Rock Hall is still a town of watermen who bring in oysters, crabs and rockfish daily. Visit the Waterman’s Museum at Haven Harbour to learn more about that maritime history. A great way to explore this quaint town is by bicycle. Many of the marinas have free bike rentals. Main Street is dotted with numerous antique shops, clothing stores and boutiques, such as Smilin’ Jakes Casual Apparel.
On Saturday afternoons, hit the Farmers & Artisans Market to pick up fresh local produce and browse the many craft stalls. For a relaxing evening, stop at The Mainstay and listen to jazz, or head to Waterman’s Crab House to devour crabs and groove to live music on the outdoor deck. The nearby Waterfront Harbor Shack is a local favorite and offers live music and good food. During the summer there’s a stream of fun events, from the Log Canoe Races (July 18-19) to the infamous Pirates and Wenches Weekend (August 7-9).
When was the last time just the two of you got away? Not a family vacation or business trip where others dictated your agenda, but an escape that sparked your heart or rekindled that honeymoon feeling all over again.
The Bay hosts an array of unique destinations and offers any type of experience your heart desires. Featuring treasures on land and sea, these six Chesapeake destinations will renew your hearts and rejuvenate your souls.
From the moment you arrive at the Inn at Perry Cabin, you will marvel at its beauty and idyllic location on the Miles River. The original manor house was built in 1816 by Purser Samuel Hambleton, a War of 1812 veteran and aide-de-camp to Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. The design resembles Perry's cabin on the flagship USS Niagara and is accented with graceful archways and meandering gardens. Cupid gladly draws back his bow in the 80 spacious guest rooms.
Fine dining takes place in the awardwinning Stars Restaurant, as well as the Morning Tea Room and Purser's Pub. Amenities include a swimming pool, fitness center, golf course, sailing trips, kayaking, fishing and crabbing and the famous Linden Spa, where pampering is second to none. The Inn is an easy stroll away from the lovely town of St. Michaels, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, and main street lined with taverns, restaurants and shops.
If resorts don't tickle your fancy, thena quaint B&B might do the trick. In Chesapeake City, Ship Watch Inn isready to steal your heart with cozy Old World accommodations. It was built in the 1920s as a private residence and renovated in 1996, but upgrades retained a Victorian ambience with plush oriental rugs and furniture crafted in the 1800s. Every room has an outdoor deck facing the water.
Ship Watch is affiliated with the Chesapeake Inn, which offers fine dining, a nautical-themed pub and a lively tiki bar. Afternoon walks around the charming town reveal other excellent restaurants, antique shops, galleries, jewelry stores and artists' studios.
What takes this destination up a notch is the town's main attraction -- the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal. This architectural wonder is 14 miles long, 450 feet wide and 35 feet deep. Opened in 1829, the canal connects the Chesapeake Bay with the Delaware River and other Atlantic trade routes, and it reduces a boat's journey between Baltimore and Philadelphia by 300 miles.
The Commonwealth wasn't fooling around when it came up with the slogan, Virginia is for Lovers. The state is laced with romantic destinations along its Chesapeake coastline. Heralded as one of the Bay's premier resorts, Tides Inn is a lovebird's waterfront paradise. This luxury retreat is tucked away on its own peninsula, surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac and Rappahannock rivers. Gorgeous rooms with spectacular views, outstanding restaurants, a soothing spa, an 18-hole golf course, two swimming pools, a well-run marina and a litany of pleasant amenities will make you reluctant to check out.Also enhancing the Tides Inn experience is its location and the cornucopia of regional activities available to adventurous guests. Staff can arrange fishing trips or day excursions to Tangier and Smith Islands or send you with a corkscrew in hand on the Chesapeake Wine Trail of vineyards on Virginia's Northern Neck.
Some retreats have better back stories than others, and Kitty Knight House has quite a tale to tell. When British battle ships came barreling up the Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812, they plundered and burned towns along the Eastern Shore to squelch local insurrection. But they hadn't expected resistance from a young lady named Kitty Knight, who rushed to this brick house when she heard English troops were about to set it on fire. She knew an elderly woman inside was too sick to flee, so Kitty stomped out the flames. The Brits raised their torches a second time, but Kitty made such a compelling case that the officer spared the dwelling and a church nearby. Kitty Knight House carries the heroine's name as a tribute to her courage in saving part of Georgetown.
