Saturday, June 24, 2017

Cape May

June 23-24, 2017
    I had heard about Cape May from my Philadelphia friends for years, as the ultimate beach resort, only they call it the shore.  So I spent the day touring while John found a golf course.  There really are some awesome Victorian homes, and a beautiful promenade along the shore, but you have to pay to go on the beach. 
Yes thats a mini golf course in the side yard.

No free beaches here.  Maybe shores aren't free.

  Otherwise its like a really big Cannon Beach, restaurants, mini golf and shops.  But I realized how many more people there are on the east coast than the west, because it’s about ten times as big as Cannon Beach.  Big enough to support a very good repertory theater.  We went to a really good production of Billy Bishop Goes to War. 
     We got up early on Saturday to take advantage of the tide, because the New Jersey Intercoastal waterway is infamous for being really shallow, but the wind was blowing again at small craft advisories is keeping us here another day.  Hope to get going tomorrow.

A brief stop in Delware

June 20-21, 2017

     Back across to Chesapeake City and the Chesapeake and Delaware canal, conceived in the 18th century and opened in 1829, cuts between  Delaware Bay and the  Chesapeake and links Philadelphia to all points south without going out into the Atlantic.  Still really busy, but we didn’t encounter any barges till we got out into Delaware Bay.  We passed on a trip up to Philadelphia, only 45 miles by water, and were only expecting to spend one night, but the prospect of wind and waves on the bay for 48 miles to Cape May kept us in Delaware City an extra night.   We took advantage of the opportunity to cycle the gorgeous bike path that follows the canal, the next day and do some laundry.  Couldn’t pass up dinner at Lewinsky’s on Clinton.  It’s a really small city  and mostly visited by boats traversing the C and D Canal so they have to do something  to attract people.

June 22, 2017
     An uneventful but pretty boring trip down Delaware Bay to Cape May.  I was perfect weather, not too hot and not too cold for some sun bathing by the first mate and I have a sun burn to show for it. 

The End of the Chesapeake

June 19, 2017

      By Monday we had been in the Chesapeake for a month and were getting pretty tired of it so we headed for our final desination, Havre de Grace on the Susquehanna.  Chesapeake Bay is actually just the Susquehanna River after some climate warming in the Miocene Era.  We had finally reached the source.  Havre de Grace flats are a huge area of the Chesapeake that is very shallow and an important part of the Atlantic bird flyway.  We had to be very careful to stay in the channel coming into the harbor.  But it is really famous for bird hunting, going back a couple hundred years, and the decoys that the locals carved. 
He's not a decoy
They're pretty proud of their town.

 The historical accounts say that Havre de Grace, named by Lafayette, was in the running for the location of the captitol when they moved it from Philadelphia
Head of Chesapeake Bay, the Susquehanna River

US Open and Ft McHenry

June 17-18 ,2017
     It was only short trip from Annapolis to Baltimore, not far on the Chesapeake but Baltimore is 8 miles up the Patapsco River.  There was lots to see as we came up the river.  A lot of military, old and new, including Ft McHenry of Star Spangled Banner fame.   The old industrial parts of Baltimore are also in evidence, a Domino’s Sugar mill from the early 19th century and the famous shipping triangle, slaves to the Carribean, sugar and rum to colonies and England.
Ft McHenry from Baltimore Harbor

The inner harbor

USS Constellation in inner harbor
We also followed a big container ship into port.  As we came further up the river it is obvious that Baltimore is trying to make itself over into a tourist destination and a yuppie waterfront city. We  toured the Inner Harbor by boat,  but stayed in a newly renovated area, Fells Point which had been the home for all the workers building the old wooden sailing ships.   In Fells Point they are refurbishing a lot of old colonial row houses.  Further away from the city they are building massive new condos along the waterfront.  We bother rode bikes for miles along the promenade that links it all.
       Since it was the USOpen golf tournament weekend we planned morning outings and spent the afternoon watching golf.  We got a camper antenna that we put up and a monthly subscription to DISH TV.  It works pretty well as long as we’re really tied tight to a dock so we don’t move around too much.  Saturday night John was out cinching up the ropes a couple of times cause there was some wind and wake from the water taxis. 
        Saturday John took a long bike ride that got longer when he broke a pedal, but fortunately was close to a really nice bike shop that took care of him.  I checked out the local neighborhood and some of its historical exhibits.
   For dinner Saturday,  I finally decided we should probably do the blue crab dinner thing and we referred to a crab restaurant near our boat.  For one well experienced in Dungeness crab feasts this was pretty much the same, good tasting crab, but the decision of whether to crack for 20 minutes to make a good bite, or crack and eat as you go was a dilemma. I wasn’t too crazy about all of the Old Bay seasoning everywhere.  But one of those Chesapeake Bay experiences you have to try.

