Last night the Chesapeake Bay Children and I went for a boat ride after supper. Chesapeake Bay Son navigated while I took pictures. Chesapeake Bay Daughter's head was on my shoulder. It was heaven on Earth.
These are shots of Callis' Wharf on Gwynns Island. As you're driving over the bridge it's on the right. For Blog Festers, it was within walking distance (preferably in cooler weather) of Saturday's beach cookout.
Not too long ago, the wharves in Mathews were bustling with activity. Steamboats transported goods, passengers and entertainment from Norfolk to Baltimore and points in between.
The following passage is from the book Mathews County Panorama, A Pictorial History of Mathews County 1791 - 1941, by the Mathews County Historical Society:
"The Piankatank at Callis' Wharf...a screw steamer, served twenty years on the overnight run from Baltimore to wharves in the northern Neck of Virginia and along the Piankatank River in the Middle Peninsula. She stopped at various Mathews wharves over the years ending her voyages at Freeport in Gloucester County where she berthed overnight before making the return trip."
"The packing house of Callis' Wharf ...built originally on oyster shells during the Civil War. The wharf was an important steamboat landing in the shelter of Milford Haven. It continues today as a center for the seafood industry."
Back in the '70s and '80s I hung out on the island in the summers. Back then many more men were working on the water, and the wharf was always bustling, though not nearly as busy as the days of the steamers.
My grandmother used to tell us stories about her and her friends driving from Gloucester to Mathews just to see the floating theaters. It was quite the social event.
I'd give almost anything to have been with my grandmother amidst all the excitement of the steamers. But tonight's boat ride with my children to this beautiful wharf was priceless.