Perched on a hill overlooking the Sassafras River, Kitty Knight House blends girl-power folklore with a stunning view of the harbor and an intimate getaway experience. Romance is in the air amid the serene 19th century décor. The 11 lovely guest rooms encourage snuggling in antique four-poster beds under plush goose down comforters. The restaurant combines upscale casual dining with traditional Eastern Shore cuisine that showcases local crab, oysters and rockfish. Unwind over cocktails at the exposed brick lounge or outdoor deck and get ready for sunsets that will get your hearts thumping.
Sometimes it only takes a jaunt across the Bay Bridge to put a hectic week behind you. Fortunately, just a few minutes away from the bridge awaits Kent Manor Inn, the embodiment of the region's penchant for seclusion in a astoral setting.
The gorgeous Victorian building (circa 1820) instantly makes you feel like you're away from it all in a special place with the one you adore. The original structure is considered a masterpiece of 19th century craftsmanship, and its authentic English décor is captivating. The 24 luxurious rooms have working fireplaces that can heat up a weekend getaway. You can explore 220 acres of woods and farmland or watch the moon rise on a starry night above Thompson Creek. Gardens on the estate are spectacular.
When you work up an appetite, the upscale restaurant offers tantalizing treats and seasonal delicacies. The cozy bar makes an ideal spot for whispering over a fireside nightcap. If you're in the mood for something less formal and sedate, Kent Island is close by with lively bars, restaurants and a panoramic Bay view.
If you take care of the red roses and chocolate, Osprey Point will set the stage for a memorable escape at one of the most stunning havens on the Chesapeake Bay. Located on Swan Creek, this divine manor retreat offers three types of lodging to fit any mood. The main inn styles seven rooms in colonial Eastern Shore décor, and a restored farmhouse accommodates groups of getaway couples with six private rooms and a shared kitchen. A short walk away, the Annex on the Bay at the Gratitude Marina provides contemporary rooms with balconies overlooking the gentle waves. The casual, fine dining restaurant is known for its seasonal menu, fresh ingredients and a delightful Sunday brunch.
You can lounge together at the swimming pool, waterfront grounds, and picnic area or enjoy more active amenities such as bikes, kayaks, sailboats and charter fishing trips. And a visit to Osprey Point would not be complete without sauntering around the sweet town of Rock Hall to explore its beach, eateries, shops, museum, antique stores and boutiques.
Around the Bay, images of the iconic red crustacean appear everywherefrom flags, hats and T-shirts to bumper stickers, menus and refrigerator magnets. Outsiders might wonder about a regional mascot with spindly little legs and oversized claws, but locals see this beloved aquatic creature as a symbol of summertime and a tasty reason for gathering family and friends.
The ingredients for an authentic Chesapeake crab feast are quite simple: a bushel of live crabs still kicking and snapping their claws, a picnic table covered with brown paper, wooden mallets for cracking stubborn shells and bright yellow canisters of Old Bay seasoning. A waterfront view and a dash of sunshine set the mood for perfect picking. Patience is required while waiting 25 minutes for crabs to steam, so creamy coleslaw, hushpuppies, silver queen corn and a bucket of cold beer stand at the ready to stave off hunger. When piles of hot red crabs finally land on the table, the bay's favorite epicurean rumpus begins.
Prying the shell open and liberating meat from the muck takes a little work. But when a nugget of tender jumbo lump reaches your tongue, you taste the essence of the bay and welcome the arrival of Chesapeake summer. If your stomach is now rumbling for sweet Maryland crabs, set your sites for these 12 destinations where you can eat your fill and savor the season's bounty.
With a building that looks like a merchant ship docked on Boston Street and a wooden crab deck that floats above the waves, this family-owned restaurant has dished out fresh local seafood since the 1970s. Go for a dozen or all-you-can- eat steamed crabs accompanied by popular dishes such as crab soup, crab cakes and steamer pots bubbling with mussels, shrimp, clams or snow crab legs.
Just off the Patapsco River awaits a crab picker's paradise that gets everything just right. The long waterfront deck holds rows of picnic tables shaded by umbrellas as red as the steamed crabs and shrimp beneath them. Music flows from the outdoor bar, where cool cocktails and brews magically appear in your hand. The spacious indoor dining area pays tribute to Bay watermen with nautical artwork and vintage photographs.
