"the long and wide dock where the steamships could stop to pick up or deposit passengers"

typical dock - Credit: FRank Micklethwaite
Public Domaintypical dock - Credit: FRank Micklethwaite
Here’s an example of a dock. When you wanted to leave the cottage - many were on islands - you would raise a white flag on the flagpole as a signal for the steamships to pick up passengers.