        Sunday I headed to Church and John took a long bike ride.  He’s really starting to enjoy biking and getting much more confident.  The Church that was the closest was an old Polish church and it's still Polish.  The 10:30 Mass was in Polish, so I chose the 8:30. Riding my bike around the neighborhood on my way to a Farmers’ Market later, it was obvious that old Polish businesses are being taken over by Hispanic, and the refurbished neighborhoods are only about 6 blocks deep from the water front.  I found a wonderful Farmers Market downtown,  and got stuff to make a great dinner.  The best part was a box of mixed mushrooms that we delicious just sauted in butter and served over rice.  Sorry I didn’t take a picture of them.   
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Holy Rosary Church.  Next door was a Christo Rey Jesuit school.

Sunday, June 18, 2017


Jun 15-16, 2017
     Dad had gotten frustrated enough with our dinghy, which was the original with the boat, really over powered for what we need and too heavy to deal with easily, so he started looking online for a replacement.  He found what he thought he wanted in Annapolis, which we hadn’t planned to stop at, but we headed back across the bay, only about 4 hours away.  We found a really good deal operator error, he is much happier with this one and I always like a simpler model with less to get messed up.  We also needed a marina where we could tie up and get a good signal to watch the US Open.   Had a great late lunch in a locals favorite Boatyard Bar and Grill.  Basic but great seafood boil. The next day while he handled exchanging our dingy I bicycled to reprovision and get a pedicure.  There are some pretty mundane things that have to be dealt with.  Then we went to an old restaurant and bar, Harry Browne’s , in historic downtown Annapolis right under the capitol  and got a look a the old part of the city.

      We had seen marinas full of thousands of boats since Herrington Harbor, but Annapolis harbor had thousands of sailboats, all out on the bay.
     Back out of Annapolis and under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  a huge long structure, we headed to
This is only half of it, but it takes a movie to get they whole thing.

Looping, a great way to find new golf courses

June 12-14, 2017
   I told John to find a golf course so I would have something to do besides shop in the little towns and he did a great job.  We cruised up through Kent Narrows into the Chester River.  We anchored out the first night and I went kayaking up one of the little arms of the river.  Kayaking is a lot more fun if we anchor out and I’m dodging boats in and out of marinas.  I also did a little swimming.  The water isn’t very clear, but it’s clean and the bottom is sandy not muddy for wading up onto shores.  Dad tried working with the dinghy and got really frustrated but I’ll finish that story later.  The next day we moved half a mile to the dock of the Queenstown Harbor golf club.  They brought our cart down to us and we played golf on two great golf courses.

   I tried again to grill a rib eye on my charcoal hibachi.  I’m having trouble getting it hot enough to grille the outside before it cooks the inside too much, but it tasted pretty good.

      We also watched a crabber working each morning.  He baited a long line that he laid out and then came back and picked up the crabs in a basket.  Not sure if he was getting many but interesting to watch.

Eastern Shore

June 8,2017
      At this point, about half way between Norfolk and the head of Chesapeake Bay it is much narrower and easy to go back and forth across the bay.  Most people really like the eastern shore with all of the smaller rivers and towns better than the more commercial western side.  We chose the Tred Avon River and the little town of Oxford.  It was a very early customs port on the Chesapeake and also a ship building town.  We had a nice lunch in the Robert Morris (of colonial times fame) Inn.  Part of the Inn was the original 18th century building.  Very quiet town with lots of old colonial houses, but that seems to be the way people like it.  Kind of like the Gearhart of the eastern shore.  There was also a great wooden shipbuilding company that had some neat old boats and let you wander among them. 
Replica of customs house
Wooden scull circa 1978 for you Louis

Robert Morris Inn
found this guy in the middle of the road and had to save it

June 10-12, 201

     The next day we headed to the Cannon Beach of the eastern shore on the Wye River, St Michaels.  We docked at the city marina and 50 feet from a bar and grille with music all weekend.  Actually for a real tourist town, it was pretty  quiet two blocks off the main street.  Had Tappas for dinner Friday.  Saturday John found a golf course and I checked out all the little shops, mostly very nice and did some wine tasting.  Sunday I went to the 250 year old Episcopal Christ Church, had a latte and found a great farmers market.  The growing season here is about a month ahead of Colorado and we are enjoying local tomatoes, strawberries and peaches.  Sunday afternoon I went to the maritime museum (all of the towns have them)  This one had exhibits about oystering, crabbing  and boat building.  But the most interesting part was the 100 year history of recreation on the Chesapeake  and the conflict between the recreational boaters and the working fishermen.  Interesting bit of reality. I spent Sunday afternoon by the pool, jumping in as I got hot, since we were in a heat wave and then had another gourmet meal that evening.  The town also had some original colonial homes that weren’t destroyed in the revolutionary war.  They are proud of their reputation as the town that fooled the British which were bent on destroying it because it was a center of ship building.  They enforced a blackout in town and hung lanterns in the forest for the British to shoot their cannons at.   It was a great and very typical weekend on the Eastern shore.  We met a lot of locals who get in their boats and cruise over for the weekend.  I can see why Maggie’s parents like the place.

