Talls ships of Sultana Downrigging Weekend on November 2, 2014


Chestertown, Maryland

Last updated November 5, 2014



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Day One | Day Two

It had been awhile since Norma and I had done an outing with just the two of us. So we set aside some time and made plans to go back to Chestertown, Maryland. The last time we were there was when my parents visited on September 21, 2014.

Day One, Saturday, November 1, 2014

Norma and I got a bit of a late start. I don't remember what we were doing but I expect we were getting things done at the house.

By the early afternoon, we drove out to the AirBnB room we reserved. It was at a lovely house in Kennedyville owned by Nelson and Barb. At the front door, I saw a big wheel bug. We were greeted by our host and hostess and showed our pristine basement room.

The two of us drove into Chestertown. It was extremely windy and rather cold.

There were two big events going on. The Sultana Downrigging Weekend and the Chestertown RiverArts Festival.

Norma and I walked around town and to the waterfront area where we saw the tall ships. Many were historic reproductions.
  • First photo: No sails up on this windy day.
  • Second photo: A mast on the Pride of Baltimore II.
    Pride of Baltimore II, “America’s Star-Spangled Ambassador,” is a reproduction of the 1812-era Baltimore Clippers that helped America defeat the British in the War of 1812. She is also a sailing memorial to her immediate predecessor, the original Pride of Baltimore. Since being commissioned in 1988, Pride of Baltimore II has sailed more than 200,000 miles and visited more than 200 ports in 40 countries.
    - from "Sail Baltimore - Pride of Baltimore II" (link broken as of 2018)
  • Third photo: The anchor of the Pride of Baltimore II.
  • Fourth photo: The mighty Kalmar Nyckel.
    The original Kalmar Nyckel served as Governor Peter Minuit’s flagship for the 1638 expedition that founded the colony of New Sweden, establishing the first permanent European settlement in the Delaware Valley, Fort Christina, in present-day Wilmington, Delaware. She would make a total of four roundtrip crossings of the Atlantic, more than any other documented ship of the American colonial era.
    The present-day Kalmar Nyckel [launched in 1997] serves as floating classroom and inspirational centerpiece for the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation’s award-winning educational programs, engaging students of all ages and stimulating them to learn more about Delaware’s rich maritime and colonial history.

    - from Original Kalmar Nyckel and Today's Kalmar Nyckel
  • Fifth photo: Another view of the Kalmar Nyckel. Clearly, this ship was far more than just utilitarian. It was quite ornate. One might say it was a work of art.
  • Sixth photo: Back end of the Kalmar Nyckel. I have no idea who these people are that have their faces carved on the ship.
  • Seventh photo: Norma looking up at the Kalmar Nyckel.

  • I saw a boat ramp at the Chestertown Marina. See eighth photo.

    We walked through Wilmer Park where we saw an old guy with a walker doing laps on the trails. We spoke to him for a bit. I admired his determination to stay active. He said he used to be a long distance runner. I learned that in the park there is the Wilmer Park boat launch though I don't remember it. Looking at satellite photos once we got home, I am pretty sure the launch area is to the right or left of the Leila Hynson Pavilion (the only pavilion there). There was also a place where they store and launch crew rowing shells at the end of a road on the southwest end of the park.

    The two of us passed by the Fish Whistle, where we last ate on August 12, 2012. On a warmer day, it would have been a nice stop for waterfront dining.

    We saw a sign about the Chester River Water Trail which is a component of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake Historic National Trail. This is one river that I can say that I have paddled almost in its entirety, from its start in Millington to at least up to where it meets Corsica River.

    Norma and I looked for a place to eat. We stopped in at the Blue Heron Cafe but they were closed due to a funeral. So we headed back to the Lemon Leaf Cafe where we took my parents. Dinner was excellent. We especially liked the staff who were friendly and seemed to enjoy their work.

    Continuing our walk through town, we looked in a few unusual shops and spotted a ginko tree with fall colors. There were quite a few ginkos along the sidewalk. See ninth photo.

    Norma and I made one more trip back to the tall ships before heading in for the night. I was hardly dressed for the winter temperatures we felt that night so staying out late outside was not an option.
  • Tenth photo: Moored to the pier for the evening.
  • Eleventh photo: The Kalmar Nyckel in the dark. I never got tired of this boat.

