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Boat Show Drops Anchor in Baltimore

Rabbit Hunting With The Pro & His Hounds

Outdoorswomen Go From Field to Table

JAN/FEB 2020

gone

W I LD


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Uncharted experiences await. All you have to do is find them. We’re here to guide you through everything from financing to U.S. Coast Guard documentation, so that when you’re ready to head out, nothing will hold you back. To learn more, call 855.282.6564 or visit suntrust.com/marine SunTrust now Truist Bank Marine Lending offers marine loans throughout the U.S., except in Vermont and Hawaii. Loans are subject to credit approval. SunTrust is a member of the National Marine Lenders Association. SunTrust now Truist Bank, Member FDIC. ©2020 Truist Financial Corporation. SunTrust®, Truist, and the SunTrust logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All rights reserved. MOM-550703-11297411-19


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MASTERWORKS SERIES

Volume 49

Number 9

PUBLISHER

John Stefancik

EDITOR IN CHIEF Joe Evans

Managing Editor: Chris Landers Cruising Editor: Jody Argo Schroath News Director: Meg Walburn Viviano Multimedia Journalist: Cheryl Costello Editors at Large: Wendy Mitman Clarke, Chris D. Dollar, Ann Levelle, John Page Williams

ANNAPOLIS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Anne Akiko Meyers, violin Beethoven | Schoenberg | Bartók

FEBRUARY 28 & 29, 2020 • 8PM Maryland Hall This concert will also be performed at the Music Center at Strathmore on March 1.

Contributing Writers: Rafael Alvarez, Laura Boycourt, Dick Cooper, Ann Eichenmuller, Henry Hong, Marty LeGrand, Emmy Nicklin, Tom Price, Nancy Taylor Robson, Karen Soule

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jill BeVier Allen

Contributing Photographers: Andy Anderson, Mark L. Atwater, Skip Brown, André Chung, Dan Duffy, Jay Fleming, Austin Green, Jameson Harrington, Mark Hergan, Jill Jasuta, Vince Lupo, K.B. Moore, Will Parson, Tamzin B. Smith, Chris Witzgall

PRODUCTION MANAGER Patrick Loughrey

SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Mike Ogar

CIRCULATION & ADMINISTRATION Amy Mahoney a.mahoney@ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com

ADVERTISING Senior Account Manager Amy Krimm • 410-693-8613 amy@ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com Senior Account Manager Lisa Peri • 310-968-1468 lisa@ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com Senior Account Manager Michael Kucera • 804-543-2687 m.kucera@ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com Account Manager Emily Stevenson • 410-924-0232 emily@ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com

ANNAPOLIS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Robert DiLutis, clarinet Haydn | Copland | Beethoven

MARCH 20 & 21, 2020 • 8PM Maryland Hall

410.263.0907 | annapolissymphony.org

4

ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com

January/February 2020

Publisher Emeritus Richard J. Royer CHESAPEAKE BAY MEDIA, LLC Chief Executive Officer, John Martino Chief Financial Officer, Rocco Martino Executive Vice President, Tara Davis 601 Sixth Street, Annapolis, MD 21403 410-263-2662 • fax 410-267-6924 ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com Editorial: editor@ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com Circulation: circ@ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com Billing: billing@ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com Chesapeake Bay Magazine (ISSN0045-656X) (USPS 531-470) is published by Chesapeake Bay Media, LLC, 601 Sixth Street, Annapolis, MD 21403. $25.95 per year, 12 issues annually. $6.99 per copy. Periodical postage paid at Annapolis, MD 21403 and additional offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes or corrections for Chesapeake Bay Magazine to 601 Sixth Street, Annapolis, MD 21403. Copyright 2020 by Chesapeake Bay Media, LLC— Printed in the U.S.A.


With ayear newcomes yearchance comes the chance With aWith new ayear newcomes the the chance to rediscover Annapolis’ past. Luckily, With ato new year With comes a the year chance comes the chance With a new new year comes the chance toWith rediscover Annapolis’ Annapolis’ past. Luckily, past. the Luckily, With new year comes the chance With aarediscover new new With With year year aa acomes new new comes year year the the comes comes chance chance the chance chance With a new year comes the chance all ofmost Annapolis’ most popular and to to rediscover past. Annapolis’ Luckily, past. toAnnapolis’ rediscover Annapolis’ past. Luckily, Luckily, all rediscover of Annapolis’ all of Annapolis’ popular most popular and and to rediscover Annapolis’ past. Luckily, torediscover rediscover to toAnnapolis’ rediscover rediscover Annapolis’ Annapolis’ Annapolis’ Annapolis’ past. past. Luckily, Luckily, past. past. Luckily, Luckily, toto rediscover past. Luckily, influential historic sites are open all of Annapolis’ all of most Annapolis’ popular most and popular and all of Annapolis’ most popular and influential influential historic historic sites are sites open are open all of Annapolis’ most popular and all of of Annapolis’ most popular and allof of Annapolis’ Annapolis’ all all of Annapolis’ Annapolis’ most most popular popular most most and and popular popular and and allall of Annapolis’ most popular and year-round, making January the influential historic influential sites historic are open sites are open influential historic sites are open year-round, year-round, making making January January the the influential historic sites are open influential historic sites are are open open influential influential influential influential historic historic sites sites historic historic are are open open sites sites are open influential historic sites are open perfect time oftoyear to wander the year-round, year-round, making January making the January the year-round, making January the perfect perfect time of time year of to year wander wander the the year-round, making January the the year-round, making January the year-round, year-round, year-round, making making January January making the the January year-round, making January the city’s historic brick streets in search perfect timehistoric perfect ofbrick year time to wander of year the to wander the perfect time of year to wander the city’s historic city’s streets brick streets in search inthe search perfect time of year to wander the perfect time of year to wander the perfect perfect time time perfect ofyear year time towander of wander year to the wander the perfect time ofof year toto wander the of these hidden, historical gems. city’s historic city’s brick historic streets brick in search streets in search city’s historic brick streets in search ofcity’s these ofhistoric hidden, these hidden, historical historical gems. gems. in city’s historic brick streets in search city’s historic brick streets in search city’s historic city’s city’s brick brick historic historic streets streets brick brick insearch streets streets search in search search city’s historic brick streets in in search Whether you’re a history buff or a of these hidden, of these historical hidden, gems. historical gems. of these hidden, historical gems. Whether Whether you’re you’re a history a history buff or buff a or a of these hidden, historical gems. of these hidden, historical gems. ofthese these hidden, hidden, of of these these historical historical hidden, hidden, gems. historical historical gems. gems. gems. ofof these hidden, historical gems. lover of architecture, Whether you’re Whether a history you’re buff a orhas aAnnapolis buff or a Whether you’re a history history buff orhas a lover of lover architecture, of architecture, Annapolis Annapolis has or Whether you’re history buff or Whether Whether you’re Whether Whether you’re aahistory history you’re you’re buff aa a buff history history or buff or aa a Whether you’re a history buff or aoraa buff just what you need this month. lover of architecture, lover of architecture, Annapolis has Annapolis has lover ofthis architecture, Annapolis has has just what just you what need you need month. this month. lover of architecture, Annapolis lover lover ofarchitecture, architecture, lover lover of of architecture, architecture, Annapolis Annapolis Annapolis has Annapolis has has has lover ofof architecture, Annapolis has just what you just need what this you month. need just what you need this this month. month. just what you need this month. just just what what you just just you need what what need this you you this month. need need month. this this month. month. just what you need this month.

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AFRICAN AMERICAN GEORGE WASHINGTON RESIGNS AFRICAN AFRICAN AMERICAN AMERICAN GEORGE GEORGE WASHINGTON WASHINGTON RESIGNS RESIGNS ARCHITECTURE IN ANNAPOLIS ARCHITECTURE ARCHITECTURE IN ANNAPOLIS IN ANNAPOLIS HERITAGE TRAIL AND GOES HOME HERITAGE HERITAGE TRAIL TRAIL GOES ANDHOME GOES HOME AFRICAN AMERICAN AFRICAN AMERICAN GEORGEAND WASHINGTON GEORGE WASHINGTON RESIGNS RESIGNS AFRICAN AMERICAN GEORGE WASHINGTON RESIGNS ARCHITECTURE ARCHITECTURE IN ANNAPOLISIN ANNAPOLIS ANNAPOLIS AFRICAN AMERICAN GEORGE WASHINGTON RESIGNS ARCHITECTURE AFRICAN AMERICAN GEORGE WASHINGTON RESIGNS AFRICAN AFRICAN AMERICAN AMERICAN AFRICAN AMERICAN GEORGE GEORGE WASHINGTON WASHINGTON GEORGE WASHINGTON RESIGNS RESIGNS RESIGNS HERITAGE TRAIL HERITAGE TRAIL GEORGE AND GOES HOME AND GOES HOME AFRICAN AMERICAN WASHINGTON RESIGNS ARCHITECTURE IN IN ANNAPOLIS ANNAPOLIS ARCHITECTURE IN HERITAGE AND ARCHITECTURE ARCHITECTURE ARCHITECTURE ARCHITECTURE INANNAPOLIS ANNAPOLIS IN IN ANNAPOLIS ANNAPOLIS IN IN ANNAPOLIS HERITAGE TRAIL TRAIL AND GOES GOES HOME HOME ARCHITECTURE HERITAGE TRAIL AND GOES HOME HERITAGE HERITAGE TRAIL HERITAGE TRAIL HERITAGE TRAIL TRAIL AND AND GOES GOES HOME AND AND HOME GOES GOES HOME HOME HERITAGE TRAIL AND GOES HOME Top: Maryland State House. Bottom Left to Right: Banneker-Douglass Museum, Maryland State House, William Paca House & Garden. Top: Maryland Top: Maryland State House. State Bottom House. Bottom Left to Right: Left toBanneker-Douglass Right: Banneker-Douglass Museum, Museum, Maryland Maryland State House, State William House, Paca William House Paca&House Garden. & Garden. Top: Maryland State Top: Maryland House. Bottom State Left House. to Right: Bottom Banneker-Douglass Left to Right: Banneker-Douglass Museum, Maryland Museum, State Maryland House, William State Paca House, House William & Garden. Paca House & Garden. Top: Maryland State House. Bottom Left to Right: Banneker-Douglass Museum, Maryland State House, William Paca House & Garden. Top: Maryland State House. Bottom Left to Right: Right: Banneker-Douglass Banneker-Douglass Museum, Maryland State House, William Paca House & & Garden. Garden. Top: Top: Maryland Maryland Top: Top: State State Maryland Maryland House. House. State State Bottom Bottom House. House. Left Left Bottom Bottom toRight: Right: Left Left Banneker-Douglass Banneker-Douglass to to Right: Banneker-Douglass Museum, Museum, Maryland Maryland Museum, Museum, State State Maryland Maryland House, House, State State William William House, House, Paca Paca William House William House &Paca Paca &Garden. Garden. House House & Garden. Top: Maryland State House. Bottom Left to to Right: Banneker-Douglass Museum, Maryland State House, William Paca House & Garden.

Plan your Trip to Annapolis & Anne Arundel County. Plan your Plan Tripyour to Annapolis Trip to Annapolis & Anne Arundel & Anne Arundel County. County. Plan your Trip toPlan Annapolis your Trip & Anne to Annapolis Arundel&County. Anne Arundel County. Plan your Trip to Annapolis & Anne Arundel County. Plan your Trip to&Anne Annapolis &County. Anne Arundel County. County. Plan your Trip to Annapolis & Anne Arundel County. Plan Plan your your Trip Trip to toAnnapolis your Annapolis Trip to & Annapolis Anne Arundel Arundel & Anne County. County. Arundel Plan your Trip toPlan Annapolis & Anne Arundel


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contents On the Cover: Fox with a fresh catch.

CBM

January/February 2020—Volume 49 Number 9

Photo by Jay Fleming

Features

50

Becoming an Outdoorswoman

From field to table with Marty LeGrand

58 Sinking Cemetery

The Nature Conservancy documents Eastern Shore history before it disappears—Severn Smith

64

37 20 88

Where We’re Headed 24 58

The Rabbit Man

The inimitable Charles Rodney leads the pack—Chris D. Dollar

37

Stevenson, Md.

20

Baltimore, Md.

88

Washington, D.C.

24

Shady Side, Md.

58

Taylor’s Island

16

Norfolk, Va.

JILL JASUTA

16

Keeper is a very good outdoorswoman p. 50 January/February 2020

ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com

7


CBM

contents

January/February 2020 Talk of the Bay

Columns

34

On Boats: EdgeWater 230CX

37

Chesapeake Chef: A Night to Remember Frank Bonanno talks

70

Chesapeake Almanac: Exploring the Chickahominy

72

Jody’s Log: Could You Repeat That?Capt. Jody Argo Schroath heads

88

Stern Lines: Reflecting Pool

16 20 24 28

This downsized EdgeWater makes it all work—Capt. John Page Williams.

seafood with Chef Jerry Edwards.

Lego Ships Letters from Sea Model-Maker Maritime Trades

Departments

34 32

Capt. John Page Williams heads up the river.

10 32

Ice skating in 1920s Washington, D.C.

Bay Calendar

Advertising Sections

40 76 82 87

south for the winter on the ICW, with a little help.

