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Old 08-27-2014, 04:34 PM   #21
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Anyway, have a look at those locations, various marina details in ActiveCaptain or elsewhere, see what/where appeals to you... and what other thoughts/questions you might have.
We're at Atlantic Yacht Basin right now - stop by if you're passing through. We're leaving here in a couple of weeks for the Grand Banks rendezvous in Annapolis.

Chesapeake Bay Magazine's Best of the Bay issue comes out every June. It's a great place to find the places and features that boaters who live throughout the Chesapeake Bay pick - it's regional local knowledge.

Here's the 2014 article:
http://www.chesapeakeboating.net/Med...-Bay-2014.aspx

Here's the 2013 article:
http://www.chesapeakeboating.net/Med...-Bay-2013.aspx

Just for fun, check out the #1 rated Best Boating Website for both years.
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:00 PM   #22
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And I thought the best boating web site was going to be Trawler Forum!
Maybe next year!
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Old 08-27-2014, 09:16 PM   #23
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Don't forget the Chesapeake Magazine book, invaluable overall and anchorage specific guide. Consider having the boat hauled and stored at Anchor Bay East in Dundalk, a Baltimore suburb and a fairly close drive or cdab ride to BWI airport. I and the PO used them a lot for work on my boat and recommend them. You could also discuss in-water storage there, there were a few live a boards that did that.

That is a pretty short day from Bellhaven to Alligator River. We anchored several times at Bellhaven just below the bridge, but that was before the new town docks. Our next northern stop was anchoring off Broad Creek on North River, I seem to recall seing people taking dogs to shore but cannot gusrantee that.

Also, there is a free dock across from Atlantic Yacht Basin (great people by the way) right before the Great Bridge bridge and lock.

If you go the Dismal Swamp route, you have the free Elizabeth City town dock, free docks at the locks and at the NC Visitors Center, plus the anchorage near the Deep Creek lock. Another alternative to consider is the Hampton Public Piers in Hampton, great location, good services and reasonably priced.

There is a chance I could get over to Oriental tomorrow if you want any consultation. Do you plan to hit Ocracoke? The weather forecast looks ideal.

Thanks for the kind offer George, but we'll get an early start tomorrow. We'll stay on the icw so will miss Ocracoke. I am however considering the dismal swamp route, looks more interesting with better and cheaper places to stay.
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Old 08-27-2014, 09:27 PM   #24
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Ok, I thought you meant "through" Thursday. Too bad about Ocracoke; try and make a point of it on your way back. The ICW is Dullsville and Ocracoke is a really special place. Great anchorage right in the harbor and cheap docks at the Park Service. Manteo is nice too; I'd put both of them up, especially Ocracoke against any small town cruising destination on the Chessie.
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Old 08-31-2014, 09:32 AM   #25
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Dismal Swamp Route

We're in Elizabeth City on the Dismal Swamp Route. Previous leg had us anchored in a tributary of the Alligator river near Piney Pt. This is a very isolated place with almost no light polution. You wouldn't believe the night sky. Took the dog ashore the next morning at a boat ramp up a marked canal. On the dingy ride back a black bear swam across the canal right in front of us. Not 50 feet. Full grown. Dog was too surprised to bark. I wish I had my camera.

Tonight we'll be at the welcome center. Then tomorrow in the Norfolk area. We'll skip the hospital anchorage based on the advice here, Ron recommend the northern dock at high street landing, so I'll plan on that.

Our cruising guide has some recommendations for the lower bay area on both the eastern and western shore. Eastern shore: Kiptopeke and Cherrystone Inlet. Western shore: Sarah Creek and the York River.

Our preference is to visit small towns and anchor nearby and get a slip if necessary. But a good anchorage with beautiful scenery is always welcome.

So any recommendations within 50 miles of Norfolk?

PS: Thanks for all the storage recommendations. I'll be referring to that as we pin down where we will be when the time comes.
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Old 08-31-2014, 09:51 AM   #26
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We're in Elizabeth City on the Dismal Swamp Route. Previous leg had us anchored in a tributary of the Alligator river near Piney Pt. This is a very isolated place with almost no light polution. You wouldn't believe the night sky. Took the dog ashore the next morning at a boat ramp up a marked canal. On the dingy ride back a black bear swam across the canal right in front of us. Not 50 feet. Full grown. Dog was too surprised to bark. I wish I had my camera.

Tonight we'll be at the welcome center. Then tomorrow in the Norfolk area. We'll skip the hospital anchorage based on the advice here, Ron recommend the northern dock at high street landing, so I'll plan on that. ..........
I recommended the northern free dock as the less bad of the free Portsmouth docks because of the noise from the shipyard. It's called the North Landing. You'll still have the ferry boats and the public walking around.

Waterside Marina on the Norfolk side is not expensive and you'll have electricity and hot showers and laundry.

We're sorry to say that we didn't see any unusual wildlife in or around the canals or alligator river except a couple eagles. We saw a deer but we can see them in our neighborhood.

It might be stretching that fifty miles, but Onancock, VA was a nice little town with a couple of pretty good restaurants. The town dock is inexpensive and has brand new showers and laundry.
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Old 08-31-2014, 10:11 AM   #27
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I vote for Onancock. You had probably better call ahead for reservations as it is a small dock. You can anchor just a short distance away.

