Check-out the Bike Trail along the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal

My wife, Cathy and I, had a pleasant and engaging bike ride on Sunday Sept. 25th along a fully-paved recreational trail that extends 16 miles through the the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Wildlife Area.  The trail follows the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal from Delaware City DE via the Michael Castle Trail in Delaware, to Chesapeake City MD via the Ben Cardin Trail in Maryland. 

location-map-of-cd-canal
Location of C&D Canal (red arrow), between Chesapeake Bay and Chesapeake City, MD, and Delaware River and Delaware City, DE (Google Map adapted by Harry Schwarz)

Delaware City

The trail begins in Delaware City at Battery Park and follows the Delaware City Branch Canal south to the C&D Canal. Delaware City is a charming riverfront town of 1,695 (Wikipedia) with an historic district that dates from 1826 to 1930.  The town is surrounded by Delaware Estuary marshes, and is the gateway to Fort DuPont and Fort Delaware.

destateparks-map-fort-dupont-state-park
Click on image for actual map
(by Cathy Schwarz)
Central Hotel, Delaware City DE (by Cathy Schwarz)

Fort DuPont State Park

Fort Dupont, Delaware City, by Michael Cipriani
Fort Dupont, Delaware City, by Michael Cipriani

Named for Rear Admiral Samuel Francis du Pont, the Fort was actively used as a military base from the Civil War through World War II. Fort Delaware was critical in defending the Delaware Valley during the Civil War. The fortress also saw duty during the Spanish American War, where she was the key in a ‘Three Fort’ defense made up of Fort Delaware, Fort DuPont and Fort Mott (NJ). Fort Delaware was active until WWII, and her guns were never challenged. Following World War II, the Fort was turned over to the State of Delaware. Portions of the land were dedicated as a State Park in 1992.

map and brochure for Fort Delaware and Fort DuPont State Parks

Fort Delaware State Park (Pea Patch Island)

640px-fort_delaware_aerial_photograph_2011
Fort Delaware Aerial Photograph 2011, by Missy Lee (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Fort Delaware, the Union fortress dating back to 1859, once housed Confederate prisoners of war. It was originally built to protect the ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia. Visitors take a ½ -mile ferry ride from Delaware City to Pea Patch Island. A jitney provides transport from the island dock to the granite and brick fortress. Here, costumed interpreters take you back to the summer of 1864.

map and brochure for Fort Delaware and Fort Dupont State Parks

NORTHWEST OBLIQUE AERIAL VIEW OF FORT DELAWARE AND PEA PATCH ISLAND 1998, by Michael Swanda, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
AERIAL VIEW OF FORT DELAWARE AND PEA PATCH ISLAND in Delaware River 1998 looking Northwest, by Michael Swanda, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Wildlife Area and Michael Castle Trail

Cathy and I biked about 14 miles round trip from Delaware City to Summit Point Marina at the center of the map just south of Lums Pond State Park. The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal is a deep ship canal some 450-foot wide and 35-foot deep, owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Wildlife Area, from Delaware City MD via Michael Castle Trail and Chesapeake City MD via Ben Cardin Recreational Trail
Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Wildlife Area, from Delaware City DE via Michael Castle Trail and Chesapeake City MD via Ben Cardin Recreational Trail (click on image for actual trail maps)

“Today’s canal is a modern sea-level, electronically controlled commercial waterway, carrying 40 percent of all ship traffic in and out of the Port of Baltimore. Cargo ships of all sizes, tankers, container-carrying vessels, barges accompanied by tugboats, and countless recreational boats create a steady flow of traffic.” (Wikipedia)

Michael Castle Trail, just outside of Delaware City DE (by Cathy Schwarz)
Michael Castle Trail, just outside of Delaware City DE (by Cathy Schwarz)
Across the marshes, towards DE-9 Bridge over the C&D Canal (by Cathy Schwarz)
Through the marshes towards the Reedy Point Bridge, DE-9 over the C&D Canal (by Cathy Schwarz)
Looking across the C&D Canal from the Michael Castle Trail (by Cathy Schwarz)
Looking across the C&D Canal from the Michael Castle Trail (by Cathy Schwarz)
Tugboat and barge approaching the railroad bridge
Tugboat and barge approaching the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal Lift Bridge, Norfolk Southern Railway over the C&D Canal (by Cathy Schwarz).
Tugboat and barge on the C&D Canal (by Cathy Schwarz)
Tugboat and barge on the C&D Canal (by Cathy Schwarz).
The Biddle Point Trailhead, Michael Castle Trail (by Cathy Scbwarz)
The Biddle Point Trailhead, Michael Castle Trail (by Cathy Schwarz)
St. Georges Bridge, US13 in the foreground, and Senator William V. Roth, Jr. Bridge, DE-1 (by Cathy Schwarz)
St. Georges Bridge, US13 in the foreground, and Senator William V. Roth, Jr. Bridge, DE-1 behind (by Cathy Schwarz)
Tanker Vessel (by Cathy Schwarz)
Tanker Vessel (by Cathy Schwarz)

