We initially had some trepidation about Chesapeake Bay as it has a reputation for rapid changes in weather and travel conditions. But, for a little over a week it was kind to us and ’tis Grand. Under mostly fair skies and smooth water we traveled back and forth stopping and exploring some of the scenic, historic and unique towns that line its shores.
First stop was Yorktown, which I covered in the previous post. Next came Deltaville where we took 2 days of respite from the crowds and noisy beach scene at Yorktown. It’s a well-kept family-owned marina with nice amenities, including a beautiful herb garden for boaters’ use, friendly boaters all around us and lots of great birds to watch.
Next stop was Tangier Island ( less than 400 acres), located in the middle of the Bay, inhabitated by watermen and their families who have made their living harvesting crab, oysters and fish over the past 250+ years. It seems to be a tightly-knit working-class community proud of its heritage, but struggling in many ways, especially economically and because of rising seas. Many of the weather-beaten homes and fish/crab shanties lining the waterways that criss-cross the island are slowly being abandoned or put up for sale. Incoming tidewater is clearly visible under many of the homes and the Combined School (K-12) was raised 8 ft in 2008 to preserve the building which is still in use. Small cemeteries and individual gravesites occupy much of the remaining “high” ground (including residential front and back yards), as residents try to keep their deceased loved ones above water. Some sources say the island will have to be abandoned by 2050. We are glad we had an opportunity to visit this unique place.
Next was Solomons MD, a small but vibrant community on Back Creek on the western shore of the Bay. Our assigned slip and the marina grounds were shaded by lovely, huge pines and hardwoods reminiscent of northern WI. Then north to Annapolis, home of the US Naval Academy and the sailing mecca of Chesapeake Bay. It’s an interesting, walkable city where we spent 2 days seeing the sights and stopping at bakeries, breweries, ice cream shops and restaurants along the way (not necessarily in that order). The brick-lined streets near the Statehouse and over to Prince George St and the Academy were very cool! The entire city waterfront is literally lined with marinas and boats (mostly sailing vessels) and the Bay is dotted with dozens of white sails on evenings and weekends.
After dodging a vast field of sailboats on Saturday morning, our last full day on the Bay was spent crossing to Rock Hall on the western shore. We explored this small community on foot after arrival and enjoyed a serene sunset over the water at dusk. Sunday we headed north and exited Chesapeake Bay by entering the C&D Canal, which took us to Delaware Bay, known for its wicked currents and choppy, sometimes dangerous waters. But.. we traversed the 61 miles south under fair conditions and landed in Cape May NJ on the Atlantic coast. Who knew it was filled with Victorian homes! Up the NJ coastline is next and then on to NYC and the Hudson!