Late in October every year during Downrigging Weekend, Chestertown, Maryland on the Eastern Shore Peninsula once again assumes the guise of the great bustling Colonial port it once was. Tall ships and older wooden boats travel up the Chester River and moor along the waterfront, offering a vivid glance back in time when waterborne commerce was the rule. The event was named for the annual removal of sail and lowering of spars on the Sultana for winter. The first Sultana, a long ago sunk British schooner, was built from old plans in Chestertown by dedicated volunteers under the guidance of a master shipwright. Waterfront scenes are handsomely complimented by gorgeous historic homes lining streets from the shore for many blocks inland.
There are literary events, opportunities to sail aboard these venerable vessels, and even a 5K and a Half-Marathon which attract athletes from all over, splendid eateries serving every taste, and so much more. I can often be found signing the latest Ben Blackshaw novel at The Bookplate, a charming independent bookstore with an intimate feel, but an extensive list of fascinating titles both classic and just published.
The Sultana Project, and all its events and learning opportunities for all ages have made Chestertown a lovely destination any time of year, but C-town shines in the fall, especially during Downrigging Weekend!