Through the Chesapeake to Portsmouth, VA., heading “home” for a few days! October 23 – November 3, 2018

We got an early start from Utsch’s Marina, as we needed both fuel and a pump out.  We were on our way through the Cape May Canal by 7:50 am on a clear day with little wind…but only 49 degrees.  It was great to have Doug on board, as it’s always nice to have an extra pair of hands!  Fortunately, Delaware Bay was calm, as it can be nasty if the winds kick up!  

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Eagles on the Lighthouse and the Salem Nuclear Power Plant

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Our goal was to reach Chesapeake City, where we wanted to stay at the free dock in town, but alas, they were full.  Our next thought was to drop an anchor, but it was windy and we were feeling lazy, so we grabbed a slip at Chesapeake Inn Marina.  We arrived in plenty of time to wander the small, lovely, historic town, and wander through some of their cute shops. 

After our stroll, we went back to the boat to relax and enjoy the sunset from the deck before dinner.

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Bayard House Restaurant, C & D Canal

We enjoyed a delicious and huge meal at Bayard House, courtesy of our new crew member, Doug.  We had so much food, that we enjoyed leftovers on board for a couple of meals!  When we returned to the marina, we were surprised to see the amazing lights at the marina and all of the docks, which changed color every few minutes.

Psychedelic Marina, Chesapeake City

We departed Chesapeake City at 7:30 am, as we needed to get Doug to Baltimore so he could catch his train home, AND the wind was once again kicking up, and there were small craft warnings on the bay.  We took a quick turn up the Sassafrass River to show Doug this spectacular spot.  We spent the whole trip being chased by seagulls, as our props churned up the fish!

Leaving Chesapeake City, and a side trip up the Sassafras River

We were thrilled to be coming into Baltimore Harbor when the Star-Spangled Buoy was still in the water.  Every spring, the Coast Guard places a buoy painted in stars and stripes in the Patapsco River, marking the spot where Frances Scott Key was inspired to write the poem which turned into our National Anthem.  The buoy is placed approximately 500 yards south of the river’s shipping channel, and is pulled out for the winter to protect it from harsh winter weather and get a new coat of paint.

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When we were in Baltimore in the spring the weather was awful, and since the sun was shining this time, we took a leisurely cruise around the harbor before heading to our slip at Harbor East Marina.

We stayed at Harbor East Marina in the spring and loved it!  The marina has been completely refurbished, with new docks and sitting areas throughout with Adirondack chairs and picnic tables to enjoy the views.  The staff is outstanding, the facilities are clean and updated, and the location is great, with fabulous views of the harbor, and a Whole Foods two blocks away.  Once we got settled, we took a leisurely stroll along the waterfront towards Fell’s Point, a charming old neighborhood loaded with beautiful homes, shops and restaurants.

Before Doug left for his train home, he taught Nancy how to tie a chain with our lines to keep the dock tidy.  He promised me he would follow our blog if I included a photo of our efforts.  So, here you go Doug!

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We were excited to have dinner reservations at The Black Olive in Fell’s Point, as we cancelled our dinner there in the spring due to the pouring rain.  It was a lovely evening for the short walk to the restaurant.  The food is delicious and fresh, the staff is exceptional, and the space is lovely.  Before you order, your waiter takes you on a “tour” of the days fresh seafood near the kitchen.

We had a lovely walk back to the boat, enjoying the lights around the harbor.

We left Baltimore early (6:20 am), as a Nor’Easter was expected to blow in later in the day.  We left so early it was still dark out, but Baltimore Harbor is lit up like an airport runway, and was super easy to negotiate.  The best part?  We were treated to a remarkable sunrise!

We were happy to arrive at Spring Cove Marina in Solomons Island, as the wind was kicking up,  and the seas were getting choppy.  And, yes, it once again started to rain…actually poured!  The marina was great, with a cute ships store and a courtesy car. The harbor was extremely quiet (surely due to the coming weather!), and lovely.

When we had a break in the rain, we walked next door to the Calvert Marine Museum. We have seen our fair share of maritime museums in our travels, and this one was great! It included all of the usual historic maritime exhibits you would expect, but they also have a mini-aquarium with some beautiful fish and playful otters, the beautiful Drum Point Lighthouse, an interesting marsh walk, and it’s home to the Patuxent Small Craft Guild.

