Home to quaint Victorian houses and a haven for local artists, Oxford Maryland offers leisurely activities, enchanting tourist attractions, and escape from busy city life.
One of the oldest towns in America, founded in 1683, this charming village boasts a rich history of maritime activity through the American Revolution, Civil War, and transportation revolutions. Early in the day, visitors can watch local watermen bring in fresh fish and seafood to the market.
The beautiful historic section of town preserves its account through notable landmarks, such as 216 Morris Street, where the longest serving postmaster in U.S. history worked the early post office for 63 years, or the Grapevine House, built in 1785, on 309 Morris Street.
Oxford Maryland also has a variety of specialty shopping and excellent dining, including the Scottish Highland Creamery, voted the “Best Ice Cream on the Eastern Shore,” and the Oxford Market, a family owned company, which serves as both a gathering place and a grocery store with a variety of products, as well as homemade soups and sandwiches. Featuring antique shops with specialty crafts and handmade jewelry by local artists, such as the Treasure Chest, and the Mystery Loves Company Booksellers, there is no shortage of unique mementos to commemorate your trip.
A spectacular North American cruising ground was shaped by a big bang 35 million years ago when a comet or asteroid slammed into what is now the lower tip of the Delmarva Peninsula. That impact left a crater 55 miles wide that became a convenient depression for rivers to flow into as the glaciers of the last Ice Age melted some 10,000 years ago. The Algonquian word Chesepiooc, meaning at a big river became the source of the name for the estuary now called the Chesapeake.
The attractions of the historic Inner Harbor seaport are within easy walking distance of several marinas. A must-do list includes the National Aquarium and the Maryland Science Center. Tour the USS Constellation, built in 1854, the last sail-only warship built for the U.S. Navy. The lightship Chesapeake offers a fascinating opportunity to discover life aboard a floating lighthouse.In the Harbor East neighborhood you will find an array of high-end shopping and dining as well as provisioning at Whole Foods. Baltimore Marine Center offer four locations throughout the Inner Harbor and Hendersons Wharf is located in the historic Fells Point neighborhood. Tidewater Yacht Service, Baltimore's premier yacht service facility, is located just west of Ft. McHenry. Fuel can be found at BMC Inner Harbor or BMC Lighthouse Point.
A walking tour of historic Annapolis, which is arrayed like spokes in a wheel from the Maryland State House, will delight architectural aficionados. Examples of Federal, Italianate, Georgian, Queen Anne and Greek Revival styles from the colonial period through the early 1900s abound.Good provisioning near the marina is hard to find. The locals' favorite, Graul's Market, with excellent produce, meat and fish is a mile and a half away. However, the marina has rental car and taxi services available to help stock up at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and Fresh Market. The Annapolis Yacht Basin has fuel and Annapolis Harbor Boat Yard is a full service maintenance yard that is conveniently located on Spa Creek near the historic district.
For boaters, the focus of this Eastern Shore town is the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum with exhibits, restored vessels and hands-on boatbuilding workshops. It is where James Michener did his primary research for his best selling novel, Chesapeake, 40 years ago. The picturesque streets of St. Michaels are perfect to stroll along while looking for lunch or dinner.Topping off provisions is easily done within walking distance of the marina at Olivins, a gourmet grocery, or Acme supermarket. Fuel is available at St. Michaels Marina. Higgin's Yacht Yard is the last full-service boatyard in existencein town.
Oxford's main attraction is the town itself. It is one of the oldest towns in Maryland, officially founded in 1683. The charming, tree-lined village is a quiet antidote to the hustle and bustle of city life.The Oxford Market, a convenience store, is the only spot in town to buy any essentials for provisioning. If you need fresh fish and seafood, watch for the watermen when they bring their catch in early in the day. The marina is also a full-service boat yard, with gas and diesel available. Hinckley Yacht Services also has a full-service yard in town. Both Brewer and Hinckley provide quality work and craftsmanship.
Located at the mouth of the Patuxent River, Solomons Island was famous for its wooden sloops, schooners and bugeyes, built for the island's fishing fleet. Today, visitors come to see the Calvert Marine Museum and the restored Drum Point screw pile lighthouse exhibit.Zahniser's Yachting Center is an institution on the Chesapeake for boat owners. Not only do they have a full-service boat yard and marina, they also boast a swimming pool with a bar and grill for transient boaters. The pool is a fine summer's treat after a day on the water. For additional provisioning, Zahniser's provides a car with a driver to the nearest grocery store. Gas and diesel can be taken on at nearby Solomons Yachting Center or Spring Love Marina.