From the Editor

Baltimore Boat Show Real Estate Brokerage Marketplace

Escape to

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II SS LL A A N N D D

Short drive, long memories. 410-770-8000 | TourTalbot.org

ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com

January/February 2020


CBM

from the editor

Foodways by Joe Evans

LIZ WATSON PHOTOGRAPHY

I

10

n Bernie Herman’s remarkable new book, A South You Never Ate— Savoring Flavors and Stories from the Eastern Shore of Virginia, the study of foodways essentially follows how “the taste of place expresses a love of place.” Herman calls the Eastern Shore home, and he is the George B. Tindall Distinguished Professor of Southern Studies and Folklore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also grows oysters and heirloom figs behind his house on Westerhouse Creek on the bayside of the peninsula. In social science, foodways refers to the intersection of food in culture, traditions, and history. In practice, what’s on the table brings us home and gathers friends and family in celebrations of wellness and sharing—grandma’s recipes, new tricks with old standards, fresh produce from the garden and field, and fresh Chesapeake crab, oyster, and fish preparations, as always. How we manage meals defines how we live. We must eat to live, and to live well, we must eat well. Altogether, Chesapeake food traditions blend and connect disparate cultures as we realize the menus and ourselves are all made from the same stuff. In the year that was, I had a couple of extraordinary opportunities to celebrate Chesapeake food and why we live here—the Maryland Coastal Conservation Association’s Sustainable Dinner with at the Gramercy Mansion near Baltimore, which you can read about on page 37, and the South You Never Ate launch party at the Chatham Vineyard in Machipongo, Va. where I joined about 200 revelers to witness and ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com

savor a cooking performance to beat all. Super-chef Amy Brandt of Eyre Hall in Cheriton gathered other regional rock-star cooks Harper Bradshaw, Walter Bundy, Brian Irminger, Brandon MacConnell, and Ross Riddle; an energetic team of Northampton High School culinary students; a half-cord of hardwood; and a quarter-ton of cast-iron and steel cooking grates, grills, cauldrons, and pans, for a no-holds-

barred cooking throw-down in a wide-open field kitchen. As we hovered around the fires and simmering pans to absorb the heat, smoke, aromas and conversation, I wondered if we should have signed waivers of liability in advance of what was happening and apparently to come. The site hosts, Jon and Mills Wehner, kicked things off with endless pours of their award-winning merlot, chardonnay, and blends while we scarfed down salty Sewansecott and Shooting Point oysters, like you do. As the fires roared into the sunset, out came deviled-crab tostadas, Barrier Island clam fritters, crisp slices of Hog Island sheep scrapple, stuffed figs, delicate clam ceviche in the shell and

January/February 2020

more oysters. Herman treated us to a hilarious sampling of his interviews from the book while the subjects (farmers, cooks, hunters, watermen, storytellers) endured the ribbing. Then, on long-board tables, came a relentless parade of roasted Hayman potatoes with (CBM contributor) Gus Gustafson’s toasted benne seeds and salsa, heirloom-cornmeal fried spotfish, oyster pie, roasted speckled trout with Pickett’s Harbor Farms vates collard greens, salt-baked puppy drum (redfish), smoked Hog Island sheep shoulder over rice grits, Mattawoman turnips and greens with benne seed vinaigrette, sweet potato biscuits with preserved fig and country ham, a giant clam paella creation, and ESVA pork gorditas with salsa verde and a local radish salad. Then, as some of the least hardy began to fall out in defeat, came dessert—Seafield Farm beet cupcakes with goatcheese frosting, Bessie Gintner Eastern Shore fig cake, fall fruit cobbler, biscuit and coffee drop cake, and finally, to the rescue, Coastal Roasting MarshMud Nitro coffee. On the way out of town the next day, I hit the Great Machipongo Clam Shack for a bowl of their famous clear clam chowder, as if enough is ever enough of a good thing.

joe@chesapeakebaymagazine.com

P.S.— Lookout for our special, cover-to-cover, Chesapeake Bay Magazine food edition, coming in February.


CBM

online

Too-Narrow Nice Bridge to be Replaced on Potomac River

Assateague Island National Seashore Hikes Entrance Fees

A $460 million bridge is to be built spanning the Potomac. It’s good news for driver safety and there’s a Bay benefit, too. Read about it at chesapeakebaymagazine.com/nice.

The National Park Service will charge more to enjoy Assateague’s beaches, camping, and of course, wild ponies. Read about it at chesapeakebaymagazine.com/ponies.

u Read more and sign up for the Bay Bulletin, CBM’s free weeky e-newsletter online at chesapeakebaymagazine.com/baybulletin.

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spotlight

A Conversation with

Stephen

Holt Chesapeake Bay Magazine

talks with Stephen Holt, he’s a managing partner at Premier Planning Group, and a specialist in retirement income planning who has clients throughout the region.

CBM:

We’ve seen your announcements about retirement planning events that you host at local restaurants, what exactly goes on there? Stephen: We host 24 workshops with a complimentary lunch or dinner throughout the year at nice restaurants and community centers. These events typically draw 15-40 people, are held in the greater Annapolis area, Baltimore County, and parts of the Eastern Shore. Attendees receive useful information about turning complex ideas on retirement into simple plans. It’s not a sales pitch, it’s all educational. And they enjoy a good meal.

CBM: Can you tell us more about the educational part of these dinner events? Stephen: Sometimes we host them during lunchtime, and we focus on how to retire with peace of mind. So you can sleep well at night knowing you will have the means to do what you like and take care of your family—about having a plan to do so. We don’t focus on the “nest egg,” rather the monthly income plan and how to have financial independence. CBM: What do the plans you create include? Stephen: Actually the plan is different for each person. We begin each client with an in-depth interview to find out what’s important. What are their goals, tolerance for risk. Our plans are conservative at first, then after specific income levels are reached we can be more aggressive. It’s a holistic approach—we make sure they are saving correctly, they are protected against certain exposures, have estate plans created, and more. We also show how much they are going to get from social security.

SPONSORED CONTENT

CBM: What might people expect

if they think they’d like to work with you? Stephen: It all starts with a conversation. We ask that they come prepared, and bring account statements and balances, their will, their taxes if completed, and we’ll go over it in a casual conversation. You’d be surprised how many people don’t realize how much they really do have.

CBM: How much money do people have to have to work with you? Stephen: I have no minimums, my clients have several thousand dollars up to several million. CBM: We see you out and about. How do you spend your free time? Stephen: I enjoy the outdoors, fishing and hunting and playing golf. I also work with several non-profit groups, namely Anne Arundel County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), Ducks Unlimited, Friends of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, and others. Stephen Holt is an independent advisor with 12 years experience in wealth management. He’s fully-licensed for the services he provides.

PPG WEALTH A Division of Premier Planning Group

115 West Street Suite 400 Annapolis, MD 21401 443.837.2520 ppgwealth.com


ENJOY Dinner on Me

LEARN

How to Plan to Create Retirement Income

Go Home

CONFIDENT

Sleep Well At Night Knowing

You Can Make a Plan! Stephen Holt offers a holistic approach to financial advising and hosts dinners and other financial workshops throughout the year at fine restaurants to demonstrate how to retire with confidence and a sense of security for yourself and loved ones. Find out more – contact his office today.

Premier Planning Group is an independent firm. Securities offered through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Summit Financial Group, Inc., a registered investment advisor. Summit and Cetera are affiliated and under separate ownership from any other entity. 115 West Street, Suite 400 Annapolis, MD 21401 - 443-837-2520

Stephen R. Holt

Financial Advisor/Founder Stephen@PPGwealth.com

443.837.2533


CBM

talk of the bay

Visitors and young ship builders gain an appreciation for Naval terms and conditions at the annual LEGO Brick by Brick Shipbuilding event in Hampton Roads .

Ship Building Blocks With Legos and little hands, the Hampton Roads Naval Museum is a brick shipyard story by Laura Boycourt / photos by M.C. Farrington

I

t’s a brisk but sunny February morning on the Norfolk waterfront, and shipbuilders are getting to it despite the nip in the air. From the mess deck to the turrets, pieces are adjusted here and blueprints are consulted there. The workers are poised to construct some of the finest vessels in the region. It’s one shipbuilder’s first time on the job, and it’s becoming obvious that she needs assistance from a skilled hand. The young laborer casts a perplexed look my way. “Mom, can you help me with this piece?” Fortunately for my little shipwright and the hundreds of other children at the 8th annual LEGO Brick by Brick Shipbuilding Event at the Decker Half Moone Cruise Terminal, there’s plenty of help to be had as they construct naval ships with what is arguably the world’s most beloved construction material. The event, conceived and hosted by the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, harnesses the power and popularity of LEGOs and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering,

16

ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com

January/February 2020

and Math) to introduce the young and older to the Navy, its ships, and the museum. An evergreen kid favorite, LEGO was an easy choice for a way to get folks of all ages connected to naval history and the museum. “The museum wanted to do something fun to engage the community,” museum Director John Pentangelo says of the creation of the Brick by Brick event, which is presented in partnership with Nauticus, Norfolk’s maritime science center, and the Hampton Roads Naval Historical Foundation. And boy did it work. Eight hundred people showed up at the museum for the inaugural event, and the party picked up so much steam over the years that it’s been held on two floors of the adjacent Half Moone Cruise Terminal for the past two. More than 5,000 people packed the house for last year’s event. Attendees can build 16 ships, enjoy a free-play area, and compete in a shipbuilding competition. There are


also robotic demonstrations, crafts, and a sensory room for children with alternative needs. No matter the skill level, there’s a boat to build. Child and adult, military and civilian, LEGO newbie or master builder, all are welcome. But there’s more to it than just building cool stuff. The kids and the grownups who brought them there are receiving a naval education while they build. Here’s where the mission of the Hampton Roads Naval Museum comes into play. Pointing to the research, Pentangelo says only 16 percent of the public thinks the Navy is the most important branch of the armed forces. The museum wants to change that. “We feel it’s very important to introduce people to the Navy, so by coming and building ships from the keel up, they start to get a naval vocabulary.” By playing with LEGOs, attendees learn about ships without even realizing they’re doing it, he says. The event also offers a unique opportunity for the military and civilians to work together, since the majority of volunteers are enlisted Navy. It’s “literally bringing people in close contact with the men and women who serve,” explains Pentangelo.

Rear Admiral Ann Phillips (Ret.) admires Matthew Hoecker’s shipbuilding workmanship at the Brick by Brick check-in station.

Last year, the commanding officer of the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Gettysburg, Captain Corey Keniston, volunteered—something Pentangelo considers to be one of the highlights of his career. “He was helping children build his ship. That’s what we want to do.” Keniston says the event is an opportunity to interact with the young builders and help them develop their skills and interests, all in the context of naval history, much of it local. After all, as he puts it, “maybe these are my next crew members!” Situated on the second deck of the Nauticus building, the museum is smack dab in the middle of naval history past and future. The retired battleship USS Wisconsin is to one side, and the Norfolk Naval Shipyard is just across the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth. Not to mention the fact that Hampton Roads boasts the largest U.S. Navy fleet concentration as well as the world’s largest naval base, in Norfolk. One of nine official Department of the Navy museums administered by the Naval Heritage and History Command in DC, the Hampton Roads Naval Museum has a simple mission. 

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talk of the bay

“We do what all museums do,” explains Pentangelo. “We collect and preserve artifacts dealing with the role the Navy has played in the United States, but we engage our community.” For Max Lonzanida, the museum’s public affairs officer, it’s impossible to point to just one reason why it’s worth a visit. It’s not just exhibits and artifacts, of which there are many. “Our educators venture to area public schools weekly to bring engaging educational programs without cost. We host lectures, staff outreach booths, publish a quarterly historical publication, provide guest speakers for events, assist with archival research and much more. So, in essence, what you see in our gallery is the tip of the iceberg,” Lonzanida explains. The museum’s newest exhibit is The Ten Thousand-Day War at Sea: The U.S. Navy in Vietnam, 1950-1975, which is slated to be on display for the next three years. Nearly 5,000 square feet has been dedicated to telling the stories of local veterans who served in Vietnam. Pentangelo says the exhibit focuses on the big question of “What did the Navy do?” during Vietnam. “We hope that by answering that question we can inform the public but also connect veterans to current service members, showing them that the things they do today are very similar to the things that were done 50 years ago.” “Good history is about people,” he says, so the exhibit is centered on oral histories from more than 40 veterans in the Hampton Roads region. From treating the wounded as a corpsman, firing eight-inch guns off the coast of Vietnam, or working aboard a hospital ship, Pentangelo says that veteran accounts, presented through touch screen videos, will help visitors to gain an understanding of

January/February 2020

what sailors experienced during the war. “We’re letting the veterans speak directly to the public, directly to the visitor. And that’s a very powerful thing that will hopefully help people understand what a multi-faceted war it was and the deep extent to which the Navy was involved,” he says. Pentangelo estimates that more than 1.8 million sailors served during the conflict, and their stories need to be told. “They are our neighbors, and our citizens, our parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, and they have not really been given a voice.” Now, thanks to the museum, they can be heard loud and clear. From LEGO fun to naval history, senior sailor to small child, the Hampton Roads Naval Museum offers a reason for everyone to stop by and learn something new. As Lonzanida says of the museum and all those who make its mission a reality each day, “The dedication of our staff and volunteers; their creativity and drive to bring over 240 years of naval history to the public is what makes our museum one of the premiere naval museums on the East Coast.”  Laura Boycourt is a freelance writer, mom to two little pirates, and lifelong boater from Annapolis.

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talk of the bay

Lost at Sea A ordinary seaman’s letters home by Rafael Alvarez

T

here was an old-timer aboard the Port Covington cable ship I worked on after leaving the Baltimore Sun in 2001, a true salt from Maine who, in honor of his years, was given light duty (sanding and varnishing) while the rest of us bent to more strenuous labor. I’ve forgotten his name, but I’ll never forget his favorite phrase, spoken aloud to no one in particular in the thick accent particular to the Pine Tree State: “She’s a feeder she is.” I had no idea what he was talking about. But now, having come into a handful of letters written by a seafarer during the Great Depression to his family in East Baltimore, I know. Very simply, the old-timer meant that the galley on the C.S. Global Link turned out more food than the average man could eat. The Downeaster was old enough to have sailed when a well-stocked larder on merchant ships was not a given.

