Historic Rockland Farm (Virginia) Responds to White Ferry Announcement Regarding Ceasing Operations

by MCS Staff

Historic Rockland Farm (Virginia) Responds to White Ferry Announcement Regarding Ceasing Operations

Earlier today White’s Ferry announced that is had ceased operations after the Circuit Court of Loudon County ruled that no public landing exists on the Virginia Shoreline at White’s Ferry Road, prohibiting the ferry from landing at that location in Virginia.

Historic Rockland Farm, no association to Rocklands Farm Winery in Poolesville, has released a statement via their social media explaining their side of the story.

“In 1871, Loudoun County condemned a landing at Rockland Farm of 1 perch by 16 perches for a Ferry landing called Conrad’s Ferry. At that time there were many ferries that crossed the Potomac River between Virginia and Maryland such as Edward’s Ferry and Sphinx Ferry. Unfortunately, there are no records that show where the condemnation for Conrad’s ferry occurred. In 1947, Elijah White wanted to reopen Conrad’s Ferry under the name White’s Ferry after a terrible flood which had closed Conrad’s ferry for a long time. They sent a letter to Rockland Farm acknowledging that they had no right to use Rockland’s property for the landing and asked the owners of Rockland Farm, for an agreement. In 1952, Elizabeth Rust Brown and Stanley Noel Brown, owners of Rockland Farm entered into a licensing agreement with White’s Ferry for $5.00 per year for the use of a landing at Rockland Farm so long as the ferry landing was never changed or enlarged under its current configuration. Since that time, White’s Ferry evolved from being a small operation of a few cars per day to a major commuter route.

Sixteen years ago, on July 4th weekend, White’s Ferry (without prior notification or permission from Rockland and without obtaining any government permits) unlawfully enlarged the ferry landing and built structures on Rockland. So doing violated a license agreement between White’s Ferry and Rockland that had been in place for more than half a century. Since then Rockland has been attempting to work out some fair arrangement with the owners of White’s Ferry. In response, all White’s Ferry has done is to delay, delay, delay, all the while making millions of dollars off the use of Rockland. Finally, after being stonewalled time and again by White’s Ferry, Rockland had no choice but to file suit on December 2, 2009. After many attempts to settle the case out of court which delayed the trial by years, the suit was decided in Rockland’s favor on November 23rd, 2020. The court definitively ruled that the owners of White’s Ferry had been and are trespassing and are no longer able to make use of Rockland without Rockland’s permission.

Since that decision over four weeks ago, Rockland Farm has made numerous attempts to reach White’s Ferry in order to negotiate a fair and equitable solution that will keep the ferry running. Rockland has offered to purchase White’s ferry, to be paid rent for its land, and to consider other arrangements that will keep the ferry running. On multiple occasions, White’s Ferry told Rockland Farm that it would get back to Rockland on certain dates, but missed their own deadlines. Multiple attempts to reach White’s Ferry have gone unanswered. All the while White’s Ferry continued, unjustly and now in violation of a court ruling, to make money off of the use of Rockland.

Rockland Farm knows that it is in everyone’s best interest to keep the ferry running and sent White’s Ferry an interim licensing agreement so that the ferry operation could continue without interruption until a deal between the two parties could be negotiated. Rockland Farm received no response from White’s Ferry. Having not gotten a response from White’s Ferry, Rockland Farm wrote to them last Wednesday letting them know that if Rockland did not hear back from them by noon on Monday, it would send a final notice of entry of Order to the court. Instead of engaging with Rockland Farm to negotiate a fair and equitable arrangement to keep the ferry running, the response by White’s Ferry was to close the ferry and walk away from the business.”


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Mike December 28, 2020 - 7:45 pm

After reading this, it looks like White ferry doesn’t know business etiquettes or how to negotiate. If you’re using someones property you should compensate them accordingly. Plain and simple

Anne December 28, 2020 - 9:09 pm

Agree! People are jumping to blame Rockland for the closure. I know the family that owns Rockland and they have tried to purchase the ferry but the owner is non-responsive. Until White’s Ferry ownership provides their reasoning for closing operations, no one has the full story enough to make an educated opinion and post serious accusations.

Monte December 30, 2020 - 5:46 pm

1 perch is 16.5 feet.FYI.

I think the land was condemned by Loudon in 1881, as it’s a public road there now.
Probably no documentation left from then.

So previous owner charged nothing 5 dollars a year—and was probably a method to clear up title issues for murky ownership questions of Rocklands or Loudon.

It appears that it’s and always been a public right of way-road- and shoreline on other side of the road. State of Maryland owns up to low tide of the shore.

Simplest is for Loudon to just file quick take condemnation of existing area as it is today.
And call it a day and Whites Ferry continue on.

