Travel Destinations

2018 Destination Guide: Southeast

April 2018
Elnicki Wade

Cape Charles, V.a.

We start on Southeast boating guide in Cape Charles, Virginia. On Virginia's Eastern Shore, this exquisite little getaway town awaits your arrival. Located on the southern tip of the Delmarva Peninsula between the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean, this dreamy destination delivers rural hospitality eager to slow down the pace of hectic urban life. The beaches provide lazy days and breathtaking sunsets. You can drop a line off the fishing pier or spend the morning crabbing. After a mid-day nap or massage, stroll through town to shop in boutiques or admire the elegant 18th-century buildings.

Eating: As you watch watermen in the marina unload their daily catch of local delicacies such as rockfish, flounder, blue crab and oysters, you might get hungry for fresh seafood. For first-rate Bay cuisine, head for Oyster Farm Seafood Eatery at Kings Creek, or visit The Shanty, Kelly's Gingernut Pub and Hook-U-Up Gourmet for a more relaxed experience.

Docking: At the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, Cape Charles Yacht Center is a true megayacht port with more than 1,000 feet of dockage, an 18-foot deep channel, and 300-ton boat lift. Guests of the marina have full access to amenities at nearby Bay Creek Resort & Club, including golf, beach club and pool.

Hampton Roads, V.a.

In Hampton Roads, where the Atlantic's salty waters flow into the Bay, oysters develop a delicious briny flavor guaranteed to please your taste buds. In between feasts of local seafood, you'll discover all kinds of fun activities in the region. Even though Virginia Beach is known for its classic boardwalk, family-friendly beaches and seaside shops, the city has grown into a cultural hub with a new performing arts center, contemporary art museum and scores of refurbished historic sites. Norfolk, influenced by the Navy presence and Southern charm, is a vibrant center of urban entertainment with theater, opera, galleries and festivals. The new Waterside District, a $40 million revitalization project with 150,000 square feet of space, includes a mix of restaurants, shops and entertainment.

Eating: Enjoy high-end dining at Varia, Steinhilber's, One Fish-Two Fish, Saltine and Catch 31. Simply good eats are found at Ocean View, The Lagoon, Buoy 44, and Rudee's Restaurant & Cabana Bar.

Docking: Located at mile marker 0 on the ICW, Tidewater Yacht Marina maintains 300 deep-water slips and several slips for vessels up to 130 feet. Neighboring Ocean Yacht Marina boasts almost 1,500 feet of alongside dockage with modern amenities and a full repair facility. In Hampton, Bluewater Yachting Center can handle yachts up to 200 feet in length, complete with floating docks and two full-service boat yards.

Beaufort, N.C.

The barrier islands off the coast of central North Carolina are called the Crystal Coast. This protective stretch of land creates a border to the Atlantic and attracts sun lovers and beach combers seeking seashells, starfish and sand dollars. Centrally located in this seaside paradise is the delightful port town of Beaufort. With wooden rocking chairs perched on front porches, its historic homes were built by maritime merchants and captains, and its charming streets are laced with shops, galleries, parks and eateries. The area's hidden coves have attracted seafarers for centuries, including the 17th-century scallywag known as Blackbeard, who frequented local taverns to plan his pillaging raids. His famous ship, Queen Anne's Revenge, sank nearby, and relics recovered from archaeological dives are displayed at the local maritime museum. Local pirate festivals pay tribute to the buccaneer way of life.

Eating: For fine cuisine, go to Cedars Inn Restaurant, Aqua and Blue Moon Bistro, and for laid-back fare visit Blackbeard's Grill & Steam Bar, Spouter Inn, Front Street Grill, Beaufort Grocery Company, Old Salt Restaurant & Oyster Bar, and Queen Anne's Revenge.

Docking: Within walking distance of many restaurants and shops in the historic downtown area, Beaufort Docks accommodates vessels up to 300 feet and offers in-slip fueling and a complimentary courtesy car.

Charleston, S.C.

Charleston's unique location on a natural harbor at the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper rivers makes this city easy to navigate by boat, with no shortage of first-class marinas to call home while exploring the splendid attractions nearby. Its history can be told through incomparable architecture found in colonial taverns and churches, plantation houses and antebellum mansions with lush gardens, and Civil War forts and monuments. But its vibrant downtown scene shows Charleston isn't stuck in the past. The French Quarter is flush with art galleries, and King Street is bustling with hip boutiques, designer clothing and jewelry stores. Art plays a key role in Charleston's culture. Performing arts events, such as Spoleto and Moja Arts Festival, draw thousands of spectators, and historic Dock Street Theater is a sweet spot to take in a show.