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A feeder, along with freedom, adventure and steady work, was what Edward F. Mislak set his sights on in the teeth of the Depression when the 21-year-old went to sea, leaving his parents and nine brothers and sisters at 522 South Bethel Street in Fells Point. The year Eddie shipped out (1934) unemployment in the United States was above 20 percent. He made $35 a month (less than what he’d been told) and, as long as he didn’t fail at the job, could depend on it. Around the country, before competing seafaring unions began to consolidate, wildcat strikes were breaking out in ports like Tacoma, Washington over the quantity and quality of the chow, overtime, and the desire to sleep on mattresses stuffed with something other than sawdust. Eddie witnessed what happened to scabs when cornered by union muscle — “I’ve seen noses mashed all the way in,” he wrote — and observed that men in one West Coast port decided to strike “but did not know what it was for.” What Eddie knew was where his bread was buttered. Writing to his mother from the S.S. Vermar—a coastal freighter on which he learned the ropes of an Ordinary Seaman (“I was dumb as anything,” he said of his first days) — Eddie let his folks know that his belly was full and all was well. Eddie had the 4-to-8 shift on the Vermar, which typically carried lumber from the Pacific Northwest and through the Panama Canal to the East Coast. Proud that he was trusted to steer (under the eyes of the mate on duty, whom he’d alert to lights off the bow by ringing a bell), Eddie


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described how he’d come off the wheel at the end of his shift after everyone else had eaten breakfast. Writing from San Francisco in early October of 1934, Eddie said: “The mess boy fixes me up.” On the Vermar—built in Portland, Oregon in 1919 and renamed before being scrapped by Russian owners in 1967—Eddie noted that each man “only gets two eggs, but you get a lot Bachelor Pt · Jack’s Pt · Town Creek of other stuff—potatoes, bread Transient slips available at all 3 locations and meat.” $2.00/ft./night + electricity Not all of the other “fellers,” Floating docks @ Bachelor Pt. & Jacks Pt. Eddie wrote, liked eggs. Eddie did. Groups Welcome! “I get the mess boy to save ’em 410.226.5592 oxford, md for me,” he wrote, noting that the www.campbellsboatyards.com extras “are a little cold sometimes,” but plentiful, up to four on some days and, said Eddie, “fresh.” He lends a guy on the ship a dollar and not only does the man pay Eddie back but “he gives me his piece of pie every time we get it,” he writes. “I get more than I can eat et Out & Play on the Bay! Get The SUMMER Issue—G on this ship.” —p. 52 Eddie was the second of ten Places to Escape the Crowds SECRET BEACHES: 7 Quick children, aged about 3 to 21 at the MAGAZINE AZINE MAG time he shipped out, born to the E MAGAZIN MAGAZINE Polish-Catholic immigrants Bronislaus J.O. SPIHouCEse’s The Crab Secret Weapon “Ben” Eddie and his wife, the former MAGAZINE Getaways #MadeOnTheBay THE BAY ON Virginia Beach’s Anastasia Niesobinski. Seigler Reels OND BEY As for the care of his soul while THE BAY SHERMAN outt in the Trou away from heavily Catholic Fells Point, HOLMES Tributaries How Sweet the Sound Eddie allows that he fasts from meat each Friday, except for the time he CASEY CARES a Catching Hope at ent COCK TAIL forgot. And while in San Francisco, Rockfish Tournam Your New i n es clude plus ecip SUMMER CRUSH 2019 Guide to d // r i n s c u e CHESAPEAKE 38 attended Mass at what is now known s in // recip luded M SEU E MU TIM ME & E RITI TID ting for MA inates the BAY MARINAS ipe cludeu Illum Hun rec d ont s . 24 Annapolis Waterfr Sea Glass—p as Old St. Mary’s Cathedral on the nu // TACOS edge of Chinatown. plus BLUE CATFISH day Spice up Your Tues CHESAPEAKE CHEF n’s Kitche And he advises his mother, who Woodberry 28 sh—p Cast Iron Rockfish— arrived in the United States as a Subscribe at teenager without English, a language ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com Eddie’s father never acquired, to beef up her correspondence. “Put more words in it,” he tells her. “Don’t be afraid to use’ em.” 

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Eddie Mislak would not live to send many more words home to Bethel Street. By April of 1935, he is off of the Vermar and working for the McCormick Steamship Company though he does not give his vessel’s name in the return address. “Today is Easter — for breakfast two eggs, chicken and cake,” he wrote from San Francisco on April 21st. “... for dinner soup, roast pork and pie... for supper two eggs, steak and ice cream.” The fine distinction between dinner and supper seems to have been lost along with large ships of grace and elegance since the advent of “lunch” as the midday meal. By late 1935, when his last missive to Baltimore is a Christmas card, Eddie was sailing on the S.S. Iowa, built in 1920 by the Western Pipe and Steel Company of San Francisco. This single-screw, 410-foot, coastwise freighter, should not to be confused with the American battleship that carried Franklin D. Roosevelt to overseas meetings with Churchill and Stalin during World War II. The Iowa of which we speak is the one on which Eddie and 33 of his shipmates perished just after midnight on January 12, 1936 in a hurricane on the shoals of Peacock Spit at the mouth of the Columbia River. The bodies of ten of the dead were recovered. Eddie’s was not. The “spit” is a treacherous, half-submerged sandbar named for the 1841 wreck of the U.S.S. Peacock, a Navy ship used for scientific expeditions that foundered there. The spot where the Iowa sank in 80-mph winds in what is considered the 20th century’s greatest maritime disaster on the Columbia River Bar is just off of Cape Disappointment. The day after the wreck, the Baltimore Sun ran a front-page story

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with a crude, re-touched photo of Eddie and a sidebar on survivors. The story says that Eddie would have last seen his family the previous September when the Iowa “made the last of its infrequent calls to Baltimore.” Nine letters from Eddie Mislak have been preserved by his family, eight narratives and one “log” detailing the voyages of the Vermar. The missives were first saved by his mother, who received them nearly 90 years ago, and recently passed along at a family funeral to Daniel P. Mislak, Sr. of Hampstead, one of the many nephews Eddie never lived to see. Whatever letters Eddie kept from his mother and his brother Jim, Dan’s father and the oldest of the ten Mislak children, went down with the Iowa.

shoulder after being stabbed in a Sitting with his first cousin dockside fight. David Mislak at the G&A Hot Dog “My father never told stories Diner in Highlandtown, just a mile or about his brother Eddie,” said Dan. so from the old family home on On the green Formica table-top Bethel Street, Dan said that the letters between Dan and Dave at the G&A impressed upon him “how much sat the letters from a young Baltimore harder life was then—the resilience man who lit out from the oldest and independence you needed neighborhood in the city to see the to survive.” world, tattered envelopes adorned Dan’s father, to whom Eddie with two-cent George Washington confessed that he went to sea to get stamps and a couple of Ben Franklin out from under the authority of his stamps that cost a penny. parents, was a stevedore on the “They’re not exactly great stories,” Baltimore waterfront. said Dave. “Just life.” h James J. Mislak (1912-1986), retired from the International Rafael Alvarez is the author of Basilio Longshoremen’s Association in 1974. Boullosa Stars in the Fountain of In a long career of handling preHighlandtown, a collection of short containerized cargo, Jim Mislak lost a stories of Baltimore’s ethno-urban finger and broke multiple bones and experience. He can be reached via several ribs. He also carried an ugly, Full service boat dealership representing the finest premium b orlo.leini@gmail.com. three- to four-inch scar on his

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talk of the bay

Norman Gross models the boats and lives of Bay watermen.

Life in Miniature Norman Gross recreates the Bay boats of his childhood story and photos by Charlie Youngmann

N

orman Gross has worked on countless boats in his lifetime, however his most recent projects have garnered the most attention. His scale replicas reflect the history of a family deeply entwined with the Chesapeake Bay. The characters featured in his work tell the stories of real people. Gross’ father Frank was one of a long line of watermen who made their livings harvesting from the Chesapeake. Growing up in Shady Side in the 1970’s, Gross spent much of his childhood on the Bay. Before he was in the first grade, his father would take him oystering on his uncle Rodney’s boat. He recalls the grueling labor and chilling conditions of culling oysters at such a young age— “As soon as he put them up on the culling board you had to move fast because if you didn’t, they would freeze to the steel.” Gross and his younger brother would strike frozen clusters of shells with a stick as they moved oysters across the culling board of his uncle’s boat. Eventually the bitter winters on the Chesapeake wore down the then 10-year-old

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Gross. He knew he had to tell his father he couldn’t become a waterman. “I had hypothermia that day when I told him,” Gross said. “I mean I was freezing and shaking to death, and I said ‘Dad, I can’t do this kind of work when I grow up’.” Gross’ father warned him not to outright dismiss the idea of making a living on the water, and that he may have to someday. Nonetheless, by the age of 12, Gross had stopped going oystering. Gross developed as an artist through his years in school as he practiced with paints and drawing. While he continued to spend his summers pulling crab pots and soft shell clamming, Gross made his way in the marine industry “from the bottom up” as a shipwright. “I used to come home looking like a Smurf every day, blue paint and everything covered from head to toe, and I said there’s got to be a better way to make a living,” he recalls. Gross’ skills in matching colors and mixing paint guided his career as he went from painting boat bottoms to gelcoat and fiberglass application. Gross joined the Army, returning to the Bay three years later in 1980. He found the departure from the constant orders and routines of military life jarring. His eldest brother told him he didn’t seem right and invited him to come crabbing. Gross says that reunion with the water was what he needed to set him straight. Much later, he attempted to immortalize this memory in one of his first models. In 1986, on a whim, Gross built his first boat model. It fell apart on its maiden voyage while he was on vacation in Florida. It turned out, you’re not supposed to put these models in the water. It wasn’t until Gross turned 52 that he returned to modelmaking. 


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Having spent a great deal of time reflecting on his return to the water after he had left the military, he decided to try his hand at recreating that life. Working from a photographic memory, he meticulously recreated every detail of the encounter down to the folds of his brother’s signature “go to hell” hat. The boat, crabs, and characters were frozen with nets mid-swing to capture the moment. Gross recalled the blue hue of the crabs, barely visible through the shallow water. He later mirrored this element in the plexiglass panes he rests his models in. “After I built the first one I started thinking about the history of the watermen and these boats you probably won’t be seeing too much anymore,” Gross says. From there, Gross constructed several models including his grandfather’s boat, the Ruth Ann, his father’s boat, the Miss Myrtle, and his uncle Rodney’s oystering boat, Puddin, which he’d worked as a boy. These miniature vessels model a lineage of oyster tonging tradition that

A crabbing trip with his brother (right) and a friend (left) set Gross (center) to model-making.

spans three generations. From his grandfather’s hand tongs to the patent and hydraulic tongs he grew up with, Gross’ models display the evolution of harvesting technique. Rather than merely miniaturize the boats and tools of the trade, Gross said he seeks to preserve the life experiences of the watermen in his family with real scenes as they happened.

A memorable day on the Bay on Gross’ own Linda Mae, named for his wife (left).

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Gross has also worked to capture his own legacy on the water with a model of his own boat, the Linda Mae, named after his wife. Having discovered the boat sprouting foliage and falling apart beside the road, Gross decided to restore the craft to its former glory. Years later he constructed the model to immortalize a pleasant day he spent catching croakers with his wife. Gross’ largest and perhaps most breathtaking piece would be one he calls Taking Tally. This fully fleshed scene depicts Captain Jim and his son K.D., one of the last of his family members still working on the water. In this model, Gross’ buyboat is loaded to the brim with oysters ready for the market. A figurine of K.D. Gross’ mother Ethel sits keeping count of the unloading boats. Gross began his process for each model by carefully selecting a scene from his memory with some personal or historical significance. He’s made models of age-old oystering techniques and particularly special moments on the water with family. From there, Gross constructed the framework of each boat from balsa


wood by carefully shaping the hull and deck to match each boat’s real life counterpart. Along the way, Gross found a series of plastic figurines that were nearly the same scale as his models. Deciding his boats would be greatly improved with some inhabitants, he purchased a few to modify. He carved off the plastic grenades and toy soldier adornments of his figures, replacing them with hand-sewn clothing and accessories. He bent each figure into a position to show movement and interaction on the boat. Once the figures had been clothed and glued into position, Gross began the final step of the process by painting on the rust and grime that the boat would have accumulated. He added a mixture of crushed oyster shell he’d collected to create piles of miniature oysters. From the intricate mesh crab pots and nets to the labels on tiny cigarette boxes, Gross’ true craft is in the details. He explained that the items the figures interact with create a contextual foundation for each piece. Scenes of work and leisure coincide in Gross’ display cases. Gross hopes his models will one day find a home in a place of education. He’d like to share the work he’s done to preserve Chesaapeake maritime heritage for future generations. “A lot of young kids don’t know how to catch a crab, they don’t know what a clamming rig is, they don’t know what an oystering rig is,” He said, gesturing to his models. “I’ll be dead and gone, but they’ll last for 50 or 100 years if you put them in a case like that.” h Charlie Youngmann graduated in 2019 from the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism. He is a former CBM intern.

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talk of the bay

Pasadena Boat Works tech crew (left to right) Garrett Tate, Dylan Martin, and Dawson Combs.

Talent Search The Marine Trades Association of Maryland has a pipeline for success. by Steve Adams

B

oating is big business around the Chesapeake Bay—big enough that it can be tough to find qualified workers to fill the available positions. The National Marine Manufacturers Association reports that in Maryland in 2018, 1,121 businesses and 17,793 marine trade employees served Maryland’s 170,365 registered boats and their owners to an economic impact total of $3.5 billion, including manufacturers, suppliers, sales, services, boating activities, and business tax revenue. Virginia had similar results that year, with 790 businesses and 17,391 jobs supporting the state’s 225,732 registered boats. A major challenge in developing marine support businesses is finding trained and qualified marine service and repair technicians. Five years ago, the Marine Trades Association of Maryland started a workforce development program with grant money from the state’s department of labor. Virginia hopes to start a similar program. MTAM Executive Director Susan Zellers says, “Not so long ago, most boatyards were mom-and-pop businesses staffed by a single mechanic and a single bookkeeper. But we’re a far cry from that now, and boaters’ demand for marinas

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and boatyards that offer very specific services—and, in turn, employers’ demand for the employees who can provide them—inspired our pursuit of our Marine Trades Industry Partnership for JOBS Today program [MTIP].” “The need for a program that produces ready-to-hire workers with specific skills emerged as I became increasingly aware of the specialized knowledge, skills, and abilities that modern boats’ materials and mechanics require,” said Zellers. Maryland’s workforce development program offers potential workers paid one-on-one training in a specific skill that matches unfilled positions at participating employer. The program pairs the prospective worker and employer for a six-week learn-and-earn period, and the grant covers part of the employer’s costs. The idea is to provide students a path to success outside of the traditional college routine, and is open to anyone, including former military, long-term unemployed and those looking for a career change. Successful applicants are placed with a participating employer for on-the-job training, including biweekly evaluations and a minimumwage paycheck. Training areas include marine electrical, engine repair, and marine systems as well as credentialed skill training in TravelLift and forklift operation. After six weeks, the trainee may find themselves with a steady job. Despite transportation and geographic challenges (Zeller notes that marinas are rarely on bus lines and that most large marinas are in difficult recruitment areas), the program has been a resounding success. The number of employerpartners has grown from 18 in 2014 to 76 today, and the roster includes boat builders and sellers, marinas, the American Boat & Yacht Council, and others from Solomons to North East, Maryland.


