Today this is truly a place you go TO, not THROUGH. Galesville used to be a steamboat landing, but today, it's a place that time has truly forgotten -- just a quiet village at the end of a road to the river that about 500 folks and over a thousand boats call "home."
Below is a piece of the NOAA chart that shows exactly where Salty Lady calls home.
Where to anchor:
I'd suggest anchoring just south of the abandoned cable area and just southwest of the waterfront (See the chartlet above). That gives you easy access to the public Town Dock where you can land your dinghy and try your hand at crabbing if you like. If you want a more natural setting, try the Rhode River about a mile north.
Where to eat:
There are three restaurants in town. Our favorite for dinner is the Topside Inn (marked on the chartlet -- at the foot of the Town Dock) -- music on the weekends (but closed on Mondays) -- LOTS of locals there. Say "Hi!" to Karen, the hostess, and tell her we sent you! Say "Hi!" to Jim Carothers for us too. He's the "pianoman" on Saturday nights.
Terrific bartender and MORE music (weekends) at Pirates Cove -- just across the street.
There are three small markets in town. Our favorite is the West River Market -- FABULOUS sandwiches for lunch (they are ALL terrific!) -- ALWAYS a crowd of locals at mealtime. Super breakfast too. Hand dipped ice cream cones, the best apple pie ANYWHERE... Antiques, toy train, wood stove, souvenir t-shirts, hot coffee. Say "Hi!" to Susan, the new proprietor -- tell her we sent you too!
Take your sandwich and drink (I highly recommend the half-and-half -- half iced tea and half lemonade -- in a huge cup and at a price that shames the fast-food joints) back to the park at the Town Dock.
Before we leave the West River Market, I gotta tell this ONE story... In early February 2000, I stopped by to sample the daily special (HOT Italian sub -- YUM, YUUM! -- and as I pulled into my parking spot this cute redhead bounds out of the door of the Market hauling this HUGE box of sandwiches, brownies, and other scrumpcious goodies. As she starts to jump into her car, I realized she was wearing a Domino's hat AND a Domino's uniform. All of a sudden I notice her car has a big Domino's sign on top! THIS IS THE DOMINO's DELIVERY person! -- getting lunch for herself and her other cohorts at the West River Market! I yelled out to her that I wished I had my camera! She laughed and replied, "Hey, WE know where the GOOD FOOD is!" She went on to say they come there at LEAST once a week. Susan promised to take a picture for me the next time they come... Maybe you'll see it here soon!
OK, on to the park... This photo was taken at Christmas time.
Enjoy the benches and the new flower-garden metal sculpture -- made from boat propellers!
Or walk north along the water to Elizabeth Dixon Park at the end of the road -- a GREAT place to watch the Wednesday Night sailboat races -- especially when they're on their spinnaker run.
Here's Elizabeth's ode to the West River Sunset -- memorialized in bronze at the park:
Even the sun has a broken path
as it glistens across the sea,
but the brightest spot in the path it seeems
is always the furthest from me.
Yet, it meanders across the tide
winding in and out of the dark,
and I sit and wait at the end of the path
just to catch my spark.
So, life goes on in search of the sun
and the happiness of days,
but we never seem to see its gleam
'til it's down the path a ways!
ELIZABETH T. DIXON
Low on booze? Try the Topside Market, next to the restaurant. If all else fails, take a hike to the main road to the High's. On the way, you'll pass the Fire Station, the Post Office, and the old Quaker burying ground.
Need something for your boat?
Try the Ships' Store at Hartge's. Just head toward Salty Lady in your boat and you'll see their fuel dock as you pass Chalk Point. If they don't have it, they can get it for you. If you can't repair it yourself, the folks at Hartge's can. Just see Handsome Luke Frey in the Yard Office.
Where to stay on land:
Both the Topside Inn [(410) 867-1321] and the Inn at Pirates Cove [(410) 867-2300] have rooms for rent.
Check out the art gallery and antiques shops along Main Street. Here's the River Gallery:
and R & M Antiques:
The Washington Post ran an article on June 23, 1999, on the Galesville Fourth of July Celebration. Here's the text:
Sparkling Waters -- In tiny Galesville, Md., the Fourth of July is time to roll out the red, white, and blue carpet. (by Patricia E. Dempsey)
In Galesville, tucked along Maryland's West River, the summer night skies are spangled with fireflies. On the Fourth of July, these skies light up with the reds, whites and blues of a fireworks display that is as much a tribute to our nation's independence as it is to this village's grass-root ways. Here, the festivities are spirited, homespun, and heartfelt.
"It's Main Street USA," says John Cox, who is organizing Galesville's Independence Day celebration. "It may be a bit corny to some, but to most of us it's small-town America and we love it."
Cox, who summered in Galesville when he was growing up in Washington, now lives here year-round. Yearning for the slow pleasures of village life, like devoting a day to eating pie dripping with vanilla ice cream, my two sons and I loaded our bikes and drove south fromAnnapolis on Muddy Creek Road.
