Monday, July 31, 2017

The Eastern Shore

Blossom at anchor in Glebe Bay

I’m afraid I’ve fallen a bit behind in the blog! This is from our last visit on Blossom in mid-July.  We returned to Annapolis after spending the 4th of July weekend in Upstate, NY, where I grew up. We had a wonderful time with family and friends and squeezed so much in to our visit, it was wonderful!

We’re getting into the routine of coming and going from Blossom. Our first day back we pull out the bikes, ride to the grocery store to provision and then clean the decks. It’s amazing how dirty a boat gets just sitting there without daily swabbings…

The weather was cooperative so we headed out the next day with the intention of visiting two anchorages to the south of us. We rounded the corner below Annapolis and went to Glebe Bay off of London Towne. Capt. George had told us there were a couple restaurants in the area and that it was scenic and well protected and we found this was very true! After a short, 2-hour cruise, we set the anchor and put Petal in the water.

A gorgeous ride to dinner

That evening we went over to Liberty Marina and then walked to Yellowfin Steakhouse for a lovely dinner.

The weather forecast took a bit of a turn that evening and we ended up staying put for the next 24 hours, cozy on the boat as a series of rainstorms passed through. It was wonderful! The temperature dropped into the mid-70s and we were able to open the boat up (as rain allowed) as well as enjoy the cockpit with no bugs. There was no point going to our next destination if we were boat-bound so we relaxed into a “rainy Sunday” frame of mind. I was able to pour over some of our renovation plans and actually got a lot done.

My view as we weigh anchor ;p

We had decided to return to the marina for a day or two over the weekend so we pulled anchor and set out around noon on Friday. That morning we spent our time glued to the radio, listening to a boating drama unfurl just north of us. A small express cruiser came onto the radio with an alarm blaring in the background as he called for assistance. He didn’t know what the alarm was (Martin expected high bilge pump because of it's ferocity), only that the engines wouldn’t start and they were drifting towards the shallows and there was a tanker nearby. As details emerged it got more and more dire-sounding – children aboard, bilge light on... Then engines working but boat is now listing, eek! It took a couple of hours to resolve but ended with the Coast Guard escorting the limping boat back to their marina. The Coast Guard are so fabulous – I couldn’t imagine boating without them - guardians of the water. Thank you!!

We enjoyed a 24-hour visit back in our marina.  We spent a wonderful evening with another Nordy couple who are docked there, Tina and Braun. I’m so happy we were able to see them before they headed out for more adventures. I say it all the time, but the fellow boaters we meet are extraordinary and truly make the boating lifestyle the joy that it is!

Blossom anchored off Oxford (2 photos cause she's looking pretty)

The next day we got up and as it was only 75 and cloudy (the best!!). We managed to get a game of pickle ball in before heading out. It was a busy day on the bay and we had a 4-hour cruise to our destination - Oxford, MD. We had plotted a big anchor circle on our charts in the perfect location and were bummed to find a big 100-footer anchored smack-dab in our hopeful spot. (Great minds… and all that!) There was plenty of room, however, and we anchored a bit south of them.

We dropped Petal and headed into town for dinner. Oxford is one of the oldest towns in Maryland, established in 1683.

Robert Morris Inn


Dinner at the Robert Morris Inn was fantastic (I can’t get enough of the Chesapeake crab cakes) and then we splurged and had dessert at the Scottish Highland Creamery. This little shop is ranked “Top 5 in US” on Trip Advisor and Top 10 Frozen Dessert Retailers in US. After a half hour wait in line (reminiscent of our wait for ice cream at Leopold’s in Savannah), I had a scoop of Girl Scout Samoas ice cream. Yup, it Was all that!

Oldest Privately-Operated Ferry Service in the US, also established in 1683

Our second day on the Tred Avon River we decided to explore. We took off in the morning and headed into Town Creek to see what the main drag was like. From across the way we noticed a Nordy – (we know our own!) and decided to investigate. And so we met Alan & Debbie aboard their beautiful boat. We had a lovely talk with them and realized afterwards that we’d both been in the Solomon’s at the same time.