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type of work makes them happy, or will make them happy, until they start exploring, and this program is a gateway to that exploration. It made it possible for me to discover and grow a passion for a career in the marine trades, and I hope it continues to grow so that more young people can have that same opportunity.” Perez is getting his wish, as Zeller reports that MTIP is implementing two new initiatives. In the first, MTIP is developing a marine trades apprenticeship program at Cecil and Chesapeake Community Colleges in 2020. In the second, the program will offer boat-sales internships with boat dealers and brokers at the fall Annapolis Boat Shows to juniors and seniors at Loyola and University of Maryland business schools. Looking back on the past five years, Zeller says that “While we have a successful program based on the numbers, our real success is recognizing and celebrating a young person’s desire to learn to fix something, putting them in a position to gain both self-confidence and skills, and helping our industry not only survive but gain a greater respect from the general public.” h Steve Adams’ license plate reads “BAY LVR.” He’s has a master’s degree in journalism and has a day job in integrated marketing. Follow his Instagram account, @annapolispaddleboarder.

INTERESTED? Visit www.MTAM.org/career-training to view sample OTJ Practicums or submit your resume. Call 410-269-0741 or contact Lia Jaros, Workforce Development Coordinator, at ljaros@mtam.org. January/February 2020

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Pasadena Boat Works owner and operations manager Nick Doetsch has hosted five trainees and now employs three of them as full-time, marine outboard technicians. “It’s very difficult to take someone from another industry and retrain them or start from scratch with them given how much there is to learn in the marine industry,” Doetsch says. “So we need the youth to start young and realize how far they can go as they gain confidence and experience over time.” Richard Krolak oversees 23 full-service boat repair and service staff people, including five full-time technicians who arrived through the program, as the service manager of Port Annapolis Marine. “The beauty of our MTIP trainees is that we can train them to our standards as opposed to having to first un-train them, right off the bat,” he says. “And while not every trainee has turned into an employee, MTIP has really become a sort of farm system for us, allowing us to homegrow our talent and find our free agents in a very cost-effective and efficient way.” The results play out in the numbers. Since inception, the program has received more than 400 applicants; contributed to continuing education training for 58 incumbent employees (who’ve seen three- to five-percent increases in their earnings); supported group training sessions attended by 140 workers; and watched 52 individuals complete their six-week in-the-job practicums. Harbor Marina and Inner Harbor West Assistant General Manager Angel Perez, a product of the program, says it’s hard to imagine he’d have ever discovered his passion for marina life without it. “It was an awesome experience,” he says. “I think a lot of young people, including me, don’t really know what

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A hunter sets his rig for duck season. PHOTO BY ANDY ANDERSON

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bay calendar

JAN 9-FEB 27 Winter Lectures at Annapolis Maritime Museum It might be too cold to take the boat

of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic, brings together commercial

year for an indoor boat show. Find the gear you’ll want, maybe

out, but that doesn’t mean all nautical activities have to cease.

fishermen, charterboat captains, aquaculturists, scientists,

buy a new boat, and definitely stop by Chesapeake Bay Magazine’s

The Annapolis Maritime Museum’s lecture series covers a range of

educators, and the public to learn about the latest in aquaculture

booth and say hello. Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Md.

topics, from “The Delights and Dilemmas of the Chesapeake Bay”

and commercial fishing, all to benefit the Maryland Waterman’s

baltimoreboatshow.com

(January 16) to “Bay Ridge—Queen Resort of the Chesapeake”

Association. Roland E. Powell Convention Center, Ocean City, Md.

(February 6). 723 Second Street, Annapolis, Md. amaritime.org/

marylandwatermen.com/trade-show.html

winter-lecture-series

11-12 2019 Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine

17-19 Waterman’s Expo

This expo, the largest

20 Free National Parks Day

23-26 Baltimore Boat Show

It’s the right time of

24-26 10th Va. Bch. Winter Wildlife Festival A great chance for bird-lovers to get outside, as Virginia Beach

To honor Martin Luther

hosts an array of presentations and outings, from birding boat

King Jr.’s birthday, the National Park Service is waiving admission

tours to photography workshops, with a keynote address by

Festival Learn the twin esoteric arts of wine-drinking and

to all their parks, so it’s a great day to check out Assateague, Fort

writer and globe-trotting bird expert Sharon ‘Birdchick’ Stiteler.

fly-fishing. There will be adult and child fly fishing lessons, and

McHenry, Harper’s Ferry, or really, any of the 55 Chesapeake area

Princess Anne Recreation Center, Virginia Beach, Va. VBgov.com/

a “bourbon tasting class for adults,” in case you need instruction

national park units. Not that there’s a bad day to go. nps.gov/

winterwildlife

in that area. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Meadow Event Park, 13191 Dawn

findapark/advanced-search.htm

ANGEL BEIL

Blvd, Doswell, Va. vaflyfishingfestival.com

JAN 1 North Beach Polar Plunge

If your New Year’s resolution involves jumping into icy

water with hundreds of your closest friends, then you’re in luck. North Beach hosts this annual spectacle of masochism, and you can take part for free (or pay to receive a t-shirt and certificate). Proceeds go to charity. Also free: Standing around and watching, like a normal person. 1 p.m., North Beach, Md. northbeachmd.org/polar-bear-plunge


u To find more fun events around the Bay, visit chesapeakebaymagazine.com/events.

28-29 National Outdoors Show This uniquely lower Eastern Shore event, which began in 1938, features the crowning of Miss

Show

Outdoors, a muskrat cook-off and the World Join Eastern Shore Land

Championship Muskrat Skinning Contest, not

Conservancy’s Vice President of Conservation Katie Parks to

necessarily in that order. 3485 Golden Hill Rd,

benefit market for the Decoy Museum and Level Fire Company.

learn about the historic preservation project at Phillips Packing

Church Creek, Md. nationaloutdoorshow.org

Check out lures, oyster cans, decoys, and more. Level Volunteer

Company in Cambridge and learn how the last remaining

Fire Hall, Havre de Grace, Md. decoymuseum.com

factory building in Cambridge is being repurposed as a mixed-

Sportsmen and collectors can hunt for treasure at this

28 Chesapeake Bay Magazine’s Angler Nights at the Boatyard Bar & Grill The first of three angler nights (the others are February 25 & March 31). Happy hour food, drinks and conversation followed by

use space to support regional economic opportunities. Part of the

Special Olympics Virginia—kid’s activities, costume contests,

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s Winter Speaker Series, The

entertainment, and hopefully, warm drinks. Virginia Beach,

Chesapeake—Past Present and Future. 213 North Talbot Street,

polarplunge.com

St. Michaels, Md.cbmm.org

14-16 Ocean City Seaside Boat Show

The

a fishing film. Presented by Chesapeake Bay Magazine and hosted

7-9 Mid-Atlantic Sports & Boat Show

by the Coastal Conservation Association and the Boatyard Bar

newest boats, plus deals on older models, all under one roof in

electronics, dock builders, boat lifts, crafts, canvas, archery

& Grill in Annapolis. Follow CBM on Facebook for featured film,

Virginia Beach. Plus, face painting for the kids and anglers’ clubs

display, fishing rods, fishing tackle, paddle boards, artists, and

speaker and food/drinks specials.

to teach you how to cast a net or tie a fly. Convention Center,

food vendors. Ocean City Convention Center, Ocean City, Md.

Virginia Beach, Va. vaboatshow.com

ocboatshow.com

FEB 1 From Field to Table Outdoorswoman

Workshop

33

7 Winter Speaker Series

JILL JASUTA

25 Vintage Hunting and Fishing Collectibles

Hone your outdoor skills or learn new ones

8 Virginia Beach Polar Plunge

All the

Didn’t get enough

Eastern Shore’s biggest boat show, featuring over 350 boats,

22-23 Lefty Kreh’s Tiefest

The 20th running of

at the Maryland Department of Resources “Becoming an

last month? Finally thawed out and willing to try again?

Lefty Kreh’s Tiefest in honor of the late, great icon of saltwater fly-

Outdoorswoman” workshops (Featured on page 50). They have a

Accidentally frozen solid in the last ice age and awakened to a

fishing with some of the best saltwater fly-tyers and anglers in

variety of them throughout the year on different topics, all geared

confusing new world? Here is your chance to return to the water’s

the region. Seminars and demonstrations. BWI Marriott. facebook.

towards women 18 and up. bit.ly/2zsOjvB

icy embrace. A whole festival devoted to plungin’ that benefits

com/leftykrehstiefest

ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com

January/February 2020

January/February 2020

ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com

33


CBM

on boats

u Learn more about the EdgeWater 230CX at ewboats.com.

Modern Ergonomics The EdgeWater 230CX makes it all work in a handy package by John Page Williams

I

COURTESY PHOTOS

t’s always easier to up-size than to downsize. When a boat company develops a successful and feature-rich new model, it often spawns larger siblings that hold more people or stuff. Reversing direction and packing those attractive, bigger EdgeWater 230CX boat features into a smaller hull is like squeezing a quart into a LOA: 24' 4" pint pot. At a certain point, the Beam: 8' 6" smaller spaces don’t fit real Draft: 15" people anymore. Weight: 3,900 lbs. Despite those odds, Fuel Capacity: 110 gal EdgeWater Boats has pulled off Max HP: 300 the feat with its new 230CX Available through (crossover). The first member of Annapolis Yacht Sales— this multi-purpose, dual-console annapolisyachtsales.com. line was the single-engine 245CX,

34

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January/February 2020

introduced ten years ago to provide a seaworthy platform for family activities and serious angling on inland and near-coastal waters. Engineering improvements led to the upgraded 248CX, followed by the twin-engine 262CX and 280CX, all of which have been well-received. We’ve been fans of these well-built, able vessels, but we admit to initial skepticism about the downsized 230CX, until we had a chance to crawl around one and take a thorough test trip. We came away impressed with this little sister’s capabilities. In the first place, EdgeWater’s “SinglePiece Infusion” composite construction system produces a one-piece, foam-filled, unsinkable hull of great strength that carries a limited lifetime warranty. The twenty-eight-year-old


company is known for excellent workmanship, which is evident in top-quality wiring, plumbing, and mechanical systems laid out with access for maintenance. EdgeWater’s proven variable-deadrise deep-V running surface with wide chines provides ample stability and dry running. EdgeWater’s experience with the larger CX crossovers shows in the 230’s layout. The most obvious feature is the hardtop, with its powdercoated frame, six-foot six-inch headroom, spreader lights, and an electronics box. It covers most of the cockpit for shade, and curtains are available for weather protection, allowing for three-season boating on the Chesapeake. The wraparound windshield mounts in a sturdy frame with a hinged center panel that opens for access to the bow but closes tight for nasty weather, complemented by a swinging panel below. The bow compartment can function as a comfortable lounge for two with armrests and cupholders, a picnic space for four, with a removable table, which stows away in the port console; or as a casting area for an angler working breaking fish. Our test boat had an anchor windlass installed at the bow, but on a boat this size, a manual system would be adequate for most needs. The starboard helm is built for comfort, with an adjustable chair that offers a flip-up bolster for leaning, good sightlines both below and above the windshield, a footrest, and a

dash large enough to flush-mount a 12-inch multifunction electronic display (interfaced with a VHF overhead) and a multifunction Yamaha engine display. Behind the sidemounted throttle/shift lever is an open storage compartment for phone and sunglasses. And yes, there’s a cupholder recessed beside the stainless helm. There’s ample storage inside the helm console, and under the helm seat. Immediately aft of the helm seat is a sink with a cutting board cover, over a carry-aboard cooler that slides out on a stainless track for access. There’s a grab bar securely mounted on the back of the sink. The port console area opens up to the acid test for downsizing—a nicely finished head with a more than adequate 47-inches of headroom). A portable toilet with pumpout is standard. An electric unit and holding tank is optional. The door is shaped for easy backing-in, with a handle placed strategically below the side windshield for steadiness. The space offers natural light and ventilation along with other appointments. The port companion seat functions back-to-back for two passengers or folded down for one. There’s open storage for phone and such, another cupholder, and a slide-out storage drawer there as well. Between the helm and companion seat, there is a long, in-sole storage compartment for skis, boards, and tow toys. The boat’s two batteries are readily accessible, secured on shelves on either side of the space. January/February 2020

ABOVE: (L) The forward lounge area accomodates two for the ride and picnic space for four with the removable table, which stows in the port console. (R) The helm features an adjustable seat with a flipup bolster, footrest, and large dash for engine and navigation displays. Aft of the helm is a sink/cutting board, wet-bar work space over a portable cooler.

ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com

35


CBM

on boats

A wide seat across the port and center transom accommodates three, with a sturdy, latched door to starboard along with a bib for the raw water washdown system. Below the seat is a livewell and a wide storage compartment below. The back of the transom seat includes four vertical fishing rod holders and a neat retractable tow-sport post. The afterdeck is well-designed for swimming and handling fish, and it includes non-skid extensions on either side of the engine. To starboard is a retractable boarding ladder, and to port is a shallow compartment for a small stern “lunch hook” anchor or a pair of fins and a mask. There’s another livewell in the port quarter of the transom. The aft gunwales feature ingenious cup/rodholder mounts. Remarkably, there is a horizontal rack for three rods up to 9 feet long (yes,

we measured) recessed into the starboard side of the cockpit. The fit and finish for all of these elements is up to EdgeWater’s high standard. So, what can a family do with a 230CX? Answer: day-cruise in comfort, swim, tow skiers, wakeboards and tubes, and fish in most of the ways appropriate to the Chesapeake and its rivers. The hull inspires confidence. It’s strong and able enough to handle the Bay’s inevitable chop. Standard power is a Yamaha 250. The optional 300 that powered our tester is a splendid, durable engine that pushed the two of us aboard to a top speed of 40 knots. The most efficient cruising speeds were 20 to 25 knots. The 300 offers plenty of power for carrying people and their gear, as well as towing. The 230CX comes up onto plane easily without excessive bow rise, especially if the skipper is handy with engine

trim and the hull’s recessed, electric trim tabs. This size of boat tows easily on a dual-axle trailer behind a full-sized SUV. An adventurous family, or couple, could explore all sorts of Chesapeake waters aboard a 230CX, and with reasonable care, the rig is built well enough to become an heirloom. EdgeWater’s designers and engineers surely got the ergonomics right. The base price with a Yamaha F300 is $130,095. The sticker on our test boat was $146,054, including options such as an electric head with holding tank, a stereo upgrade, and an anchor windlass, along with freight and dealer prep.  CBM Editor at Large and author John Page Williams is an educator and Maryland fishing guide. In 2013, the State of Maryland proclaimed him an Admiral of the Bay.

