Greater Washington D.C. Area

Greater Washington Area Manx Society is 40!

Failt erriu! Welcome! Live in the mid-Atlantic region? Have Manx birth or heritage? Just curious or want to learn about our tiny country’s rich Celtic and Viking history; traditions and culture; or art, music, and dancing? You’ve come to the right place!

What’s new for GWAMS?

Grand day out celebrating your Manx/Celtic heritage! October 21st 2017

We are planning a full-day Grand Manx Fall Outing in scenic Southern Maryland for Saturday, Oct. 21. First, we’ll sail with the Longship Company, our friendly local Viking troop, in the Potomac River near Avenue, Md. Then we’ll proceed to dinner at the Ruddy Duck Brewery & Grill in Solomons, Maryland, before attending a concert with Manx folk group Barrule! This is the first time the acclaimed traditional trio from the Isle of Man has performed in our area, so be sure not to miss the opportunity!

This will be the biggest Manx event in the area since last year’s North American Manx Association convention in Annapolis. We’ll start at 11:30 am with the Longship Company in Avenue, Md., west of Leonardtown. We’ll help the Vikings set up their longship, get a safety briefing, and learn about Viking seafaring history. We sail (and row) at noon. Pillaging is optional. We expect to be back on dry land by 4 pm for a drive to the Ruddy Duck Brewery & Grill in Solomons, Maryland (about 45 minutes) and dinner at 5 pm.

At about 6:15 pm, we’ll head for the nearby Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons and the concert with Barrule, an award-winning trio hellbent on taking the Isle of Man’s music to a much wider audience. Named after the famous Manx summit that is home to Celtic God Manannan, Barrule is fiddle-player Tomas Callister, accordion wizard Jamie Smith and accompanist Adam Rhodes on bouzouki. Together they create a powerful and wholly distinctive Manx sound. We hope to meet the band before or after the concert.
The sailing expedition will be a donation of $20 per mariner, and the concert costs about $20 per ticket (prepaid) from Ticketleap: or $25 at the door (if there are seats left). Expect dinner at the Ruddy Duck to cost about $25 per person (pay individually at restaurant). A rough schedule of the day’s event is below. Contact the Greater Washington Area Manx Society’s social director Bill Cassidy at or President Kearsley Waggoner at for more information and to RSVP.  

You don’t have to participate in all the events, but the boat only holds 20 people (not including the crew) so respond quickly if you want to do the longship. If rowing a Viking ship isn’t your thing, you can join us for dinner and/or the concert. Or just come for the longship. Let us know if you want to join us for dinner, so we can make a reservation. If you would like to go to the Barrule concert (and they are really good), please purchase your tickets online 
Schedule of the Day
11.30 am Meet at the Longship Company on Solomon’s Island, MD. (Detailed directions below.) Help set up the Longship. Safety briefing, history, etc. The ship can take 20 adults. There’s a link below to the Sailing Manual and the terms we will be using if you’re feeling keen!
12.30 Row out, sail home. About 3 1/2 hours.
4.00 pm Leave the Vikings and head over to the Ruddy Duck Brewery (about 45-minutes drive)
5.00pm Dinner at Ruddy Duck – Pay Dutch
6.15pm Drive 5mins to Calvert Marine Museum and get settled.
7.00pm Barrule Concert, Harms Gallery.
9.00pm  Concert ends.


Lunch: Please pack your own lunch and a beverage to eat before we row/sail. 
Cost: $20 per person for the boat which is a suggested donation. The longship is a charity and cannot accept fare-paying passengers. You will pay for your own dinner at the Ruddy Duck.  Barrule concert is about $20 to be paid ahead of time online
Clothes: See below.  Comfortable for rowing and layers, it could get cold out on the water.  You might want to bring a change of clothes for later in case you are feeling sweaty or wet from rowing.  And yes, you will be rowing, just like the Vikings. Remember, even they wore layers.  And wear soft soled shoes.
Useful Links:
Longship website:
Nautical terms: Chapter 5:
Notes from the Longship Company
Address for GPS and online maps
21924 Oakley Rd.
Avenue, MD 20609    (Avenue is the name of the town)
If you use GPS, you can skip the first part of the instructions before the   ***
The above address  will get you to the long dirt driveway/road described below at ***  —   follow those instructions from there.

Directions below are for coming from DC, Baltimore, and parts north and west:  (If coming across the Bay Bridge, Annapolis, etc. from the east, Take Rt 50 to Rt. 301/3 south and it will merge into Rt 5 – If coming from Norfolk/Richmond its probably most efficient to cross the Potomac on 301 and then pick up Rt. 5 or one of the smaller roads going east and south)  
From I-95 /I-495

Take Rt. 5 south from D.C. Beltway;   

In Waldorf, turn left on Rt. 5 south.
(Rt. 5  forms three lanes on the left of Rt. 5/301 and turns left before
you get to downtown Waldorf.  )

After a couple of miles, you will make a left at the light where the Shell station is on your left.  This
will keep you on Rt. 5, now Leonardtown Rd., heading south.

