The Gold Rush Days of San Francisco

A favorite destination in San Francisco, for locals and visitors alike, is the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market along the waterfront north of downtown. The fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and fish sourced from around the Bay Area are truly a gourmand’s delight. The Ferry Building, built in 1898 as a terminal for ferries crossing San Francisco Read More

The Great Galveston Hurricane

On September 8, 1990 a hurricane made landfall at Galveston, Texas. With winds up to 140 miles per hour, it left between 6,000 and 12,000 dead. A storm surge in excess of 15 feet also left a terrible aftermath of property destruction with 3,600 buildings swept away. To this day, the Great Galveston Hurricane is Read More

Steamboats of the Chesapeake Bay

As soon as they saw puffs of smoke rise above the trees at the river’s bend and heard the blast of a ship’s whistle, townsfolk rushed at breakneck speed to the wharf. From farmers, watermen and preachers to housewives and especially children, everyone knew when the steamboats of the Chesapeake Bay arrived in the remote Read More

The Queen of Vancouver, British Columbia’s Rum Runners

Imagine a five-masted wooden schooner hailing from British Columbia that hauled millions of feet of lumber to Australia in the final years of World War I. Carrying a cloud of sail, with a length overall of 246 feet, 44-foot beam and 21-foot draft, she sailed a stately 5 knots, perfect for the dressed lumber trade. Read More

Historic Triangle – Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown

Unless you cruise the Chesapeake Bay, the Historic Triangle may not ring a bell, but it should. Located close to Hampton Roads, at the southern end of the Chesapeake, it is a 22-square-mile triangle with Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown at each corner. These three communities, nestled together on the Virginia Peninsula represent the beginning, apex Read More

History of the Florida Keys and “Wrecking”

The Florida Keys, a coral rock archipelago and accompanying barrier reef, stretch 200 nautical miles from Key Biscayne to the Dry Tortugas. The first European to see Biscayne Bay and sail through the Keys was probably Juan Ponce de Leon, during his voyage of discovery in 1513. He named them Los Martires, or the Martyrs, Read More

History of Lake Tahoe’s Washoe Tribe

Long before the first contact with American fur trappers and settlers in the early 1800s, the Washoe tribe of Native Americans claimed Lake Tahoe as their summer home. The shores of the lake served as part of their annual migration for at least 2,300 years before the U.S. government surveyor, John Fremont, gave the first Read More

The Literary Gem of Prince Edward Island

In 1970, during my first visit to the Canadian Maritime Provinces, I spent a week touring Prince Edward Island. At that time, a sailor could pass the day ashore at the community lobster dinner at St. Anne’s Church or buy a postcard depicting a giant potato resting on a flatbed railroad car to mail back Read More

Man-Made Marvels of the Chesapeake Bay

Jagged shorelines and peninsulas shaped like crooked fingers make the Chesapeake a gorgeous place to explore. Some people are content to gaze at the scenery and enjoy what Mother Nature gave us. Others choose to alter the master plan. Tinkering with the Bay’s land and waterways started centuries ago, driven by the need to transport Read More

The History of Maine’s Cod Fisheries

The Gulf of Maine stretches along the Eastern Seaboard northeast from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia. To seaward, the gulf is bounded by the Georges Bank, which is part of the chain of shallow fishing zones along the continental shelf ending at the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. When John Cabot, the Italian explorer in English Read More