Eating: Don't forget about the food. Charleston chefs are famous for transforming regional bounty from the land and sea to elevate Low Country cooking to new culinary heights. Best bets for high-end dining: Hall's Chophouse, FIG, Oak Steakhouse, Husk Restaurant, Blossom, High Cotton Restaurant and The Ordinary. Easy-going vibe with local flavor: One Broad Street, Hominy Grill and Pearlz Oyster Bar.

Docking: Featuring 19,000 feet of linear dock space, Safe Harbor Charleston City hosts the concrete floating MegaDock equipped for yachts up to 500 feet in length with high-speed fuel dock, floating bathhouse, courtesy shuttle to downtown Charleston and complete marine services. Fully insured and marina compliant to service superyachts in the port of Charleston or travel to the vessel location, Moxy Marine employs technicians seven days a week for dockside diagnostic, repair and installation services.

Savannah, G.a.

Old oak trees draped with Spanish moss and elegant homes dating back to colonial times bolster Savannah's reputation as the Jewel of the South. Add a dash of hospitality, soft-sand beaches and 650+ miles of waterways, and you'll see why it's a favorite port for nautical travelers. Follow the cobblestone streets of the historic district to witness a Civil War reenactment, discover shops teeming with vintage treasures, or simply settle in for a gracious afternoon high tea. Savannah has an active and eclectic nightlife, including music festivals, live bands in City Market and dancing at clubs on River Street.

Eating: For fun where the locals gather, hang out at Tubby's Tank House in the nearby village of Thunderbolt or at Doc's Bar on Tybee Island. Foodies can sample every cuisine from traditional Low Country favorites, such as shrimp and grits or fried green tomatoes, to Japanese fusion, authentic Italian, farm-fresh vegetarian, and everything in between. Notable are North Beach Bar & Grill, Tortuga's Island Grille, The Olde Pink House, Circa 1875, Sorry Charlie's Oyster Bar and Garibaldi.

Docking: Thunderbolt Marine, situated just a few miles from charming downtown Savannah, welcomes vessels up to 220 feet while also providing fuel and complimentary bus passes to local eateries. From canvas and upholstery to hydraulics and electrical, Thunderbolt Marine delivers quality maintenance and repair work for any sized vessel.


Bay Creek Golf Course, Cape Charles, V.A.

On Virginia's Eastern Shore sits Bay Creek, a beach and golf community with exceptional beauty and unparalleled lifestyle. Two miles of private beach, beach club and fitness center surround the award-winning golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.

Fort Monroe, Hampton, V.A.

Fort Monroe military base was decommissioned in 2011, giving public access to miles of stunning beaches, historic lighthouse and churches, the seven-sided stone fort complex surrounded by a moat, and a museum where Jefferson Davis was imprisoned.

Nauticus, Norfolk, V.A.

At the region's premier maritime museum, you can stroll around the massive deck of the Battleship Wisconsin and then enter the complex to explore exhibits and interactive displays on naval weaponry and ammunition, maritime commerce and trade, underwater parks and aquatic wildlife sanctuaries, nautical history and much more.

Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show, Virginia Beach, V.A.

Naval Air Station Oceana hosts its annual air show, a three-day event that is recognized as the Navy's largest open house in North America. Performances by the Blue Angels, F-18 and F-22 combat jets, aerobatic planes, skydivers and parachute teams make for an awe-inspiring day just minutes from the ocean (Sept. 22-23, 2018).

Charleston Strolls, Charleston, S.C.

Step back in time before cars and tour buses to walk along Charleston's cobblestone streets and learn the back story of one of America's most enchanting cities. The tour passes through historic churches and grave- yards, antebellum mansions, military defense structures, hidden gardens, and Revolution- ary and Civil War sites.

Spoleto Festival USA, Charleston, S.C.

For about two weeks each spring, Spoleto Festival USA fills Charleston's historic theaters, churches and outdoor spaces with performances by renowned artists as well as emerging performers in opera, dance, theater, jazz and classical music (May 25 - June 10, 2018).

Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head, S.C.

Located at the Sea Pines Resort in the shadow of Harbour Town Yacht Basin, this course is the crowning achievement of famed designer Pete Dye and design consultant Jack Nicklaus. It is a favorite among PGA Tour players, as it places a premium on fitness, imagination and shot making, rather than brute strength.

