Just a day away

Monday Book Review

July 11, 1994|By John Goodspeed

DAY TRIPS IN DELMARVA: A GUIDE TO SOUTHERN DELAWARE AND THE EASTERN SHORE OF MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA. By Alan Fisher. Rambler Books. Illustrated. $9.95.

(Paperback).

ALAN FISHER of Baltimore, that most urban redoubt, has produced the best organized, best written, most comprehensive and practical guide to day-trips in that most rural and pastoral of locales, the Delmarva Peninsula.

He describes and gives directions for 17 daylight-hour trips -- from the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal area, through the glories of Chestertown, Rock Hall, Wye Island, Easton, Deal Island, Assateague, Chincoteague in picturesque Maryland to Accomac and Northampton counties of Virginia.

He tells you which roads to take to get to the starting place of each day-trip from any direction, and he tells you where to park or drive or walk or ride your bicycle or paddle your canoe after you get there.

He includes maps that show the day-trip routes and their points of historic, religious, artistic and scientific interest. He incorporates brief and lively essays about each area (which should be read before embarking). And, of course, brief and lively descriptions of the dozen or more wildlife refuges and state and national parks and the creatures that creepeth and crawleth in them.

Mr. Fisher recommends day-trips in cool weather to avoid insects, and he warns about when and where hunters may be found -- as a safety precaution.

His brief and lively descriptions of Delmarva flora and fauna include a few touches of humor, a rare sighting indeed in the usually solemn literature of nature lovers. In his section on the Horsehead Wetlands Center in Queen Anne's County, Mr. Fisher notes that one bird expert, Bob Hines, writes the call of the Delmarva oldsquaw duck as "caloo-caloo," whereas another expert, Roger Tory Peterson, writes the same call as "ow-owdle-ow. . . ." "Clearly," he comments, "something. . .is lost in translation."

Altogether an admirable little book -- "Day Trips in Delmarva." It could use an index, though.

John Goodspeed writes from Baltimore.

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