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chesapeake chef

CBM

Chef Jerry Edwards at the Gramercy Mansion.

Pan-roasted Chesapeake sheepshead

A Night to Remember Coastal Conservation and great food go together in an extraordinary seating at the Gramercy Mansion. story by Frank Bonanno / photos by John Issacs & Umbrella Syndicate

C

hef Jerry Edwards’ passion for food and wine is infectious. He also shares the Coastal Conservation Association’s (CCA) dedication to conserving and enhancing sustainable natural resources. When he reached out to the CCA about hosting an evening of wine and Bay-to-table pairings, we leaped at the prospects. We discussed sheepshead, a reef-oriented fish that thrived in the Bay during the oyster heydays from colonial times until the collapse in the 1990s. Now, with the rise of oyster farming in the Bay, we can rave about home-grown options. Meanwhile, there’s a silver lining to the explosion of the invasive blue catfish population: They are delicious. As we talked, we drifted to web-footed prospects such as Maryland’s canvas back ducks and the habitat improvements needed to support them, and enjoy them on plates. From this conversation, Edwards created a menu that included all of the above —in unconventional ways —but with all the flavor, comfort, and nostalgia, paired with excellent, curated wines. We invited notable diners and conservationists to the Gramercy Mansion near Stevenson, Maryland, just outside of Baltimore’s evening luminance. Thus, began a night of amazing food for a full house as the chef introduced each course and poured the wine for the offerings. Meanwhile, we rose to talk about the importance of advocacy, careful fish population management, and habitat improvement—the three legs of conservation. In the end, we were refreshed in our shared mission to protect and enjoy the benefits of a robust meal, delightful evening, and a healthy Chesapeake Bay.

January/February 2020

ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com

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CBM

chesapeake chef Mid-Atlantic sea scallops

THE MENU

Pan-roasted Chesapeake sheepshead with carrot beurre blanc, grilled and smoked baby vegetables, 2017 La Bella Siciliana Poached duck egg with roasted puree of celeriac, grated parmesan cloud, 2017 Oxford Landing chardonnay Duck pastrami with dried cherry mustard, crispy pear slaw, 2015 Emile Beyer pinot noir Salted caramel custard with walnut crunchy bits and H.M. Borges 2005 tinta negra Madeira

Salted caramel custard

ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com

seafood?

as soon as it is the perfect doneness. Proper cooking techniques are also important to release the optimum flavor from different kinds of fish.

Chef: Fish is delicate and needs

CBM: Tell us about the Gramercy

delicate seasoning, but full flavor must be there. So, nothing bland. But the sauces and the preparation should be on the delicate side. For example, I don’t use black pepper with white fish, only white pepper, which is a little spicy but lighter in flavor.

Mansion Wine Dinners?

CBM: What is essential to preparing

CBM: Why is local seafood important

Mid-Atlantic sea scallops with toasted almond and red apple streusel, 2015 Balo pinot gris

38

We asked Chef Jerry Edwards:

to you, and does that apply only to seafood?

Chef: The use of local ingredients is

Chef: These suppers are an excellent way to experience a night of great wines, carefully paired food courses, and cultural enlightenment and awareness with old and new friends. You are seated at a table of eight, and we serve five courses, each paired with an amazing wine.

CBM: How do you plan the dinner?

as old as time. If you travel to Europe, you will find that most foods are local and local wines are served with them. Of course, there is a negative impact that shipping around the world has on the environment, but the truth is, if it’s local, it is fresher. In addition to that, understanding the locality of the food, allows you to better understand what flavors it will produce. For instance, when buying oysters, you can learn a lot of their flavor profile from the waters they come from.

Chef: In order for us to create the

CBM: How do you pair the wine with

Frank Bonanno is the past Coastal Conservation Association—Maryland chairman of the board, an avid angler, and a noted foodie and cook.

the plate?

Chef: When we taste a wine, we want to either complement the wine by having similar flavors in the food choices or contrast the wines having textural differences work together. For example, a wine that tastes of pineapple, may pair well with sauce that highlights tropical flavors. A wine high in acidity or crispness, would contrast well with a rich creamy sauce. The real key to serving 130 guests seafood that is hot and tasty is timing. Fish does not hold very well, so exact timing in the kitchen is crucial. You can’t cook in advance. You must plate the fish

January/February 2020

menu, we taste the wines four or five weeks in advance, and we analyze each wine for its smell, flavor, texture, and finish. Then we design a recipe around the wine, being careful to match the flavor and texture of the wine with the ingredients that will highlight the pairing. We also are very careful with the timing and the service elements of the evening. The entire team is schooled on the wines, the food, and the timing of the evening. 

CHEF’S EXPRESSIONS Jerry Edwards is a highly regarded chef and sommelier who has been all over the world in pursuit of perfection. Chef’s Expressions has been a Baltimore-based, full-service catering and event company since 1982, striving to create premium experiences.


Duck Pastrami for Seven INGREDIENTS The Cure 1/4 cup 2 tsp 2 tsp 2 tsp 1 tsp 1/2 tsp 1/2 tsp 1/2 tsp 4 lbs

Kosher salt ground black pepper ground coriander dark brown sugar ground juniper berries ground ginger granulated garlic ground cloves skin-on boneless duck breast

The Rub 3 Tbsp ground black pepper 11/2 Tbsp ground coriander seed 2 tsp ground juniper berries 1/2 tsp granulated garlic

CURING

Champagne Cherry Mustard

3 days before prepping: in a small bowl, mix together salt, pepper, coriander, brown sugar, juniper berries, ginger, garlic, and cloves. Coat duck breasts entirely and place in a large re-sealable plastic bag. Store in the coldest part of the refrigerator for 72 hours, flipping bag twice a day. Remove breasts from bag and wash as much cure off as possible under cold running water. Place breasts in a large container and fill with water and let soak for 2 hours, replacing water every 30 minutes. Remove from water and pat dry with paper towels.

RUBBING

2 ⁄3 cup 1 cup 3 2 ⁄3 cup 1 cup 1 cup

1.

2.

3. 4.

Mix together black pepper, coriander, juniper berries, and garlic in a small bowl. Coat duck breasts entirely with rub.

COOKING Grill over chunks of smoking wood, keeping meat rare. Slice and serve.

Coleman’s dry mustard sugar eggs champagne vinegar dried cherries Champagne or sparkling wine

Heat the Champagne and steep the cherries in the hot liquid. Pour off the liquid. Mix mustard, cherries and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well. Gradually add the vinegar and mix well. Microwave for 2 minutes, covered. Take out and stir. Cook 2 minutes more. Purée in blender.

The Slaw Julienned pears and jicama with a rice wine and honey vinaigrette and a touch of cumin seed. 

January/February 2020

ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com

39


CBM

Progressive Insurance Baltimore Boat Show-January 23-26 The first thing to know is you can get special, Chesapeake Bay Magazine, 15% discounts on online tickets with the code CHESAPEAKE20. Boaters under the age of 13 accompanied by ticket-holding adults are admitted free of charge. Otherwise, it’s $15 a ticket.

40

ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com

Once you’re in, you’ll find a virtual sea of new boats, engines, gear and activities to inspire your Chesapeake Bay aspirations. Vendor space was fully sold out months ago, including exhibit space for more than 300 boats, booth space for over 100 boating products and service providers, and the new DBX-Discover Boating Experience, the Tackle & Fishing Store demo and tutorial station hosted by Chesapeake Bay Magazine’s Wild Chesapeake columnist Captain Chris Dollar, a Virtual

January/February 2020

Fishing Simulator, the Touch-ABoat Tour (scavenger hunt) for young boaters, the Miss GEICO Offshore Racing Boat, the Build-A-Boat model-building station for under-12 attendees, Boating Career Day Q&A sessions for those interested in recreational marine careers, the Progressive Insurance/Annapolis School of Seamanship Boat Club Experience, a boating skills virtual trainer, and the Chesapeake Bay Magazine Fishing & Boating Seminar Series.


Thursday opens with one-day-only, Super-Thursday deals on certain boats and products, giveaways throughout the day, and discount tickets for active or veteran military and first responders. Ticket price drops to $5 after 5 p.m. Thursday only.

The winner gets a 55-inch, 4K, Ultra HD Fire TV Edition. Sign up at the office.

Go Fishing Friday boosts the fish factor with fishing gear giveaways, a virtual fishing simulator, and a virtual Fish-Fighting Tournament with prizes including a grand prize charter-boat fishing trip.

Throughout the run of the show, the Progressive Insurance Boat Club Experience will provide hands-on education and boating inspiration in partnership with the Annapolis School of Seamanship. The experience includes docking exercises with a remotecontrolled boat or take a spin in a virtual reality boating experience. Progressive Insurance experts will be on hand to answer questions about coverage.

Also on Friday at 6:00 p.m., the food court will host the 10th annual Crab Pickin’ Contest, thanks to Conrad’s Seafood Restaurant and Baltimore’s Classic Rock Station—100.7-The Bay.

The Touch-A-Boat Tour for Kids is an experience where youngsters and adults can climb aboard with the experts and get a sense of what it’s like to be on the crew.

Miss Geico, the 50-foot, worldchampion, 3,300-horsepower, Mercury 1650 RACE out-drive engine-powered, offshore racing boat, which reaches speeds over 170 knots (200+mph), will be on display. You can’t miss her. The Chesapeake Bay Magazine Seminar Series begins on-stage Friday afternoon at 12:30 with How to Achieve Your Captain’s License by the Annapolis School of Seamanship followed at 2:30 by a Boating for Beginners presentation. At 4:30, get your seat early for a presentation by noted author and light-tackle fishing pioneer Shawn Kimbro who will present successful strategies for catching all kinds of fish throughout the Chesapeake watershed. He’ll have copies of his

January/February 2020

ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com


ground-breaking fishing books on hand as well. At 6:30, the day’s seminars wrap up with CBM publisher John Stefancik’s popular Dock n’ Dine on the Chesapeake presentation to help you navigate your way to the Bay’s best eats, drinks, and ice cream. Saturday seminars follow the same schedule. Sunday presentations kick off at 10:30 a.m. and wrap up with Dock n’ Dine at 2:30.

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Rugged comfort and cutting-edge capability are hallmarks of the Boston Whaler 315 Conquest. From the versatile, enclosed helm Rugged comfort and cutting-edge capability are hallmarks of the area to the spacious cabin and purposefully designed cockpit,

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SEMINAR SCHEDULE Friday, January 24, 2020 Show Hours: 10am-8pm 12:30pm 2:30pm 4:30pm 6:30pm

How to get your Captains License Boating for Beginners Chesapeake Light Tackle Fishing by author Shawn Kimbro Dock n’ Dine on the Chesapeake Bay

Saturday, January 25, 2020 Show Hours: 10am-8pm 12:30am 2:30pm 4:30pm 6:30pm

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46

Boating for Beginners Chesapeake Light Tackle Fishing by author Shawn Kimbro Dock n’ Dine on the Chesapeake Bay

ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com

January/February 2020


6 Maryland & DC Locations MEMORIES THAT LAST A LIFETIME

BOATING FOR BEGINNERS New boaters are often overwhelmed with information. Safety, good boatkeeping, navigation and maintenance—whew—having a good time is overtaken by sweating all these details! Join Chesapeake Bay Magazine’s Publisher John Stefancik for an easy and straight-forward talk about the important things to know when you are just starting out.

• 200+ Locations Worldwide • 20,000+ Members in 31+ States and Canada • Free Unlimited 1:1 Boat Training by U.S. Licensed Coast Guard Captains • 2,000+ Boat National Fleet • Monthly Social Events • Free Fishing Seminars • Reciprocal Access to Boats & Clubs Worldwide • Multiple Membership Programs, Affordable Plans

LIGHT TACKLE FISHING

HOW TO GET YOUR CAPTAINS LICENSE Between the USCG requirements for sea time, physicals, applications and examinations, getting a captain’s license can seem daunting. Annapolis School of Seamanship’s expert captains will discuss the ins and outs of becoming a licensed captain. Topics Include: • Types of Licenses • Pre-requisites • Application Process • Using your License

Good fishermen know how to turn bad days into good days and good ones into great ones. Shawn Kimbro, author of three books on fishing the Chesapeake Bay and Mid-Atlantic, explains the techniques, traits and attitudes of highly successful Mid-Atlantic anglers. Get advice on fishing techniques, seasonal patterns, lures, rods and reels, fishing spots and characteristics of a good fishing boat.

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DOCK N’ DINE ON THE CHESAPEAKE BAY The Chesapeake Bay offers a spectacular range of cruising opportunities, great places to stop and see the sights and fantastic places to eat. Lifelong boater and publisher of Chesapeake Bay Magazine, John Stefancik shares insights on where to go, what to do, and where to find the best eats along the way.