Savannah Music Festival, Savannah, G.A.

Since 1989, world-class musicians have convened in Savannah to celebrate their art and put on memorable and educational performances. More than 500 artists play in Georgia's largest musical arts event to promote a variety of genres acoustic, bluegrass, blues, Celtic, folk, funk, gospel, opera, R&B, ska and more (March 29 – April 14, 2018).

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Explore the Spirited Lakefront of Burlington, VT

A vibrant, compact city hugging the eastern shoreline of Lake Champlain, Burlington abounds in scenic beauty, four-season recreation, a college town vibe, arts and culture, and a quirky character all its own.

Burlington - destinations - marinalife
Burlington Church Street | Michelle Raponi on Pixabay

Eclectic shops named Anjou & the Little Pear or Common Deer, and restaurants called Zabby & Elf 's Stone Soup or The Skinny Pancake dot the urban landscape. A local artist's satirical comment on the bureaucracy of urban planning called File Under So. Co., Waiting for..., consists of 38 filing cabinets welded together to a 40-foot height. Birds frequently nest in the upper chambers.

History buffs stroll through the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum or the Fleming Museum of Art's multi-era artifact collection while hikers trek the 12.5-mile path at Burlington Waterfront Park, which offers bicycle, rollerblade and kayak rentals. In season, the path connects to the Lake Champlain Islands via bike ferry.

burlington - destinations - marinalife
Burlington Bike Path | Michelle Raponi on Pixabay

Since the 1800s, the Old North End has been the city's melting pot, and global cuisine from Nepalese dumplings to the African Market can be found here today. Between munches, stroll over to historic Elmwood Cemetery, whose residents include Revolutionary War soldiers. Hear their stories and perhaps have a chance encounter with a local spirit on a Queen City Ghostwalk Tour. Liquid spirits rule when the internationally famous, regionally beloved and hidden gem breweries line up for the annual Vermont Brewers Festival. Year round, enjoy homemade bratwurst and drafts at Zero Gravity Craft Beer. At acclaimed Foam Brewers, the patio faces Lake Champlain waterfront and the Adirondack Mountains. Hop on the Sip of Burlington Brew Tour for a dozen tastings and the sights of this dynamic, energetic city.

Where to Dock

Burlington Community Boathouse Marina


This full-service marina is the centerpiece of a growing waterfront. Amenities include 105 slips up to 65 feet, Splash Café and a fantastic sunset over the Adirondacks.

Burlington Harbor Marina


With 160 slips (60 transient slips up to 80 feet), this new marina's tranquil harbor setting is convenient to downtown amenities and recreational activities.

Where to Dine

Honey Road


Savor sophisticated Mediterranean small plates, cocktails and creative desserts in a comfy tavern setting.

burlington - destinations - marinalife
Burlington Church Street | Needpix

The Farmhouse Tap & Grill


This farm-to-table gastropub dishes up local burgers, charcuterie and innovative specials. Sip on local brews in the beer garden.



According to Irish playwright Brendan Behan, The most important things to do in the world are to get something to eat, something to drink and somebody to love you. RíRá fuses classic Irish with pub grub to satisfy the first two.

Leunig's Bistro & Café


Step inside the lush garden courtyard to watch fresh local fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood transform into classic French dishes. Come enjoy a romantic evening meal.

Hen of the Wood


Enjoy a true Vermont dining experience in a romantic, rustic atmosphere adjacent to the Hotel Vermont.

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Discover the Island Charm of Cuttyhunk, Massachusetts

Ever wish you could hop in a time machine and go back 50 or 60 years to experience a less frenetic pace of life? It's not as far-fetched as it might sound. There's a place off the coast of Massachusetts where you can do just that ... at least for a weekend.

Cuttyhunk Island - destinations - marinalife
Cuttyhunk Island | tkesner1 on Flickr

"It's like 1960 --you're stepping back in time," notes Captain Jono Billings, who owns and operates the Cuttyhunk Ferry out of New Bedford, about 18 miles north of Cuttyhunk Island, a 580-acre arc of stone and sand that's the westernmost of the Elizabeth Islands that lie between Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound.

For such a small place, Cuttyhunk has a long, colorful history. In 1602 --nearly 20 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock -- Bartholomew Gosnold sailed from Falmouth, England to establish a colony in the New World, explored the areas near present-day Kennebunkport, Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard, and built a small fort on what he christened Cuttyhunk Island.

