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Old 07-05-2020, 03:42 PM   #1
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Norfolk north through the Chesapeake Bay -- what not to miss?

This will be our first time cruising this area. I know many of you have spent time in the Chesapeake so I welcome your recommendations on any place one should not miss.

We have been enjoying South Carolina and North Carolina over the past few weeks. We are in Albemarle Sound now and may hit another town or two on the Albemarle or we may head straight to Elizabeth City in the next 2 days. We will likely take the Dismal Swamp (I know... watch for debris and hope we don't destroy any running gear) to Norfolk within the next week. From there, my research is pretty weak. We are working on a list of places to try not to miss, weather permitting. Do you have any favorites?

In more normal times, I think I would very much enjoy a trip up the Potomac River to Mt. Vernon and DC, but we may skip that long side trip this time and just stick to the Chesapeake.

All thoughts are welcome on towns to see, anchorages to enjoy, good marinas, etc. We typically enjoy walking and biking around towns, great historic places, beaches are always nice for us, but we've had a lot of that over the past few months in the south and don't expect that as we head north.

What have you guys enjoyed? Thanks!
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Old 07-05-2020, 04:07 PM   #2
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See the posts on the top half of this page starting with "Chesapeake, the outside run."

And make sure to visit Tangier Island, it won't be there much longer!

2018 Posts | AtAnchor.com
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Old 07-06-2020, 06:09 AM   #3
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If you enjoy the scenery of the Dismal Swamp, a cruise up the Pocomoke river on the Eastern shore is very nice. A bigger and deeper waterway that winds through mashes, forests, and farm lands. There are 2 small cities on the river, Pocomoke and Snow Hill. Pocomoke docking was free with electric last time I stopped. Snow Hill is $10 per night plus $12 for electric if running the air conditioning. Restaurants come and go, so best to Google search. From Crisfield, MD it's about 45 miles all the way to Snow Hill if you take the Broad creek cut. Nice place to explore tributaries with a dinghy or kayak. Usually do the trip a couple of times each year.

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Old 07-06-2020, 07:56 AM   #4
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Good stuff, guys. Thanks for the info. Sonas' blog is a great resource for the area, so thanks for reminding me about that. OC Diver, thanks for your tip.


Is St. Mary's worth a stop? Sonas, I know you were there in your blog, and others have mentioned it. I'm just a little past that in reading you blog and will keep reading more.

Has anyone stopped in Wynne, MD? Another boater told me they liked to stop in there, but I have not heard anyone else mention it as worthwhile. Not much there, I think.

The Potomac up to DC is still on my mind, but it's a long way up there so it would come at the expense of skipping other things. We've both been to DC by land, but boating up the Potomac and going by Mt. Vernon sounds like something I would enjoy. However, there is so much to see in the rest of the Chesapeake that I am not sure we'll go far up the Potomac.

At this point, I'm still trying to decide what to do in Norfolk. Stay a few days or just pass through and enjoy the scenery on the way to parts farther north.
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Old 07-06-2020, 08:31 AM   #5
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St Mary's is an nice secure anchorage. If you time it for one of the free concerts on the green at the college you can include that as well as visiting the Indian village, the chapel and the reproduction of the Maryland Dove.

Though COVID may have changed all that!
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Old 07-06-2020, 08:35 AM   #6
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Get a hold of a copy of Chesapeake Magazine's Guide to Cruising Chesapeake Bay. It is superb. Also the Waterway Guide is based on the Chessie, and their guide is very good. There are just so many places to anchor and to see, you can spend years poking around and not see it all. Since it was easier for us to drive to various towns, we concentrated on finding cool anchorages, of which there are an almost unlimited supply.

It would be nice if you could let us know where you have been, what you did and what you thought, based on all the work people have done to supply you with ideas. That will get you more feedback and pay it forward to those who will come after you.

Also, there are a ton of threads on the Chesapeake here on TF so look those over for those of us who may not want to repeat ourselves for the umpteenth time.
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Old 07-06-2020, 08:57 AM   #7
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For Chesapeake anchorages, get a copy of "Cruising the Chesapeake, a Gunkholer's Guide" (something like that) by Bill Shellenberger.

Up in our neck of the woods:
- Solomons Island
- Cambridge
- Oxford
- Knapp's Narrows
- St. Michaels
- the Wye and Wye East Rivers
- Kent Narrows
- Rock Hall/Swan Creek
- Chesapeake City
- Havre d'Grace
- Bal'mer (Baltimore)
- Annapolis
- Galeseville (and the Rhode River anchorage)
- Deale (maybe; the two Herrington Harbor marinas)

Some of these are pretty tiny (e.g., Galesville), maybe only a stop-off if nothing better presents itself or if weather or boatwork dictates. In any case, the situation in each may vary over time due to Covid-19 issues, but as I type this everything is open, with masks and social distancing often "required" (recommended, with varying enforcement).