Nygel December 30, 2020 - 7:01 pm

Why not take the ferry boat instead of the land or allow Rockland to operate their own ferry.

Connie Rice December 30, 2020 - 9:33 pm

What would YOU value riverfront property in Loudoun County at per acre? Just take it? From the Rust/Brown family? Their great great grandfather fought the British in Baltimore in 1812. President Jackson stayed over at their house on the way to his inauguration. They donated Leesburg’s library and Ida Lee park to us. And much much more.

I just don’t think that idea would work out very well.

Cindy Mallory December 29, 2020 - 8:14 am

Typical news reporting only a small portion of the facts.

Soloman December 30, 2020 - 4:24 pm

Cut the boat in half and let each side operate it’s half of the boat!

Matt Stieringer December 30, 2020 - 4:26 pm

Cindy Mallory you are right. Today it’s not news it’s opinion. No one digs up the truth anymore.

Caitlyn P December 30, 2020 - 4:52 pm

They posted White Ferry’s statement first and then they posted the Rockland statement which is what you’re reading and linked the first article. This is actually pretty good reporting showing both sides.

Martha Polkey December 31, 2020 - 9:28 am

I think the truth is there, in the court case (which you can read), and all the supporting documents. I am weary of armchair commenters complaining that the little article they just read must be trying to conceal the truth or is sloppy reporting. Read the dern documents yourself. And put yourself in both parties’s shoes for a minute. Rockland’s owners have been paid $340 for the 68 years that this (now very profitable ferry) has used their land. In 2004, without consulting the owners, the White’s Ferry owners further encroached on their land, destroyed property, and enlarged the landing, disregarding the agreement. The ferry says it nets about a half-million a year (hard to verify, since it’s a cash-basis business). Rockland has a long paper trail of how they have tried to reach an agreement. The ferry owner has not responded. He just suddenly shut down the business instead, calculating (correctly, so far), that he could portray himself as put upon and Rockland’s owners as greedy people.

John Harley Farr December 29, 2020 - 12:30 pm

There are always three sides to a story. In this case there is:

1. The Truth
2. Rocklands
3. Whites Ferry

Sarah December 29, 2020 - 7:11 pm

I think there is a question of an established right of way here going back over 100 years, does Rocklands own the river bank and flood plain? It seems to me that Ricklands wanted to play hard ball and force the sale of the ferry and White’s Ferry has called their bluff! Good for them. No one got rich keeping that ferry going all these years, now it is more valuable as the area has grown wealthier and they want to gobble it up!

Mmm December 30, 2020 - 6:03 pm

Good for whites ferry closing down. If I took part of your land for my driveway, didn’t get rich off it and didn’t compensate it would be OK? Nope.

Jim December 30, 2020 - 2:11 pm

When you think you’ve found a gold mine and can blackmail another buisness but find out they don’t play.

Mmm December 30, 2020 - 6:01 pm

Or when you think you can take something that doesn’t belong to you, and not compensate them and dont like the outcome.

Patrick December 28, 2020 - 7:48 pm

Seems to me whomever owns and operates the ferry has a serious problem.

Cochise December 29, 2020 - 12:30 pm

Sounds like Rockland just wants to purchase the Ferry. Put pressure on the little guy and buy him out. There’s more to Whites Ferry than just the Ferry and Cable, much more. That Ferry doesn’t make millions. But Rockland definitely wants some of the profit. Whites Ferry should just sit back, relax, lease their picnic shelter, go back to renting boats, and run the store and grill for all the visitors on the Maryland side who use the big parking lot for C&O access, and those that want to use Rockland event area can pick one of the bridges to make that long trip if coming from Maryland. This is nothing but pressure to get in on the cash.

Curt H December 29, 2020 - 2:49 pm

Maybe so but it sounds like Rockland has been reasonable in requests. $5 a year doesn’t cut it when they expand without permission, etc.

Don December 29, 2020 - 3:24 pm

My guess is that the ferry isn’t all that profitable.

MRG December 29, 2020 - 7:24 pm

Are you kidding me. The costs are very nominal to run. Some fuel, a few employees that I’m sure are not highly paid. You have to pay to ride whether you drive a car, bring a bike or just want to ride as a pedestrian. The buildings are not well kept. Even the grill area is leased. And the ferry fees are all cash. During prime hours and summertime, the ferry is pretty full. I love the convenience of the ferry but they do need to pay land leasing fees like anyone else.

John M December 29, 2020 - 3:25 pm

They didn’t expand, they repaired a retaining wall

John December 29, 2020 - 5:27 pm

They did expand. They didn’t repair the retaining wall, they built a new one farther up the bank expanding their landing area. Direct violation of the contract that was already in place.

