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Old 04-12-2015, 01:38 PM   #1
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Planning our summer on the Chesapeake

Many of you followed our exploits last summer from our home in Tampa aboard Flying Low to Key West up the ICW to the Chesapeake. We found ourselves in Harrington Harbour located about 20 miles south of Annapolis in late October after visiting the Annapolis boat show. We hauled the boat for the winter and now it’s time to start thinking about what I need to do to get Flyin Low ready to splash and continue our cruise. New bilge pump, sump pump float switch, 2 new batteries, and who knows what else. A quick bottom paint job and Splash on April 28th. We plan on securing a slip at Harrington Harbour for a month, making sure everything is working properly before leaving.

I retire in late September and we’ll be bringing Flyin Low home to Tampa then but throughout the summer we are planning 4 or 5 extended weekends cruising the northern Chessie before setting out for home. I’m working out a flexible itinerary but here’s where we’ve been on the southern portion of the Chessie:
Portsmith, Smithfield Station, Hampton, Yorktown, Sarah Creek off the York River, Jackson Creek, Deltaville/Doziers Marina, Carter Creek off the Tides Inn (my favorite anchorage), Urbana, Little Bay anchorage – reminded me of the Bahamas, Onancock Muni Marina (city had one of the best restaurants on the Chessie), Tangier Island – quaint but once is enough, Horseshoe Bend anchorage on the St. Marys River (another top anchorage for scenery), Leonardtown anchorage, Colonial Beach Marina, Solomons Island Anchorage, Harrington Harbour, Annapolis. Underlined anchorages we’ll try and visit again southbound.

Following are places I’m thinking of visiting over the summer: Unlike last year our dog won’t be with us (we’ll be flying to and from the boat) so we’ll consider quaint anchorages before marina’s.

  • St. Michaels via the San Domingo Creek Anchorages. Visiting St. Michaels from the “back end” might be more scenic and less crowded.
  • Oxford. By using the San Domingo Creek Anchorage to visit St. Michaels puts us in a good position to visit Oxford, - if there’s anything to see there???
  • Chestertown; a long ways up the Chester River, is it worth it?
  • Rock Hall
  • Baltimore Inner Harbor. We’ll probably grab a slip here for convenience.
I’m open to all suggestions.
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Old 04-12-2015, 05:02 PM   #2
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Yes to St. Michaels and Oxford. No to Chestertown, IMO. A long ways for rewards found in other places. The Nanticoke or better yet the Pocomoke are more scenic, again, in our opinion, if a longer river trip is on the agenda. I know some folks who took the Wicomico up to Salisbury and really enjoyed it. I've been to downtown Salisbury by car and stayed at the nice Holiday Inn there, and it looks like they tried a resuscitation but while pleasant, still a little depressed.

Anchorages we like along the northeast side include Still Pond, Whorton Creek, a variety of spots off the Sassafras (with Georgetown a nice "town" destination). If your adventurous for "action" you can try squeezing into the craziness of Fairlee Creek. We preferred to anchor at Whorton and take the Whaler over. Consider going up the C&D to Chesapeake City during the week (NOT the weekend!). You can sometimes have room to anchor, if not, dockage is reasonable and there used to be (maybe still is) free day dockage. Summit North is a very pretty marina further up the canal, with nice shoreside resort amenities.

So there's a few. As always the excellent Chesapeake Magazine Cruising guide is highly recommended.And of course the locals who will chime in here.
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Old 04-12-2015, 05:58 PM   #3
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Consider a trip up the Potomac to Washington, DC ... It's 100 miles, but worth the trip.
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Old 04-12-2015, 07:53 PM   #4
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Capt. Tim, Oxford is a quiet, quaint village that is worth a visit. Lattitude 38 Restaurant is a bit of a hike, but good. The Robert Morris Inn has some of the best crabcakes on the bay. Pier Street Restaurant had some great baked rock fish. Don't forget Cambridge just up the Choptank. A good anchorage is behind the bite at the entrance to La Trappe Creek. It is not too far across the river from Cambridge.