-Chris
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Old 07-06-2020, 08:59 AM   #8
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For something unusual and different take a look at the American Mariner.
From a safe distance.
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Old 07-06-2020, 09:05 AM   #9
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Onancock is also worth a visit.
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Old 07-06-2020, 11:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
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....It would be nice if you could let us know where you have been, what you did and what you thought, based on all the work people have done to supply you with ideas. That will get you more feedback and pay it forward to those who will come after you. ...
Certainly! Paying it forward is the intent. I have been trying to do that in my previous thread through the Carolinas with which you all have been so helpful. I will admit too many days have passed by since I last updated that thread and our most recent travels and what we thought/enjoyed/experienced. Hopefully it will work like other threads here and help others. I will get back to that thread and update it more, and will certainly do the same here after we go through the Chesapeake area.
Thanks for all the suggestions, guys, and by all means feel free to keep them coming. What a journey this is, and some of what has been shared here has made it even better than it would have been otherwise.
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Old 07-06-2020, 11:06 AM   #11
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Onancock is also worth a visit.
Sounds like it would be. I also read about it in your blog.
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Old 07-06-2020, 04:25 PM   #12
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I would go up the James River..lots to see, especially if the weather outside of Hamton is too rough. Smooth water from Hampton north of York River will give you better memories. Weather week of 7/13 shows wind from SE.

BTW--O C Diver is excellent resource regarding the Chesapeake. He just came up the thru the Dismal in June and is generous with good info.
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Old 07-09-2020, 06:44 AM   #13
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The Dismal Swamp was kind to us. Now in Portsmouth.

So many good suggestions. Thanks for the contributions. We are looking into each of them and will decide how many we can hit.

Current status: We left Albemarle Plantation headed for Elizabeth City to anchor before doing Dismal Swamp. We opted to cruise on through Elizabeth City (now a likely stop coming back in the fall) and enter the swamp. We overnighted at the visitor center. We were the only boat there. We completed the swamp the next day and stopped in Portsmouth, VA. We hope to tour the USS Wisconsin and Nauticus.

The swamp was kind to us. 2 gentle bumps, but that was all.
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Old 07-09-2020, 08:47 AM   #14
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Top Rack had some extremely good diesel prices when I went through there in May.
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Old 07-09-2020, 08:57 AM   #15
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I live on the St Mary's river right across from Tippity Witchity island. It's about a mile north of St Mary's City and as far as you can go up the St Mary's. The river has some nice scenery and anchorages. The anchorage at Horseshoe Bend is very nice and it is adjacent to St Mary's City. Historic St Mary's City just reopened and the museum and walking tour through the recreated city (Maryland's oldest) is worth doing.
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Old 07-09-2020, 09:20 AM   #16
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I live on the St Mary's river right across from Tippity Witchity island. It's about a mile north of St Mary's City and as far as you can go up the St Mary's. The river has some nice scenery and anchorages. The anchorage at Horseshoe Bend is very nice and it is adjacent to St Mary's City. Historic St Mary's City just reopened and the museum and walking tour through the recreated city (Maryland's oldest) is worth doing.
George,
That looks like a very nice area for a 2 or 3 day getaway from Crisfield. Does St Mary's city have a dinghy dock?

Ted
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Old 07-09-2020, 09:26 AM   #17
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George,
That looks like a very nice area for a 2 or 3 day getaway from Crisfield. Does St Mary's city have a dinghy dock?

Ted
The college has an extensive sailing program and are very gracious about letting cruisers use their dock for dinghies.

This is one of our favorite places.
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Old 07-09-2020, 09:39 AM   #18
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The college has an extensive sailing program and are very gracious about letting cruisers use their dock for dinghies.

This is one of our favorite places.
Thanks!

Is that the James Muldoon River center? Does one need to contact them in advance or is there a designated dinghy section?

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Old 07-09-2020, 09:59 AM   #19
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I'm sure there is somewhere to dock your dinghy there. The recreated sailing ship Maryland Dove is docked just before Church's Point and there are some docks just around Church's Point that I think belong to St Mary's college. Folks are pretty friendly and I'm sure they would be OK with leaving your dinghy there while ashore. I just called and was told to use the college docks. Need to wear masks while touring historic St Mary's city per their website. Open Wed thru Sunday from 1000 to 1600.
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Old 07-09-2020, 10:13 AM   #20
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Ted, that is the James Muldoon River center at the college. Don't think you need to call first.
It is also the destination for the annual Governor's Cup yacht race although cancelled this year. One year I forgot about the race and came south around Horseshoe Bend in my powerboat and saw a wall of sailboats all beating toward the finish line <LOL>. Quick U-turn and back home.
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