Jason December 29, 2020 - 9:11 pm

Sounds like an attempt of a hostile take over from the land owner. No one was making a large profit margin on that ferry.

Glad the ferry owner is playing hardball. Now no one is making any money and the whole area is inconvenienced.

Ben December 30, 2020 - 9:07 am

I heard that the ferry was going to be turned into a casino for a river boat style gambling venue, and Rockland wanted to build a Waffle House on the VA side.. Walmart was to build a big box on the MD side. It’s all about $$$ who care about the historical and cool experience..

Lisa December 30, 2020 - 3:20 am

They did make millions. The county showed them averaging about $675K/year with few expenses. They’re being greedy and not wanting to pay rent for land that they were utilizing that didn’t belong to them. They’re grifters at best.

Bob December 30, 2020 - 2:08 pm

Few expenses – gues you know nothing about business. They have about 8 full time employees, even if they were only paid $50K a year each that equates to $400,000. Then there is business license tax, maintenance cost on the ferry etc. etc. etc.

Mmm December 30, 2020 - 6:04 pm

Pretty sure they weren’t paying them 50k a year lol

me December 30, 2020 - 8:29 pm

According to the records, White’s ferry was making an average 41% profit from 2004 to 2017.

According to another article, the 675k/yr was the average profit, not income. But that mixes up all of the White’s Ferry operations, so it’s not just the ferry operation



Shelley McLaughlin December 30, 2020 - 6:33 pm

Thinking outside of the box, what if the jurisdictions decide commuters must have this route and decide to build a third bridge in this location. How much land could both properties loose to eminent domain?

Mar December 28, 2020 - 8:14 pm

Thank you for this explanation. It is greatly appreciated

Frank Brewer December 28, 2020 - 8:24 pm

Would like to know who owns the Maryland (West) landing location? Also, as a federally licensed means of conveyance, closing requires notice to USCG and US DOT. Is the ferry hauled out or is it a hazard to navigation by it’s cable and barge?

phil Mckee December 28, 2020 - 9:40 pm

there is no known navigation in his area of the river that would ever be affected by the ferry or cable system.

Lol December 28, 2020 - 8:43 pm


Steve December 28, 2020 - 9:25 pm

How does rockland collect the $100k in damages.

Kevin December 28, 2020 - 10:28 pm

Why would Rockland be interested in buying the ferry? White’s Ferry doesn’t seem like a business that would fit into the Rocklsnd portfolio. On the other hand, owning the property of both sides of the Potomac River might be a good position to be in if it’s decided to build a new bridge crossing?

Don December 29, 2020 - 1:50 pm

The judge will issue an order. If they don’t pay, Rockland will sue for enforcement, and White’s assets can be seized and sold to the extent necessary to pay.

Ken December 28, 2020 - 10:05 pm

Rockland claims Whites Ferry is making millions off the operation. That is ridiculous. They need to research those figures.

Mark Landry December 28, 2020 - 11:46 pm

Thanks for your side of the story. I would be in favor of keeping it smaller, not enlarging it. Any bridge put elsewhere far enough out of way. Love the serenity of Countryside, Arthur Godfrey’s farm, … direct increase traffic elsewhere. Bring back the Jubal Early!

Ken's calculator December 29, 2020 - 8:53 am

$5 per trip times 600 trips per day is around a million per year. It’s been 16 years since the issue began. Call it 16 million. Easy math.

Beth December 29, 2020 - 12:07 pm

Ken, your math is off. Where do get to 600 trips per day? We know if we miss the ferry, it’s at least a 20 minute wait. My guess is the ferry does about 72 trips in a 12 hour day – NOT 600. That roughly equals about $7200/day, not including fuel or wages. Top gross my math arrived at was $2,628,000/year. Again, this is exclusive of fuel and wages. The fuel will be a big expense.

Dave, I like your reasoning – sounds like a good idea.

Don December 29, 2020 - 1:48 pm

The 600 trips per day is accurate; it’s in the court filings. It’s based on the number of vehicles TIMES the number of physical crossings. At your own estimate own estimate of 72 physical crossings, they need include only 8 vehicles per crossing (less than the ferry’s capacity) to net 600 paid trips.

J Stone December 29, 2020 - 2:07 pm

New reports quoting the owner of White’s Ferry in the past put the number of CARS making the trip at 600 per day, so Ken is correct in his assumption, where trips refers to customers, not the ferry crossings.