Also, it is almost straight across to Tangier Island. You can enter the Thoroughfare from the East and exit going West. Saves a long trip around the island.
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Old 08-31-2014, 11:52 AM   #28
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If you haven't been to Hampton, consider Hampton Public Piers. It's a great little town with some museums, restaurants, and a great boating community. It's only about 11 nm from Portsmouth.

Past that, Chisman Creek off the Poquoson River has always been a fallback anchorage for us. We've probably been there 6 or more times.

Past that, a good hop is to the Deltaville area (Piankatank River - we like just saying, "Piankatank"). Chesapeake Boat Works is an outstanding facility there.

Read the reviews. The picture and plan of what's best for you will emerge.
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Old 08-31-2014, 12:14 PM   #29
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Onancock is a great example of classic Eastern Shore Virginia. Not a tourist trap by any means.
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Old 08-31-2014, 05:03 PM   #30
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If you haven't been to Hampton, consider Hampton Public Piers. It's a great little town with some museums, restaurants, and a great boating community. ......
Yes, but like many such municipal docks, you are downtown and unprotected from the general public. There were kids crabbing off the dock there when we were there and a crab net turned up missing from the back of our boat. I'm not going to file an insurance claim over an eight dollar crab net but this is the sort of thing you have to be aware of at places like this. You have heads and showers with a security code but you're essentially walking on a public street to get there and back. OK in the daytime, questionable at night.

Oh yeah, the people on the boat next to us got into a fight with the people on a boat at the other end of the dock and the police had to be called.

Downtown Hampton seems to be a work in progress but yes, there are a few decent restaurants. We didn't try the museums.
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Old 08-31-2014, 06:43 PM   #31
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Fishing Bay is a great anchorage about 35NM north of Norfolk on the west side. There are marinas and shoreside facilities to chauffeur the dog to. It puts you on the "back" side of Deltaville. Jackson Creek just north around the corner is also a nice place to anchor though not as protected from the east.

Given your stated cruising desires, a very nice side trip from there is to then hang a left on the Rappahannock and go about 15nm up to Urbanna, great small town, you can anchor off or get a slip.

PS: you really need to get a copy of the Guide to Cruising Chesapeake Bay put out by Chesapeake Bay Magazine.
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Old 08-31-2014, 07:31 PM   #32
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Downtown Hampton seems to be a work in progress but yes, there are a few decent restaurants. We didn't try the museums.
Well, I've been there 6 times and never had any incidents except good ones. We've always found everyone there friendly and helpful.
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Old 08-31-2014, 07:37 PM   #33
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PS: you really need to get a copy of the Guide to Cruising Chesapeake Bay put out by Chesapeake Bay Magazine.
Nah, you really don't need that at all. If it were such an important book for $30, wouldn't there be more than 4 reviews of it in Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/2014-guide-Cru.../dp/1884726194

I'd also wonder if all you're paying for are ads that the various marinas take out in the magazine. That's been a pretty common model for these types of things.

The free resources are all you need. Hundreds of thousands of boaters are testimony to that.
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Old 08-31-2014, 07:39 PM   #34
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Well, I've been there 6 times and never had any incidents except good ones. We've always found everyone there friendly and helpful.
Ditto, both by land and by sea. That's why I recommended it as well. Jeff do you know if they are going to have the southbound cruiser's gathering there again this year? I didn't go but got great reports from those that did.
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Old 08-31-2014, 07:40 PM   #35
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We have been to Hampton Public Piers twice for a couple of nights stay both times. The staff was fine, and it is conveniently located. The Marker 20 Restaurant about a block over is a fun place.

There were homeless people hanging around the walk above the floating docks. That is where the rest room facilities were. We put everything inside at night. My main objection to the place was the very short finger piers that Make it difficult to tie our boat in.

Overall not a bad place, and a really good place for a group cruise in.
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Old 08-31-2014, 07:41 PM   #36
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Nah, you really don't need that at all. If it were such an important book for $30, wouldn't there be more than 4 reviews of it in Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/2014-guide-Cru.../dp/1884726194

I'd also wonder if all you're paying for are ads that the various marinas take out in the magazine. That's been a pretty common model for these types of things.

The free resources are all you need. Hundreds of thousands of boaters are testimony to that.
Jeff, sounds like you've never seen it. Oh, of course, you have a horse in the race. Reviews of cruising books on Amazon mean zilch.
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Old 08-31-2014, 07:49 PM   #37
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Jeff do you know if they are going to have the southbound cruiser's gathering there again this year?
Yes, Mark Doyle is putting it together again. It's based at Hampton Public Piers. I heard good things about it too. The price was right last year!
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Old 08-31-2014, 10:17 PM   #38
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We've stayed at the Hampton Pier and had no issues either. And find Hampton to be a most worthy stop.
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Old 08-31-2014, 11:01 PM   #39
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The bay and its thousands of tributaries and hidey holes is gunk hole heaven. Bring screens and insect repellent. If your draft is 4 foot or less access is better. Running aground is common but rarely a big deal if done at slow speeds. If a hot day beware late afternoon thunder storms. The water is shallow with little tide change use a good mud anchor with 7/1 scope. I spent 10 years sailing powering and gunk holing there its great. Check out the crabs and Rock fish(stripped bass).
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Old 09-01-2014, 01:33 PM   #40
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For planning: Baltimore is having an 1812 celebration mid September;( 10th thru 15th?) Blue Angels, tall ships, etc. Onancock is a great stop; St Mary's off the Potomac; List is almost endless to get done in a month.
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