It takes five generations of watermen to create a place as crab-friendly as Cantler's. Daily catch from the bay rolls in every morning on fishing boats, giving each seafood dish a freshness that's second to none. Families and neighbors pick crabs on the outdoor deck while children play on the pier. In shedding tanks near the water, crabs molt their outer shells and are brought to the kitchen to become fried soft-shell delicacies.
It's no surprise that a town like Deale that's packed with so many boats would be home to a fantastic waterside restaurant. Recent renovations to the double-deck dock bar make sunsets over Rockhold Creek an unforgettable experience. New chefs and an upgraded menu conjure up innovative dishes such as crab bruschetta and crab-crusted broiled oysters. Traditional steamers of crabs, clams and mussels remain big crowd pleasers.
If you prefer to pick crabs in a tropical setting, this is the place for you. Gilligan's 1.5-acre beach along the Potomac River, with dozens of swaying palm trees and tiki bars overflowing with orange crushes, creates an idyllic summer getaway. The menu is laced with crab dishes and gives a nod to the 1970s shipwreck sitcom with items such as Mary Anne's Salads, The Professor's Sandwiches and Thurston's fried seafood baskets.
When a menu touts locally caught steamed crabs, along with award-winning stuffed rockfish and jumbo lump crab cakes, you've hit the seafood lovers' lottery. Plus, it's hard to resist the spectacular sunsets, live bands on weekends and 30 deep-water slips at this Upper Bay paradise. Caribbean steel drums on Sunday afternoon will make you consider calling in sick to work on Monday morning.
A trinity of heavenly crabitude awaits on Kent Island: Fisherman's Inn Restaurant with the Nauti Mermaid Bar, the bustling waterfront Crab Deck and a seafood market to carry out all kinds of delectable seafood. Watch watermen unload bushels of crabs that are cooked to old-school bay standards and then served at your table. Steamed variety pots invite you to sample a medley of crabs, shrimp, clams and mussels.
The building was a clam- and oystershucking house in the 1950s, morphed into a seafood restaurant in 1965 and has been a haven for traditional Chesapeake seafood ever since. Waitresses deliver heavy trays piled high with steamed crabs to the waterfront deck, while guests inside the two-story dining rooms enjoy vintage maritime décor and a bird's eye view of St. Michael's beautiful harbor.
Dining out on a long wooden pier with a panoramic view is hard to beat. Tim's II has that fun waterfront set-up yet takes things up a notch with 12-foot tall red and yellow plastic palm trees, a beach area, live bands and cocktail tables sunk waist-high in the waves. Classic bay seafood dominates the menu with hot crabs, steamed shrimp and fish tacos leading the pack. Sunsets here are legendary.
The amiable market staff offers to wrap up seafood meals as carry-out, but the location along Robinson Creek is so lovely you'll want to dock your boat and stay for a while. Red and blue tarps are stretched across the wooden deck to protect diners from the sun's rays while they devour scrumptious home-style seafood. Steamer buckets of crabs, shrimp, clams and mussels are ideal for lazy summer days. The oysters are phenomenal.
It's new but authentic, traditional yet innovative. With only a few years under its dining service belt, The Shanty artfully combines opposing culinary concepts by tapping into the easy-going spirit of Virginia's Eastern Shore. Food here is simple and fresh - pulled straight out of the bay just before it hits your plate. After a hearty meal, parents can soak up magnificent views while kids keep themselves busy with cornhole and other games.
Located between a beach area and fishing pier overlooking the James River, this place is all about water, sun and local seafood. Since 1993, it has specialized in steamed hard-shell crabs and sautéed soft shells that are nurtured in shedding tanks on site. An impressive raw bar is stocked with regionally harvested oysters. The casual, family-friendly atmosphere makes it a terrific place to bring the entire crew for the day.
Baltimore is a great starting point for your journey this summer exploring parts of the middle and upper Chesapeake Bay. The city has been through a tough time lately but we love it as much as ever. Now is the time to visit! You could spend several days in the city, checking out the National Aquarium and its award-winning blacktip reef exhibit, visiting the Science Center, exploring the American Visionary Arts Museum or cheering on the Orioles at Camden Yards all of this is within walking distance of most of the area's marinas.
