Friday, June 5, 2015

Chesapeake Bay

May 15-June 4

Days 185-205

Our trip through Chesapeake Bay has been interesting to say the least. We have cruised upon some of the smoothest water we have encountered and then been tossed around on the roughest seas of our adventure. Personally, I'll take calm seas any day! The bay is such a huge body of water that in many ways it has the same characteristics of the open ocean. The many small seaport towns we have visited along the way have more than made up for some uncomfortable rides. Our granddaughter, Moira, was graduating high school in Pensacola, FL on June 1, and in order to witness this momentous occasion we had first planned to just quickly get through this area in order to fly out of New York. After doing some flight and dockage research, we discovered it would be more economical to leave our boat at a marina in Baltimore and fly out of D.C. This enabled us to take a couple of weeks to explore a few places along our way to Baltimore. We were not able to stop everywhere we would have liked, but we did visit most of the places that fellow loopers had told us not to miss.

Our first stop was Deltaville. We anchored back in a small creek that gave us quite a long walk into town. It was actually so far that we basically only made it to West Marine before heading back. Our view of Deltaville ended up being mostly from the water.

Our first beach in a long time. Pulling into Dividing Creek we discovered a state park with a very nice walking trail, combining a walk along the beach, a trek through the woods, and an elevated walkway over a marsh. It is awesome when we find these beautiful places that allow us to get off the boat for a little while, after a long day on the water.

Watching these swans gliding in the marsh with their 5 cygnets trailing along behind was a special moment for us. We also were entertained by osprey and eagles as they tended to their young.

One of the many lighthouses scattered around the Chesapeeke. Can you guess what the small room that hangs slightly off the edge is for?

What a beautiful day on the water. Unfortunately this was our only day like this.  Most days were just a little choppy, but some were downright rough.

This monument to area fishermen and boat builders is on the waterfront in Solomon's Island. This bay was the sight of several sea battles during the war of 1812.

There were several of these screw type lighthouses around the Chesapeake Bay. Most are no longer in use and have been moved onto shore for preservation. Here at Solomon's Island this lighthouse has become part of a maritime museum.

On to the small, quite town of Oxford on the east shore. Peonies are enjoying the spring time temperatures. Their lush foliage and stunning blossoms are the center point of many flower beds along our walk. 

All of the small villages we visit have lovely old churches in beautiful settings. My favorite part is that most towns have at least one church that will chime the hour and some also play music from their bell towers. Hearing the chimes brings back memories from long ago.

Oxford is famous for its many picket fences. They have actually become a local art form. Short panels of the fences are used by artists as canvases to display their skills.

The Oxford Inn with its antique vehicle ready to transport their guests. Not sure if it is still in use since the driver's door is no longer there

A stop at the Robert Morris Inn for supper was a delicious experience. Not only was our meal fantastic, but enjoying it while relaxing in this authentic old inn was definitely a treat.

No, Jess, this is NOT another fixer upper! This is actually a replica of the shallop style ship that carried Captain John Smith and his crew in 1608 when they explored the Chesapeake Bay. The knowledge gained from Smith's voyage played a key role in opening this area to its first European settlers.

While St. Michaels, MD is the most tourist oriented town we have visited here in the Chesapeake, we still found a very nice walking trail just a little way off the beaten track.

Christ Church founded in 1672. The phrase on its sign seems to fit so many of the villages we have visited. A vibrant faith community, grounded in historyand open to the future.

If you have been following us since our adventure began you can tell that Bama Dream has had a bath! While we were anchored at Solomons Jess decided it was time to get rid of her mustache.

Another screw type lighthouse, Hopper Strait Lighthouse, was brought to St. Michaels to become part of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Our timing was perfect for this stop. We were here for Memorial Day weekend which also coincided with the 50th Anniversary for the museum. 

Yes, this is the little room you saw attached to the rail of the privious lighthouse picture. I guess they were not too worried about water pollution.