Tangier Island is the home of working watermen who get up well before dawn to get their boats ready for crabbing and oystering. The island is most well known for its soft shell crab, for which it claims to be the world capital. With a total population of about 700, most who live there can trace their ancestry back to a handful of families. The small settlement is unique to the Chesapeake and wandering its lanes is the ideal way to pass the time after lunch or dinner at one of the two local restaurants. And, of course, order soft shell crab and crab cakes.Parks Marina is just across the harbor channel from the many crabbing shacks built on stilts along the shore. The marina is owned and operated by 85-year-old Milton Parks, and is a simple affair with fixed docks, pilings and a faded signboard. Milton gladly offers advice on how to dock in the strong current and, once your boat is tied up, he will spin many a story of the island's inhabitants and history. Daley & Sons is the only grocery store on the island. There are no repair or fueling services for recreational boaters on Tangier Island, but in a pinch a waterman may be able to provide some assistance.
While at the marina, it is well worth taking advantage of all Tides Inn has to offer. The resort was developed from a waterfront farm 70 years ago, and today its outstanding amenities make it a premier resort. Play a round of golf on the Golden Eagle Golf Course or try classic treatments at a Chesapeake Bay inspired spa. Just a 10-minute walk from the marina is the Steamboat Era Museum, paying homage to the steamboats that connected the waterfront communities on the bay from 1813 until 1937.The best option for provisioning is the Tri-Star Supermarket located about 5 miles from the marina. And both diesel and gasoline are available at the marina's fuel dock. Rappahannock Yachts is a family-owned full-service boatyard on Carters Creek, close to the marina.
Some cruisers who have visited this revived, historic railroad town on Virginia's Eastern Shore say it's one of the Mid-Atlantic's best-kept secrets. Life is easy in this inviting bayside town, with bikes and golf carts sufficing for transportation and menus heavy with local seafood. With most of its structures built between 1885 and 1920, Cape Charles has one of the largest concentrations of restored late-Victorian and turn-of-the-century buildings on the East Coast. Many of these beautiful structures are now transformed into bed and breakfasts, galleries and specialty boutiques.The Gull Hammock Gourmet Market and Drizzles are two high-quality groceries for additional provisioning. They are adjacent to the historic district and conveniently located on your way back from the beach to your boat. At Cape Charles Yacht Center, yachts have full access to nearby Bay Creek Resort, featuring a Beach Club pool as well as two signature golf courses designed by Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.Capt. Jeff Werner has been in the yachting industry for over 25 years. In addition to working as a captain on private and charter yachts, both sail and power, he is a certified instructor for the USCG, US Sailing, RYA and the MCA. He is also the Diesel Doctor, helping to keep your yacht's fuel in optimal condition for peak performance. For more information, call 239-246-6810, or visit MyDieselDoctor.com. All Marinalife members receive a 10% discount on purchases of equipment, products and supplies from Diesel Doctor.
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.
Welcome Aboard! We departed from our homeport in Vero Beach, Fla., headed north to Maine aboard our 78' Ocean Alexander, Rhythm n Blues. This journey took us to many ports of call, traveling over 5,500 nautical miles from Florida to Maine and back. The daunting task of making all of these marina reservations was made easy with the help from the Marinalife staff. The length of this cruise created a new rhythm for us which leads to the boat's name, Rhythm n Blues. Now hop aboard as we take you through our journey from the Chesapeake Bay to Maine.
This was one of the highlights of our trip. College friends who were married the same year as us joined us for our 35th anniversary cruise through the Chesapeake Bay. We made it our quest to find the best crab cakes on the bay. We began this leg of the trip at Bluewater Yachting Center in Hampton, Va., The surf rider restaurant was the first of our many crab cakes!The next day brought us to The Tides Inn in Irvington, Va., We biked to The Dog and Oyster Winery and had dinner and of course crab cakes at the Tides Inn Restaurant.Zahniser's Yachting Center in Solomons Island, Md., was beautiful. We took the dinghy all around the island where the topography was so interesting with cliffs and lovely scenery. We enjoyed crab cakes at Stoney's Seafood House.Oxford, Md., was one of our favorites places to explore! All of the quaint homes were in perfect condition. Many residents partner with local artists for a contest in which they paint a portion of the resident's white fence, better known as onion tops. We stayed at the Brewer Oxford Boat Yard & Marina and had crab cakes at Schooner's on the Creek.St. Michaels, Md., was another fun spot with lots of shops and restaurants. We docked at St. Michaels Marina, which was an easy walk to everything. We actually had two crab cake tastings: The Crab Claw Restaurant and St. Michaels Crab & Steakhouse.Annapolis was bustling with energy! We stayed at Annapolis City Dock and we were in the thick of the action. it was fun exploring the Naval Academy and all of the shops and restaurants that align the streets. Steps away from the boat was the winning crab cake, located at Dock Street Bar & Grill!We finished off the Chesapeake Bay with stops in Chestertown, Rock Hall and Georgetown before cruising through the C & D Canal toward Atlantic City, N.J. Then we made our way to the Big Apple for an extended stay.
