- Associated Press - Saturday, August 16, 2014

WHITEHAVEN, Md. (AP) - It’s a hot summer morning in Whitehaven.

The village is quiet.

As the Whitehaven Ferry moves back and forth across the Wicomico River, there’s a small but steady flow of vehicles pulling up to a stop sign near the Whitehaven Hotel and waiting to board the ferry.

Vehicles are pulling up on the other side, too, where there is marshland in the Mount Vernon area of Somerset County.

It’s 11 a.m., and Dale McDorman has already been working for five hours. As a ferry operator, he takes passengers and their vehicles from one side of the river to the other in a trip that takes four or five minutes each way.

He’s been a ferry operator for eight years, and with the job comes long days. On the days he works, he works from 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. - the same length of time the ferry is open each day.

It is a Tuesday. McDorman has already worked Sunday and Monday, and he’ll be off Wednesday before working Thursday through Saturday. Then, he’ll take the following week off.

The ferry operator job is one that’s existed on the Wicomico River since colonial times, says Jefferson Boyer, assistant innkeeper at the Whitehaven Hotel and former president of the Whitehaven Heritage Association. He’s lived in the village for 20 years.

“That job’s older than the state of Maryland; it’s older than Wicomico County,” Boyer says.

Martha Parks, 53, of Mount Vernon, pulls her bicycle up to the ferry on the Whitehaven side at about 11 a.m. She has already pedaled 66.22 miles from the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry, having left at about 5:30 that morning.

She had stayed up there with her husband, and he drove back while she returned to Whitehaven on bike, traveling through Preston, Hurlock, Sharptown and Hebron along the way.

After crossing the ferry, she’ll have only about a mile to go before reaching her destination: home.

A little while later, Tom Hubric, 72, of Waterview Foods is riding the ferry from the Mount Vernon side to the Whitehaven side. Making the crossing with him are about 30 dozen eggs.

He has farms both in the Princess Anne area and in Waterview, the community at the end of Nanticoke Road, where he lives. He wouldn’t be able to do what he does without the ferry, he says. He rides it daily.

“It’d just be too costly,” Hubric says.

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