ELKTON — Take a smooth glide down the Elk River and travel back in time on Saturday during Yakking About History, a family-friendly fundraiser event hosted by the Historic Elk Landing Foundation.
Through a partnership with Bay Venture Outfitters, the historic foundation is hosting guided historic tours along the river to give paddlers a new insight of the waterways that shaped Elkton into what it is today. Proceeds of the event will benefit continued maintenance of the site.
“Those waterways were key during the war of 1812 when the British troops came to march on their way to battle to Fort Hollingsworth. The waterways at Elk Landing are almost hidden today, but there’s a lot of stories that come from it,” said Historic Elk Landing Foundation President Josh Brown.
In the 1700s, where there was water there was life. During that time, Zebulon Hollingsworth bought the land where the Little and Big Elk Creeks meet to form what is Elk Landing today. When he died, his will indicated there was a fishing wharf with acres of woodlands and marsh land.
Over time, it grew into the northernmost port of the Mid-Atlantic. Historians theorize that the John Hans Steelman House (the Stone House) was built to serve as a trading post. Founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson visited the waterfront property at some point.
The kayak tours will be guided by Elk Landing historian Jon Carpenter. While out on the water, he’ll talk about how the river changed over the years and how it sparked use for commerce, transportation and boat-building in Elkton.
Tours will also head down to Marina Park, using the new boat ramp that the town installed there for a year. The entire tour should last up to an hour and a half.
With events like paranormal investigations and beer tastings, the Historic Elk Landing Foundation has been able to share the story of the port’s past. But Brown hopes that by bringing people onto the water, it’ll open their eyes to the site’s past as a gateway to Elkton.
“We want to be able to tell the story of Elk Landing,” he said. “The path on the water to Marina Park is a little forgotten since it’s hidden by trees and marsh, but we want to bring a new perspective to what it looked like before.”
Yakking About History will be on Sept. 14, 9 to 11 a.m. at Elk Landing, 590 Landing Lane in Elkton. Rain date is Sept. 21 at the same time.
Tickets cost $45 for those renting a kayak and $20 for those bringing their own. To buy a ticket, visit www.elklanding.org.