Full service marina with covered & open slips available now. • Gas, diesel, pumpout • Pool • Nettle-free beach • 50 channel cable TV • Ship’s store • Slipholder fuel discounts • 50T lift • Full service and parts • Wi-Fi • Mechanics on duty 6 days • A/C heads & laundry • Picnic peninsula • Water taxi service to moorings

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northcoastboats.com


becoming an

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e looked like bundled-up surgeons huddled over outdoor operating tables somewhere in the Great North. In truth, we were gathered on a hunting preserve on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in the aftermath of a pesky snowfall. Having left a toasty hunting lodge, 14 other ladies and I were getting our penultimate lesson in becoming culinary outdoorswomen. Our challenge? Learn how to cut the breast from a duck that we had, in theory, shot in the marshes on this frosty February day. Like most of our group, I had never hunted. I didn’t attend the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshop offered by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to become a hunter necessarily. But if you’re going to eat wild game (which I love) I figure you owe it to yourself and your meal to understand and honor the entire process, including the messier parts that happen in the field in inclement weather. Picking up a mallard hen and a sharp knife at one of the communal tables, I tried to follow lodge manager Vicky Mullaney’s instructions. Placing the duck on its back, I felt for its breastbone. My fingers numb with cold, I pulled the downy feathers away to reveal the protruding bone. It was surprisingly easy. Like plucking a leaky pillow. The field surgery proved a bit more challenging. With the hen’s breastbone cleaned of its surrounding fluff, I inserted the knife and cut down along the bone, beginning with the right half of the breast and then switching to the left. Reaching into the cavity, I pulled the dark red meat away from the bone and then carefully cut out each palm-sized chunk of breast. Thankfully, I received expert guidance from Mullaney’s assistant, Lauren Cameron, as I maneuvered the knife and tried to extract reasonably intact breast halves. Cameron, a former Miss Outdoors from Dorchester County, knows how to field dress animals, having skinned muskrats—among other skills—en route to earning her crown. By the time we had finished, all of us wore red badges of outdoorsyness in the form of bloodstained fingertips. The crimson smears even sullied one woman’s glitter-polished fingernails, yet nobody seemed squeamish about getting hands-in with deceased ducks. As one of our group explained: “You just gotta own it.”

W w

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yo u ow e i t to yo u rs elf an d yo u r m eal to u n d e rstan d an d h o n o r t h e en t i r e p ro c ess

We deposited the last of the excised duck breasts in bowls, to be cleaned and cooked later by Mullaney. Then we returned to our indoor classroom at The Lodge at Black Pearl, the Mullaney family’s private lodge and home that for about 10 weeks every winter caters to invited waterfowlers who travel from across the country to hunt ducks and geese on the surrounding marshes and to eat hearty meals (bacon breakfast sandwiches, duck and sausage gumbo, beef tenderloin and coq au vin) that Mullaney prepares in the lodge’s professional grade kitchen. Mullaney and her husband bought the rustic, 850-acre retreat from a Washington D.C. lobbyist and raised five children there, teaching them the value of an outdoors lifestyle and the health benefits of a high-protein, low-fat fish and game diet. “If you shoot it, you eat it” is the Mullaney mantra. “It’s definitely part of what my family does together,” she said of hunting. “It’s why we bought this place; I knew my boys [she has three] would come home no matter who they married—and they did.” In fact, she told us, her newest daughter-in-law shot a deer just the day before. “It’s not just about the kill and shooting. It’s about spending time together. It just becomes a way of life.” The Mullaney daughters are as outdoorsy as their parents and siblings. Partnering with DNR on her second Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) workshop, Mullaney shared with us her living-from-the-land philosophy, its savory, practical applications— the meals she makes for her family and guests. Designed to teach outdoor skills to women in a reduced-testosterone environment, BOW workshops originated some 30 years ago in Wisconsin and have expanded nationwide. Maryland’s program, which began in 1995, offers eight to 10 workshops a year, including a popular rockfishing clinic in June and an equally popular deer clinic and hunt in November. Other offerings vary annually, but over the years, distaff Marylanders have learned how to fly-fish and bow hunt, keep bees and can vegetables, use a muzzleloader and wield a chainsaw, identify edible wild plants and track elusive wild turkeys. Our session was what DNR calls a “Beyond BOW” workshop, intensive classes co-hosted with another organization such as Black Pearl Lodge that focuses on specific activities. Our


From Field to Table workshop taught participants to prepare harvested game for the dinner table. Some Beyond BOW classes encompass multiple days, including a two-day Eastern Shore goose hunt in January and a three-day Becoming an Outdoors-Woman basic skills workshop held in August in Western Maryland. BOW co-coordinator Letha Grimes, a biologist with DNR Fishing and Boating Services, told me the workshops are one-third “consumptive” (hunting and fishing, for example), one-third non-consumptive (such as sporting clay clinics) and one-third “other” (like kayaking instruction). An angler herself, Grimes teaches an annual class in how to filet fish. Workshops are targeted to women 18 and older. Our group skewed more toward the latter than the former. Men are not necessarily banned from attendance, but BOW workshops strive to foster female camaraderie. With a welcoming wood fire crackling behind her, Mullaney began the day by gathering us around the lodge’s hearth for coffee and self-introductions. A quintessential Chesapeake gunning club, the one-and-a-half-story building exuded masculinity. There were wooden beams,

The Black Pearl Lodge exudes Chesapeake wildness including flying, taxidermied waterfowl among the rafters.

pine paneling, paintings of wildfowl, deer and a skipjack, plus other hunting lodge hallmarks like wooden decoys, a gunroom as large as most kitchens and, on the other side of the twin-faced brick fireplace, a private bar complete with the envy of any man cave, an indoor grill. As we settled into large armchairs and a comfy sectional, a variety of waterfowl preserved by a local taxidermist “flew” overhead, suspended from the cathedral ceiling and stirred into motion by ceiling fans. We introduced ourselves and explained our hunting experience (or lack thereof) to a semicircle of new acquaintances. Four in our group were confirmed hunters, another six were married to hunters or came from hunting families, and a handful such as me had previously shot sporting clays but had never fired upon anything sentient. Our reasons for attending were equally diverse. A BOW disciple, Roxanne Fleming attended her first workshop about 10 years ago and has become a regular attendee, especially classes involving hunting, fishing, boating and other field sports. She started deer hunting at age 16, goose hunting in her mid 20s and currently owns three Labrador retrievers. “I’ve always had a dog and January/February 2020

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some kind of firearm in my hands,” she told us. Thanks to friends she’s made at workshops over the years, she now organizes non-BOW goose hunts with her new colleagues in firearms. Several women signed up primarily for cooking advice from Mullaney, author of the hunting- and family-centric The Lodge at Black Pearl Cookbook. Eva Smorzaniuk married an avid hunter, a passion she hasn’t acquired. She does, however, like to cook, so the two have a natural division of labor, she said: “He kills, I cook.” Another attendee, Shannon Hopkins, spoke for several of her non-hunting sisters when she told Mullaney, “Our freezer is filling up with all this stuff I need to know what to do with.” One of the best perks of workshop attendance was the chance to learn and sample several of Mullaney’s recipes, dishes she and Cameron prepared on site with our help. (During our morning coffee klatch, wonderful smells and sizzling noises drifted from the kitchen where Cameron was making lunch.) As part of our registration fee, we also received a copy of Mullaney’s cookbook. Before we got to the cooking lessons, we needed to learn about our meals-to-be. Rick Walls, a DNR wildlife biologist, provided indoor and outdoor instruction on identifying the variety of ducks, geese, and swans that populate Maryland in midwinter. Walls progressed from Duck 101—teaching us the distinction between shallow-feeding dabbling (puddle) ducks and deeper-feeding diving ducks—to the nuances of their breeding and nesting habits, plumage and flight patterns. We learned why female ducks (hens) are less colorful than drakes: They need better camouflage because, Walls explained, “the female pretty much does everything.” “Yup!” one woman loudly agreed, accompanied by knowing smiles from the rest of us. He told us to pay attention to the birds’ flight patterns and noises to better identify them on the wing and in the field. “If there’s quacking going on, I can tell they’re mallards,” he said. Wigeons, on the other hand, make a whistling sound. We received two identification publications to take home, my favorite being a BoatU.S. Foundation pamphlet entitled Know Thy Duck. To get us started, Walls identified members of the taxidermy flock above our heads. He pointed out a pair of buffleheads hovering above him and some green-winged teal, but admitted he was baffled by a couple of large ducks with

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Stephanie Butler studies duck details before going afield; Keeper brings home the groceries; Becoming an Outdoor Woman workshop class practices flying duck identification with DNR’s Rick Walls; Larry Hindman demonstrates essential retriever communications.

dark wings and caramel-colored bodies. They turned out to be ruddy shelducks, a non-native species that hails from Europe and Asia. (I checked; Know Thy Duck also knoweth not this foreign fowl.) Leaving the fireside, we proceeded outdoors for the field portion of Walls’ lesson. We focused our binoculars on a large, exceedingly talkative flock of mallards clustered on and beside the water some distance away from the lodge. “Do you hear that whistling?” Walls asked. “That’s the drake,” who sometimes makes the noise during courtship displays, he said. “They’ll puff up and when they come back down, they whistle.” Apparently conserving their energy in temperatures that rose barely above freezing, the mallards were all squawk and no action, so we peppered Walls with questions. What’s the largest Chesapeake duck? Mallards among puddle ducks, canvasbacks among divers. What are nests made of? Wood ducks use belly down; mallards prefer grasses. What are ducks’ natural predators? “Everything likes the eggs and everything likes ducks. They’re like chickens,” Walls said. Snapping turtles, snakeheads and largemouth bass will eat ducklings, for example. “When you think about it,” he added, “it’s pretty remarkable that any ducks survive at all.” (DNR tries to give them a hand. Wood ducks are Maryland’s primary breeding waterfowl and DNR’s Wood Duck Initiative offers nesting boxes and predator guards for nesting sites on private and public lands.) For our next lesson, we piled into vehicles and drove along a dirt lane to an old farm field where retired DNR waterfowl biologist Larry Hindman awaited us with Keeper, his precocious yellow Labrador retriever. Hindman breeds and sells retrievers, hunters’ indispensible companions and canine factotums. Without the dogs’ keen noses and disciplined demeanor, he told us, a hunter could lose as many as 25 percent of the birds she or he shoots. “This dog is a companion,” he said of Keeper, who panted and fidgeted on the portable stand that Hindman used to simulate a hunting blind. “She loves going. It just adds so much to the experience of the hunt.” Keeper already knew them, but Hindman taught us the terms he uses to direct his dogs. “Sit!” (accompanied by one whistle) was self-explanatory. “Here!” (two or three whistles) means come to me. “Hold!” instructs the dog January/February 2020

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not to let go of a bird that’s crippled and might escape. “Drop!” signals it’s okay to release the bird. On hearing her favorite command— “Go!”—Keeper dashed off in the direction of a grove of cedar trees where Hindman had hidden several dead mallards. She looked for a few seconds, located a bird and returned lickety-split with it. Next, he placed a duck in a launcher capable of flinging birds long distances. Using a duck call, he tried to goad Keeper into breaking prematurely. “The longer you wait, the steadier she’ll get,” he said of withholding the “go” command. He launched the duck, finally signaled Keeper and off she went, kicking over the hunting stand in her haste. She found one carcass but overran another. Snow flew as she dashed back and forth in search of the duck. She soon found it and brought it back with all the zeal of a halfback spotting the end zone. “Sit!” Hindman said. “Drop!” She released the bird. “Good dog.” “Keep,” as he calls her, is one of Hindman’s three retrievers, ranging from eight years to 12

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* YU M *

Order a copy of the CBM-recommended Lodge at Black Pearl Cookbook at lodgeatblackpearl cookbook.com.

months. All are females and bear the yellow Lab’s original fox red coat color. “Over the years they were bred lighter. I breed this color,” he told us. “For me personally, training a dog from a puppy up to a finished retriever, and [to] see the retrieves she makes, it’s very, very satisfying.” There’s an old saying among hunters, Hindman later told me: “If you want a good hunting dog get a male; if you want a great hunting dog get a female.” It may not be an absolute truth. “The personality and background of any individual dog are more important factors than sex,” he said. Nonetheless, he decided Keeper was a keeper (as was their older dog, River) because of her alertness (i.e. potential for marking downed birds). I’ll consider that a gender compliment. Overall across the country, hunting has been in slow decline. After a fairly constant participation rate in the 1980s, the number of hunters fell eight percent between 1990 and 1995, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which surveys Americans’ wildlifeassociated recreation habits every five years.


In 2011, 13.7 million (15 percent) of residents 16 chimichurri, bowls of hearty gumbo brimming or older hunted. By 2016, that number was 11.5 with duck, chicken, sausage and okra, a meal million (11 percent). topped off with chocolate pots de crème and But more women hunters and a younger apple cake for dessert. generation of health-conscious Americans Later, as we continued to cement new focused on sustainably procured meats could acquaintances in the lodge’s bar, Mullaney be reversing the trend. Mullaney cited the grilled tender duck breasts like the ones we’d nutritional benefits of a wild game diet, most removed while field preparing our mallards. notably the meat’s lower, She marinated them in sign up! healthier fat content. dark rum, ginger and “The animals have an soy sauce, wrapped them To sign up for this year’s From Farm to Table workshop and other active lifestyle so they’re not in bacon, seared them very fatty,” she told us. “The on the bar’s grill and Becoming an Outdoors-Woman sessions, visit the BOW website: fat that they do have is much served the sliced meat healthier. The ratio of Omega with a red currantdnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/Education/bow.aspx Six to Omega Three fatty mustard dipping sauce. acids is better [than beef’s They were meltingly ratio]. You’re also procuring tender, perfectly charred your own food,” she said, which makes for a and OMG good. I could get used to this kind of smaller carbon footprint than trips to the grocery Paleo diet. store. “It’s better for the environment and it’s “I love to have women here because it’s better for you. You can create delicious, usually a man’s world,” Mullaney told us before nutritious meals from what you harvest.” we left—15 better friends, bolder cooks, and She offered us delicious evidence of the budding outdoorswomen. h latter. For lunch—eaten in the lodge’s spacious, Maryland native and award-winning contributor glass-enclosed dining room overlooking the Marty LeGrand writes about nature, the environmarshes—we feasted on duck sliders with red ment and Chesapeake history. onion marmalade, sika deer tenderloins with January/February 2020

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O On a cold February day, Joe Fehrer of The Nature Conservancy lies on his stomach to delicately sweep away pine needles at the base of a half-sunken headstone to read the last few engraved lines. He is there to document the Robson family cemetery for the Maryland Historical Trust before the plot sinks into the marsh, which has crept to edge of the headstones.