Just past the brick-walled entrance to historic Tulip Hill, we jogged left between two cemetaries shrouded by hemlocks. One, a Quaker burying ground that dates to 1662, is a fitting gateway to Galesville, a community proud of its heritage and status as one of Maryland's few remaining villages. According to Roberta Cassard, former president of the Galesville Historical Society, the area, settled in the 1600s by Puritans who became Quakers, was a shipping center for imports and exports such as tobacco. Cassard moved to Galesville in the 1950s. "It's unique here," she says. "It's so friendly I even know the names of the dogs in town."
The two-lane highway flattens into a tidy main street, which on this day was lined with American flags fluttering and neighbors chatting as they placed lawn chairs on the sidewalk to reserve seats for the parade. On our bikes we looped through the village, a peninsula hugged by creeks and the West River, whizzing past a funky antques shop with wares on the lawn, a brick-and-stone Methodist parsonage, Hartge's Yacht Yard, Galesville Hall (circa 1914) and the Woodfield Fish & Oyster Co., which once delivered ice blocks door to door from horsedrawn carts.
After passing bungalows, Victorians, and a lone gas pump, we dead-ended at a small shapdy riverside park. Here, visitors can picnic or walk to three restaurants in view of Galesville's harbor, where a long dock is home to kids fishing and dozens of colorful sailboats swinging in the breeze rippling across the West River. A tad downriver is Galesville's original steamboat landing, a wharf once packed with livestock, grain, provisions, and steamboats, such as the Emma Giles, which brought visitors to stay at the boarding houses run by village shopkeepers.
Back then, in the 1800s, Galesville's general store was the hub of the community, second only to the church. Today, the West River Market is still the heartbeat of village life. We wheeled our bikes to the stores sloping front porch, festive with American flags and patriotic swags. Picnic tables on the lawn welcomed summer visitors who, like us, arrived early for the barbeque, hand-dipped ice cream, and front-row seats at Galesville's annual Fourth of July parade.
We stepped through the market's narrow wooden screen door, pockmarked with a handworn patina and a large keyhole that is more than 100 years old,
to savor a menu propped above onion and potato bins, near a five-foot model of the Emma Giles. We were surrounded by Americana: old school chairs, a wooden checkerboard balanced on a barrel, a black potbellied stove, quirky vintage ads, such as "Pepsi -- 5 cents -- More Bounce to the Ounce," red Snyder potato chip cans, and an electric train suspended from the ceiling.
The West River Market changed hands last September, and its new owner, Susan Ulrich, is keeping the gourmet, homestyle menu created by the former owners, professional caterers. "Even the sauces are made from scratch," she says. Ulrich, who moved to Galesville from Springfield (VA), dishes up daily specials such as seafood pasta salad, smoked bluefish, and succulent fruit pies. I loaded coleslaw on my pork barbeque and headed to the picnic table just as my younger son leaned over the cookies and pie and called out, "Mom -- what about dessert?"
We sampled the buttey-crusted blueberry pie and waited until evening for the grand finale, when we caried sagging plates of lemon meringue and peach pie, mine drizzled with ice cream, and sat cross-legged on the ground just as the parade began:
Yup, that's Rio and our Admiral in the center -- with our friends from across the dock on the blanket. In the big cups? That's REAL, hand squeezed, one-cup-at-a-time LEMONADE with TONS of ice! Yum!
That's Rio on Parade!
Children on bikes with colorful handlebar streamers pedaled so fat the baseball cards attached to their spokes flip-flapped loudly.
Uncle Sam -- one year he came on in-line skates -- strutted and smiled, dodging a mobile collection of antique cars that included a gleaming antique fire engine with an open cab and a tail-wagging Dalmatian.
Wow, that's some more of our friends - Julie is driving, and her Mom is in the co-pilot's seat. Her Mom is a REAL pilot! She flew B-17s and B-24s in World War II! I'm SERIOUS!
That's Bill & Jessica's car -- more dockmates. How many of you remember the old 4-door hard-top convertibles? The inner workings look like an Appollo spacecraft -- and it still works perfectly! There's even a vintage Airstream to complete the set!
There was a cavalcade of horseback riders, golf carts, and even the patriotic, foot-stomping music of a kazoo-marching band, banging trashcan lids. "It may seem homemade to some," says Cox, who was Uncle Sam last year, "but we have a lot of fun and invite everyone to join in." The parade followed Main Street to its end at the riverside park, where folks milled about, listening to a Dixieland band.
American flags, Uncle Sam hats, raffle tickets, hot dogs, and slushy snowballs were for sale. We spread out a picnic blanket on the sloping riverbank and waited for dusk.
By sunset, instead of fireflies we saw the bow lights of boats surging toward a single point of the West River: the fireworks barge. We sat up to watch the show, savoring the mingling of the day's sights with the timeless magic of a summer night, the lazy slap-slap of waves along the shore and the sweet flavors of snowballs and seconds on the peach pie. The boaters' laughter traveled across the river -- then a hush -- and "Ooh! Aah!" as the first clap of red, white, and blue flames burst high and slowly streamed down the night sky.
If you want more info on the fireworks show, call (410) 867-0403.
Yes, there are fireworks shows on the fourth at many other towns around this part of the Bay -- Annapolis, Baltimore, Chestertown, St. Michaels, Oxford, etc., but none surpass the show in Galesville. If you miss this event, be SURE not to miss Halloween here. Find out for yourself why...