With summer coming to a close, I'm hesitant to say that I'm getting close to closing out the shores, but I'm getting close to thinking I should start thinking about it. I'm not ready to let go just yet, but I am ready to welcome in a change in the weather. The changing seasons is one thing I'll always appreciate about living in the region, and one of the reasons I can't see myself living anywhere else. I do love the hot, but I'm always ready to feel it depart by the end of summer.
A bit tongue in cheek to start, but sometimes shorelines require a bit of walking. I typically wear through a pair my the end of summer, but these had holes in them by mid July.
It's hard to write about a place so beautiful in relation to barriers, but it's in relation to a truth I've been struggling with for a while now. The longest stretch of shoreline along the main stem of the bay runs through Calvert County, and access to the shore is not easy. While the stretch of North Beach, Chesapeake Beach and Breezy Point are technically accessible, a steep usage fee ($25 at North Beach) keeps them from really qualifying as accessible to all. While the state park entrance fee at Calvert Cliffs is much more reasonable, be ready for a 2 mile walk to get to the water (see the above pic!).
Stories of change are everywhere you look at Trap Pond. Being one of the northernmost locations to find bald cypress growing out of the water, the wetland was dammed by loggers in the 18th century. With the outflow of water restricted, the wetland changed into the pond it is now over time, and grew to become a popular recreation area.
In the 20th century, Trap Pond became Delaware's first state park, and provided swimming, boating and fishing opportunities. Like most parks and shores, there were two separate, segregated beaches, each with separate, segregated facilities. When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provided for “Injunctive Relief Against Discrimination in Places of Public Accommodation,” change came to Trap Pond, and Jason Beach eventually came to be known as Cypress Point. In 2022, the name of Jason Beach was officially restored to this area of the park, with new commemorative signs and interactive stories from residents who remember visiting the park through those years.
Culture and People
A temporary art installation in Alexandria, VA by Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt. The colorful addition to the Alexandria waterfront sits adjacent to the Torpedo Factory Arts Center, and welcomes visitors and residents to the shoreline with views of Washington.
It's crazy to think that the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island happened right here in the Chesapeake. Three mile Island began construction in the late 60's, providing power to the region even after the infamous crisis in 1979. The plant continued operating the Unit 1 reactor until it was recently shut down in 2019. Removal of used nuclear fuel may take up to 60 years (2079) before the entire facility's history is fully brought to a close.
Ironically enough, a popular boat ramp provides recreational access to the Susquehanna less than a mile up stream. I wonder if most boaters head upstream. I can't help but have memories of The Simpson's play through my mind.
Landmarks & Icons
There's was something beautiful about seeing the lighthouse at sunrise- receiving the light on it's white walls as opposed to broadcasting it out into the darkness. Turkey Point is a tower style lighthouse- classic design seen in many Chesapeake Lighthouses built on shore. The alternative screwpile and caisson style lights being the construction method for lighthouses built on shallow shoals and channel markers.
In it's time as a manned lighthouse station, Turkey Point was unique in that 4 of it's 10 lighthouse keepers were women.
My first experience on the Sassafras required a good bit of walking. Luckily at the Sassafras NRMA, there's enough variety in the landscape and wildlife to keep it interesting. Walking through the fields, woods, beach and eventually through this tidal marsh with a surprisingly stable bottom took me on a journey I wasn't expecting, and a few extra hours I wasn't anticipating.
Resilience & Restoration
The Savage River is home to Maryland's only remaining native brook trout population. An indicator species of a river's health, brook trout are only found in the cleanest freshwater systems. The cool, clean water of the Savage River (a far upper tributary of the Potomac) in Garrett County provides the habitat for these beautiful native trout, and a popular destination for fly anglers. Significant limits on fishing methods and creel keep the brook trout resilient, along with other trout and other freshwater species you can find in the Savage River.
It's pretty close to home for me, but it's a great waterway if you're looking for an easy morning or afternoon paddle. Like a lot of water trails, check the tides or be prepared to portage for some very small bits.
Starting at the Port of Leonardtown Winery, the trail winds through full tree canopy before opening up into tidal marshland and eventually into the foot creek of Breton Bay. You can pull up to Leonardtown wharf for a break and a bite to eat. For an all day adventure, start in the morning, stop at the wharf for a break, then paddle out around Buzzard Point and make your way out into Breton Bay towards Newtowne Neck State Park. Newtowne Neck has some paddle-in only campsites. The nice thing is that all three stops are relatively close distance making transporting back to your vehicles easy.
Our beautiful state fish is in serious trouble. Numbers are way down, and people have a lot of theories about why. Fortunately for them, this angler can't get up early enough for the sunrise bite, so I have to settle for the sunrise. Still get some nice fish, and some nice pics for the ol' gram.