As a deep water harbor on the Chesapeake Bay that opens up to the Atlantic Ocean, Portsmouth is known for being rich in history and charm. Located on the “Right Corner” of Virginia, Portsmouth is within the Hampton Roads region of the state which has six of the ten largest population centers within 750 miles.
Portsmouth is also considered “An Official Coast Guard City” due to the city’s ongoing support for the Coast Guard, and more specifically the local units: 5th District, Atlantic Area, Base Portsmouth and Sector Hampton Roads.
With an incredible downtown waterfront that includes fine dining, antique and specialty shops, Portsmouth is full of sites for all travelers to enjoy. Portsmouth is also the perfect stop for a history buff and is home to several museums, including: Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center, Lightship Portsmouth Museum, and Railroad Museum of Virginia.
In addition to the history, visitors can hit the links at one of the city’s championship golf courses: Bide-A-Wee, or The Links at City Park, or check out some other regional activities: The Virginia Opera, The Virginia Stage Company and The Virginia Symphony.
Forget those soggy sandwiches in the cooler and leave your can opener in the drawer. The Chesapeake Bay offers a simpler and healthier way to feed your crew. Farmers' markets are sprouting up all around the region as part of the field-to-table craze. Fresh meats, artisan cheeses, homemade breads and vegetables just plucked from the soil provide a nourishing alternative to fast-food feeding frenzies.Plus, these outdoor marketplaces are pet friendly and much more entertaining for kids than a boring grocery or convenience store. Live music, chef demonstrations, home-spun crafts and recreational activities lend a festive feel to buying organic items for your galley. Here are 11 farmers' markets located near or on the Chesapeake Bay, where shopping is fun and growers are friendly.
Open May 1 to Nov. 20, Sunday 8 a.m. to noon. but closed during boat shows. Located on Compromise and Main streets at the City Dock in downtown Annapolis. This waterfront market supports farmers and producers from the Mid-Atlantic region.
Where to Dock: Annapolis City Dock
Open May 6 to the end of Oct., Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Located in the parking lot of the former Cambridge City Hall and Guernsey County Courthouse. Special events include children's activities, tastings, cooking demonstrations and nutritional clinics. (cambridgemainstreet.com)
Where to Dock: River Marsh Marina
Open early May to Oct., Friday and Saturday 8 a.m. to noon. Located across from Ewing Pond Park and Grasonville Elementary School. Eastern Shore growers, producers and artisans present local seasonal products in a lively rural setting.
Where to Dock: Piney Narrows Yacht Haven
Open May 7 to Nov. 26, Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (closed May 21 and Oct. 15). Located between Boyle and Webster streets overlooking Inner Harbor. In addition to fresh food and artisan wares, this urban market offers live music and family activities. (thebmi.org)
Where to Dock: Baltimore Marine Center at Harborview
Open May 7 to Nov. 19, Saturday 9 a.m. to noon. Located in Hutchins Park at the base of Congress Avenue overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. Founded in 1995, the market hosts 25 local vendors from beekeepers to pie makers, BBQ chefs and organic farmers. (havredegracefarmersmarket.com)
Where to Dock: Tidewater Marina
Open May to Dec. on the first Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Located in Irvington Commons behind Chesapeake Bank. The bustling market has a festival vibe with live entertainment and 100-plus vendors presenting local seafood, fresh meat and produce, dairy and baked goods, crafts, artwork and more.
Where to Dock: Tides Inn
Open Jan. to May, Saturday 9 a.m. to noon, June to Sept., Saturday 8 a.m. to noon, and Oct. to Dec., Saturday 9 a.m. to noon. Located at the corner of 19th Street and Cypress Avenue in the parking lot of Croc's 19th Street Bistro. This market provides an assortment of local delicacies ranging from fresh produce and meats to flowers and Virginia wines. (oldbeachfarmersmarket.com)
Where to Dock: Cavalier Golf & Yacht Club
Open May 7 to Oct. 31, 9 a.m. to noon. Located across from the post office about a block off the water between the north and central branches of Onancock Creek. Established in 2012, this venue gives local watermen, farmers and artisans the chance to show off their fresh seasonal products. (onancockmarket.com)
Where to Dock: Onancock Marina
Open May to Oct., Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Nov. to Dec., 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Located in the courtyard garden of Portsmouth's historic courthouse, and a few blocks off the Elizabeth River. Chef and artist presentations, as well as kids' activities and a variety of vendors, make this market especially fun. (portsmouthfarmersmarket.com)
Where to Dock: Tidewater Yacht Marina
Open April 16 to Oct. 8, Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Located in the public parking lot behind Shore BBQ,between Talbot and Fremont streets. Established in 1998, this waterfront market showcases seasonal foods and offers cooking demonstrations by local chefs.