Another boat yard

Wednesday May 31,2017
       A short ride up the Chesapeake, we passed 24 miles of the Calvert Cliffs with its incredible paleological story of the last 20 millon years

 and found our way into Herrington Harbor and the Zimmerman boat yard.  It was a real country club of a marina, with beautiful grounds with gas and charcoal grills and  a large swimming pool.  And nothing much else for miles around, but only 25 miles from Washington DC.  But I was on my way to London to watch Maria in her first Sprint triathalon at Blenheim Palace and play with Laila.  John headed out too and spent three day touring the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley and playing golf. 
    We got back together on Tuesday and were wonderfully happy with the way Zimmerman had got John’s work list all finished.  Total difference with our previous experiences.  And we were on our way again on Thursday to see some of the eastern shore of the Chesapeake.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Back to the Chesapeake

Monday, May 29,2017
       Memorial Day was pretty quiet, a short run to the Maryland side of the river and the evening at Smith Creek.  We tried a bike ride but were pretty tired, so after 4 miles we found a restaurant on the water where mom cooked and daughter served whatever dad caught.  Service was slow but we weren’t in a hurry and the food was good.  Pretty classic old place.  Courtney’s, if you’re ever in Ridge, MD.

Tuesday, May 30 2017
      We were taking our time since we didn’t have to be at Zimmerman’s Boat yard till Wednesday.  Stopped at Solomon’s Island.  A little gem with a great restaurant and two wonderful museums.  The Calvert Marine museum highlights the archeological finds in the Calvert Cliffs along the Chesapeake from the Miocene era, but continues the story through the Indians, early settlers and especially the fishing heritage of the area.  They have a restored lighthouse that had a 750 sq ft apartment for the family to live in.  It had actually been  placed in the bay, not on land. 
   Then the next day I discovered the Annemarie Sculpture Garden.  They had outstanding pieces on loan from the Hirschhorn Museum but the most fun part was a collection of fairy houses that children had made that were hidden all around  in the forest .

This is recreation of the largest shark ever to roam earth's waters.  They have found some of its teeth in the cliffs below along the bay which we under water 20 million years ago.

I found this fairy village under a tree.

We finished the day with a sort run up to Herring Bay.  I am headed to London for a long weekend, the boat is getting some repairs, a never ending task and John is going to tour the Shenandoah Valley.

Washington DC

        Saturday May 27, 2017
We woke up early at our marina right in the center of Washington, on the Washington Channel.  Mostly liveaboards in the marina.  Really cheap rent and a great location.  We headed out for a bike ride around the Mall, just 5 minutes away.  Then I came back to get ready for our cousin party and John kept going up to Georgetown.

        Great evening with all of the nieces, nephews and kids.  And finally decided Domino’s was the perfect choice for dinner.

John was standing on the top of the boat for this family portrait.

Sunday, May 28
     We said good bye to Washington and headed back down the river, but with the current and the tide with us we went a lot faster and ended up at Colonial Beach, one of the few towns on the Virginia side actually on the river.  We ended up at a really friendly marina that was have wrecked from a freak storm 6 weeks earlier, but they found a spot for us and invited us to a great Memorial Day potluck.
Last view

Slogging up the Potomac

Thursday, May 25
       The weather didn’t improve but it wasn’t too bumpy so I spent some time on the  computer while we were underway. Unfortunately I missed the only really exciting thing of the day.  A military patrol boat called John on the radio and requested that he change course to the other side of the river since they were having artillery practice, at the targets in the river. 
     We didn’t try to push too far since it was going to be a two day trip to DC anyway.  As many of the people we have met looping have said, the trip up the Potomac is really boring.  Or quiet and peaceful if you think that way.  I was really surprised that there were not more homes or small town along the way, but I think the government or the military own most of it.  And actually, as in Oregon, with all the trees coming right down to the water, there may be lots of people within ¼ mile of the river, but you can’t see them.  Found a nice little marina at the 60 mile point right underneath a railroad bridge for the Virginia commuter trains, and spent the night.  They did recommend some pizza places that would deliver but I cooked on board.  Next morning after a beautiful morning walk we kept slogging upriver.  And that made the trip all worth while.

Friday, May 26
      A beautiful day, an easy ride and a great dinner at a small plates Balkan restaurant once we got to DC.  Otherwise I’ll let the pictures tell their own story. 
Mount Vernon
Fort Washington

First view of the Washington Memorial

Washington and Jefferson Memorials

Lincoln Memorial 

Kennedy Center on his 100th birthday

This is for Louis, the Georgetown Rowing Club? 

This was just as I had imagined, coming up the Potomac and seeing all the famous and historic sites from the boat.  Well worth the 4 day detour.  But the best was yet to come.