We anchored in LaTrappe Creek off the Choptank River on July Fourth Eve. Within eyeshot of where we settled is one of the Chesapeake’s most popular anchorages.
Martin’s Point, just inside the mouth of the creek, provides protected water and a sandy point where dozens of boaters gather on weekends for swimming, beach games and catching up on the comings and goings of the neighborhoods along the Choptank.
The longest and largest of Delmarva’s rivers, the Choptank rises in swampy woods near the Maryland and Delaware line between Sandtown – in Delaware – and Goldsboro – in Maryland. From there it flows southwestward dozens of miles, through Greensboro and Denton, where there are bridge crossings. The next bridge down is the Dover Bridge, east of Easton.
The river’s final and widest crossing is at Cambridge where a relatively new bridge carries Route 50 traffic east and west. Talbot County lies west of the bridge; Dorchester County lies to the east.
La Trappe Creek is the first creek downriver from the Cambridge bridge. It extends northward into Talbot’s interior to the colonial village of Trappe.
Steamboat wharves and piers along the creek once served plantations that depended on the creek and river for transportation and connection to the rest of the world.
Old brick houses looking over the creek speak of its history. One of the most prominent is pictured above, on the banks of the small bay where we anchored, up the creek half a mile mile or so from the popular Martin’s Point anchorage. It greets crabbers, sailors, cruisers and anglers who come into the creek from the Choptank with a picture postcard setting.
Lines of large old boxwoods add authenticity to the brick structure’s colonial architecture which expands in telescope style from what appears to be smaller sections of 18th century vintage.
An unusual storm – because of its north to south path instead of the Chesapeake’s typical eastward tracking storms – accompanied the evening’s sunset, adding drama to the otherwise serenity of the anchorage. Deep rumblings of thunder with flashes of lightning brought the storm down LaTrappe Creek and gave our boat a nice washing before it headed out to the Choptank without much more fanfare. Its thunder was barely more than what we heard as dusk settled into darkness and fireworks shows in surrounding towns began coloring the night sky.
We’ve watched storms for years as amateur weather freaks, but the cloud patterns we saw with that night’s storms, as well as other unusual cloud patterns I’ve only been noticing in the past 10 years or so – tells me that climate change is visible not only in the ghost forests starting to ring low lying and marshy areas of Delmarva, but also in the storms and sunsets we watch when we’re on the water.
Here’s a photo of one of those unusual cloud patterns that we watched that evening.
Dennis Forney grew up on the Chester River in Chestertown. After graduating Oberlin College, he returned to the Shore where he wrote for the Queen Anne’s Record Observer, the Bay Times, the Star Democrat, and the Watermen’s Gazette. He moved to Lewes, Delaware in 1975 with his wife Becky where they lived for 45 years, raising their family and enjoying the saltwater life. Forney and Trish Vernon founded the Cape Gazette, a community newspaper serving eastern Sussex County, in 1993, where he served as publisher until 2020. He continues to write for the Cape Gazette as publisher emeritus and expanded his Delmarva footprint in 2020 with a move to Bozman in Talbot County.