Chesapeake City, Maryland

The town has many restored historic homes, shops and galleries, featuring hand-painted originals and prints, antiques, collectibles, clothing, gifts and crafts. Additional sights include the Canal Museum, art galleries, summer concerts, boat tours, and tours of the nearby horse country. There are also many fine restaurants, bed and breakfasts, and transient/seasonal boat dockage availability. Chesapeake City’s Victorian charm has been featured in several national magazines, including Travel & Leisure, Coastal Living and Southern Living.

from Welcome to Historic Chesapeake City MD, Chesapeake City MD Chamber of Commerce

Aerial view, Chesapeake City Md (by Kevin Quinlan, Chesapeake City MD Chamber of Commerce)
Aerial view, Back Creek Basin, Chesapeake City Md (by Kevin Quinlan, Chesapeake City MD Chamber of Commerce)
Chesapeake City MD (by Dick Legate)
Chesapeake City MD (by Dick Legate, Chesapeake City MD Chamber of Commerce)

chesapeake-city-map1 chesapeake-city-map2m

from Chesapeake City Walking Map, chesapeakecity.com

The End of the Day

Cathy and I didn’t bike as far as Chesapeake City. Instead we returned to Delaware City and had drinks and a great seafood restaurant at Crabby Dick’s, overlooking the Delaware River. A steel band played by the outdoor bar.

All in all, this section of Maryland /Delaware has a lot to offer. We plan to return there soon to explore the forts. If you found this post helpful and decide to check out the sights yourself, you have to promise to post a comment below sharing your experience. Enjoy, and thank you.  

Crabby Dick's, at the Delaware City Hotel (by Cathy Schwarz)
Crabby Dick’s, at the Delaware City Hotel (by Cathy Schwarz)

Featured image at top of post, by Dolores M. Bernal, Middletown Transcript

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Commentary: Engagement

Improved citizen engagement with the Columbia Association Board was one of my goals as a candidate for CA Board, “so that decisions by the Board reflect the best minds of our well-educated populace.” This should be a goal that all CA Board members can support. The fact that just 4.8% of individuals 18 and over voted in the three villages with contested elections illustrates how much work we have to do to improve participation.  As a public service, following are suggestions Columbians made on facebook and in blogs to improve engagement and increase voter participation. Continue reading Commentary: Engagement

Commentary: I Love This Park

I love the Inner Arbor plan for Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods for so many reasons.

The Inner Arbor Trust recently shared a slideshow that details how the Park’s design has evolved from the earlier plan developed by Cy Paumier and describes the features the park is to include. You can see that slide show at the link provided above. I never understood the Paumier plan as it imposed a rigid, essentially circular walkway on a forest that by nature is irregular and unstructured. The plan disrespected the woods, instead making the walkway and a fountain the centerpiece of the park and linking it to the Mall. Continue reading Commentary: I Love This Park

Commentary: Local Control

How often do we complain about stuff happening around us that is out of our control? I don’t hold that to be true of local government. Our leaders are our neighbors. In county government, Ken Ulman, Mary Kay Sigaty, Calvin Ball, and Jen Terrasa are all Columbia residents. In the course of testifying at public hearings on behalf of nonprofit organizations I’ve worked with and attending various social events, I’ve met these politicians and know them to be honorable people concerned about our community. They will be the first to admit that they are not expert in all things and therefore depend on citizens like you and me to educate them about the issues and their likely impact on the community. Continue reading Commentary: Local Control

Welcome

Let me say from the outset – I am not a career politician. The last time I ran for elected office was for Student Government President in high school. While I lost that election, I am running for the Columbia Association Board from Hickory Ridge Village for much the same reason as that idealistic teenager. Our elected town officials should not be the same people that get elected over and over again just because they are the only ones who stand for election. Our leaders should be people who are engaged with the community, and are willing to bring that engagement into the decisions made by the CA Board.

Check out my platform. That is one of the commitments I make – to increase the opportunities for citizen engagement with the Columbia Association Board so that decisions we make reflect the best minds of our well-educated populace. I hope to begin that process by engaging the community via social media. Whether you support me or not, like my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter, so you can be involved in the conversation.

The other items in my platform are issues that are dear to my heart: effective planning; expanding our participation with nature, art, and culture; increasing the ability of the Columbia Association to meet the needs of our community by partnering with nonprofit organizations.

I sure don’t have all the answers, but I’m confident that an engaged citizenry will assure that we make the best decisions. My life’s work in nonprofit organizations has been all about collaborating with others in service to the greater good. Please join me to sustain and grow our city and make it the best that it can be. Let me hear how I can help. And please vote for me on April 26th.

Harry Schwarz