History of Watermen's Communities

Upper Western Shore
A trip to Galesville provides visitors with an opportunity to look back into the history of Anne Arundel County as well as experience a bit of contemporary maritime culture just 30 minutes from Annapolis.  Visitors can stop by the Galesville Heritage Museum on Main Street and learn about the origins of Quakerism in Maryland or take a trip to the historic Rosenwald School where Galesville’s African Americans students were educated until 1956.  Getting a view of the water in Galesville is not difficult as the town is surrounded on three sides by tributaries of the Chesapeake.   In addition to the scenic views, this access to the water also provides Galesville with a thriving working waterfront.  A visit to Hartge Yacht Yard located on the historic Woodfield Fish and Oyster Co. grounds provides visitors with a look back to the importance of the fishing industry as well as the opportunity to see the bustling industry that still surrounds the maintenance of the many historic, contemporary, work, and pleasure boats of the region.

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Lower Western Shore
Solomons Island has been immersed in the maritime industry since its founding back in the late 1600s.  Whether it be boat building, fishing and oystering, or contemporary marinas, Solomons has a long history of people making a living from its working waterfront.  Boatyards and marinas still dot the waterfront of the lower western shore's many fishing communities, Solomons Island remaining as one of the largest communities directly relying on the Bay. While the number of commercial fishing vessels has declined from the nearly 500 that once took advantage of the regions protected harbors and wharfs in the late 1880s, watermen still fish, crab, and oyster in the waters surrounding Solomons.  Visitors can take advantage of the numerous places to stay, a number of charter trip providers, and the Calvert Marine Museum in order to have a unique experience that provides a glimpse of the life of the working watermen of the Chesapeake Bay.

 To learn more about other things to do in the region, click here.

Upper Eastern Shore
Rock Hall is one of the Chesapeake Bay’s northernmost watermen communities, and although you could look across the Bay and see portions of Baltimore’s skyline this working waterfront town feels a world apart.   Intermixed with the bars, restaurants, and pleasure boat marinas are the town docks used by watermen, working boatyards, marine railways, historic seafood processing facilities, and monuments dedicated to the watermen heritage of the community.   The town of Rock Hall, the town’s volunteer fire company, and the Kent County Waterman’s Association host a number of great events over the course of the year that give visitors the opportunity to get a real glimpse of life in this watermen town.

  To learn more about other things to do in the region, click here.

Middle Eastern Shore

After making it through the hustle and bustle of Easton, visitors will have a beautiful 25-mile drive down the Tilghman Peninsula, a region mixed with large estates and small waterfront communities including St. Michaels, Neavitt, Wittman, Sherwood, and Tilghman.  Crossing over the drawbridge at Knapps Narrows to enter Tilghman Island provides a great view of the working waterfront and the watermen fleet.  In addition to the great restaurants and working boatyards visitors can enjoy a cup of coffee for a buck and great stories at the local watermen hangout overlooking the narrows.  Each fall, Tilghman Island Day draws thousands of visitors for traditional Maryland fare, oyster shucking and boat docking contests, Chesapeake Bay themed art, and history lessons from watermen interpreters.

 To learn more about other things to do in the region, click here.

Lower Eastern Shore

A drive to the end of the Deal Island Peninsula often makes visitors feel as if they have traveled to the end of the earth as well as back in time.   However, what they don’t often realize is the number of small but vibrant fishing communities that exist surrounded by the low-lying marsh of the Deal Island State Wildlife Management Area.  In addition to the recreational fishing and hunting opportunities that bring many people to the area, the peninsula is a great place for visitors to learn about the historical and contemporary importance of the iconic Chesapeake Bay oyster.  The region hosts the majority of the Bay’s remaining working skipjacks and is also the site of a major restoration of a 100 hundred year-old skipjack that will one day go back to harvesting.  After a day spent exploring the region visitors can stop in to Lucky’s Last Chance General Store for a plate of freshly caught oysters and conversation with local watermen and Deal Islanders.

To learn more about other things to do in the region, click here.