Mike A December 29, 2020 - 2:35 pm

I don’t know how many crossings per day or how many vehicles per crossing. But, it’s not $5 per trip. It’s $5 per vehicle per trip. If there are 9 vehicles on average for every trip, that’s around 600 vehicles per day.

edmundburkenator December 29, 2020 - 2:45 pm

Trips are cars, not ferry crossings. The numbers are out of public court filings that the judge used to establish damages.

Now, the poster above did not take out costs, which take the annual profit down to ~$670K (also from court records).

Billie Jo December 29, 2020 - 4:12 pm

Wait Ken and Beth, ur math is way off. They charged $5 per year to use the landing, not $5 per trip.

Bob Jenkins December 29, 2020 - 5:03 pm

Operating and maintaining the Ferry itself and cable system, Taxes, fees, licensing , Insurance and Wages. That Million bucks is dwindling fast.

Peyton Doub December 29, 2020 - 9:09 pm

I think the answer is for the Md and Ava DOTs to jointly pay fair market value for the ferry’s assets and land and operate it as a public toll transportation facility. It is essential transportation, not just a tourist feature. It is both nostalgic and essential, a key element of the regional transportation grid. Building a bridge would take too long, be too expensive, and too disruptive to the rural landscape. Ferries have a role even in modern times

John G December 30, 2020 - 2:22 pm

Good Lord…just wait to see how the public sector fouls up this long-standing privately run ferry.

Cyn May 1, 2021 - 11:47 pm

Woah Nellie! Hold your horses there. It amazes me after reading EVERY reply that the folks who are happy for Whites Ferry closing are obviously uneducated to the point that they are TOTALLY missing the true bigger picture… Rockland has historically & consistently been helping their neighbors for over 200 years.There wouldn’t even have been a ferry AT ALL if not for their graciously only charging $5.00 A YEAR dude. Yes that’s right. A whole 5 bux a year!! So the Trump lover who is acting childish and insensitive by not negotiating with Rockland Farm needs to TELL the TRUTH by admitting ALL the revenue he raked in and Rockland never once asked for a piece of that rich cake.

Joe May 24, 2021 - 1:02 pm

“Trump lover”?

Oh, that’s right. Certain people are privileged enough to spit on anybody and just refer to the target as a “Trump lover”, to justify acting like an idiot. You have not disappointed.

Please, consume copious amounts of festered fecal matter and then take a nap. (The side benefit being, you will automatically be registered and vote Democrat for as long as voting lasts in America. Think of the time you will save!)

Biff December 30, 2020 - 7:06 am

Wondering if the whites ferry owners might be in icu with covid and can’t respond ??

Jeff December 30, 2020 - 1:17 pm

They’ve been delaying the court case for years. Apparently not willing to negotiate.

H. David Meyers December 30, 2020 - 5:21 pm

Ken’s calculator needs to be recharged…
All seriousness….. arbitrate….a lot of people depend on and enjoy the few minutes of peace and beauty.

H David

T December 30, 2020 - 12:27 pm

$675,000 per year times 20 years is millions. It’s public record

Mmm December 30, 2020 - 6:05 pm

Well 600k + a year over x amount of years..

Matthew December 30, 2020 - 10:15 pm

Rockland didn’t claim they made millions. White’s Ferry claimed they made millions. In court documents, White’s Ferry claimed they made about $675,000 per year in profit. Over the course of the 16 years they were operating without a license it was about $10 million. That is not just the ferry, that is all of the profits made by the company called “White’s Ferry”

Dave January 4, 2021 - 4:26 pm

Whites Ferrys own figures presented in court show they’ve taken a net profit of over $7M dollars since 2004, the date they breached their agreement. God alone knows how much they took out before that date, but they were paying Rockland only $5 per year…now who do you think sounds greedy here?

David Lechner December 28, 2020 - 10:38 pm

Has Rockland offered to sell the land at a reasonable price? Was their offer to buy the ferry at a fair price? ( like $75M, the ten year present value of $7M in annual profits, if that is the real profit?). Seems like both sides are being greedy. The land has little real value without the ferry operating. Both sides of the crossing need to be owned by one owner. So let the two states take both points by eminent domain and jointly lease both sites to a ferry operator…..

Terp December 28, 2020 - 11:31 pm

The Ferry clearly was in legal wrong, but it would be nice to see it returned to operation.

Lisa Testen December 29, 2020 - 6:52 am

That sounds good. Maybe they could work something out because of its historical significance to the area & it’s years of operation. If the two parties won’t communicate,then take it over & make it state owned & operated.

Rebecca Johnson December 29, 2020 - 3:35 pm

From what I’ve seen they offered to rent the landing to them for $200k per year plus 3 years of back rent at the same cost which would total $600K for the past 3 years plus current rent due. I don’t think the ferry could afford it and didn’t want to just sell for pennies on the dollar. I think it was easier for them to just shut down and run their store on the other side and the picnic area and boat rental on the MD side.

