In September 2012, Marinalife members David and Lynn Pitts departed their home port in Baltimore, MD. and began their maiden ocean voyage aboard Peaceful Too (P2), their 3-year-old 53 foot Selene Trawler. Their emotions were running wild. It was an exciting yet anxious moment for the pair since they had never taken her outside of the Chesapeake Bay. They planned to travel 600 miles up the New Jersey coast, into the New York Harbor, up the Hudson River and then head back home.
It turned out to be one of the most memorable journeys for the Pitts. The iron maiden withstood 7 to 9-foot seas when Hurricane Leslie was churning out in the Atlantic. She cruised smoothly when they reached calm waters, allowing them to take in spectacular sights, and she didn't shake up Lynn's trouble with seasickness too much (with a little help from some prescription patches she had picked up before leaving).
Throughout their journey, the crew was able to meet up with family and friends along the way and share moments they will never forget. They took their cruise prior to the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, allowing them to cruise by the famous Seaside Heights Amusement Park in New Jersey before the super storm wiped it away. It was a bittersweet moment cruising into New York Harbor on 9/11 and watching the helicopters buzz around the area like a swarm of bees on this historical day.
After taking on the Atlantic and docking at a variety of marinas along the way, the pair has highlighted the top four destinations that they still rave about.
Marina:Chesapeake Inn Restaurant & Marina (chesapeakeinn.com,410-885-2040)
Highlights: The marina has the perfect location for all boat traffic traveling through the C&D Canal. The marina and restaurant are tucked back into a very picturesque spot under the arch of the Chesapeake City bridge, and cruisers are immediately rewarded with an ambiance not unlike a quaint New England town. The Pitts docked the P2 and took a stroll around the scenic town.
Although there wasn't a lot of shopping to be done in the area, the pair enjoyed a casual bite to eat at the marina's restaurant. The outdoor deck provides a more laid-back scene, and the restaurant specializes in their brick oven pizzas and offers live entertainment daily during the summer months and on weekends in the winter.
Marina: South Jersey Marina (southjerseymarina.com, 609-884-2400)
Highlights: Cruising into the marina, the Pitts found it extremely interesting that South Jersey Marina is located back in a narrow, well-protected channel lined with private homes that feature boathouses in place of a traditional backyard. They docked the P2 across from the Lobster House, one of the most famous restaurants in Cape May. It is an enormous establishment serving fresh seafood in every imaginable manner. They danced to live music and sipped cocktails aboard a 130-foot double-masted schooner's outdoor cocktail lounge permanently moored alongside The Lobster House restaurant.
They found Cape May to be quite a gem. It is affectionately referred to as the Crown Jewel of New Jersey. With a 25-minute walk to town, the Pitts had time to stretch their legs and take in all of its beauty, which included horse-drawn carriages, wonderful shops, bed and breakfasts galore and a nice boardwalk, where you can stroll along the beach. They enjoyed seeing the Seven Sisters Houses, a historical spot in town with identical Italian renaissance-style cottages built, as the legend goes, for the seven beloved daughters of a wealthy Cape May builder.
Marina: Golden Nugget Atlantic City Marina (goldennugget.com, 609-441-8482)
Highlights: After cruising offshore and passing long stretches of gorgeous white sand beaches all with their own blue-water towers naming their towns, the crew tied up at the Golden Nugget Atlantic City Marina. Offering comparatively low slip rates, the marina had many perks that interested the Pitts. Since the marina is part of a casino complex, transient boaters are offered use of all the facilities including the amazing rooftop swimming pool, endless bars, hot tubs and gyms. At night, the view from the rooftop pool area is spectacular. One can see all the lights of Atlantic City and its surrounding casinos.
Marina: Liberty Landing Marina (libertylandingmarina.com,201-985-8000)
Highlights: This was the favorite spot for the pair during their voyage. They entered New York Harbor on 9/11 with clear, sunny skies in anticipation of seeing the long-awaited sights of the great city. As they sailed under the Verrazano Bridge, they could barely contain their excitement when they spotted the Statue of Liberty in the distance. They were awed by the size and beauty of it but before getting too close, they were approached by the Coast Guard carrying four armed men who boarded P2 for a 30-minute "routine check.
They tied up at Liberty Landing with an efficient dock crew on hand to help, while Lynn stood on the bow and took in the city sights. The marina is part of a large complex that houses a West Marine store, delicious restaurants and a historic transportation building, the Old Railroad Train Station. The group walked to the end of the dock and hopped on a quick ferry for a ride across the Hudson to Manhattan to explore the city. The ferry also takes visitors who are docked over to Ellis Island, a popular destination for tourists.
Click here to view the detailed cruise listing on Marinalife's website.