The excursion boat Carlotta was built in 1878 at Rogers Point Boat Yard, and sailed from the Town Wharf to points on the Neck and Plum Island for 35 years.
William J. Barton wrote about the Carlotta:
“From Brown’s Wharf, the steamer Carlotta, a local steamboat owned by Nathaniel Burnham and Charles W. Brown sailed daily and carried passengers on the Ipswich River and Parker River. The Carlotta also was used as a tug boat for towing vessels up and down the river. The Carlotta carried 200 passengers with Captain Burnham as captain, plus an engineer and deck hand. Her stops on the daily trip were at Little Neck for 10 cents, the Ipswich Bluffs, 15 cents, Grape Island 20 cents, and the complete round trip to the Parker River at Newbury for 40 cents. It was very pleasant, about 12 miles.
Before the electric cars came to Ipswich, and before the advent of the automobile, people took advantage of this clean and pleasant way to travel. Various organizations on moonlight nights would run excursions. Among them were the Ottawa Club, a popular group of young ladies, and a musical organization known as the Ipswich Fife and Drum Corps.
The Drum Corps would march from the center of town to the wharf, followed by a large crowd, and at about 7:30 pm the Carlotta would sail. The drum corps played music all the way over to the Parker River, where they would run a dance. Refreshments could be purchased at the Pavilion. It was always high tide at eleven o’clock on a full moon, so they would start the return trip home.
There was no music on the return trip. Every one would cuddle up to someone on the steamer as it was cold in the early morning, and enjoy the full moon. After all, that was what this excursion was run for.
This was a wonderful thing to have the Carlotta running on the Ipswich River and Parker River. Everyone enjoyed the river. Howard C. Dodge of Hovey St. had 20 boats to let, that two or three could row, and some Sundays he would have to hire some boats of the clammers to take care of his customers. There was a hotel at Little Neck. The Ipswich Bluffs was one of the first places along the coast where you could have a wonderful shore dinner. At Grape Island they ran an excellent hotel. The same at the Parker River Pavilion, they always put on a good feed.”
From Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony by T. F Waters:
Edward W. Choate built at his yard at Rogers’s Point off the tip of Agawam Avenue, the “Lucy K. Cogswell” in 1868, the “Fred Gray” in 1869, the “Mattie F.” in 1875, and the steamer “Carlotta” in 1878.
The Carlotta was owned by Capt. Nathaniel Burnham and Charles W. Brown, and was used for 35 years as an excursion boat, sailing between the wharf and Grape Island, Plum Island and Newbury.
The small hotels at Ipswich Bluff on Plum Island were a favorite destination of locals on the steamer Carlotta with Capt. Nat Burnham. Forced out of trade by the shoaling of the channel and the competition of cheaply-run motor boats, she was sold to Salem parties in 1914