An Fhirrime December 28, 2020 - 10:40 pm

Maybe this is another example of someone trying to use their money as clout. They
“offered” to purchase the ferry. Maybe the Browns didn’t want to sell.

This seems to be am established route and land use. Seems like their may be an established precedent.

Rockland is to be blamed December 28, 2020 - 11:50 pm

Probably offered $5 to buy the ferry business loll… Unless you tell us the ridiculous offer, we can’t decide if you are at fault. I mean which stupid people would choose to close business instead sell, unless you made a ridiculous offer. 2 sides to a coin

Fredhead December 29, 2020 - 9:48 am

Maybe the states or county can just buy out both properties and put a bridge that should have been done decades ago.

The lack river crossings. Mow down both places since they can’t agree and give the people what they really need.

A Bridge!!!!

KatieRose December 29, 2020 - 1:45 pm

From what I understand, Maryland has been against building a permanent bridge.

Rocks December 30, 2020 - 11:38 pm

Maryland…who owns the river..and was part of the winning north, will NEVER agree to build a bridge. Period. They have put up with Virginia for 200 years and won’t let them forget they lost.

Joyce December 30, 2020 - 5:15 pm

I don’t understand why the ferry doesn’t have an easement by prescription, or couldn’t/didnt claim ownership of the landing as they used the land ‘openly and notoriously’ for well in excess of the statutory period of time…
In any event, perhaps Loudoun needs to take the land under eminent domain in the obvious interest of necessary public transportation…

Laura December 28, 2020 - 11:55 pm

Rockland should contract someone else to run a ferry from their location. If this business makes “millions,” I’m sure there are others who would love to run a ferry.

Dave December 29, 2020 - 9:47 am

And land where?

MoCo Commuter December 29, 2020 - 12:24 am

Rockland Farm is a bunch of greedy people.

Cyn May 1, 2021 - 11:55 pm

Greedy HOW exactly???
I am laughing hard.

My Name December 29, 2020 - 1:12 am

Simple — Build a bridge for Christ’s sake. Virginia’s tech economy thrives while Maryland’s withers and dies. Maryland, and specifically the 270 corridor, is a horrible place for tech businesses as no one wants to cross the American Legion bridge. What’s that? What about all the Maryland tech talent on this side of the bridge? It has long since moved to VA.

Broof December 29, 2020 - 10:02 am

Loudoun democrats doin their thing. Entitled wealthy people need to be knocked down a peg or two. Eminent domain would brighten their day.

Chris December 30, 2020 - 11:02 am

^^^ This…… Right here…

Marc December 29, 2020 - 10:41 pm

Please edit your post to not blaspheme the name of G_d. Thank you.

DL December 30, 2020 - 3:42 pm

Leave your god out of this

the аntichrist December 31, 2020 - 7:07 pm

I will say whatever I goshdarn want

Rocks December 30, 2020 - 11:40 pm

Maryland owns the river.

C. Hopkins December 29, 2020 - 2:09 am

Sounds like the Ferry Owner knew they hadn’t a leg to stand on and was expecting the blow to fall. It also sounded like the Ferry Owner was abusing their position and was unreasonable in their negotiations (or lack thereof). Unfortunately the public at large is who suffers. There was further commentary from Rockland Farm:


The abrupt closure that White’s Ferry ceased operations came after they lost a Court ruling that would have required them to pay for use of Rockland Farm’s private property, from which they have been running an incredibly profitable business for more than 70 years without paying any rent or usage fees.
“We have been attempting to come to a reasonable agreement with White’s Ferry for some time. We even have offered to purchase it several times so we could keep it running and ensure that we have appropriate liability coverage and all of the necessary permissions from the County and state,” explained Rockland Farm Owner Libby Devlin. “The closing came as a shock, particularly because we had approached them again in the past week. Rather than responding, they chose to cut off their customers and this lifeline between Maryland and Virginia that so many rely upon.”
Rockland was hoping to resolve a longstanding dispute that began in 2004 when White’s Ferry breached a 1952 license agreement for the use of Rockland’s property by radically altering the approach to the landing without permission and with none of the required permits. After years of negotiations to resolve the ensuing dispute, Rockland Farm instituted litigation against White’s Ferry as a last resort.
“White’s Ferry’s own sworn statements and financial records show that it made, on average, about $675,000 per year in net profits, or over $7 million, since Rockland terminated the license agreement in 2004,” Rockland Attorney Jeffrey Huber said. “They paid Rockland nothing. Even after filing suit, Rockland made numerous proposals for an appropriate arrangement to continue the ferry operation in mediation and in settlement negotiations at trial.
“White’s Ferry rejected all such offers. White’s Ferry took the position that it did not need to pay to use Rockland’s land to operate its private business,” he said.
Following trial, the Circuit Court of Loudoun County ruled in favor of Rockland Farm and found that White’s Ferry had no right to use the land without agreement.
“When the Court made its decision on November 23, 2020, we asked our attorneys to seek to reach agreement with White’s Ferry to allow it to continue operating while providing Rockland Farm fair compensation and liability protections for use of our property,” Devlin shared. “And we again expressed a willingness to discuss a purchase of the business. Regrettably, White’s Ferry has chosen not to negotiate.”
​Rockland Farm owners did not have their attorneys present any Final Order to the Court that would prevent White’s Ferry from operating.
“We have delayed in the hope of reaching a fair agreement. The decision to close operations today was solely made by White’s Ferry,” Devlin said.

