By Owens Pomeroy <opomeroy@msn.com>

     One of the most pleasant memories for me was the Excursion Boats to Tolchester and Betterton. In the days when the Inner Harbior was just a commercial port to unload produce, their was 3 piers that catered to Boat Trips. One was The Night Boat To Norfolk, the other two were the piers for the Tolchester and Betterton Excursions.

     The boat left early in the morning during the Summer around 9 am and arrived in Tolchester (which was the name of the boat also), about 11 am. We kids would be the first ones off the boat and make the long run down the pier to the Tolchester Park and hold our Picnic table until our parents arrived with all the "goodies" and our swin suits. The park was really grand with a Carousel, Mountain Speeedway, pony rides and goat cart rides as well as a penny arcade. Their was a ball diamond as well where we had a pick up game among the other kids at the park.

     I can remember after eating our lunch, mom would not let us kids go into the water for at least an hour because of getting cramps. The water was always clean and warm and they had rafts to dive off of as well as sliding boards in the water for the little tykes. Around 5 pm, the big boat horn would blast to let all the people know that the boat would be leaving in an hours time. We usually packed up about 4:30 and headed for the pier to be one of the first ones on the trip back. The boat left at 6 pm sharp and docked in Baltimore around 8 at night. Streetcars were waiting on Pratt Strett for the crowds. There was later Boat that left for the teens and adults that wanted a moonlight ride to Baltimore. That one left Tolchester at 9 pm and arrived in Baltimore at 11 pm.

     I mentioned the Night Boat To Norfolk, which was the only passenger cabin boat in Baltimore during that time. It made an overnight trip to Norfolk each evening, for those who wanted a nice trip to Virginia. The night boat is still running, but not in Maryland. It works out of a port in Delaware. Every time I visit the Inner Harbor on the Light Street side, I can still see The boats docked there for the trips to Tolchester Betterton and Norfolk.

Owens Pomeroy

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