Cecil County Maryland is a haven of natural beauty at the top of the Bay. From harbors to history to horses, you'll find it all in this wonderland, of five rivers and 200 miles of waterfront. Victorian style history is reflected in several towns. Visit the 164 year old C & D Canal in historic Chesapeake City. Its creation on October 17, 1829 made water transportation in this area more important. At the time the canal had four locks, but the Army Corps of Engineers lowered it to sea level in l927. This Chesapeake and Delaware Canal eliminates some 350 miles of water navigation for ships going between Philadelphia and Baltimore, and the 22,000 vessels that use it annually make it one of the busiest waterways on earth.
Augustine Herman designed the canal and was one of the most accomplished men of his day. His home at Bohemia Manor was destroyed by fire, but his heritage lived on in his descendants. Sarah Frisby, his great granddaughter, married John Brice II, Mayor of Annapolis and Chief Justice of Maryland. Augustine's mother was of a patrician family of Bohemia, and Augustine was able to speak six languages in addition to being an artist, surveyor and map maker. His father, Augustine Emphraim, was outlawed for signing a Protestant memorial to the Emperor of Germany in 1618, and it is supposed that he was killed in battle. Augustine the second sailed for America in the employ of the Dutch West India Company. He was a banker and lawyer and the chosen Ambassador of Governor Stuyvesant to Maryland, Virginia, Rhode Island and New England. Later, Herman and Peter Stuyvesant became antagonistic, and the Governor used his power to oppress Augustine.
A legend tells that Herman tried to return to Manhattan. He was taken prisoner by Stuyvesant and sentenced to death. A short time before the execution day, he feigned sickness and asked to be allowed to exercise on his pet horse, Gustavus. He allayed the guard's suspicions by riding regularly. Finally, he bolted through a great window and leaped fifteen feet swam the North River, ran his horse through New Jersey and halted on the banks of the Delaware, opposite New Castle. The portrait of Augustine and his horse from whose nostrils the blood flowed, still is extant. The horse was buried next to Augustine and his wife, Jane Varleth, a sister of Incholar Varleth who married Anna Stuyvesant, sister of Governor Peter and widow of Samuel Bayard for whom the Bayard House Restaurant in Chesapeake City is named.
Cooling DeShane House
The Cooling DeShane House circa 1858 at 309 George St. in South Chesapeake City is located on a knoll and was recently restored by the Vaughans who own the new Ship Watch Inn. The old house has served as the gracious home of Sarah E. DeShane, who leased the lot from Richard H. Bayard in 1858. Richard Bayard had acquired the Bayard house in 1842 and it was operated until 1881 as the Bayard House, advertising "First class accommodations for Man and Beast." It is now the principle restaurant of the town. Sarah married Mr. Egee and had a daughter, Florence. In 1921, it passed into the possession of Florence B. Egee who married a Mr. Brown, one of the local druggists, and they moved to a duplex in the 300 block of Bohemia Avenue. The house was sold to Harry H. Howard in the late 1930s and sold again to Rose and Jim Humphries in the 1940s. At that time, Rose ran a sandwich shop through her window. Her husband, affectionately called "Jumpin' Jim," operated a barber shop on George Street near the canal and would often tell tales about a fictional, "Butter Pot Forest." It would appear that the first floor windows of this house have been lengthened because they are larger and have 1/1 sash and different trim. The graceful semi circular porch is a 20th century addition.
Ship Watch Inn
The new Ship Watch Inn offers waterfront accommodations overlooking the picturesque canal toward Chesapeake City North from several lovely terraces. The site was built as a residence in 1910 for Firman Layman, proprietor of the Bayard House Restaurant and owner of the Layman House next door to it. The property housed a stable, barber shop and apartments before Thomas Layman Vaughan and his wife Linda, renovated it. He is of the fourth generation of Laymans. His great grandparents were Sarah Layman and James H. Vaughan, a pilot on the C & D. Canal. The Vaughan family were surveyors. Thus, it is appropriate that this house on the water should be restored by their devoted descendant. Thomas Vaughan and his vivacious wife, Linda, are continuing the tradition of gracious inn keeping. They offer 8 beautifully appointed rooms, each in a different motif. All look out on a breathtaking view of the water from sweeping decks on all three storeys. Four rooms have Jacuzzis. One guest room on the first floor is fully handicapped compliant and the other meets most standards. The menu for breakfast is created by Thomas L Vaughan, the owner's son, an executive chef. Enjoy such delicacies as Eggs Benedict, crab quiche, rosemary potatoes, caramelized bananas with chantilly cream or mini coconut muffins.
The grey and mauve exterior features a welcoming front porch and ornate door with cut glass panels and atrium stained glass transom. Flower boxes hold lovely colorful plants on each level. A spacious front hallway is graced with wall paper reproductions designs by William Morris, the father of the arts and crafts movement. An elegant breakfront rises regally in this hall, looking into the dining room. All floors are original, sanded and varnished. All moldings have been remilled by hand. The six paned windows indicate their origins in the early 19th century. One of the handicapped accessible rooms on the first floor offers an exquisite armoire with bevelled glass mirror and birds eye maple interior, while a desk nearby is inlaid with delicate marquetry. The bridal room on the second floor has soft peach jabots and swags over peach drapes, complementing corral marble in the bath with a huge Jacuzzis, accented by a flower filled antique bird cage. A brass bed and bureau with columned sides matches the bureau in the bath with Corinthian columns and built in sink. On the third floor, the East Lake Room offers exceptionally fine turn of the century antiques, while another room is in rich tones of hunt green and burgundy.
Innkeepers: Linda and Tom Vaughan. 8 rooms, 4 with Jacuzzis, 2 with king beds, 3 with queens, 2 with doubles, all have private terraces with water views, telephones, cable TV and baths. Use of canal side hot tub. Full breakfast, dinners by reservation. No Pets. Visa, Mastercard. Easy walk to attractions of Chesapeake City, recreational boat rides a block away, chartered tours of horse farms, 18 hole golf course, a variety of restaurants, Historic Chesapeake City, Chestertown, Chaddsford, Delaware.
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