A 70-foot stone tower was constructed in 1902 commemorating the 300th anniversary of that historic landing. After passing through the hands of several English earls and dukes, Peleg Slocum purchased the island in 1693, and her family continued to live on Cuttyhunk for the next 165 years.

In 1865, a group of Rhode Island fishing enthusiasts bought a large portion of the island and built the Cuttyhunk Club and a few fishing stands, enhancing its reputation as a prime spot for sport fishing. In fact, two 73-pound, world-record striped bass have been caught off Cuttyhunk in 1913 and more recently in 1967.

Local fishermen know all the qualities and quirks of the area's waters, offering their services to visiting anglers and acting as expert navigators for ships sailing into New Bedford Harbor, piloting them through the dangerous Sow and Pig Reef on the west end of the island.

Cuttyhunk Island - destinations - marinalife
Cuttyhunk Island | Ben McLaughlin

Fishing isn't the only way to interact with nature on Cuttyhunk. Half the island is a nature preserve, home to a variety of birds and mammals, as well as wildflowers, sweet peas, bayberry and a host of other flora. Plenty of hiking trails wind through the landscape that's largely craggy and reflects Cuttyhunk's glacial origins. It's covered with the same kind of rocks and stones found in the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont.

Although largely a day-tripper destination, visitors can overnight on Cuttyhunk with some advance planning. Most boaters prefer to stay aboard their own craft if properly outfitted, but limited accommodations are on land as well. Avalon, the Inn on Cuttyhunk Island, offers seven rooms, while Cuttyhunk Fishing Club has eight. A few cottage and house rentals are also available through Pete's Place Rentals.

Where to Dock

Cuttyhunk Marina


The marina offers 50 transient slips that can accommodate vessels up to 110 feet and have freshwater hookups and 30- and 50-amp electricity capability. About 50 moorings accommodate vessels up to 50 feet. Pump out, ice, picnic area and restrooms are available.

Frog Pond Marine Moorings


This mooring field is located in the outer harbor off the port side of Bell 6 upon entering Cuttyhunk. Bright white balls mark the moorings, which are first-come, first-serve. Tie up to any mooring that doesn't say PRIVATE, and the mooring collector will come to your boat to collect a $45 rental fee.

Jenkins Moorings


Located in the outer harbor to the right of the channel's entrance, moorings are first-come, first-serve during the high season. If you spend the night, call and they'll deliver fresh oysters and raw-bar items to your boat.

Where to Dine

Cuttyhunk Café


This coffee shop is located on the town fish dock. Start your day with coffee and pastries, pick up chowder and sandwiches for lunch, and finish the day chowing down on fresh lobster boils with corn, potatoes, onion, chorizo and steamers.

Cuttyhunk Fishing Club


Just south of town on Cemetery Road, this B&B offers the best breakfasts/brunches on the island, and you don't have to be a guest to enjoy it. They don't take reservations, so grab a cup of coffee and an Adirondack chair while you wait for your table and enjoy the porch with a million-dollar view.

Cuttyhunk Island Market


Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., this rustic spot offers all the essentials: dry goods, sundries, bread, dairy, fresh veggies, plus 10-inch subs with a bag of chips. We may be small, but we have it all.

Cuttyhunk Shellfish Farms


This floating raw bar provides fresh Cuttyhunk oysters and clams, along with stuffed quahog and hot clam chowder to boaters during the summer, delivered right to your boat. Call them on VHF Channel 72 or stop in at their shack on the fish dock during the day to place your order.

Soprano's Pizza


The only sit-down restaurant on Cuttyhunk, this in-season eatery serves gourmet brick oven pizzas and seafood specials. Think a pizza oven held hostage in a garage, four picnic tables in a driveway lit by tiki torches, and a croaking bullfrog in the pond! Can't beat that kind of ambiance.

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Savor the Southern Charm in Wilmington, North Carolina

Like its neighbors to the south Charleston and Savannah Wilmington, North Carolina, has become a magnet for tourists and transplants looking for authentic Southern culture, cuisine and climate.