Chestertown is good but about 30 miles up the river. Watch the currents there. Rock Hall is not bad, and good for provisioning. If you do go up to C Town, Reed Creek is a good anchorage on the way up. You will have to watch depths and markers closely going in, but you will be rewarded by a good nights sleep. I like Still Pond and Whorton Creek. Fairlee Creek to me is so so. On the Western shore Rhode River is a good anchorage.
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Old 04-12-2015, 11:14 PM   #5
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Oxford is one of our favorite overnights. If you stay in a marina, Latitude 38 or the Oxford Inn will send a car to pick you up. Best ice cream on the Eastern Shore is at the Highland Creamery on the water in Oxford. The municipal marina in Cambridge is inexpensive and a short walk to the restaurant area in Cambridge. The High Spot is our favorite in Cambridge. Great pizza and wings at Stoked in Cambridge. Nice brewpub right downtown also.

The Wye river has many anchorages and is a beautiful ride. If I was going to pick one place to anchor out on the Eastern Shore, it would be the Wye river.

I agree about Chestertown. The marina there is decrepit. Anchoring is poorly protected.

The Sassafras River up to Georgetown is nice but has few nice anchorages.

Rock Hall has nice anchorages, good restaurants and a trolley to get around on.

Reed Creek is one of our favorite spots. A little tricky getting in but nice once you are there. Queenstown creek is also nice. Hug the green markers and line up with the water tower. There is a decent pizzeria within walking distance of the town dock.

Fairlee creek can be a zoo on weekends. The current at the entrance when the tide is running can catch you if you're not careful.

If you go to St Michaels and can anchor inside the 6 knot zone it is a nice overnight. Anchoring outside the harbor can border on unsafe when the large yachts go by with a four foot wake. I've never tried St Michaels via San Domingo creek. A friend of mine did and complained of wakes in the morning as the watermen headed out.

Crisfield has a nice huge marina, but you will feel like you are in a ghost town.

Get the latest version of the Chesapeake Bay Crusing guide. Best info with lots of details on anchorages.
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Old 04-13-2015, 06:49 AM   #6
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Crisfield is interesting if you're here around Labor Day. The Crab Derby and the Skipjack races are definitely worth attending.

A cruise up the Pocomoke River is very scenic. City of Pocomoke is a good overnight stop.

Cruise up the Wicomico is nice and while the marina in Salisbury is good, it's not in the nicer part of town. I've been in Salisbury for 25 years. While it's a nice city with lots to offer, one needs a car here and I wouldn't call it a tourist destination.

Would encourage you to seek out information on some of the special events such as the Skipjack races that occur on the bay to getter a better appreciation of the local heritage.

If you plan to make it over to the lower Eastern shore, PM me. I'll have my boat in Crisfield all summer.......with cold beer in the fridge.

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Old 04-13-2015, 08:44 AM   #7
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Thanks all for the info, and Ted for the kind invite. Will digest all this info and come up with a plan.
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Old 04-13-2015, 01:59 PM   #8
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From HHN...

Knapp's Narrows, Cambridge, Oxford, St. Michael's (via San Domingo), Knapp's again, St. Michael's (via Miles River), Wye River, Kent Narrows, Chester River (but maybe no further than a Corsica River anchorage, not Chestertown), Tolchester (maybe), Rock Hall, Fairlee Creek, Still Pond, Bohemia River, Georgetown, Chesapeake City (C&D Canal), Havre d' Grace, Baltimore, maybe Bay Bridge, Annapolis, Galesville, back to Deale.

Most of that can be a mixture of marinas or anchorages.

Happy to kibitz if you have thoughts or questions after digesting; this is our home stomping grounds...

You might look into "Cruising the Chesapeake: A Gunkholer's Guide" by Bill Shellenberg (a colleague from our work, now retired).

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Old 04-13-2015, 05:59 PM   #9
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BlueYonder, you are spot on. Thanks for reminding me of the name of the ice cream place! We haven't done the Wye, so will mark that down. We did enjoy the "few" anchorages on the Sassafras and once this brain freeze ends, or I pull out the log, I'll name them. Maybe. This thread brings back pleasant memories. Must control urge to get another boat sooner than plan.
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Old 04-13-2015, 09:14 PM   #10
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Dividing Creek off the Wye, Harness Creek off South river, Olverson's Marina off the Potomac, St Mary's river & the college concerts, Solomon's island & its myriad marinas.
San Domingo creeks into St Michaels is great, altho' sometimes a bit crowded. Waterman's wakes in the am are part of the Chesapeake's character & charm. Countless places, so much fun & peacefulness; so little time
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Old 05-19-2015, 10:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gehales View Post
Consider a trip up the Potomac to Washington, DC ... It's 100 miles, but worth the trip.