Where to Dock: St. Michaels Marina or Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
Open May 14 to Oct. 29 (except Oct. 1), Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Located between Buckner and Ballard streets on Riverwalk Landing on the York River. The 10th annual market hosts 35-plus farmers, vendors andartists throughout the season with a variety of homegrown favorites. (yorktownmarketdays.com)
Where to Dock: York River Yacht Haven
The Chesapeake Bay is not only the largest estuary in the contiguous United States, but without question the most diverse. It is less than 200 nautical miles from the southern entrance near Portsmouth, Va., to Baltimore, Md., and there is a lot to see and do along the way. The shoreline of its 4,479 square miles is peppered with cosmopolitan cities, historic seaports, famous battlegrounds, charming small towns, the nation's capital and the world's best crab cakes!
Situated midway between Florida and New England, the bay has long been an ideal layover for ICW travelers. Now, through extensive work by the Marine Trades Association of Maryland, the US Superyacht Association and neighboring states to change government policies, the Bay has become very inviting to large yachts. For instance, a Bay Pilot is no longer needed for a vessel under 200 feet and less than 12-foot draft in Maryland waters. Maryland has become more tax friendly by capping taxes at $15,000 on the sales of vessels for extended stays. Large yachts can enjoy excellent cruising grounds, protected water, superior service, provisioning and major tourist destinations within this concentrated area. Megayacht Captain Paulo Alves can attest to what the area has to offer. "The area's residents are so welcoming," he says. "They treat us like locals -- I will be back this summer."
We put together an itinerary that includes destinations and marinas that accommodate large yachts (more than 80 feet). We hope you will try cruising the Chesapeake Bay this spring and summer!
Cape Charles Yacht Center, the newest destination for full service on the East Coast, is perfectly located in a scenic, natural setting within walking distance to the quaint town of Cape Charles, Va. the harbor sits where the bay meets the Atlantic and offers 1,000 feet of face dockage and 18-foot channel depth. Guests have full access to nearby Bay Creek Resort, including its world-class golf. The site is the largest ecosystem on the Delmarva peninsula, making it a paradise for birders and fishermen. Plus, it's just 40 minutes from Virginia Beach and an international airport. The marina can provide visiting yachtsmen service from subcontractors and an on-site maintenance team.
A short run across the bay to Portsmouth, Va., is Tidewater Yacht Marina, located at mile marker 0, with slips for vessels up to 130 feet and 11 feet depth at the docks. Just a half-mile south along the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth is Ocean Yacht Marina offering 1,500 feet of alongside dockage (24-foot dock depth) and a state-of-the-art refit and repair yard. The marinas are located in the heart of Portsmouth's Olde Towne District, within walking distance of 18th- and 19th-century buildings, a riverfront park, the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, the Lightship Portsmouth Museum, the Children's Museum of Virginia and the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.
Farther north is York River Yacht Haven, at the mouth of Sarah Creek, opposite Yorktown, accommodating visiting yachts up to 160 feet (9-foot dock depth). The marina's 14-acre rural site is in a natural "hurricane hole," protected from every quadrant. You will also be in the middle of what is known as "America's Historic Triangle" covering Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown.
Continue north along the western shore of the bay and wander up the Potomac to National Harbor, with more than 150 shops, restaurants and hotels (including the 2,000-room Gaylord Hotel) in a vibrant resort complex within sight of the nation's capital. Water taxi service is available to explore nearby Alexandria's Old Town and all of D.C.'s sights. National Harbor will be home to MGM Casino by the end of 2016. National Harbor Marina has floating docks for vessels up to 120 feet and its fixed pier can accommodate yachts up to 200 feet (9-foot dock depth).
