Matoaka Cottages

April 2009
Matoaka Cottages, Maryland

During my last trip to Calvert Cliffs I stayed overnight in the Prince Fredrick area and knew that my wife would
enjoy the area. Now you must understand that my wife has absolutely no interest in fossil collecting,
but loves beach combing. So when I proposed a weekend getaway to Maryland to do a little "beach combing"
fossil collecting, she jumped at the idea. The fact that we were looking for shells that are millions of years old really
didn't seem to matter, a shell is a shell and beach combing is beach combing.
Matoaka Cottages is about 20 miles south of Calvert Cliffs. This is a private beach, open for fossil collecting
year round. There is a small charge for parking and access to the beach. I picked this area for our trip for
 several reasons.  The beach is still exposed at high tide, the area is known for it's shells and we would
 only be about 10 minutes from the hotel in Prince Fredrick. If you are looking for shark teeth
 this is definitely not the spot.

We arrived late morning and would be catching an outgoing tide. After checking in, we got a quick peak at some
of the better specimens the owners had collected over the years and some tips on what to look for when we hit the
 beach. The beach is literally littered with fossil shells, with modern shells being somewhat scarce.
My wife quickly found a few species that she liked and settled down to hunt for these the rest of the
 afternoon while I headed towards the cliffs in search of some decent sized Chesapectens.

Overall we did better than I expected, although I was a little disappointed at the lack of teeth. My wife had
such a good time that we decided to stop at Calvert Cliffs for a few hours on Sunday on the way back.
Another trip is planned for the fall. This one will be to Calvert Cliffs to "beach comb" for sharks teeth. 


The beach at Matoaka Cottages a little before low tide.



   Just a few of the Chesapectens we found. The largest is just a hair
over 6 inches in diameter.
I learned from my last trip, these things are very fragile. A supply of
plastic bags, paper towels and rags to use as packing is highly recommended.



Lumps of matrix that have washed into the water from the cliffs are worth taking a look
at. I didn't notice the second shell cemented to the back until I started cleaning away
the matrix at home.


One very small section of the cliffs produced an abundance of barnacles.



My wife's favorites, (top) moon shell and Turritela.


We spent hours picking through the piles of broken shells looking for these
little critters.


Sunday we stopped at Calvert Cliffs for a few hours.
All small common teeth, but I did manage to pick up these two dolphin verts.


A view of the bay from atop the cliffs.


We called it a day with plenty of daylight left to explore the
Prince Fredrick area a bit before checking in to the hotel and a leisurely

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