I agree, trip to Washington DC is well worth it. Check with Capital Yacht Club to see if their docks are still open during construction. If they are you can anchor out, dinghy in to a locked up dock area and have access to the club house for about 15.00 per day.
Take a pass on Baltimore. Between the racial unrest, crime after darkness and the city giving one company a monopoly on running all of the marinas, it is no longer on our destination list. If you call for a slip they charge your card one night that is not refundable. Now that's what I call hospitality. Take a pass.
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Old 05-19-2015, 11:04 PM   #12
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I agree, trip to Washington DC is well worth it. Check with Capital Yacht Club to see if their docks are still open during construction. If they are you can anchor out, dinghy in to a locked up dock area and have access to the club house for about 15.00 per day.
Take a pass on Baltimore. Between the racial unrest, crime after darkness and the city giving one company a monopoly on running all of the marinas, it is no longer on our destination list. If you call for a slip they charge your card one night that is not refundable. Now that's what I call hospitality. Take a pass.
I agree with Washington. As to Baltimore, it and Waco, TX would not be on my list of places to go right this moment due to recent events. However, prior to this, I found it to be a great visit. Beautiful riverfront, great ballpark, very nice sites to visit and good marinas. Our first time there we were tired and didn't give it a good chance, but our second time there we really enjoyed it.
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Old 05-20-2015, 12:37 PM   #13
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If you decide to do a trip up to DC, let me know. I can give you some good stops along the Potomac (as well as local advice for things to do in the city).
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Old 05-20-2015, 07:08 PM   #14
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I agree with Washington. As to Baltimore, it and Waco, TX would not be on my list of places to go right this moment due to recent events. However, prior to this, I found it to be a great visit. Beautiful riverfront, great ballpark, very nice sites to visit and good marinas. Our first time there we were tired and didn't give it a good chance, but our second time there we really enjoyed it.
I second this, except that I would go tomorrow if I could. The area around the Inner Harbor, Fell's Point, and Federal Hill are nice, has interesting things to see and places to eat, and are safe at night (we walk all over downtown at night). The Charm City Circulator is a bus service that has routes that will take you to all the places you might want to go for free. Fort McHenry is a free bus ride from the Inner Harbor. There is also the water taxi, but you'll have to pay for that ($8/trip or $14/day)

The harbor marinas are a little more pricey than some (I think about $2.50-3/ft/night), but the facilities are nice and very secure. Last time we were there we stayed at Lighthouse Point marina. It is at the foot of Federal Hill and on the Blue Circulator route.

The Baltimore marinas will charge one night deposit when you make a reservation. If you cancel more than 48 hours out you get a refund (except for holidays and special events, then you get a credit). It is not that different from a lot of hotel cancellation policies.

The Inner Harbor is not near the parts of town that experienced the unrest.
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Old 05-22-2015, 06:24 AM   #15
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Old 05-26-2015, 10:59 PM   #16
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When I kept my boat in Deale, Oxford was our favorite destination and close. Baltimore is definitely worth a visit, and I wouldn't let the recent unrest discourage me. The Inner Harbor is in the nicer part of town. D.C. is a nice visit, and very scenic from the water, but too far from Deale for even an extended weekend trip. St. Michaels is nice, but a little over-rated in my opinion.
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Old 05-26-2015, 11:12 PM   #17
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Several years ago, we spent a week on our boat cruising the upper Bay from D.C. to Baltimore and back, with several stops along the way including Piney Point, St. Mary's City, Solomon's Island, Annapolis, St. Michaels, Wye River, and Rock Hall. Our boat was much faster back then.

First photo is a view from the Potomac. The other shots were taken in Baltimore. Our boat tied up at the Inner Harbor. We spent the night at a marina just to the right of the picture and walked to Camden Yards to catch an Orioles game. And to cap off a perfect evening, they beat the Yankees in the bottom of the 9th! You can see the city lights across from the marina where we spent the night. We spend the night before that in downtown Annapolis.
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