Bald Head Island - wilmington north carolina - marinalife
Bald Head Island Harbor | Wikimedia Commons

Many boaters are familiar with the area's barrier islands and beaches such as Topsail, Wrightsville, Carolina, Kure, Bald Head, but not so much the city itself, located about 30 miles upstream from where Cape Fear River meets the Atlantic Ocean.The Eastern Siouan people occupied the area when the first Europeans arrived in the early 1500s and Giovanni da Verrazzano explored the North American coast. His maps and travel accounts comprise the earliest description of North Carolina's land and people.The city of Wilmington (then called New Carthage) was founded in 1739 on the banks of Cape Fear River. Its name comes from Sir Richard Grenville's 1585 expedition when he sailed to Roanoke Island and his ship was stranded behind the cape. The crew was afraid they'd wreck, giving rise to the name Cape Fear.Also known as the Port City, Wilmington is experiencing a building boom and renaissance, with its well-preserved downtown and a bustling Port City waterfront area augmented by new condos and reclaimed riverside acreage that has been turned into parks, piers and promenades. Across from the city's Riverwalk you can find the Battleship North Carolina Memorial and tour this famous warship.Front Street, Wilmington's thriving commercial thorough-fare, is lined with chic shops, bars and restaurants populated by a mix of locals, UNC Wilmington college students and out-of-towners looking for R&R after a day of shopping, sight-seeing or cooling out at the beaches. Looking for lunch or a light alternative to a full-course dinner? Try Fun Bowl for ramen and poke bowl, Slice of Life Pizzeria & Pub for pizza, wings and subs, or Beer Barrio for Mexican dishes.

Azaleas - wilmington north carolina - marinalife
Azaleas in full bloom | Kristina Gain on Pexels

Microbreweries and brew pubs are booming here, and two are worth checking out: Front Street Brewery (craft beers and hand scratched food) and Pour Taproom & Bar (60+ different craft beers and ciders).Wilmington's Azalea Festival in April and October's Riverfest are just two of the local can't-miss events, along with other cultural happenings throughout the year. Popular spots include Greenfield Lake Park (check the live music schedule at the park's busy amphitheater), Arlie Gardens (botanical gardens, trails, birding and events) and the world-class Cameron Art Museum.For an interesting side-trip, visit Bald Head Island at Cape Fear's southern tip. The remote village is only accessible by ferry from nearby Southport, and cars are not allowed on the island. The island is nationally recognized for sea turtle nesting activity. Accommodations are available at the Marsh Harbor Inn and the Inn at Bald Head Island. A handful of restaurants serve everything from to-go meals and pub fare to wine-bar and cantina-style cuisine.

Where to Dock

Cape Fear Marina910-772-9277Part of Off the Hook Yacht Services, this gated 70-slip marina offers water, pump-out and electric hookup at every slip, and the fully equipped dock house has shower and laundry facilities. Repair and refit services are also available.Dockside Marina910-256-3579About one mile north of Masonboro Inlet near Wrightsville Beach, the marina has 180 feet of floating transient dockage and access to shore power, water and wireless Internet. It's close to local grocers, ATMs, laundries, hotels and marine stores, and the highly rated Dockside Restaurant.Port City Marina910-251-6151This full-service marina with 200+ floating concrete wet slips accommodates boats up to 400 feet and is in the heart of downtown. It offers rapid-fill fuel service, electric, free Wi-Fi, gated entrance, video surveillance, pump-out, on-site store and more. Marina Grill is steps away from the docks.Wilmington Marine Center910-395-5055Services include gas, water, electric, pump-out, wireless internet and more. The marina is in an enclosed basin off the Cape Fear River, offering 130 slips with fixed and floating docks for vessels up to 120 feet.

Where to Dine

Caprice Bistro910-815-0810For authentic French cuisine, the chef delivers classics such as escargot, crepes and mussels, as well as boeuf bourguignon, duck confit and lamb shank tagine. Locals flock to this hidden gem that celebrated its 20th anniversary last year.Circa 1922910-762-1922A lush, romantic spot that sources ingredients for imaginative dishes from local farmers and seafood merchants. Serving a mix of small plates (charred octopus, beef carpaccio, tuna tataki) and classics like paella, scallops and short ribs, the emphasis is on seasonal American fare with a European flair.Indochine910-251-9229This Far East café serves a mix of Thai and Vietnamese cuisine: satay, dumplings, pad Thai, nine different curries, bulgogi and braised catfish in an exotic, art-filled setting. Save room for sticky rice topped with warm coconut sauce and mangoes.Pilot House910-343-0200This Wilmington institution serves indigenous seafood and fowl, and the area menu includes everything from down-home cooking to Cajun and traditional Southern fare with a contemporary twist, in a restored 19th century house with a riverside terrace.Seabird910-769-5996Seafood rules at the sleek and chic Seabird, and fish, oysters and shellfish dominate the menu. Try the smoked catfish and oyster pie, or the swordfish schnitzel. Landlubbers can opt for sorghum pork ribs or grilled bavette steak.

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