Here's a shot of the marsh looking towards the bay at Aaron's Beach. Every time I come here I see something different. This place always puts me at ease (except in the summer time when horseflies and fiddler crabs are rampant).
(For the time being, let's not dwell on the fact that pictures are not normally delicious, let's just say that as I write this I'm starving and could probably eat an old picture, no problem. Update as of Thursday night: No, I cannot eat an old picture. I will not be eating again until the year 2014. 2014 also represents my current weight thanks to a little thing called meals and incidentals expenses which are all covered as part of my business travel .)
Below is an excerpt from the chapter "Sea and Soil - Our Pride and Wealth," page 9, which talks about the county's strong roots and prominent role in the shipbuilding industry:
"Mathews County was well established as a shipbuilding center in 1791 and remained so well into the 1830s and 1840s. This was not a new phenomenon but an industry which had grown steadily since the mid 1700s. Prior to that, the evidence suggests that Kingston Parish had produced watermen and an extensive local maritime industry by 1690.
In 1777, Mathews men built, on Pepper Creek, the largest ship in the Virginia State Navy. By 1790 as many as twelve ships a year (over20 tons each) were being built in the county. This maritime industry and the necessary transport of materials to support it created a surplus of food and goods in the county. The demand for Mathews vessels increased as wars abroad and at home (between 1792 and 1815) used the fast small ships produced here."
Mathews has a foundation and museum dedicated to preserving the county's maritime heritage. Click here for a link to the Mathews Maritime Museum. Below is what their About Us page has to say:
The Mathews Maritime Museum, owned and operated by the Mathews Maritime Foundation, is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to preserving the maritime history of Mathews County, Virginia.
The framework of the Foundation grew out of the interest, ideas, and visions of a few Mathews residents who believed that the county's rich maritime history is often overlooked. In January of 1999, the Foundation incorporated and began steps toward accomplishing its long term goals; a living history museum and a shipyard accurately depicting the lives of individuals participating in the shipbuilding industry during the early 19th century.
The Foundation's future... picture this...
As you walk down the oyster shell paths you are taken back to an earlier time, a time when Mathews County was sustained by the artisans of the shipbuilding trade. You are greeted by the sights and sounds of a 19th century Chesapeake Bay fishing village alive with blacksmiths, coopers, sail makers, shipwrights, and others. Relax, enjoy, and participate while friendly costumed interpreters lead you on a journey through the maritime and cultural history of Mathews County.
Our logo is the schooner "EXPERIMENT", built on the East River in 1808. It is typical of the more than 2,000 seagoing vessels built in Mathews during the 18th and 19th centuries.
I confess I've never been to the museum but plan to remedy that this year. Perhaps we'll add it and the Gwynn's Island Museum to the Blog Fest 2010 tour.