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About Stoneton West, LLC
Stoneton West, LLC was formed in March of 2008 as a partnership of the four siblings of the Thomson family and offers the secluded Wild Duck rental cottage located on a hilltop on the banks of the Sassafras River on the outskirts of Betterton, Maryland.
The History of Stoneton West
The Stoneton West property was originally named "Inotio Camp" which functioned as a vacation rental property managed by a woman named Ethel Stahr who lived in "The Big House". The Big House was built in 1927 and many of the cottages and structures which were on the property (including the Wild Duck rental cottage) were built at the same approximate time.
[Read more about Stoneton West History]
The Thomson Family
The property was an old stomping ground for the four Thomson children as they grew up in the sixties and early seventies. Their grandfather, Lester Keephart, built a vacation cottage in the 1930's. The Thomson family stayed at this family cottage, and they also rented a Stahr cottage for several summers.
The Thomson children called her "Aunt Ethel," and what a character Ethel Stahr was. She was gregarious and loved spending time with the people who rented her properties. Ethel's Big House was always an adventure. She kept a talking parrot named Polly which one would always find sitting in a cage on the front porch calling out to the bay. There was a bear skin rug in the living room and a suit of armor on the upstairs landing. Native American arrow heads and stone tools were embedded in the field-stone fireplace. For the four young Thomson children this was a thrilling way to spend the summer.
Summers in Betterton Maryland
Aunt Ethel let us cut through her property to walk down the beach to "Cattail Island," where we would pretend we were adventurers and pirates. We would spend hours damming the "root beer river" (a very cold water spring from the marsh), collecting beach glass and driftwood, and building forts. Our imaginations were inspired by the place; we collected butterflies and turtles, and we learned to fish the Sassafras River and the Chesapeake Bay at a very young age. The fishing was great and our grandfather -- Lester ("Pop-Pop") Keephart -- taught us to catch crabs from his big red row boat. Another highlight of those years was crab feasts when bushels of crab would be cooked and consumed at newspaper covered tables. We cracked the claws with hammers and nutcrackers and became very efficient crab consumer kids. The mess was part of the fun! At dusk, all of the children from the cottages played flashlight tag until our parents called us in. The waving flashlights and the squeals of joy announced that a new game was in progress. On rainy days we made jigsaw puzzles and played games of cards with the older relatives. The rest of the days were spent in the sun and water. Betterton played a big role in our childhood. At that time some of the Betterton town piers were still standing and the "S.S. Bay Belle" still brought vacationers from Baltimore to swim, enjoy the amusement pier, the dance hall, and the bingo parlors. In the 1960's we would often walk to town and we were lucky enough to experience the last of the Betterton resort's heyday. At night we would listen to music coming from the dance hall and Becker's Beach Club, and it was during this period in time that many of Betterton's hotels and rooming houses were still in business.
This was a most ideal way to spend a summer vacation.