Story by Severn Smith // Photos by Matthew Kane

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Nature Conservancy Lower Eastern Shore program manager Joe Fehrer records headstone inscriptions before the marsh takes over the sinking plot.

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Many of the stones are cracked or broken. Some have sunk into the ground so deeply that only the carved tops peek above the pine needles. The inscriptions are brief. As humble farmers, the Robsons weren’t inclined to embellish. “This is going to be one of those places that in the next 50 to 100 years will be nearly unreachable by foot. Before this site is lost, it’s our due diligence as landowners to document the site now so that future generations have access to the information. It’s our moral responsibility” says Fehrer. He squints to read the obscured text and reads aloud, “‘In memory of Sarah Keene, who departed this life October 10th, 1851.’” Then, looking up and smiling, he continues reading the final line, “‘who was a loving wife and mother.’” “What a wonderful tribute,” Fehrer concludes before transcribing the text into his field journal. Frank M. Ewing, a Maryland lumber magnate who cultivated the land as a

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tree farm, donated the Robson farm to the Nature Conservancy in 1977. The Frank M. Ewing Robinson Neck Preserve is of extraordinary ecological value, providing habitat for wintering and nesting waterfowl, spawning fish and Delmarva fox squirrels. The preserve is also a popular recreational destination for nature-lovers who enjoy birdwatching, hiking, and the undisturbed beauty of a Chesapeake Bay saltmarsh. Salt marshes are some of the most diverse habitats in the country. Around the Chesapeake and coastal bays, these brackish wetlands occupy a sliver of space where saltwater mixes with freshwater that drains from the land. North America is home to the majority of our planet’s tidal salt marsh vertebrates. Conserving these habitats is a national responsibility. The Robinson Neck Preserve is on Taylors Island in Dorchester County, less than a mile from the Chesapeake Bay. When it comes to sea-level rise

January/February 2020

An abandoned home on Taylors Island is being slowly reclaimed by marsh.


The Robson family headstones on Taylors Island in Dorchester County gradually sink as the marsh migrates inward.

E

ach year, The Nature Conservancy

protects hundreds of acres of land on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with a focus on what science has identified as “wetland adaptation areas.” These are areas where healthy marsh has the potential to migrate upland. Protecting these areas creates space for marsh biodiversity to persist in the face of climate change while continuing to provide natural protection and other ecosystem services to nearby communities.

The Nature Conservancy was founded in 1954 as a land trust committed to protecting critical habitats and continues to use land protection as a tool to create a world where people and nature thrive—nature.org.

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By the year 2100, much of the Robinson Neck Preserve will be lost to rising waters.

vulnerability, Dorchester County is ground zero. Scientific models show that Dorchester, Maryland’s fourth largest county, will become the 14th largest county by 2100 as thousands of acres of land convert to open water. Much of TNC’s Robinson Neck Preserve will be lost well before then, including the Robson family burial plot. In 2012, Superstorm Sandy pummeled the East Coast of the U.S. causing more than $50 billion in damage. According to a study led by The Nature Conservancy, with partners from the engineering and insurance sectors, marshes and wetlands along the East Coast prevented more than $625 million in property damage during the storm. Wetlands are natural sponges that absorb floodwaters and reduce wave energy during storm surges. They are of enormous ecological value, providing habitat to countless species of flora and fauna. When protected and restored, coastal habitats serve as a green suit of armor for inland communities.

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Accelerating sea-level rise is claiming coastal habitats at a faster rate than the marshes can accrue the sediment needed to keep pace with the rising waters. In more developed areas, coastal habitats are losing ground to a coastal squeeze where they are trapped between rising seas and upland development. This prohibits the marshes from migrating to higher ground as they have evolved to do. Ten miles from the Robson family burial plot, another cemetery is more conspicuously disappearing into the marsh. The New Revived United Methodist Church is one of the last remnants of the town of Smithville, an African American community that had more than 100 residents a few decades ago. Today, only a few residents remain and this essential connection to their past is sinking into the marsh. The residents understand that their town may never thrive again. However, they are working to save their

January/February 2020

cemetery, which serves as a monument to their ancestors and their history. Smithville, a short film produced by Maryland Sea Grant (available on YouTube), features members of the community along with environmental, social, and academic experts describing the challenges of saving the church and its cemetery. In the film, Deacon Carroll Meekins explains, “We talked to a few engineers and one guy was talking about putting a berm around the whole building— cemetery and all. But that has to be maintained because if it rains and water gets inside the berm you have to pump it out.” Costly, maintenanceheavy solutions like berms and bulkheads create new sets of challenges for communities like Smithville that lack financial and human resources. On Maryland’s Eastern Shore, like much of the coastal United States, sea-level rise is disproportionately impacting low-income communities and communities of color. In the late


1800s, with the abolition of slavery, African American communities were established in the low-lying, marshy areas along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay as that land was generally less productive. Smithville is an example. The nation’s deep history of racism and inequality created modern political, financial, and social conditions that make these coastal communities some of the most vulnerable and the least equipped to deal with sea-level rise issues. Dr. Sacoby Wilson, an expert on community engagement and environmental justice and health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, explains, “Those cemeteries are part of the legacy of their struggle to be recognized as Americans. As freed people, those are important cultural assets. So, when you think about the environmental justice movement, it’s just not about fighting against hazards, it’s about protecting culture.” The most conservative scientific models show that the Eastern Shore will experience more than three feet of relative sea-level rise by 2100. Changes are already visible on the landscape, and through scientific and academic research, the future of the Chesapeake Bay region is beginning to come more clearly into focus. Fehrer sees that same body of evidence as an opportunity to come up with solutions. “These are complex issues,” he says, “but we can use the science as a foundation to talk about solutions. It all starts with honest discussion and we’re starting to have those conversations about the future of our communities and our natural habitats. And here on the Eastern Shore, we need to work hard and fast to document the cultural assets that are only a few feet away from the encroaching marsh.” h Severn Smith is the director of communications for The Nature Conservancy’s Maryland/D.C. chapter.

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by

“B

ozo! Here-ya-go! Fine-im! Hank! Git-‘em Blue! Sam! C’mon Buckshot! Git in there Rattler!” bellowed Charles Rodney as he urged his six beagles into the thorny rough. The four-legged band scattered through the tangled maze of limbs, briars and shrubs with determination. The dogs were up and on the scent of a rabbit. The game was afoot. Rodney followed them in and bellowed, “Yeeah-Yeah-Yeea-YeeaYeea-Yeea-Yeea Yeeeeeahhhhhhh,” a mix of drill sergeant and auctioneer with a dash of southern revivalist. It was a foreign language to me, fascinating and mesmerizing. Rabbit hunting is orchestrated chaos, defined by a secret language between the handler and his pack. Rodney is the maestro, the six beagles the musicians, and we, the hunters, their enthralled audience.

CHRIS D. DOLLAR

WINCHESTER AMMUNITION

Charles Rodney and his hounds.

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Charles Rodney’s Louisiana Smothered Rabbit

Ingredients Two large rabbits cut into parts and cleaned ½ cup finely chopped onions ½ cup finely chopped celery Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning Water to cover

Method 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Dust the meat with creole seasoning, brown in large skillet with olive oil and set aside Make a dark roux in the skillet with flour, additional oil, and the fond and drippings. Add the onions, celery and meat back to the skillet and cover with water. Simmer for about an hour and a half, adding water as necessary. Serve over red beans and rice. Garnish with chopped scallions. 

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JOE EVANS

I met Rodney a few years back at a Coastal Conservation Association fundraising event where he had donated a rabbit hunt for the auction. He was also the auctioneer. Prior to going afield with him, my understanding was he was the premier rabbit hunter in the region. In fact, the Winchester Arms and Ammunition Company recently produced a short film on him: The Rabbit Hunter. I knew he was congenial and efficient, but I expected that the hounds would be the story. Man, was I wrong. Rodney grew up on a sharecropping farm in Pointe Coupee Parish about 25 miles west of Baton Rouge. He was the youngest of seven children, and he learned to hunt squirrels and rabbits for food under the tutelage of his brother Francis, who was eleven years his senior. “We had very little in the way of material things, but we never went hungry,” he said. “We grew our own vegetables and raised chickens, and we were happy. And we hunted and fished for food.” In 1970, on a Christmas break from classes at Southern University in Baton Rouge, he visited his eldest brother, a priest at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., and there, he met Judith Butler. “She wanted nothing to do with me,” he recalls. “I changed my attitude, cut my hair and returned the next Christmas.” The couple married in the fall of 1972. They raised three children—Charlita, Charla, and Charles, Jr., and they are proud grandparents of six. His rabbit hunting was on hold while he tended to family life and a 31-year career in federal-level human resources and equal employment opportunity work. With retirement, he returned to the fields to hunt turkeys, deer, and waterfowl. However, the constraints of being still, quiet, and stuck in a blind didn’t suit his personality. “Sitting still for all that time drove me three-quarters crazy,” he joked. “It’s the excitement, the movement and camaraderie that I enjoy about hunting rabbits.” One thing that’s evident from the onset about Rodney is he not only talks the talk about wildlife conservation, he walks the walk. He routinely gives back to conservation causes by donating hunts as well as serving as auctioneer at fundraising events across the region. Everyone has high praise for the man called The Rabbit Hunter. Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation president Jeff Crane says, “Charles introduced me to the storied tradition of rabbit hunting behind a pack of beagles, and I am hooked. Hunting rabbits with him is a highlight of my Maryland hunting every year and has extended my season by a month to include February.” Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife & Heritage Service director Paul Peditto adds, “Charles is a true gentleman, sportsman, and passionate conservation supporter. He almost always includes a new guest at every hunt in an effort to introduce or re-engage a hunter to the great sport of chasing rabbits.” Peditto also shared that

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It’s the excitement, the movement and camaraderie that I enjoy about hunting rabbits.

during Charles’ time on the governor’s Wildlife Advisory Commission his wisdom helped guide conservation decisions, offering a unique perspective as an “enthusiastic upland game hunter who travels across the region to run his pack of pups. Charles talks and walks rabbit hunting and conservation like few others in Chesapeake country.”

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I spent a few hours this past spring scouting a property with Rodney and CBM editor Joe Evans. I’ve tried chasing rabbits without dogs, but it’s nothing like hunting with a pack. Trained beagles make all the difference. Rodney’s pack members—Rattler, Blue, Hank, Buckshot, Sam, and Bozo—range from five to nine years old. To me they all sound alike, but to Charles, each has a voice as unique as their personality. He acquires the dogs from North Carolina and Virginia breeders he knows and trusts. They come to him as “starter” dogs, one- to two-years old, ready to hunt but in need of fine tuning. He takes only males to avoid accidental pregnancies. He believes that there are three essential traits for a good rabbit dog—brains, drive, and a “good mouth,” meaning a nose to pick up and keep on the scent. Rattler and Buckshot are the most dependable, he says. His pack hunts at ChesapeakeBayMagazine.com

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“medium-speed,” he says, which is an ideal walking speed for folks he guides, some of whom are older. “I never run with another man’s pack,” he says emphatically. “Bad habits spoil the hunt.” “I keep my dogs for a long time,” he says. “Even when they can’t hunt anymore.” The beagle’s nose, size and determination to root rabbits from their tangled lairs make the breed the preferred rabbit hunting dog. According to the American Kennel Club, they are among the most popular dog breeds in the country. They are kind and warm with their brown or hazel eyes framed by houndy ears set low on a broad head. They come in two sizes—those that stand under 13 inches at the shoulder, and those between 13 and 15 inches. Rodney runs the small version, but they are certainly “big for their inches,” as dog folks say. Moreover, they are loyal, happy-golucky, full of expressive personality, generally easygoing, and they enjoy the company of friends. That’s also an accurate description of Charles Rodney.

The Hunt We met on a crisp fall day, a light coating of frost on the farm fields as we drove north on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Rabbit season in Maryland starts the first Saturday in


November and runs through February. Essential gear included a hunting license, blaze-orange hat and vest, twenty-gauge shotgun, hi-brass #6 shot, and mud boots. Rodney added chaps to his ensemble to protect his legs as he pursued the dogs into the thorny underbrush. Stanley Watkins’ 190-acre property is in the Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage Program (cheswildlife.org), and as such, is in a conservation easement, cultivated for wildlife with wild forest, managed fields, and wetlands. It’s ideal rabbit territory. Evidence of the ecological and wildlife value was immediately apparent with bald eagles soaring above, waterfowl tolling in and flying about, deer bounding into the woods, and foxes roaming in a pursuit similar to ours. There were six of us in the hunting party. Watkins and his bother carried side-lock muzzle-loading shotguns—a home-built replica and a circa 1860s original—just to set the old-school tone. The rest of us were not as interesting in that regard. Rodney and Watkins had hunted together before, and on Rodney’s advice, Watkins bush-hogged ample swaths through the wild growth and created brush pile cover for the rabbits. This provided easy movement and safe sightlines for the gunners as Rodney and his dogs combed the wild areas.

Rodney’s pack of small male beagles can hardly wait to get to it in an Upper Eastern Shore field.

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WINCHESTER AMMUNITION

Rodney warned us that a rabbit will “make the best hunter and best shot look bad on his best day. He’ll run straight back at you, run around you and come in from the back. The best thing is to find a clear spot, stand there, and be quiet.” He went on to explain that a cottontail might run several hundred yards in a circle to confuse and elude the dogs. They’ll hide in the thick brambles, and, when the dogs get close, they’ll dart out. They’re tricksters; wily things that often hide in plain sight. And they can change direction on a dime, leaving good shots looking like rank amateurs. Back home in Louisiana, they hunted marsh rabbits, a smaller but perhaps tougher version of Chesapeake cottontails, and they would jump in, swim, and hide under low-hanging branches with only their noses protruding from the water. Going into the field, Rodney mused, “I love it when the dogs are working in unison, just like a team, everyone has a job and a position, like a football team, and the first one gets that scent and gives that certain bark and the chase is on.” We set up around a tousled pile of growth and the dogs lunged in. The morning quiet was broken by the soulful baying. I resisted whispering, “Be vewwy vewwy quiet, I’m hunting wabbits.” “Be ready now!” Rodney instructed as the clamorous hounds darted in and out of the heavy brush. “He’s running your way!” he yelled. Pow! A single shot found its mark. Rodney asked the gunner to let his beagles enjoy the smell of the dead quarry, a reward for a job well done. Over the next few hours a similar pattern followed. Dogs running here and there, howling and barking, Rodney shouting encouragement, and someone shouting, “There he goes,” and a shot in the distance. A cacophony. It was a rampage of action and laughter. We had a total of five rabbits in our coats as midday approached, and the action slowed. The dogs remained keen but tuckered after nearly four hours of steady running and sniffing. We called it a day. Some people are born to do perform at a level the rest of us can only admire and bask in their glow. Charles Rodney is meant to run dogs and chase rabbits. A more delightful combination for a day in the field, I cannot imagine. h

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Captain Chris Dollar is a licensed fishing guide, tackle shop owner, all-around Chesapeake outdoorsman with more than 25 years experience in avoiding office work. January/February 2020


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CBM

chesapeake almanac

A hunter puts out decoys before a hunt on the Chickahominy River.