  • Back at the house, the wind sounded like it was going to blow everything away. The place is surrounded by farm lands so there is no windbreak.
    Click thumbnails to enlarge.

    Day Two, Sunday, November 2, 2014

    After eating breakfast at Nelson and Barb's house, Norma and I packed up and then drove out to the area around Still Pond Creek in Worton where there were several art studios located at an old Coast Guard building that is now called Arts at Still Pond Station. It looked like one could launch at a beach on the southeast side that would put one on Still Pond but I found nothing on line to indicate that this is permitted. We bought some small pieces of art to give out as Christmas and birthday gifts. But what we enjoyed the most was talking with the artists. They were all older than us and I think many had retired from a previous career. I especially enjoyed speaking to Dennis Young who showed a great deal of enthusiasm about painting.

    Next, we drove to the Hollycroft Studio just on the other side of Still Pond Creek where we saw a lot more art.

    Having had our share of culture for the day, we headed back to Chestertown. Walking through town, we saw the Wayne Gilchrest Rail Trail.
    The rail-trail would extend five miles to the town of Worton.
    - from Maryland DNR Greenways - Kent County (a now broken link as of 2016)

    Norma and I arrived back at the tall ships. It was now warmer and not quite so windy. We were hoping to go out for a little sailing on one of the boats but it was too windy so they all stayed moored to the dock. But they did let us go on for a tour.
  • First photo: Norma out on a pier, getting a different view of the ships.
  • Second photo: At the wheel of the Pride of Baltimore II.
  • Third photo: On the left is the Schooner Sultana and on the right is the Howard Blackburn.
    Sultana is a reproduction of a 1768 Boston-built merchant schooner that spent four years enforcing the infamous "Tea Taxes" for the British Royal Navy. Sultana and her crew patrolled the American coastline from Nova Scotia to the Chesapeake, serving on the front lines of the conflict that would become the American Revolution. Launched in 2001, the modern Sultana's construction was based directly on a set of 1768 British Admiralty plans and the vessel is considered one of the most accurate reproductions in the world. The new Sultana sails as the "Schoolship of the Chesapeake," providing award-winning educational programs in history and environmental science to more than 5000 students and teachers each year.
    - from sign
  • Fourth photo: Below deck on the Pride of Baltimore II.
  • Fifth photo: Norma below deck on the Lady Maryland talking to a crewmember.
    The Lady Maryland is a replica of a Chesapeake Bay pungy schooner, a boat which sailed the Bay in the 1800's. The name "pungy" may originate from the place where some of the first pungies were built - the Pungoteague Creek on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Pungies, which were considered fast sailing vessels in the 1800s, were primarily used as workboats which carried perishable cargo such as oysters, watermelons, tomatoes, fish, peaches, and grain. Lady Maryland was built by the Living Classrooms Foundation in 1985. The Lady Maryland is made out of wood, principally from the trees of Maryland, such as White Oak and Pine. All the wood used to build this ship was donated by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
    - from "Living Classrooms - Lady Maryland" (link broken as of 2018)
  • Sixth photo: Though it is probably common on many ships, this rope-wrapped pipe ensures a good grip even in wet conditions. I'll have to keep this in mind for my SUP paddle.
  • Seventh photo: Horseshoe crabs on the Sigsbee.
    Sigsbee is a Chesapeake Bay skipjack, an indigenous vessel designed and built to dredge for oysters. Once numbering in the thousands, only a handful of skipjacks survive today. Together, they constitute the last sailing commercial fleet in North America.
    Originally built in 1901, Sigsbee served in the oystering fleet for 88 years, and became notable as the first skipjack with a woman captain. After Living Classrooms Foundation acquired the vessel in 1990, a team of shipwrights and students rebuilt Sigsbee and returned her to work, as part of the Foundation's educational fleet. Sigsbee sails daily as a "living classroom," offering students unique hands-on opportunities to observe and learn about the history, economics, and ecology of the Chesapeake Bay, and to participate in environmental restoration projects.

    - from sign

  • We got out of town as the sun got low in the sky. Today was the first day of standard time so we didn't have as much daylight as yesterday. It took about and hour and 20 minutes to get home.
    Click thumbnails to enlarge.

    We had a good, relaxing weekend. Though we got a late start, we had enough time to do everything we wanted to do.