Heading back up the bay into Maryland, picturesque Solomons Island is situated near the mouth of the deep- water Patuxent River. Once a waterman's village, Solomons has managed to incorporate 12 restaurants and numerous small shops into a two-mile stretch and still maintain its laid-back lifestyle. In the heart of this little community lies an easily accessible five-star marina and repair facility, Zahniser's Yacht Center accommodating yachts up to 150 feet (14-foot dock depth). Transients mingle with locals at the onsite Dry Dock Restaurant and the Pool Bar & Grill.
Next stop along the Western Shore is Herrington Harbour South in Friendship, Md., accommodating yachts up to 100 feet (7-foot dock depth). Herrington Harbour's resort-like feel will be a perfect stop for recharging your batteries, with an Olympic-size swimming pool, tennis courts, sauna and fitness center.
Head 15 miles north to Maryland's capitol, Annapolis, and be right in the midst of everything while docked at one of the city's marinas that can accommodate yachts up to 230 feet (12-foot dock depth). This historic town is home to the United States Naval Academy, the beautiful Maryland State House and the National Sailing Hall of Fame. For fabulous local seafood, visit Boatyard Bar & Grill and McGarvey's Saloon & Oyster Bar.
The opposite shoreline is dotted with small Eastern Shore towns like Tilghman Island, home to generations of watermen; the New England-style village of Oxford; and the town of St. Michaels, where large yachts can find a home at St. Michaels Marina (accommodating yachts up to 220 feet (9-foot dock depth) . Learn about the history of the bay at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Historic St. Michaels offers many wonderful restaurant options, such as 208 Talbot, Bistro St. Michaels, and Ava's Pizzeria & Wine Bar. Don't miss the Chesapeake Bay tradition of picking crabs at one of St. Michaels crab houses, such as the Crab Claw or St. Michaels Steak and Crab House. The nearby Inn at Perry Cabin offers a breathtaking waterfront setting and loads of luxury amenities.
Next stop, Baltimore, often called a "collection of neighborhoods" due to the diversity of its communities. World-renowned hospitals, restaurants (ranked #2 on Zagat's "Best Food Cities" list for 2015), First-class museums, thriving arts districts, sports stadiums and casinos blend together to create Charm City. The harbor entrance is still guarded by Fort McHenry, birthplace of the national anthem. Harbor East Marina, can take yachts up to 200 feet (10-foot dock depth) while BMC at Inner Harbor can accommodate vessels up to 350 feet (22-foot dock depth). The marinas are both in a prime location and within walking distance of the Inner Harbor (aquarium, science center, Camden Yards baseball), Little Italy and Fells Point (a spirited historic waterfront community now filled with restaurants, bars, galleries).
While visiting Baltimore, you will find exceptional marine service at Tidewater Yacht Service accommodating yachts up to 200 feet (18-foot dock depth) in nearby Port Covington. ABYC certified technicians and big boat experience make this a reliable service facility. This deep-water marina and boatyard has a history of dealing with commercial vessels and they can supply a tanker-truck of fuel at a great cost.
This spring try cruising through the Chesapeake Bay to experience its exceptional diversity, historical sites, beautiful creeks, rivers, towns and world-class services for superyachts.
I have in the past. My passion is sailing and I would love to own a Farr 40 for fun, but we love the idea of living aboard and would choose a Fleming 65 or 78 (depending on how much my wife wants to polish and clean).
I am extremely outgoing. I have never met a stranger. I love to take people out on the water and show them a whole other world that they were never aware of.
I was a charter captain in the Caribbean based out of St. Thomas USVI, where I met my wife. She was managing a marina and I learned a lot about the business. When we moved back to the states I was offered a job with Suntex Marinas in Amelia Island, Fla.
Captain of a term charter yacht in the Caribbean.
That staff is what makes or breaks a marina. Location and amenities are a close second and third. When a boat and its crew come to a marina, how they are treated is what is going to keep them coming back again and again. From making their reservation, assistance while docking and checking in is all a very important part of the entire experience. You want your marina to be a destination, even if only for one night.
Cruzan Rum and Coke.
You wouldn't catch me up on that stage singing a song maybe a Bob Marley song in the privacy of our home with an audience of only my wife.
Rushing. When a captain is in a rush it almost always ends poorly. You should never approach anything faster than you want to hit it.
Salty. I love a good peanut especially in the South where they know how to make a good boiled peanut.
