Maryland/Virginia 2023

Conowingo Dam, Havre de Grace

Day 5

Today was a bit of a “down day”. I had to spend a good chunk of the day working, so we stayed around the Havre de Grace area. Faith woke up early and went for a run with Anna while I worked a little. Once everyone was back at the house, we ate a hearty breakfast of eggs, toast, etc.

Conowingo Dam

After breakfast, Faith and I drove 13mi north to Darlington, MD, home of the Conowingo Dam. The dam spans 4,648′ across the Susquehanna River, about 10mi inland from its mouth at the Chesapeake, and 5mi south of the Pennsylvania border. Constructed in 1928, it remains the largest dam in the state of Maryland.

However, we didn’t spend our morning traveling just to see an engineering marvel (though it was impressive). Every November through January, thousands of birds, including hundreds of bald eagles, flock to the dam to feed off fish gathered at the foot of the dam. The dam’s turbines stun many of fish that pass through, making them easy prey, and thus attracting both larger fish and birds of prey. Here are a few articles about the dam from Baltimore Magazine, Chesapeake Bay Magazine, Susquehanna Wildlife, and Atlas Obscura.

It’s a pretty amazing spectacle, and we definitely didn’t show up expecting it to be such a big deal. Even on a cold mid-week morning, the parking lot was nearly full, as hundreds of photographers from all over the world lined up to try to snap the perfect shot of eagles and other large birds fighting over fish, often stealing catches out of each other’s talons mid-flight. We met birders from Germany, Austria, Korea, and from all over the US.

We roamed around and watched the birds until we started to get cold – we’d definitely shown up under-dressed for the occasion. The sights were spectacular, and we would definitely visit again.

We hadn’t planned in advance to visit the dam, so I unfortunately didn’t bring my wildlife telephoto lens with me (or even my full frame camera, for that matter), but you can click on the articles up above to see some better photos. You can also click here to see the winners of some of the dam’s official annual photo contest here and here, and there’s also a Facebook fan page.

Many of the regulars said the action hadn’t quite picked up for the season, but it was still amazing to watch, and to hear. I’ll post a short video clip towards the end of this post. We saw and heard more bald eagles than we could possibly count, but most of them were perched on the power poles or in the trees on the hillside behind us.

We drove back to the house, passing the Aberdeen IronBirds MiLB stadium on the way. We also drove past the Pinkerton’s church, so I quickly pulled over to snap a picture of the historic building and the surrounding Maryland countryside.


Back at the house, I worked for a while longer, and then Faith and I drove over to Prost German Restaurant in Aberdeen for an early lunch. We ordered Jägerschnitzel, sauerbraten, a potato dumpling, kraut, spätzle, and a pretzel with butter and mustard. All the food was very good, but it was definitely not the best German food we’ve had. It was a tasty meal, and reasonably priced, but we probably wouldn’t go back.

Havre de Grace

Back at the house, I worked the remainder of the afternoon. Faith’s eldest sister Emily (plus their children), who lives in Philadelphia, came to visit for the day, so everyone else played boards games and did schoolwork for the afternoon.

As evening approached, we all loaded up in 3 cars and headed down to the waterfront to see the sunset. Faith and I made a detour to stop at Concord Point Coffee, where I ordered a mocha, and Faith ordered a maple latte.

We took our coffee drinks down to Millard Tydings Memorial Park, a city park that has a boardwalk (“walking pier”) over to Concord Point Park & Promenade. We walked over to Concord Point, enjoying a spectacular sunset over the bay. While we walked, we heard taps being played across the Bay at Aberdeen Proving Ground, a nearby US Army site. It was a very peaceful evening, and we thoroughly enjoyed our stroll. I’ll highlight a few of our favorite things below.

It was closed at the time, but Havre de Grace has one of the world’s largest decoy museums.

One of the piers has “Birds of the Chesapeake Bay” intricately carved into its posts. Each bird has an info placard with it.

The town of Havre de Grace was almost made the capital of the United States, and played a pivotal role in the War of 1812. I’ll let you read the signs, rather than giving a lengthy history lesson here.

We saw an incredible sunset – one of the most colorful I’ve seen outside the mountains.

There’s an interesting sculpture of a fish made out of lots of small fish.

The Concord Point Lighthouse and surrounding park were very beautiful lit up at night.

As it got dark, we walked back to our cars via the boardwalk, and headed back to the house.


Back at the house, we ate some leftovers for dinner, and sat around visiting for the remainder of the evening.


Here’s a short video from today’s adventures. Enjoy the relaxing sounds of the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay.

The Best Things we Saw Today


The best thing I saw today was… “sunset over the Chesapeake”.

The best thing I ate today was… “Jägerschnitzel at Prost”.


The best thing I saw today was… “all the birds at the Conowingo Dam”.

The best thing I ate today was… “Jägerschnitzel at Prost”.


Tomorrow we’re heading to DC without much of a plan for the day.

– Isaac, Faith, and Walker

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