An Overview of Delmarva
The Delmarva peninsula is a narrow strip of land that is isolated by the
Atlantic Ocean to the east and Chesapeake Bay to the west. This strip of land is
occupied by Delaware, and parts of Maryland and Virginia.
The area is home to a mix of agriculture, aquaculture, commercial fishing, and retirement living. Among the attractions are wildlife refuges, state parks and towns such as Dover, Salisbury, Berlin, Ocean City, Chincoteague, Onancock and Cape Charles.
The Chesapeake Bay Watershed separates Delmarva from the Western parts of Maryland and Virginia. The estuary includes more than 400,000 acres of land and thousands of miles of open bay, rivers and streams. The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in North America, beginning in Pennsylvania, as a small part of the Susquehanna River. As the flow increases, it passes thru Maryland and becomes an open bay. The bay continues South into Virginia, emptying into the Atlantic near The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. The Chesapeake Bay is famous for its crabs, oysters, and fish including striped bass or "Rockfish", one of the most important sport and food fish of the USA east coast.
The Atlantic Coast of Delmarva
Ocean City, Maryland is primarily a tourist resort, with a population that
swells from less than 10,000 winter residents to over 2 million in the summer
months. The Ocean City Inlet did not exist until1933, when the Chesapeake
Potomac Hurricane tore thru the narrow island, separating Ocean City from
Assateague Island. The Army Corps of Engineers stabilized the inlet making the
town among the top mid-Atlantic fishing ports. The access to productive fishing
grounds brought not only commercial fishing but recreational fishing, mostly
boats that fish offshore for tuna, sharks, billfish and bottom fish.
Assateague Island is a pristine coastal island located South of Ocean City, Maryland. The Virginia portion of the island is occupied by Assateague National Seashore and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Assateague Island is known for its lighthouse, wild ponies, waterfowl, deer, sandy beaches, fishing and hiking trails.
Chincoteague Island is a family-oriented vacation resort along the coast. Recreation on the island includes swimming, sunbathing, fishing, clamming, bird watching, nature cruises, eco tours, biking, hiking, boating, kayaking, miniature golf, Chincoteague ponies, the pony swim, fireman's carnival, Chincoteague decoy and art show, arts and crafts shows, the oyster festival and more.
South of Chincoteague is Wallops Island, which is occupied by NASA and the U.S. Navy. Below Wallops Island are several other barrier islands which are not accessible from land.
Wachapreague is another small town on the eastern shore. The town lies on a winding creek that leads to a series of small bays, tidal flats and eventually to the Atlantic Ocean. Wachapreague is well known for its flounder fishing and deep sea fishing for tuna, marlin and other pelagic species.
South of Wachapreague are more barrier islands and the community of Oyster. Oyster is known for its maze of shallow waterways, wildlife and its thriving clam aquaculture as well as harvesting of wild clams and oysters.
Delmarva Bayside Towns
Onancock is one of the most beautiful and oldest towns on the lower eastern
shore. The town has restaraunts, shops, the harbor and other services within all
within walking distance. Onancock is a popular overnight port for sailboaters.
The creek into town offers quite dockage and is a nice location to stop off
during Chesapeake Bay tours. Onancock Creek extends roughly 10 miles and merges
in the Chesapeake Bay. Along the creek are sandy beaches, ideal for sunbathing
and family outings. Further along the estuary are marshy stretches with grass
beds, points and other scenic views. Anglers find a wide range of fishing spots
within a short distance of Onancock.
Tangier Island is a small but beautiful island in the Chesapeake bay. Shallow water and marshy areas surround the island. The grassbeds are home to countless young blue crabs which come to grow and shed. This fishery for shedder crabs, known as "peeler crabs" are a main source of income for watermen. The commercial crabbers of Tangier Island catch crabs by traps, nets or scrapes and then hold them in tanks until they molt. The resulting soft shelled crab is a valuable seafood delicacy.
Cape Charles Virginia is a historic town near the tip of the Delmarva penninsula. The town was a bustling center of business in the 1800's and first half of the 20th century, with most of its business related to the railroad which terminated in the harbor where railcars were transferred to barges for transport across the Chesapeake Bay. The rail hub still exists and remains in use.
Things to do on Delmarva
Delmarva is well known for excellent saltwater fishing, including inshore
fishing and deep sea fishing. Some anglers visit Delmarva waters only in certain
seasons while others choose to fish the entire season. Species of Fish varys
with season, weather, tides, location and water quality. Delmarva fishermen may
catch striped bass, trout, croakers, spot, pigfish, white perch, bluefish,
cobia, spadefish, sharks, red drum, black drum, sea bass, tautog, Spanish
mackerel, king mackerel, tuna, wahoo, marlin, mahi mahi or other fish.
Delmarva Seafood festivals are a great way to celebrate the seasons and sample local seafood. Some seafood festivals focus on one delicacy, such as oysters, or crabs. Other events will have a broader approach, with many of the local varieties of local seafood on hand. Usually one all-you-can-eat price gets you in the festival. Other festivals simply charge an admission price and then provide an array of vendors who sell specialty seafood creations and other fun foods.
Access to Delmarva
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel connects Delmarva to the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. The structure is sometimes referred to as the 8th wonder of the world. This 13 mile bridge is the largest bridge-tunnel complex in the world. The structure is 23 miles long, with 2 spans, 2 mile long tunnels, 2 bridges and 4 man-made islands. The original bridge-tunnel complex was 17.6 miles in length. The structure opened in 1964, having an initial cost of approximately $200,000,000. This first phase later became the Northbound span when the second span was added. The route saves motorists traveling from the Northeast to the Virginia Beach - Norfolk area approximately 95 miles. Before the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel was constructed, the only method available to travel from the eastern shore of Virginia to the Hampton Roads area was by ferry.
Submitted by: cin