Being out on the water is the most freeing experience they will ever have. Meeting new people in the boating community will open their eyes to a whole new world. Pick something to start out with that you are comfortable with. Learn to operate the boat and don't be afraid to ask for help.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
I always thought that someday I would retire, buy a boat and travel down the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) with my wife. Even though I'm not retired yet, I bought a 3470 Glacier Bay Catamaran, Almost There, in September 2013, and the opportunity to take the trip became a reality. I traveled from Baltimore to Key Largo, Florida with my two retired friends, John and Denny, both of whom readily volunteered once they found out they wouldn't have to pay for fuel. Instead of writing my story about the food I ate and things that broke on the boat, I would find more interesting things along the way. 1,350 miles, 1,600 gallons of fuel and 80 engine hours later, this is the tale of our journey.
There were a few things to organize before we left, such as power cords and hoses, but that was simple compared to figuring out which switch did what. We cruised around 15-17 knots, which is a nautical term for slow, making our way to St. Michaels Marina located on the Miles River. They have a terrific Maritime Museum, where they restore and display a variety of boats used by watermen of the Chesapeake.
We re-entered the Chesapeake Bay from the Miles River to a glowing blue sky with John noting that we were, as lucky as a twodollar hound dog on Elvis Presley Day. We did see a slew of fishing boats in the shallows of the Chesapeake, an abandoned ghost ship fully out of the water and a lot of water
Most of the bridges that we would have to go through, including the Great Bridge Lock in Chesapeake, Va., are timed perfectly so that you can go through one and then just miss the next one. It would take all day to go 50-miles! The heat grew, and as we wilted, we decided to test the generator. Good thing we did. The generator was overheating and had no coolant in it. When it still wouldn't work after filling it, we had a good drill closing and reopening the boat to try and cool off. Just as we decided to speed up so we could get a breeze, we hit a no-wake zone and finally arrived at Coinjock.
This is one big state. When we awake tomorrow we will still be in North Carolina. Just before entering the Pamlico Sound, which runs just inside Cape Hatteras, we saw a huge school of bait being chased by a pod of Porpoise.
Upon arrival into Morehead City, we tried the generator again. It ran a bit rough but we thought that it would be OK until we noticed smoke. Now we have the interest of everyone in the marina. It seems that if there is a boat with something wrong, everyone shows up to help you. With some help we were able to rescue the generator so we started the next run outside from Beaufort Inlet to the Frying Pan Shoals, a long shifting area of shoals off the coast of Cape Fear, North Carolina.
Departing out of Cape Fear Inlet, we progressed southwest on the ICW, and we passed Charleston Harbor, where Fort Sumter was flying the flag at half-staff for 9/11. To make up for lost time, we traveled the 200 miles to Beaufort.
Departing Beaufort, we were on our way past Parris Island and into the Atlantic Ocean. The seas were flat as we hummed along for hours. We passed though a Right Whale Conservation zone, where you are not to approach any of the Right Whales within 500 yards. The reason they were named Right Whales was because they were the right ones to kill back in the days of the whaling industry. We soon arrived at St. Mary's Inlet, and docked in Fernandina Beach.
We departed from Fernandina Beach and decided to stay on the ICW. After hours of no-wake zones, we managed to get to the outside, where the running was faster. After 1,000 miles of traveling on the ocean, we pulled into the Ponce Inlet and docked at the Inlet Harbor Restaurant & Marina just north of New Smyrna Beach. A half-mile walk brought us across the island to the beach, where we went for our first swim.
Off we went, and every couple of hours we would check our distance and fuel levels. The flat seas allowed us to choose any inlet, so we refueled in Jupiter, Florida. 200 gallons of fuel and a half hour later, we were back in the ocean. Record time!
On arrival into Government Cut by the port of Miami, I felt as if I had lost steering. We anchored right inside the west side of Star Island when we noticed the completely broken steering arm. This coincided with a catastrophic failure (the manuals words not ours) of all throttle and controls. After an elaborate rigging of lines, we were able to hold the throttle and steering on both engines to run at cruising speed. We didn't slow down or move anything until we were 100 yards from my home canal in Key Largo.The only thing I learned from our 10-day voyage was that I was wrong. Not about how much fun the trip would be, the friends who joined me or the boat I bought. I was wrong thinking I wouldn't write like every seaman's eventful journey about the people I met, food we ate and how we managed the breakdowns in between. In the end, it's about similar experiences that help bind you to the marine community.