Take Route 272 off of Route 40, down Old Elk Neck Road to see the top of the Bay from ancient clay cliffs. Our state preserved this peninsula of laurel, rhododendron, oak, and sweetgum for us to appreciate the Chesapeake’s beginnings.
Bordered by Elk River above and the Great Shellfish Bay below, this finger of sediments survived the hurricanes of hundreds of years and fluctuating sea levels.
When you drive along the park’s system of roads and residential offshoots, take notice of the shape of all the Eastern Red Cedars. It’s like an American Serengeti with the white-tailed deer browse line five feet up-trunk – this is as far as the deer can reach. The silhouette of hundreds of these deer-pruned field lollipops is amusing, yet indicative of a carrying capacity that is out of balance.
The residences next to the park are highly sought after and exotically-landscaped. The deer don’t seem to eat fir and spruce, preferring the indigenous cedars.
I watched four eagles, one mature, numerous white-tailed deer, and a red fox. The treat, near dusk, was to watch a large owl flap from one tree crown to the next, anticipating a vole-date in the successional field.
Take a day off, drive with your binoculars to this Bay-top public view, and then have crabs in the taverns of North East on Main Street.
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