It's been some weeks since I really started hitting the shores on a regular schedule. I've travelled a few hundred miles, taken thousands of pictures and have collected plenty of water for the 100 Shores project along the way.
I've mentioned certain themes briefly throughout the development of the project. At this point, I've narrowed the project down into ten recurring themes which catch my attention as I'm scouting or researching. Does it have to be ten themes? No, I guess it doesn't. I guess the nice round numbers help to structure the project in a more organized way. Are these ten themes set in stone? Again, no. While there will always be stories to tell connected to these themes, I'm almost anticipating that other topics will get worked into the fold in the future.
But for now, I've been categorizing the shores into the following areas. Of course, there is plenty of overlap. "Oh, I thought you would have included _____ in this topic." Yep, that's true too. Every shore I've visited tells stories from multiple perspectives, in fact. In the future, there's no reason I can't loop back around to consider a different spot and story on the shore. It's my party and I'll cry if I want to, after all. Hope you enjoy these ten photos which capture the ten themes to date!
Newtowne Neck State Park- Newtowne Neck is one of the newer state parks in Maryland. Purposely undeveloped as a natural area, Newtowne Neck is one of a select few state parks which don't charge an entrance fee while also providing free access to miles of sandy shores and trails. It became quite popular in 2020, with park staff working hard to add some additional parking and maintain the trails which had previously seen little use.
Sometimes barriers are physical, sometimes they take other forms. But that doesn't make them any less real. Before the iconic Jefferson Memorial was built in this location, the Tidal Basin Bathing Beach was a public access swimming hole with a man-made beach- for white people only. A separate, unfunded section of the basin was designated for people of color. When African-Americans began lobbying for equal access to recreational facilities on the waterfront, the area was completely shuttered for all instead of integrating the location for universal public access.
Until 1810, a ferry connected Talbot and Caroline counties near this landing. The 6th (and what looks like most likely the most permanent) version of this bridge over the Choptank opened in 2018. Pictured above is the older swing bridge which would open to allow boat traffic to travel through. The swing bridge is still in place, set open in the middle. The approaches to the swing bridge (including this one, from the Caroline County side) are now accessible as fishing fiers.
Elms Beach- I previously wrote about the Elms in relation to how it's changed for me over the years. But that entire conversation begins with me at environmental camp each summer. Those early experiences were some of my first opportunities to explore the Chesapeake and learn about it beneath the surface.
The Rebecca T. Ruark Skipjack. Originally built in 1896. The oldest surviving skipjack still in service on the Chesapeake. It's been through many a storm, and has been extensively rebuilt, but still serves it's original purpose- dredging oysters under dredge license #29 out of Tilghman Island. The vessel along with a few more of the oldest skipjacks are listed on the National Registry of Landmarks. Speaking of which...