Proceed past Charlotte Hall/Newmarket to Mechanicsville to where Rt 5 turns off to the right.

Turn right onto Rt. 5 at the Wawa gas station . Proceed through Helen to
Morganza. (Basically just an intersection with a few buildings You will see a big brick Catholic church on your right and a cemetery on your left)

In Morganza make a right on Rt. 242 (Colton’s Point Road) at the blinking
yellow light immediately past St. Joseph’s Church. Proceed down the road ( about three or four miles), and through the four-way blinking
red light at Clements (another intersection with a few buildings and a baseball field).

About 1.9 miles past Clements, after climbing the hill, make a left on Rt. 470, Oakley Rd.
Proceed past All Saint’s Church on the left and on past houses, farms, and then woods/swamps till you see Burch Road on the left (about 2 miles from Rt. 242) . Slow down,  as you will soon need to turn left.

***    Keep going past Burch Road  and turn left onto the long straight dirt driveway/road just before the  first house on the left. (The house number, on the last mailbox and on the porch pillar, is 21924 ; the address for GPS – On some online maps the driveway/road is identified as Gyrfalcon Ln.)
 Please try to keep your driving speed at 10 MPH on the dirt lane.  Crops and foliage restrict
vision (and speed kicks up a lot of dust); and there is a surprising amount
of traffic on this road that may be coming the other way, given that four families work or live there.

Watch for the group of small buildings,  large green shelter, and old barn on the left. This is where we assemble, and load the gear to take to the ship, and we may still be here if you arrive early. If not, proceed down the driveway. 

There is also a portable toilet there – the only such facilities readily available near the ship —  so stop there if you need to use it.  (It is behind the second building – we will try to have a sign up to better point the way)

The Sae Hrafn is presently docked at a neighbor’s property, ½ mile further down the dirt
road  where it makes a sharp curve . 
(Please do not show up at the ship if you arrive very early before our members are there – stop at the above described assembly area – as we try to keep disruptions and intrusions on our dock host to a minimum, and strangers showing up alone and causing  the dogs on the property getting into a barking/running  frenzy is something to be avoided. )
 At the curve in the road/driveway, please park on the grass on the right,  next to the hayfield, with
the front of the car pointed north towards the hayfield to save space – form a second row behind the first if there is no more room in the first row 
 not leave your car on the gravel road or Steve’s drive/yard.  Please treat any neighbors
 with courtesy and respect and stay on the Blackistone property ( to the left of the road) 
unless otherwise invited, except for walking across Steve’s (our host’s) yard to get to the ship. 
When you walk to the dock/ship,
 please stay to the far left of the yard and away from the house 
What to bring/wear:

Soft soled shoes such as athletic shoes (to save wear and tear on  the wood of the ship) that you don’t mind possibly  getting wet.

Weather-appropriate clothes suited to rowing,  and to boarding and moving around an open wooden ship.

You may want to bring a pair of gloves (any sort, from cheap cotton work gloves, to fingerless leather sports gloves, seem to work about equally well) or some other sort of hand protection if you are not used to rowing or doing similar work with your hands.

Sun screen and whatever protective gear/clothing you feel appropriate for out in an open boat with UV from both above directly and reflecting from 360 degrees around you off the water (or if rain or cold, appropriate additional garments) 

Water or other beverages to keep yourself hydrated. (We generally take along a number of  2L water bottles filled with tap water. So, there is always that to fall back on if you underestimate your fluid requirements.) Whatever in the way of snacks/food you might need to sustain yourself (we discourage potato chips and similar crumbly foods that are likely to end up in  the bilge.)

We have an adequate supply of  PFDs (life vests). Unless weather or other circumstances pose a greater than normal danger, we usually don’t require that adults wear them at all times, only have them within close reach. Children are legally required to wear them up to a certain age, and above that we still may require that minors wear PFDs depending on circumstances.  If you have your own that you like, you are welcome to bring/wear it rather than rely on our bulky orange ones. (You will observe that some of our old hands who have the most understanding of the small, but ever present, dangers of being out on the water, who know that in an emergency they can’t pause to put on their vests, and/or may have to rescue people who aren’t wearing life vests, tend to wear theirs most, or all, of the time. So, wearing a PFD aboard our vessels is never looked on as anything but a wise/prudent/justified precaution.)

If you bring cameras or similar items, make sure you have some way to protect them from water. Its a humid environment and while the water is brackish rather than full ocean salty, it is tough on electronics not designed for use in such situations.

More detailed  LSCoNEO Directions

Directions to Work Sessions and Voyages at the Longship Company Naval Establishment at Oakley (LSCoNEO), Oakley Forge, and Camp Fenby


From DC, Baltimore, and parts north:


Take Rt. 5 south from D.C.; otherwise take Rt. 301 south from everywhere else.