MD Girl December 29, 2020 - 4:01 am

BUILDING A BRIDGE IS NOT THE ANSWER! Major disruption to everyone & everything in the area!

This is SO sad! My parents found that ferry & shared it with me when I moved back to the area. I don’t blame Rockland Farm if they have tried everything to work out a fair arrangement. I agree with Ken’s questioning Rockland Farms’ claim that White’s Ferry makes millions. Seems high to me. People don’t walk away from a business unless they’re worn out, don’t have a successor, have problems that haven’t been disclosed, are just barely hanging on.

Another logical explanation I can think of for the owners of White’s Ferry is that they’re overwhelmed by running the business? I have quite a few friends who have their own businesses and they are ALL working too hard for too little money. They don’t have any decent quality of life.

I HOPE a resolution can be worked out so this iconic, historic treasure ferry can continue to run serving the people who use it to commute and those of us who enjoy riding it sometimes for the sheer pleasure of being on the river.

Mark December 29, 2020 - 5:42 am

Looking up the number of cars that use the ferry. “The ferry company has been in operation since 1786, according to Visit Loudoun’s website. Commuters use the ferry daily, where 24 vehicles can be transported at a time. Between 600 and 800 vehicles use the ferry each day.16 hours ago
Historic White’s Ferry closes operations indefinitely | News …”

So say 800 cars x $8 round trip x 365 days = 2,336,000 Gross or $1,752,00 for just 600 cars a day. Minus $6,400 or $4,800 a day for closure due to floods/weather and minus all other cost so you’re left with how much?

And is this the wall in question https://www.google.com/maps/@39.15504,-77.5228573,3a,75y,298.14h,79.91t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sfVzii8dHLPmC3WsOkniqnA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Sounds like 2 kids fighting in the sand box.

Woke December 29, 2020 - 8:44 am

The ferry needs to be closed down. It obviously was racist in nature because it was around so those evil white slave owners could move their crops and slaves around the area.

Good riddance!

Angie December 29, 2020 - 12:24 pm

Your math needs to account for how many cars on each trip. So 72 trips times 24 cars (I think I saw where it can hold up to 24 a trip) times $5 a car adds up. But I’m guessing each potential trip wasn’t completely loaded. So upwards of a $ million a year isn’t unimaginable.

If it ran 72 trips a day with 24 cars at $5 a car 365 days a year, the income potential is over $3million…so a million a year seems quite feasible.

Sour Grapes December 29, 2020 - 2:59 pm

That doesn’t make them millionaires! Wages, insurance, upkeep, equipment,, taxes, depreciation – hardly a money maker compared to what the commuters earn every year.
One year the cable snapped and a boatload of cars and passengers ended up downstream. Not a money maker at all if you ask me. The business is more of a community service, they are wardens of the land, stewards of history. The winery pales in comparison.

Katherine White December 29, 2020 - 6:42 pm

I agree with Sour Grapes. We tend to forget all the times the ferry is closed due to flooding and freezing. The cost of flood insurance is probably astronomical.

I worked for a family owned business. It’s lots of hours, little pay, and no time off. Everything and all your time goes back into the business.

Somebody mentioned that if they raised the fee from $5 to $6 that Rockland Farm would make their fair share. Sounds doable.

My family has been going here since the 1950’s. I hate to lose another piece of history.

Dave January 4, 2021 - 4:32 pm

If it’s really shut down as much as you suggest, why the heck would anybody want such an unreliable feature back?

Puttin December 29, 2020 - 4:25 pm

By your dumb reasoning they should shut down a lot of roads.

Blue December 29, 2020 - 8:48 am

Ummm whites ferry would have to pay upwards of 650k to rockland from past and then some ridiculous amount in monthly rent plus for damages.. im sorry, I’m not believing this junk on here.

