensive exhibit on waterfowl and hunting in the Chesapeake. As we’d already seen a very good exhibit in Havre de Grace, we did not spend as much time here.

Could you imagine shooting waterfowl with that top gun? There actually had boat mounted mini-cannons were they would shoot hundreds of birds at one time. The destruction that man can reap.

Divided Creek on the Wye River

After leaving St. Michaels, we made the short trip up the Wye River. We had heard this was one of the most beautiful places in the Chesapeake, remote and full of wildlife. It turns out the Wye had a big island and many of the anchorages are around the island, up little creeks and bays. Most of the island is Maryland managed natural resources with picnic areas, camping and trails. That along with farming.

We really enjoyed watching the crop duster but just hated thinking of the spraying. Turns out they spray soybeans (and other crops) to kill them so they can be harvested sooner. I guess the adage of “good things come to those who wait” does not apply to soybeans. Boy organic!

Definitely a very rural feeling place and very quite. We anchored in Divided Creek as we had heard it was quite pretty and had a dinghy dock where we could go ahore.

Rincon Feliz happily anchored in Divided Creek. Turns out the island behind us was basically owned by two different families who did farm it, but it was never developed. When there was a sense it might be, the State of Maryland bought the island, saving it from become more vacation homes. Good for them!

We took the dinghy up to the top of the creek to look for the dock. We could find nothing. Apparently it seems the dock was not longer there. We COULD still get a shore, but it would be a bit harder finding a tree to tie to and walk along. So, we decided to just motor along the shore and lo-and-behold, there as the “dock”. Really just a 6 x 6. Turns out it was a kayak dock, but it worked.

A tricky landing with logs and twigs in the water. We paddled the final bit in.

The trails are really more like a walking paths, but quite, pretty and good scenery. We decided to take the old growth forest trail and circle around to the 200 year old holly tree

A hard working holly tree. Frankly, I thought holly was a bush, not a tree.

The tree is right on the edge of a soybean field with forest on the other side. One must adjust to mix use areas. We did see a red fox and also a deer along the edge of the fields, so it must be working reasonably well.

Mushroom with soybeans in the background. On the far side is the old growth forest. Who knows why the lad owners decided to keep this piece of forest uncut.

We decided to spend a second day here as it was so peaceful. We also had some work to catch up on and why not do it in such a pretty place? Work finished, we decided to to some more walking. Take the Osage Trail and circle back to the Divided Creek Trail.

An Osage Orange forest. Also called Horse Apples or Bodarks. The wood is quite springy and used for mast steps, knees and stanchions and also for bows for bows and arrows.
A bodark. About the size of a tennis ball. Apparently not eaten by any of the birds or other wildlife.

Headed to Annapolis

We were sorry to leave Divided Creek and hope to get back to the Wye again at some point. We headed across the Bay to our friends Joe and Christys to use their dock and spend a day at the Annapolis Boat Show. We had a long list of things we were looking for but only ended up buying toys… two paddle boards and a little self-contained battery powered scuba system. Good for cleaning the boat, looking for issues and fish down to 10 feet (once we get to clear, clean water!)

As we were headed to Annapolis a schooner race passed in front of us that included the Spirit of Baltimore. Beautiful ship and thrilling to see under full sail. As this was a few days before Columbus Day, it made me thing of the vision of ships such as this first arriving in the Americas and what the Indigenous folks must have thought. Today, I saw a cartoon of a Indigenous person looking at a sailing vessel with the caption of “a local discovers a list vessel”. Ha!

Oxford

We then headed back across the Bay and over to Oxford, another little town we wanted to visit. A very cute little town with the oldest Tavern in America, the Robert Morris Tavern, founded in 1710. We did have drinks there and also brunch on Sunday morning!

In our wandering we came across two very interesting places; the first being Waters Edge (https://www.watersedgemuseum.org/) . We were looking at the interesting building with a greenhouse when a couple came out and told us we should visit the little museum as it is very interesting, So in we went.

The first part of the museum has art work by Ruth Starr Rose. Her parents moved to Oxford from Wisconsin in 1906 and Ruth was raised with many of the founding black families of eastern Maryland. She knew them well and created portraits of them and their lives. Unlike any I’d ever seen before, they are sensitive and informative.

Money Boy on Stairs, 1930. Apparently the Money family was one of the prominent families around Oxford.

Working with paints, lithography and serigrophy, we also created stirring scenes blending religious scenes with African American spirituals and classical painting and frescoes to depict scenes with African Americans as the primary focal point.

I love the image of a paddlewheel arc. If paddlewheels are what you know, then it makes sense.

The museum also is very involved in environmental justice and exploring cultural heritage being lost due to climate change. An interesting topic of which I knew/know little.

The second place we discovered is Cutts and and Case Shipyard (https://www.cuttsandcase.com/index.html). Now, we were not looking for a shipyard, but they had a pretty building with full size wooden boats in the windows. We walk up for a closer look and what do we see in side, but vintage motorcycles!…. along with the boats.

Boats and Bikes. Taken from inside, but what we saw looking through the window.

They are closed, but Jim decides we should look around the yard a bit. Up rides a guy on a bicycle and out comes another guy from one of the buildings. We engage them in conversation and discover that we are talking to Ronnie Cutts, the owner of the BAS Goldstar (the same type if bike Jim used to race) along with quite a few other very nice bikes which he showed us. His father started the boat yard in the mid-60’s and now Ronnie and his brother have continued the tradition of building and restoring custom yachts. Maybe they work in fiberglass, but everything we saw was beautiful wood. A cool stop!

We also found lots of pretty gardens, and pretty houses in Oxford.

A pretty garden in oxford. Ah, to have such a space in Santa Fe!
Such a cute little house! The kayak is as tall as the house.

We are now back in Solomons for the Kadey Krogen Rendezvous. Although not much of a “club person”, they have some good speakers and it is a great opportunity to see ideas for our boat from boats just like ours. We’ll be here for a week, then back to Deltaville, VA to leave the boat for…. of course…. more work while we head home to New Mexico.

I would be worried to be fishing here….

Comments

The Eastern Shore – Part II — 2 Comments

  1. What a nice leisurely time. Enjoy the Rendezvous. Will be glad to have you back in NM even if for a short time