If you’re coming from Baltimore, we find it works best to take Rt. 97 south to Rt. 3 at Exit 7, Crain Highway (NOT local Rt. 3 Exit 12, at New Cut Road).  Rt. 3 turns into/is joined by Rt. 301 south of the Rt. 50 overpass, and Rt. 301 joins Rt. 5 at Brandywine, just before Waldorf.

In Waldorf, turn left on Rt. 5 south.  (Rt. 5 now forms three lanes on the left of Rt. 5/301 and turns left before you get to downtown Waldorf.  Stay out of the right lane of the left  three, which disappears after the turn.  This is the old “Mattawoman-Beantown Rd.” cutoff.)

Past the light on the curve a few miles down this road, get in one of the two left hand lanes, make a left, and follow Rt. 5 south at the light where the Shell station is on your left.  This will keep you on Rt. 5, now Leonardtown Rd., heading south.  Proceed through Bryantown (where Dr. Mudd was arrested after John Wilkes Booth paid him a visit), proceed around the new Hughesville bypass, and past Charlotte Hall/Newmarket (a great flea market site every Wednesday and Saturday) to Mechanicsville

Turn right onto Rt. 5 at the Wawa (where the Halfway House restaurant used to be). Proceed through Helen (watch the strong left-curved turn) to Morganza.

In Morganza make a right on Rt. 242 (Colton’s Point Road) at the blinking yellow light by St. Joseph’s Church. Proceed through the four-way blinking red light at Clements.

About 1.9 miles past Clements, past the headwaters of St. Clements Bay (on the left) and after climbing the hill, make a left on Rt. 470, Oakley Rd.  Proceed past All Saint’s Church on the left; keep an eye out for the second paved road on the left past the church.  This is Hodges Road.  There will be a yellow diamond curve arrow and a 30 mph sign after Hodges Road; the third paved road is Burch Road.

For the LSCoNEO, Oakley Forge and Camp Fenby; keep going past Burch Road (see below).

Oakley Forge and the sites for Camp Fenby (and the “Longship Company Naval Establishment at Oakley”) are about 100 yards down the first dirt road on your left (Gyrfalcon Lane) on Oakley Road, after you’ve passed Burch Rd., JUST BEFORE the large white farmhouse which is presently under reconstruction with cinderblock pillars and brick façade being added. The house number, on the last mailbox and on the porch pillar, is 21924 OAKLEY ROAD, Avenue (that’s the town, not a street), MD 20609.*  Please try to keep your driving speed at 10 MPH on the dirt lane.  Crops and foliage restrict vision (and speed kicks up a lot of dust); and there is a surprising amount of traffic on this road, given that four families work or live there.  Look for the outbuildings and LSCo vessels on your left.

*  Please note that the property address (38825 Burch Road, Grey Havens) is on Burch Road, while the farm lane (Gyrfalcon Lane) exits off of Oakley Road.  If you’re visiting Bruce (Atli) you turn onto Burch Road.  If you’re going to the ship or the forge or Camp Fenby, you turn on the first lane after Burch Road off of Oakley Road.

Also note that Oakley House, and adjacent lands to the right side of the farm lane, have been sold out of the family.  We now own all of the land on the left (east) side of the dirt road down to Wade’s Landing at the end of the lane.  Please treat any neighbors with courtesy and respect and stay on the Blackistone’s property unless otherwise invited.  Do not park or drive on the hay fields west of the lane!  You may parallel park on the right side of the lane, bordering the hayfields.  Pay attention to steep verges and ditches.  Please be careful at all times.


From southern Virginia


Take Rt. 301 over the Harry W. Nice Bridge into Maryland.

Take Rt. 301 to Rt. 234 some 5.9 miles from the Virginia shore and make a right.

Proceed through Chaptico (great church and long story; War of 1812 site) and make a right at Clements, at the blinking four-way red light, onto Rt. 242 and proceed as above.


From Calvert County/Solomons Island Maryland


From Rt. 4 come on over the bridge at Solomons.

Stay on Rt. 4 until it “T”s into Rt. 5, and make a right.

Rt. 5 now cuts straight across without looping through “downtown” Leonardtown. Proceed on Rt. 5 past the strip mall with the McDonalds and get in the left hand lane. Ignore the “Left Lane Ends” sign, ’cause you’re making a left on Rt. 234, heading for Clements.

At the 4-way stop light at Clements, make a left on Rt. 242, Colton’s Point Rd.

On the backside of the hill keep an eye out for Rt. 470, Oakley Rd. about 1.9 miles from Clements.  Turn left on Oakley Rd.

Proceed as above.

How to Contact Us

Kearsley Walsh (President)

Kelly McCarthy (Secretary & Newsletter Editor)

1751 Olde Towne Road

Alexandria, VA 22307

(703) 718-0172

Bill Cassidy, Social Director,

Cris Doria Warner (Treasurer)

16116 Jerald Rd

Laurel MD 20707-2641

(301) 317-7759

Jim Kneale (Webmaster)