Mike December 29, 2020 - 9:24 am

Sounds like Rockland just wants money? I still would like to know who maintains the road on the VA side? Who salts and plows the road? I own to center line of my road but the county has their own right of way, so it’s mine but not really mine, so I can’t ask for money for people driving on my part of the road.

Zadamiris December 30, 2020 - 2:49 pm

Actually you don’t own to center line of road.its a different amount of vdot ownership depending on road.usually you own just behind your ditchline to your rear property line.vdot owns road and both shoulda either side of road.

DL December 30, 2020 - 3:53 pm

Wouldn’t you want money for someone to run a business on your property? If I offered you $5/year for my kids to run a lemonade stand in your yard but then turned it into a convenience store wouldn’t you want more for the property? All of you saying Rockland Farm is greedy for wanting to be fairly compensated for their land especially after the ferry operator breached contract regarding construction are just whiny little broke shits who have nothing and just want to take it out on someone who does. You are the same kind of people buying those gossip rags at the grocery store check out because it makes you feel better about your pathetic life when you can see rich or famous people struggle.

Ghost Lives Matter December 29, 2020 - 9:50 am

“Conrad’s Ferry, Md., above Harrison’s Island, on the Potomac River, the place of passage of Colonel Baker’s Regiment, October 21st, 1861. Conrad’s Ferry is situated on the Maryland side of the Upper Potomac, about five miles above Edward’s Ferry. It was in possession of the Federal troops. It commands a view of Harrison’s Island, the scene of so much disaster at the battle of Ball’s Bluff, and is immediately opposite to Leesburg Heights, the town of Leesburg being about five miles from the Ferry, on the south side of the Potomac.”

Edward Dickinson Baker (February 24, 1811 – October 21, 1861) was an American politician, lawyer, and military leader. In his political career, Baker served in the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois and later as a U.S. Senator from Oregon. He was also known as an orator and poet] A long-time close friend of the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, Baker served as U.S. Army colonel during both the Mexican–American War and the American Civil War. Baker was killed in the Battle of Ball’s Bluff while leading a Union Army regiment, becoming the only sitting U.S. senator ever to be killed in a military engagement.

Along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal on the Maryland side, it was rumored that ghosts of departed soldiers from that battle, particularly those who drowned in one of the boats that sank in the Potomac River, haunted that area, so canal workers did not stay in that area overnight, and tied up their boats for the night elsewhere.

However, fighting along the shore on both sides continues to this day. Best to avoid the area. RIP

Son December 29, 2020 - 11:54 am

Thanks Dad

Scott Richardson December 29, 2020 - 11:56 am

Rich jerks trying to squeeze a small guy! They improved the river front without help making it safer for the people. It is time you back off!!!! This is a treasure that has brought people past your venue. You should pay them for advertising your venue. Quit being jerks! DO THE RIGHT THING.

Bob December 29, 2020 - 2:02 pm

Imagine how much $ the ferry owner already spent on legal fees defending the VA landing that has been used for hundred of years. Rockland Farms just wants money. Their story in this article is BS.

M. Tarlton December 29, 2020 - 1:33 pm

This is a Maryland and National treasure. I first crossed on this Ferry 60 years ago with my Dad, his idea on the way to work on a Boys Camp in WVA. I have more memories rowing up that river for fishing, camping and enjoying nature than I can count. That site was also a boat rental, canoe launching and picnic area. The road on the other side was even a pleasant ride. Years ago I met the owner and introduced him to my Dad. His name was Malcolm, the same as both of ours. This was the day they had to torch the cable to release all of the logs, trees and timber that had piled up due to flooding. What these Rockland people don’t realize is that they are not the owners of that property, only the stewards. Typical Virginia attitude of the money gentry. Sorry if we interrupted your Wine Tasting. But you interrupted are seeing HISTORY!

Harrison January 27, 2021 - 12:24 pm

Rockland has been owned by the same family (The Rust family) since 1817. . .before the Ferry began. Further, Armistead Thompson Mason Rust served in the Confederacy with E. V. White (the White who bought Conrads Ferry) thus why there was a Gentlemans agreement. I think if you’re going to talk about the history of a place and who owns what, then research it fully.

Hugh McElrath December 29, 2020 - 2:44 pm

That part of Montgomery County has been maintained as an agricultural reserve, which is why Maryland resisted construction of an outer beltway. We don’t want the level of development that has occurred in Loudon County. Rockland’s position is clearly lawyer-induced behavior and therefore deeply suspicious. The ferry operators are unsophisticated and probably made procedural errors, but the new ferry landing doesn’t hurt Rockland. They just used it as an excuse to play hardball. No bridge; just let the ferry operate like it had been and fire the lawyers.