Exploring the Chickahominy by John Page Williams

O

ne of the best things about growing up was fishing with my father on the Chickahominy River. We’d drive east from Richmond, stop in Providence Forge for breakfast and bait, and then head to Sherman Jefferson’s landing on Chickahominy Lake, to rent one of "Jeff's" wooden skiffs and clamp our green, five-horsepower Johnson outboard onto its transom. One part of the magic was the bass and bream (bluegills) in the lake. The other was the fact that Jefferson, an expert riverman, and his family were Chickahominy Indians. Chickahominy, in the tribe’s Algonkian language, means People of the Coarse-Pounded Corn. In January 2018, after a long struggle, the tribe gained federal recognition. We also fished lower lake out of Ed Allen’s landing, which is still in operation under the family's third generation. Today, people know the Chickahominy by the signs bearing its name as it flows back and forth beneath Interstate 64 between Richmond and Williamsburg. At eighty-seven miles in length, it’s a major Chesapeake tributary rising fifteen miles northwest of Richmond. Chickahominy Lake came into being in 1943 when the War Department erected Walker’s Dam at Lanexa to ensure a water supply to the Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Company and nearby military installations. After the war, the City of Newport News bought the dam to supply water to its growing population. There is a manually operated lock in the dam that allows a few boaters and fish to move back and forth. The dam altered the river’s dynamics significantly, especially in reducing the herring and shad runs that Sherman Jefferson and Ed Allen grew up fishing commercially. The river below Lanexa is tidal-fresh water, rimmed by cypress trees and broad, wild-rice marshes, flowing twenty-two miles south to join the James River six miles above Jamestown and nine miles by road west of Williamsburg. We fished the lower river too, and during my career with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, I found excuses to ply the river with canoe fleets and my trusty skiff. For folks who appreciate fish, birds, and Chesapeake history, the Chickahominy is a jewel. That’s especially true in the last several weeks of Indian Summer. The

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cypress trees have turned a lovely shade of russet heather to set off the reds and yellows of sweetgums, maples, oaks, and sycamores on the banks behind them. Meanwhile, the river is far enough south that some of the wild rice and pickerelweed are still flowering, adding texture and color to the marshes. The marshes are attracting migratory waterfowl while falling water temperatures are telling the largemouth bass, bream, crappie, yellow perch, white perch, chain pickerel, and blue and channel catfish to feed heavily before winter. Four-hundred-twelve years ago, the Jamestown colonists realized that, though they had managed to build a fort on the island they had appropriated, they had not raised or stored any food for the winter. Captain John Smith went up the Chickahominy with a small crew aboard the 30-foot workboat he would use the following year to explore and chart the Chesapeake. He stopped at villages along the river and traded English goods for corn. On the third trip, however, well upriver into the swamp above today’s lake, he was captured and several of his crew were killed by Opechancanough, the warlike brother of Powhatan, the region’s paramount chief, from whom the Chickahominy were independent. Whether you are exploring Chickahominy Lake or the river, it’s not hard to find reaches that look much the same as when Captain Smith came through. He noted the locations of several Chickahominy villages, and his map is so accurate that you can take a copy onto the river and find those very places. For example, River’s Rest, a marina/motel/restaurant about halfway up the river, sits opposite the site of Werawahon. Because the Indians saw the river as uniting its opposite banks instead of dividing them, it’s probable


that over time, they hunted and farmed both, as well as foraging edible plants and trapping in the adjacent Big Marsh. There’s a lot of history here, from the tribes and Captain Smith up through fishing and timber industries, a brickyard, a shipyard, and the Civil War’s Peninsula Campaign. Jeff’s is no longer open to the public, but at the head of the lake, near Providence Forge, Eagle’s Landing offers rental johnboats, a launch ramp, and a tackle shop geared primarily to bass anglers. Ed Allen’s, next to Walker’s Dam, offers everything from boat rentals and a launch ramp, to campgrounds, a tackle shop, and a restaurant. Want to see and fish the lake with a truly experienced guide? Captain Art Conway (Conway's River Rat Guide Service), a retired biology professor, has been showing off the wonders of Chickahominy Lake to visitors for more than thirty years. The river below

Walker’s has received more attention with the establishment of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. The James River Association, with multiple partners, has produced a splendid map and guide to exploring it. For paddling, my favorite trip is the loop around Gordon’s Island, launching from the boat ramp at Chickahominy Riverfront Park and paddling up Gordon’s Creek, into Nayse’s Bay at the east end of the island, and returning by Nettles Creek. This seven-mile trip is most pleasant when high tide in Nayse’s Bay occurs at mid-day, giving the boat a fair current for the whole trip. The narrows off the West end of Gordon’s Island is exposed to wind and nearly 100 feet deep. It’s a reminder of the Chickahominy River’s power, and the need to be careful about weather. In more challenging conditions, there is plenty to see by simply exploring

Gordon’s Creek from the park’s ramp. There’s a shorter paddling loop around the island at Big Marsh Point, upriver opposite River’s Rest. For exploring the river under power, the ramps at both River’s Rest and the Riverfront Park serve skiffs very well, and River’s Rest can even handle large cruising boats. The various creeks are plenty deep for powerboats, but be careful in the narrow channels. It’s a kindness to both the marshes and paddlers afloat to keep wakes low. Whatever your vessel of choice, Chickahominy Lake and the River beckon you. Take a weekend and see them both. They form a very special part of the Chesapeake. h CBM Editor at Large John Page Williams is a fishing guide, educator, author, and naturalist, saving the Bay since 1973. In 2013, the state of Maryland proclaimed him to be an Admiral of the Bay.

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CBM

jody’s log

Could You Repeat That? A lot of beauty, a bit of bad weather, and getting the gist of the language along the ICW. story & photos by Capt. Jody Argo Schroath

T

his morning, I woke up to the sound of waves breaking against the shore, and tonight, I’ll fall asleep listening to the same thing. That’s why I come to Marineland, just south of St. Augustine, one of my favorite stops on the Intracoastal Waterway. Here, I can lie in bed, in a well-protected slip and listen to the ocean roar. Sammy and Bindi, the ship’s dogs, think we come here so they can run berserk up and down the beach, clambering up and over the coquina boulders on the sand. And, yes, that too. We’ll stay here a few weeks, then continue down the Florida coast, crossing the Okeechobee Waterway to the Gulf Coast, where we’ll spend the rest of the winter before reversing the process in the spring. It’s a near-religious rite of snowbirdness that is performed by hundreds, maybe thousands, of cruisers every year. The destinations and stops along the way may differ; the experiences are both shared and singular. I’ve done this a bunch of times now, an almost ludicrous number it seems, yet each time it’s both reassuringly the same and refreshingly different. This year (so far, I hasten to add) has been uneventful, with a couple of small exceptions, one of which I’ll tell you about in a moment. Last year about

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this time, I wrote about how the difficult stretches along the ICW are what make it interesting. Well, what was interesting this time is that nearly all of those stretches have since been dredged. Hell Gate. Jekyll Creek. Even the wicked stretch south of Jeremy Creek, SC. They’re all pussy cats now. Only Little Mud River remains, and even at low tide, that one is doable with even a five-foot draft. I nearly ran aground on the south end because I was talking on the phone, but that was my own fault. At troublesome Matanzas Inlet in Florida, the dredge is still working, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Most of the remaining challenge involved, as it always does, weather. Even on the ICW, you don’t want to get caught out in an exposed position with bad weather coming, so you set up for a safe place to ride out the storm. In my case, this year, those safe places were Hampton Va., Surf City NC, Brunswick Ga. and Marineland. And against all the rules of good boating, I had the added task of getting to New Bern from Hampton by a certain date, so I could drop the dogs at a kennel, pick up a rental, and drive to Florida for a memorial birthday party I couldn’t miss and then back the next day, pick up the dogs, drop the car and get back to the trip. I was lucky. After a long trip down from the Alligator River, I was a couple of hours from New Bern and heading up the Neuse River into a north wind as the daylight faded and the Sun dropped below the horizon. Happily, the Sun took the wind along with it, and I made the last dozen miles over an utterly still river, threading my way through the darkness along the channel and under the bridges to the marina. Those were some of the loveliest few hours I’ve ever spent on the water.


Of course, it doesn’t always work out that way. Winding through the Georgia marshes, I decided to try out Wapoo Island for the night. I left the ICW just before Sapelo Sound and worked up the Wapoo River around the west side of the island. There, I anchored far away from the one other boat in the anchorage as the wind whistled from 15 to 20 knots and the current ripped through at a couple of knots. As the last light faded, a third boat came in and anchored unnecessarily close behind me. The wind stayed up all night, and all of the boats—six by morning—sailed restlessly at anchor. It was an uncomfortable night. Wapoo may be a fine anchorage, but I’ll never be back. On the other hand, there are places I come back to nearly every

McClellanville, S.C.

year: Leland Oil Co. in McClellanville SC, Church Creek south of Charleston, Osprey Marina or any of half-a-dozen anchorages on the Waccamaw River,

and any place in Hampton. And there are some places that turn out to be perfect at just that moment but may never be as good again. One of those

January/February 2020

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CBM

jody’s log

this year was the elegantly named Lord Baltimores Bay on the Patuxent River. With bad weather in the forecast, Moment of Zen and about 425 likeminded boats headed south on the Sunday of the Annapolis sailboat show. That afternoon, 420 of them decided to stop in Solomons. I had planned to as well, but I changed my mind, turned my back on the entrance to Solomons, and headed south until I was just east of the entrance to the Naval Air Station’s West Basin Marina. There I dropped the anchor in 11 feet and had an undisturbed though drizzly night and an easy exit the next morning at first light. It would be a terrible place to be in almost any kind of winds, but for that night, it was perfect. So now we come to the Matanzas Inlet incident. Matanzas, which means “massacres” in Spanish, by the way, is

a North Carolina-style, shoaly, shifting section of the ICW located between St. Augustine and Marineland. It has to be dredged every few years, and this year was one of them. In November, when I arrived at low tide (naturally), the dredge was still working, which meant that some of the channel was deep and some was still shallow and none of it was marked yet. The first order of business in these cases is to raise the dredge operator. This one answered only on channel 13, having for some reason stopped monitoring 16 some time ago. You just have to divine that. When you finally get the dredge operator to answer, you find that he gives directions only in what is apparently Welsh, a Brittonic language of the Celtic kind. (I pick that out at random; it could be Urdu.) After several

requests for more clarity, and after many long silences, the gist I finally got was: “Pass me starboard to starboard.” Good information to be sure, but I’m here to tell you that it’s not enough to get you through, as dozens of boats before me have learned to their peril. But the gist is what you have, so the gist is what you go with. I slowed down, which caused Sammy and Bindi to perk up because they thought we were about to anchor, and started along what I hoped was the channel. I passed the last red buoy and then set out around the dredge, aiming to pass outside the yellow floating can, as is customary. Twenty yards in, I ran aground. That caused the dogs to think we had dropped anchor, so they ran up to the foredeck and started to play, which is the normal routine. I immediately

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CBM Cruising Editor Jody Argo Schroath, with the help and not infrequent hindrance of ship’s dogs Bindi and Sammy, goes up and down bays, rivers and creeks in search of adventure and stories.

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threw the engines hard into reverse and tried to reopen negotiations with the dredge operator, while trying to explain to the dogs that anchoring and running aground, while both resulting in a cessation of forward progress, were not the same thing and that they needed to come back immediately and get into their traveling positions. Sammy and Bindi responded, but the operator didn’t. By this time, I had backed up to the red buoy and was trying to hold Zen against the current until I could get a better “gist.” Finally, he answered. I explained that what I had thought he meant hadn’t worked out, so maybe he could be a little more detailed in his directions. He responded with a string of Welsh. I attempted a translation back to him. He responded with some additional Welsh, and so forth until, finally, I felt I had begun to get the real gist, which was, essentially: Stay close to the final red marker then head directly for the dredge, hugging the western shore, then pass the dredge so close to starboard that I could hand you a cup of coffee out the window, and stay inside the floating yellow can that every ounce of your experience tells you to pass on the outside. “Is that right?” I asked. “Ie,” he replied. So that’s what I did, and this time got through with plenty of water. “Yay!” I said. (I have to point out here that this is a play on words, because both are pronounced roughly the same.) Half an hour later, Moment of Zen was tied up in the slip at Marineland, and I could hear the roar of the ocean. And since this is where I started this column, it’s also where I’ll end it. Happy New Year. h

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www.curtisstokes.net January/February 2020

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877.269.3021 Maryland

BLUEWATERYACHTSALES.COM Virginia

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78’ Princess 2019 - Call Today: 877.269.3021

70’ Princess 2007 - Call Clark: 919.669.1304

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58' Hatteras 1977 - Call Jud: 757.846.7909

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53' Elco 1937 - Call Jud: 757.846.7909

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45’ Sabre 2020 - Call Today: 877.269.3021

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44' Sea Ray 2006 - Call Chris Jr: 757.509.0742

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ON

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84

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January/February 2020

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CBM

stern lines

T

he Reflecting Pool was open for ice skating on Jan. 27, 1922. The following day, the Knickerbocker Snowstorm dropped 28 inches of snow on Washington. from the Library of Congress

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January/February 2020


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