CHAPTER 15              MAY 3, 2008    




On May 3rd, just before entering NORTH CAROLINA, we passed through the “Rock Pile” - an area where the ICW is very narrow and lined with rocks – pay close attention here, rocks are not kind to boat hulls or props!  Later, we passed by one of many osprey nests constructed right on an ICW marker (see picture).  There are very few pelicans now (I miss them!), and hardly any palm trees this far north.  Next stop was the Carolina Beach State Park Marina, where we hiked on the trails famous for Venus Fly Traps & yellow pitcher plants growing wild.  Many other nights were spent at beautiful NC anchorages.  After that was Beaufort, where we enjoyed live music (see picture), some fun shops, and excellent shrimp and grits at “Clawson’s Restaurant”!  There are many modest early homes in Beaufort called “jump houses” (see picture).  We also visited the NC Maritime Museum and a very interesting early burying ground while in Beaufort.  Next stop was Oriental - a delightful town with a great store called the “Inland Waterway Provision Company”.  After that we stopped in Belhaven at Dowry Creek Marina where we admired their “bottle tree”.  Common in southern gardens - bottles capture evil spirits at night and destroy them in the next day's sunshine (see picture).  At our next stop, we enjoyed a delightful wine and cheese (and a free rose!) party with the “Rose Buddy’s” at the Elizabeth City free dock (see picture).  This is the beginning of the 6 to 9 foot deep and 70 foot wide Dismal Swamp, which was dug by slave labor between 1793 and 1805 under highly unfavorable conditions.  It is the oldest operating artificial waterway in the US, and is a National Historic Landmark.  The following day, we made use of the free dock at the NC Visitor’s Center midway through the Dismal Swamp (see picture).  The entire Dismal Swamp was fragrant with honeysuckle on both banks, birds singing, and turtles sunning on logs.  It was anything but dismal!  There is also a road that follows the swamp just beyond the trees, with cars speeding by much faster than us! 


On May 18th we arrived in VIRGINIA & began the CHESAPEAKE BAY.  Our first stop was Hampton, a city with many nice stores and restaurants, as well as the VA Air and Space Center.  Next was a really beautiful anchorage at Mill Creek off the Great Wicomico River at mile 136, followed by a stay in Solomons MD at the Beacon Marina, where our boat stirred up a water moccasin as we entered our slip!  The next day we crossed the Bay and went to Saint Michaels – this town is the definition of quaint!  Wonderful stores and the fabulous Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (see pictures).  After that, we crossed the Bay again and went to a marina in Pasadena MD.  During our week there, we rented a car and went to visit relatives in MD (see pictures), and later on drove to Annapolis (see picture) to meet with friends.  Our last stop on the Chesapeake Bay in MD is one of my favorites - Chesapeake City MD (see picture).  The next day we traversed the C&D Canal and the Delaware Bay, ending up in NJ.


June 1st found us at the beautiful Sunset Lake anchorage in NJ – and yes, the sunsets are gorgeous (see picture) there!  Next was another anchorage in Barnegat Bay NJ, followed by North Minneford Yacht Club in City Island NY.  After that, we stopped at East End Yacht Club in Bridgeport CT.  The following day, June 6 2008, found us cruising by the Saybrook Outer Lighthouse (see picture) exactly one year to the day from when we left Old Saybrook CT to begin this adventure!  What a grand time we had, and what wonderful people we met!  Back at Ragged Rock Marina in Old Saybrook, a photographer from the Hartford Courant took pictures of our arrival. The pictures and a delightful article were in the Sunday Hartford Courant on 6/22/08 – what a thrill!

We traveled 5307 miles this past year, plus the previous 1000 miles when we brought SUMMERTIME up the Intracoastal Waterway from Charleston SC to Old Saybrook CT in 2005.  We look forward to hearing from friends and family – please keep the calls and emails coming!