CHAPTER 22 SEPTEMBER 2009
LONG ISLAND SOUND, NJ, DELAWARE BAY & CHESAPEAKE BAY
We’ve left CONNECTICUT after spending the summer here visiting friends and relatives, and helping my father get through some serious health issues. Our first stop was the Thimble Islands (see picture) on the CT shore of Long Island Sound. The Thimble Islands were formed by glaciers 10,000 years ago, and are incredibly picturesque. After that, we crossed over to the NEW YORK side of LONG ISLAND SOUND, and anchored in Port Jefferson. The following day we stayed on a free town mooring in Port Washington. The next day we cruised through NY City on the East River (see pictures) and headed for Staten Island, where we stayed for a few days at the Great Kills Yacht Club (see picture) enjoying their camaraderie and wonderful clubhouse, while we waited out a tropical storm.
Moving on to NEW JERSEY, the weather was pleasant and in the 70’s. We saw a large pod of dolphins heading south out on the Atlantic Ocean before we entered the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). (Note - This is our 5th trip on the ICW.) We anchored one night in Tom’s River, and anchored the next night in Atlantic City, enjoying the night lights from the casinos and hotels from our cockpit. Today, we hit 11,000 miles traveling on SUMMERTIME (including the 1,000 in 2005 when we brought the boat back from FL where we bought it). Next night, we anchored in Wildwood NJ on Sunset Lake (see picture). After that, we spent a few days in Cape May NJ at “Utsch’s Marina”. I love the goody bag they give you which includes a bottle of wine, some biscotti, and lots of other little treats! We had a great time riding our bikes through historic district in Cape May, which has the largest concentration of Victorian homes in the country (see picture) painted in authentic earth tones, and over to the Cape May Lighthouse (see picture). Cape May was also the first seashore resort in the country.
For our cruise through the Cape May Canal and across the 50 miles of the DELAWARE BAY, the weather was sunny and in the 80’s, and the seas were only one foot. That night we stayed at the “Delaware City Marina” which has a lovely boardwalk leading into town. Delaware City is a sleepy little town of 1500 people. We poked in a few antique shops, stopped in a small grocery store, and later enjoyed a very nice dinner at “Crabby Dicks”.
The weather continued pleasant and the in 70’s & 80’s for our cruise through MD & VA on the CHESAPEAKE BAY. First stop was an anchorage in the Magothy River/Broad Creek. Then, we stayed on a town mooring for a few days in Annapolis MD. It was an easy dinghy ride to shore (see picture) for lots of good shopping, “Fawcetts” marine store, “The Marketplace” with fresh veggies, and many restaurants. One day, we met Ray’s sister Jane and Paul at “Davis’s Pub” (see picture) where we enjoyed their famous “crab pretzel” (a giant soft pretzel topped with crab and melted cheese) followed by delicious crab cakes. On the City Dock in Annapolis where slave auctions were once held, there is a life sized “Kunta Kinte (arrived in 1767) Alex Haley Memorial”. Next stop was St Michaels MD (a favorite of ours) where we spotted a “Skipjack with push boat” (see picture). A Skipjack is a 40 to 50 foot Chesapeake Bay type of sailboat developed for oystering. Due to state laws, the boat has no motor, but uses a push boat to move it to locations. Most are no longer in commercial use, especially due to sharp decline in oysters. Next, after having the “Knapps Narrows Bridge” open for us, we arrived in Cambridge MD where we stayed on the free city wall (see picture). We enjoyed more crab at the famous “Snappers Restaurant” in Cambridge. Next up was Solomons MD (another favorite) where we stayed at “Calvert Marina”, making good use of their courtesy car and excellent shopping opportunities.
Next stop on the CHESAPEAKE BAY, was a few days in Crisfield MD at “Somers Cove Marina”. Crisfield was first settled in the 1600’s. The town prospered in the 1920’s when the railroad came to town enabling widespread shipping of oysters. By the mid 1950’s, oysters were in decline, and crabs reigned supreme. While in Crisfield, we visited an interesting museum at the Visitor Center that detailed the history of oystering. Another day, we took the tour boat “Steven Thomas” to Tangier Island (see pictures), which is 12 miles away and in the middle of the lower Chesapeake Bay. 600 people live on the 1.5 by 2.5 mile island, and most have a very distinctive Elizabethan accent. Most of the men make their living fishing the unpredictable waters of the Chesapeake Bay, (see picture) typical Chesapeake Bay crab boat , and most of the women run the golf cart tours of the island, or run the few little tourist shops. Interestingly, we saw lots of cats (see picture), but no dogs on Tangier Island. Most of us from the tour boat went to Tangier Islands famous “Hilda Crockett’s Chesapeake House Restaurant” where we enjoyed a feast including crab cakes, clam fritters, VA baked ham, corn pudding, green beans, potato salad, cole slaw, pickled beets, applesauce, homemade rolls and pound cake. It was served with iced tea or coffee (no alcohol is sold on the island), and believe me - no one leaves hungry!
In the lower Chesapeake Bay, we anchored in Deltaville VA. Took the dinghy to shore, and walked two miles into town. A few nice shops, great hardware store “Hurd’s”, nice lunch at “The Galley”, then a long dinghy ride to explore the very lovely waterway. Next day, we anchored in Chisman Creek. We pass by many ospreys while cruising the ICW, (see picture) this one is sitting on a day marker. And, we’re starting to see lots of brown pelicans and dolphins now. We ended the month of September in Hampton VA at the “Salt Ponds Marina”, where we left the boat for a week, and drove back to CT to visit my Dad.
So far, we’ve travelled 11,425 miles aboard SUMMERTIME.