Each room in the lighthouse contained a cistern for holding rain water. Can't imagine what a lonely life it must have been for the lighthouse keepers in these remote areas.

The Party on the Point is getting off to a good start. By noon there were a few thousand people enjoying the special anniversary activities.

This is the Edna E. Lockwood a vessel known as a bugeye. It was built in 1889 when the oyster industry was booming. She worked as an oyster dredge until 1967. I learned a very important fact about the naming of ships while reading little tidbits as I wandered about the museum. Ships are usually named after daughters or mothers, because they don't change, not necessarily true of wives.

Back out in the big water as we head for Baltimore. The Chesapeake is a very important commercial waterway. 

Cruising under the Highway 50 bridge, as it crosses the Chesapeake just north of Annapolis.

Entering Baltimore harbor. Just under the bridge is where Francis Scott Key was held on board the British ship HMS Tonnant during the bombarding of Ft. McHenry. His view of the battle inspired him to write the poem that would later become The Star-Spangled Banner.

Ft. McHenry, as seen from the water, as we make our way to Anchorage Marina.

Our marina was in a suburb of Baltimore called Canton. A very pretty area of beautiful row houses, parks, and nice restaurants. I had an absolutely awesome sandwich called a seafood melt that one of these days I am going to figure out how to make. Dave Roulier or Clare Leonard (the two cooks in my family) I may need some help.

A very picturesque church across the street from Patterson Park. 

The ducks seem to be very glad that the ice is finally gone from the pond. Of course all of the kids feeding them was probably enticement enough for them to gather.

Enjoying lunch on the waterfront with Jess's sister, Hazel, and his brother-in-law, Dave. They graciously offered to pick us up at the marina to share the evening with them at their home in Reston. It was nice getting to visit with them, even if it was very brief. 

This far north the dogwood trees are still in full bloom. I don't believe I have ever seen them this covered with blossoms.

Before dropping us off at the airport, we had time to tour the newest monument in D.C. This is the new Air Force Memorial. It is absolutely stunning with its stainless steel spires reaching for the sky. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't manage to get them totally in my picture.

The monument perches on a hilltop beside Arlington Cemetery, providing a majestic view of our nation's capital.

The cotton ball clouds were a perfect background for the spires of the monument, as they reach for the heavens.

On our way to Pensacola! We hadn't flown in quite awhile, and we had both forgotten how exhausting it can be. Still the only way to cover a long distance in a relatively short period of time.

The early morning view from Clare and Noel's condo. Jess took advantage of being back in the warm waters of the Gulf to go for a swim and to try out Seller's boogie board. Even though we live on a boat, and are traveling much of the time in ocean waters, I had not realized that we very seldom ever hear waves crashing against the shore, until listening to the relaxing sounds from the balcony.

Our celebratory dinner the night before graduation. Clare and Noel fixed us a luscious steak dinner with all of the fixings.

Isn't she a beauty? We are so proud to call this accomplished young woman our grandaughter! She graduated with honors, and is now headed to Florida Atlantic University to continue her education.

We were so happy that our daughter-in-law, Tammy, was able to join in our celebration. Her timing for a trip to the beach was perfect.

A very proud family! It doesn't seem possible that it is time for Moira to finish this milestone, and to realize that Sellers will do the same in just 2 more years is unthinkable. How time flies! 

This incredible sunset said good-bye to a perfect day celebrating with our family.

After Moira drove us to the airport, we flew to Miami, then to Washington D.C., took the train to Baltimore and finally arrived at our boat about 10:00 p.m. that night. Yes, we did it all in one day! Trains, planes, automobiles, and of course a boat.

On the water again. We left Baltimore bright and early on Wednesday morning with not too favorable skies. After one more night on anchor in the Chesapeake Bay we took the C and D Canal over to the Delaware River. The Delaware was not nice to us (actually she was downright mean) as we tossed about in rough seas on our way to Cape May, N.J. We planed to spend a day or two in Cape May while waiting for calm seas to make the outside run to Atlantic City. 

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