Due west of Winter Harbor is the East River, also in Mathews County, near the little village of Mobjack. Just off a bay by the same name. The Old Bay Club gathered there last weekend for the season kickoff.
Not sure I could go at all, not even taking a boat, I got to the water mid-afternoon as the fleet was coming back from a day of sailing.
A small creek runs inland along the shore, making a safe harbor perfect for shallow water boats. The mouth of the creek forms a narrow neck with calm water inside.
The land and homes along this shore once belonged to one extended family. At the neck the creek was once spanned by a boardwalk, so you could stroll between houses for visiting, or walk to the village for church. Posts from the boardwalk still remain, and block the entrance like a portcullis. This keeps out the big boats; but again not a problem for little boats, which slip in between them to safety inside. They cruise through the gate like scouts on horseback riding into to a fort.
They got the boats settled for the night. A few anchored out. Most camped ashore.
By evening there is a fire going, lots of food and drink. It’s till cold here. The wind off the water is around 50 degrees and dropping. I stay by the fire, a compulsive fire poker to stay warm. Frogmore Stew a la Low Country feels good in the hand and in the belly.
From the first evening. The Sooty Tern and the Marsh Cat playing in light air with the ducks and the geese. At dusk we slid both Melonseeds off the beach at Kinsale, and went for a row on the Yeocomico.
Beautiful evening, capped by the rising full moon.
The last 60 miles are really rural, all winter wheat and young corn. The last 10 miles especially so – nothing else, just clouds and trees and blue skies. Going out is also going back, way back in time. Kinsale was another steamboat landing on the Chesapeake. The Yeoconimico River is a deep and sheltered harbor, several miles long, with many side tributaries. A village grew up around the comings and goings of the steamboats back in the late 1800’s, and it hasn’t been much else since. The little town must have prospered back then, though. Old storefronts still line what must have been Main Street, just a block long, and a little village square. Well kept houses, stately and demur.
Now a grain depot occupies the old landing, all silos and conveyors, and is doing a brisk business. A barge (there’s only room for one at a time), is pushed up alongside the wharf by a small tug, gets loaded with wheat seven days a week during the harvest, which is in full swing. Trucks lined up on the narrow lane down to the water. The wharf is so small that only one end of the barge can be loaded at a time, tipping lopsided under the weight. When one end is full, they turn the barge around and load the other end.