New York City, or should I say the Big Apple, will rate up there as one of the most memorable days of our trip. Bringing the boat right up to the statue of Liberty was amazing. We wanted to sing God Bless America at the top of our lungs!After a night at Danfords Hotel & Marina in Port Jefferson (locally known as Port Jeff), we traveled to Mitchell Park Marina in Greenport and on our way we passed Plum Island. For all of you Nelson DeMille fans (novelist) you will know exactly where we are. Mitchell Park Marina is located in town and we enjoyed a nice walk to Claudio's for dinner (a Greenport landmark the oldest family-owned restaurant in the United States since 1870). The next day we biked to Kontokosta Winery and did a wine tasting at this beautiful winery overlooking Long Island Sound. There are at least 50 vineyards in this region, and we have been surprised by the quality of the wines.We left Greenport and had a short hour and a half ride to Sag Harbor, an upscale little town that is not far from the Hamptons with very nice shops and restaurants. We had lunch at Page Restaurant and enjoyed the very good grilled octopus!Our final stop on Long Island was Montauk. Montauk Yacht Club is very nice with two pools, restaurants, a beach and a spa. After watching the sunset, we were greeted with a supermoon.
Newport, R.I. is a city steeped in history and architecture. We docked at Newport Harbor Hotel & Marina and toured two of the Summer Cottages as they are called. The Cliff Walk was a wonderful winding walk that follows the coastline for 3 1/2 miles. Seeing the cliffs and the water crashing onto the rocks was quite a thrill!We were happy that we docked at The Black Dog Wharf because Martha's Vineyard has a nice historic streets with shops and a few restaurants.Nantucket, Mass., has wonderful walking and bike paths throughout the entire island. We loved seeing the residential area with the immaculately restored homes on the cobblestone streets. The yards are lush and manicured with an abundant amount of hydrangeas in every color imaginable! We docked at Nantucket Boat Basin.In Boston, we stayed at Constitution Marina located on Boston Harbor conveniently situated on the Freedom Trail. Boston Commons is unique with the swan boats and Newbury Street, the historic high-end shopping district with lots of outdoor cafes. We took the dinghy down the Charles River. It was the first time we have ever done locks in a dinghy! From the water we saw Harvard, Boston University and MIT.We left Boston and headed to Newburyport, Mass., a wonderful little town. Arriving during their big Yankee Homecoming Festival, the streets were lined with white tents and the park had concerts during the day and fireworks at night. We tied up at Newburyport Harbor Marina and had delightful dinner at Ceia Kitchen Bar a small European restaurant.The next day we headed to Boothbay, Maine. On our way we saw a water spout and, wouldn't you know, it was a whale! To be so close to such a huge creature was awe inspiring! The scenery and temperatures changed quite a bit as we made our way into the harbor. It was absolutely beautiful!You know you have entered Maine when you can walk across the water on lobster trap buoys. It requires major maneuvering skills to make your way through the waterways and harbors. We took the dinghy out the next day to the town of Bath. Again, another amazing day of beautiful scenery spotting seals on our journey. The dockmaster asked us where we had gone and when we told him Bath, he said, You took that little dinghy through Hells Gate, that's adventurous! (I guess that's what they call that section of 6-knot rapids that we had to go through!)We were in Rockland, Maine for a few days. We were able to dinghy over to Rockport (not to be confused withRockland) and also to Owl's Head Point. Very beautiful coastal countryside. Lots of art galleries for visitors to explore in Rockland.We finally arrived to Bar Harbor, Maine and met our daughter Stephanie and her husband John. They hikedPrecipice which is the most difficult hike in all of Acadia National Park. My wife and I had already hiked Precipice 20 years ago so we had our bragging rights! The guidebook says climbers should expect an experience physically strenuous and mentally stimulating. We decided that might be too tiring. The next day we all hiked Acadia Mountain together, which the guidebook called moderately strenuous. Let's just say their definition of moderate is a little different from Kristi's!