Jim R. December 29, 2020 - 2:49 pm

Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge Sincavage, maybe, could have attempted to negotiate a settlement in the interest of both parties and for the citizens who use the ferry daily. Financial
statements, revenue streams, etc., could have been presented to the judge… The judge
could have but failed in his judicial duties.. perhaps.. just a thought. Maybe it would
have forced both sides to negotiate in good faith.. not taking sides here, but suggested
a possibility.

Chris December 30, 2020 - 11:08 am

“Elizabeth Devlin, one of Rockland’s owners and the daughter of former county supervisor Betsey Brown….”

That quote says it all right there.


Rebecca Johnson December 29, 2020 - 3:31 pm

Looking at it, the ferry couldn’t afford to pay the $200,000 Rockland was requesting in annual rent plus the back rent they requested in the amount of $600,000. It’s easier to just shut down, maintain the Maryland side as they have in the past and pay the $100,000 in the judges order. I’m also sure that the ferry hasn’t made as much this year as it had in past years due to Covid. Less travel means less income. The state owns the road up until about 20 feet before the landing. Paying that much for the landing and 20ft of concrete to me doesn’t seem worth it. And whatever they’re making they still have to pay their employees, maintain the boat that they’re using, pay for gas etc plus taxes. It all adds up. I don’t think they could afford what was demanded and it was easier to shut down.

Ed Tucker December 29, 2020 - 4:19 pm

So why should Rockland Farm not be compensated for the use of their land.? They do pay taxes on it im sure.
So ad dollar per car or what ever they can agree to as it will only be paid by the users. Is that a really big deal.?
Sounds to me like someone is just not wanting to negotiate.

Mike H December 29, 2020 - 4:30 pm

Close the entire thing down. If the two parties can’t come to an agreement then let everyone spend their money on gas and enjoy traffic.

Gloria Hale December 29, 2020 - 6:30 pm


JR December 29, 2020 - 7:59 pm

… sounds like a situation crying out for arbitration… both sides have valid points…🙂

JB December 29, 2020 - 9:50 pm

Interested to hear comments on the following:

The wall in question did not just, “pop-up.” Construction would have taken days/weeks. Trucks moving materials to/from. While this was happening, what was Rockland Farms response? During construction, did they approach White’s Ferry and ask for permits, or try to stop them from building the new retaining wall? Based on everything I’ve read, it wasn’t until after the wall was completed that the dispute started, and in the end it benefited both parties.

Also, it must have been costly, and needed. Why didn’t Loudon County repair it? Route 655 is a county road. If that section is private, the why didn’t Rockland Farm repair it or offer to help?

There is a lot more to this story. I hope to hear it and for resolution.


Chris December 30, 2020 - 11:15 am

QUIET JB! Critical thinking and logic is not allowed!!!

Jonathan Lowe December 29, 2020 - 10:04 pm

If has never made sense that bridges have never been built from Montgomery County and Charles County Maryland into Virginia.

Rocks December 30, 2020 - 11:50 pm

Why would Maryland want or need to do anything to help Virginia? The war may have ended, but hostility never did.

Russell December 30, 2020 - 8:45 am

Have both sides ever tried sitting down with an intermediary? This seems like it could be resolved quite easily.

LoCo to MoCo commuter December 30, 2020 - 10:41 am

Rockland Farms must have hired a great spin master. They are just as bad as the accountant.

Elizabeth Rust Brown must be looking down in utter disgust at how these people have destroyed the farm’s reputation over a 100 square yard piece of land that has no intrinsic value to farming or cattle grazing.

Be grateful Whites Ferry fixed the retaining wall. Negotiate a reasonable fee like the Brown’s did instead of the financial demands you are seeking. After all, there is a public road going through your property. Will you sue VDOT over that, too?

Wesley S Troop December 30, 2020 - 7:25 pm

Whites was ready for this day for years…

Mary December 31, 2020 - 12:51 pm

Wow! Listen to the passion. People really do care about our national treasures. Maybe we best toss the owners (?) out of the sandbox and let the law sort this out. Apparently we are seeing this from many different angles. For every problem there is a solution. Everyone won’t be totally happy but let’s hope sanity prevails and we get our ferry back before things escalate into a Congressional indefinite stand-off. Has the White’s Ferry family walked away because they don’t want any part of all this? Who would blame them?

JAVIER ISASSI February 11, 2021 - 8:11 am

White’s Ferry was the scape valve between Legions bridge bridge and Pointed Rocks. It amuses me how in NJ you have to pay 13.75 dollars to enter the Lincoln tunnel from NJ side but its free from the other side, Manhattan. Do we need a PPO (Potomac Porth Authority):)


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