Baltimore is famous for its distinct, unique neighborhoods that line the waterfront, including Federal Hill, Inner Harbor, Harbor East, Little Italy, Fells Point and Canton. No matter which marina and neighborhood you choose, it's easy to get around water taxi, bike, dingy and regular taxis abound, and a seven-mile pedestrian promenade wraps around the waterfront. Marina options are plentiful, too there's BMC at Harborview near Federal Hill; BMC at Inner Harbor in the Inner Harbor; Harbor East Marina in Harbor East, the closest to Little italy; the Crescent Marina and Henderson's Wharf in Fells Point; and BMC at Lighthouse Point Center and Anchorage Marina in Canton.
It will take a little more than an hour to get to Kent Narrows from Baltimore. Kent Narrows is used by boaters as a short cut for accessing the Miles and Wye River or Eastern Bay, rather than going under the Bay Bridge. However it is also a destination in its own right, with an array of seafood restaurants, bars and marinas, and it's a convenient stopping point before cruising to St. Michaels.
If you are craving the bay's fresh seafood, you will not be disappointed by the choices here Harris Crab House, the Narrows Restaurant and Bridges Restaurant are just some of the top-notch spots, many of which allow you to dock and dine. If you are ready for some good people watching and a lively crowd, head to Red Eye's Dock Bar for the live music, bikini contests and potent frozen-drink concoctions. And don't miss Big Owl's Tiki Bar, where the locals gather to enjoy the gorgeous sunsets.
Dock at Piney Narrows Yacht Haven or Mears Point Marina. Another good option is Castle Harbor Marina, only about two miles northeast on the Chester River.
From Kent Narrows, head north approximately 15 miles to the town of Rock Hall and find dockage or an anchorage on Swan Creek, located behind Rock Hall Harbor. There are several excellent marinas on Swan Creek, including Haven Harbour Marina, Gratitude Marina and Osprey Point Marina. All are on a shuttle route that takes you around Rock Hall.Rock Hall is still a town of watermen who bring in oysters, crabs and rockfish daily. Visit the Waterman's Museum at Haven Harbour to learn more about that maritime history. A great way to explore this quaint town is by bicycle. Many of the marinas have free bike rentals. Main Street is dotted with numerous antique shops, clothing stores and boutiques, such as Smilin' Jakes Casual Apparel. On Saturday afternoons, hit the Farmers & Artisans Market to pick up fresh local produce and browse the many craft stalls. For a relaxing evening, stop at The Mainstay and listen to jazz, or head to Waterman's Crab House to devour crabs and groove to live music on the outdoor deck. The nearby Waterfront Harbor Shack is a local favorite and offers live music and good food. during the summer there's a stream of fun events, from the Log Canoe Races (July 18-19) to the infamous Pirates and Wenches Weekend (August 7-9).
If you need to reprovision, Bayside Food is right in town. and if your vessel needs any type of service or maintenance, you are in the right place Rock Hall has several top yards (including Haven Harbour and Gratitude) that can perform work on your boat.
Make a 30-mile run the next day to Havre de Grace in the Upper Bay. Havre de Grace sits on the Susquehanna River at the confluence of the Chesapeake Bay at Concord Point and has undergone a revitalization in the last few years. It is now filled with restaurants, galleries, jewelry shops and historic B&Bs.There is plenty to do, no matter what your interests. For the golf aficionados there is Bulle Rock, located just a few miles from town and ranked by Golf Digest as the best public course in Maryland. The many dining options in town include Laurrapin Grill, known for its locally sourced menu, and McGreggor's, known for its outside deck and colossal crab cake. Tidewater Grille, also with an outside waterfront deck, serves up everything crab from crab dip burgers to cream of crab soup. Check out the many museums in town, which include Havre de Grace Maritime Museum, Concord Point Museum, Susquehanna Museum at the Locke House and the Decoy Museum. Every Saturday, there are historic walking tours and you can stroll along the riverside promenade any time you like. If you can, catch one of the great events held each summer, such as the Seafood Festival (August 7-9) and the Havre de Grace Art Show (August 14-16).Dock at Havre de Grace Marine Center's Log Pond Marina on Concord Street or at Tidewater Marina both are just a short walk from town.