The Patuxent Small Craft Guild serves as the headquarters for the small craft program. The volunteers of the Guild, under the direction of the museum’s boatwright, maintain the museum’s fleet of historic boats and preserve the art and skills of wooden boat building.  Their current project was the restoration of an old wooden canoe.  It didn’t look possible, but they had worked on a similar project, now finished and on display, and it was beautiful (note the wooden boat mounted on horses in the shop on the right, and the yellow canoe now on display in the pictures below).

Patuxent Small Craft Guild Workshop.  The plaque on the wall featured “hanging hammers”, commemorating Guild members who have retired, or “hung up their hammers”!.

The Marsh Walk

Drum Point Lighthouse, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The museum and the Paleontology gallery

The Paleontology Gallery is still active, continuing to collect fossils from the Calvert Cliffs on the island.

The next day we used the courtesy car to go explore the Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center. The sculpture garden features a 1/4 mile walking path that meanders through the woods past both permanent and loaned sculptures.  It was created by Francis and Ann Marie Koenig, who came to the area to build a retreat to escape from their busy lives in Washington, DC.  In 1960, they purchased 30 acres of land, saving it from development, and saw it as an opportunity to give back to the community they so loved.  The family donated the property to Calvert County in 1991, with the intention of turning it into a sculpture park.  Their “Halloween in the Garden” event was underway when we visited, and it was cute to wander through towards the actual garden paths, seeing all of the kids dressed in their costumes and enjoying the festivities.  The walk through the woods with the sculptures is beautiful and peaceful.

 Annmarie Sculpture Garden

We left Solomons on the 28th in clear, but cool weather.  There was a slight breeze, but when we got out on the Bay, it kicked up to 20 knots, and there were small craft warnings.  We tucked into Godfrey Bay at 3:30 in the afternoon, and enjoyed a beautiful, peaceful night on anchor.

We left the anchorage in Godfrey Bay at 8 am, as yet again, there were small craft warnings, and we were anxious to get to Tidewater Yacht Marina in Portsmouth, VA., our southern home last winter.  The bay was wicked, but fortunately we were not the only ones on the water, which means we’re not SO crazy!

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We were thrilled to get into the Elizabeth River, as the seas calmed down, and were seeing some familiar sites….almost “home”!

The Norfolk Naval Shipyard is the oldest and largest industrial facility that belongs to the US Navy, used for building, remodeling and repairing the Navy’s ships.

And we’re back at Tidewater!

Tidewater Yacht Basin, with our friend Ted Haler’s “Dream On” front and center.

There are a couple of things you can always count on at Tidewater…beautiful sunrises and sunsets, and incredible river and air traffic.  With all of the Navy around, there are always helicopters and ships (every now and then a sub), and there’s also a lot of commercial traffic.  In Tidewater we can always count on Ted to zip around in his dinghy! 

The ferry over to Norfolk is just down the street, it’s cheap ($4), convenient and a pleasant ride.  It was nice to get back over there, even for a quick errand.

Norfolk is a lovely city, and a visit, no matter how short and limited, always brings beautiful sights.  Here are just a few of them enroute to the bank.

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Mermaids, The MacArthur Memorial and the Slover Library

Being in Portsmouth means a visit to the fabulous Mackenzie at Studio CK for a haircut.  I had the added treat of finally getting to meet her adorable pooch Henry, who was spending the afternoon at the salon!

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One of the best parts of being back at Tidewater is catching up with friends.  It was great to spend some time with Ted Haler, and our traveling buddies Kathy and Braendon/Papillon. And, of course, what would a visit be without “Taco Tuesday” at Fish n’ Slips?  Thanks to Ted’s influence with the chef, we were able to get the delicious shrimp tacos that Ted and I love so much, even though they were not featured on the menu!

Tidewater has incredible views of the river and the Norfolk skyline, most especially at night.  Our last night there was no exception.

Norfolk at night

We were both excited and nervous about our journey the next morning, as we were heading to the Dismal Swamp Canal, a narrow, marshy region of the Coastal Plain of Southeastern Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina.   Fortunately for us, Braendon and Kathy were also leaving the next morning and taking the same route, and they’ve done it before.  We had pro’s to follow!!

Good-bye for now, Portsmouth!  We look forward to seeing you again in the spring, as we head north on our “Loop” journey!

 

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