Alan & Debbie's gorgeous Nordy

All along the way we saw eagles, osprey and gorgeous mansions decorating the shore. I have to admit, I’m on the lookout for “E9”.  I followed this eaglet’s start from his birth in January to his fledging in the spring in Fort Myers, FL. They said many young eagles from FL head to the Chesapeake to begin their adulthood. I enjoy the fantasy that E9 has flown above hunting for fish or carrion as we’ve passed by 😊

Views at anchor off Cambridge

We loved our time anchored off Oxford. The anchorage worked well for us though I can see other boats not enjoying the weekends there. It’s a conga line of power boats buzzing by with their wakes. With our heavy weight and a flopper line out we managed just fine though.

Blossom anchored outside of Cambridge, MD

Monday morning we were up early with the crabbers who were heading out to work. We pulled in the flopper and headed south to Cambridge, MD. There was little info on anchoring here but either side of the inlet looked like it would work on the charts, especially as the wind was coming from the SW and that’s the only direction the anchorage affords some protection from. We were a bit shocked that Cambridge looked so big! Many of the towns we’ve seen have been tiny, making Cambridge seem more of an urban area. It’s still a small town with a population of just over 12,000. There was a fair amount of (water) traffic going in and out of town and we were glad to be there on a Monday. I imagine it would have been just as "wakey" as Oxford had been on a weekend.

Cambridge by boat

We tendered in and tied up at the public dock/wall. It seems to be mostly a working town with lots of crab boats filling the harbor. After walking through town we had a drink and early dinner at Snappers. 

The next day we went out to explore in Petal again. We stopped by the Hyatt Marina/Resort just down the river to check it out. We can just fit in there with our 6’8” draft and it looks like a nice place to go if you want a vacation – 3 swimming pools (one covered), water toys, golf, bars and a restaurant.

Then we headed up river. The Choptank is a huge river that goes miles and miles to the east. We ran on plane for hours and covered over 35 miles. It’s amazing how wild and unpopulated the eastern shore is. We saw dozens of osprey (many with babies in their nests), swallows and miles and miles of green. Interspersed throughout the green were huge mansions/estates along the shoreline.

The wind picked up substantially on our way back to Blossom and we found ourselves in very lumpy conditions. We’ve now a coined a term for such dinghy rides – "Three B" ride. Pardon the language, it stands for Boob, Ball n’ Back Busting Ride. (It ended up with a 4th "B" the next day when we both had trouble getting out bed.)  It was a bit uncomfortable for both of us ;/

My chariot awaits me

Cambridge at sunset

Zombie apocalypse by paddle boards?

That evening we were having a glass of wine on the fly bridge when we noticed little dots slowly approaching from town. Binoculars showed a line of people creeping towards us on paddle boards. We both immediately thought "zombies". I think we're both a bit twisted or maybe we were just out of sorts from our ThreeB experience earlier that day.  In the end they veered off and ultimately proved to be an innocent group of tourists enjoying a sunset paddle.

We returned to our marina next to pick up my Mom who came by for a few days :) We cruised over to St Michael's to show her our new favorite place in the Bay.

Mom on the fly bridge

Gorgeous views, anchored outside St Michael’s

We had a wonderful time anchored off St. Michael's. The anchorage was crazy busy when we arrived (on a Saturday).  It’s such a wonderful town and this time we enjoyed an amazing Afternoon Tea at the Inn at Perry Cabin.  Alan & Debbie were anchored there as well and we got to say hi to them again!

Enjoying a ride to town in Petal

Blossom at St Michael's

There were many more boats anchored here this time

Blossom as seen from the grounds at the Inn

Evening clouds building back at the marina

And so we wrapped up a great few weeks on the boat. Then it was time to head back to our land home where work is really coming along on our yard and garage/apartment.

Boat Business: It was a slow time for working on the boat.

  • Petal. Running along the Choptank River gave a good indication of our range on Petal. We weren’t sure how far we’d be going so we packed our spare 5-gallon gas jug. We ran about 35 miles on plane in lumpy seas and used just a bit over half a tank of gas. Not bad!
  • Flopper Stoppers. Putting out 1 flopper was adequate for even the rolly anchorages we were in. We prefer 1 flopper if we can get away with it because deploying the starboard flopper creates a walking hazard along the starboard walkway. One of us has an amazing ability to smack [his] head on things so using the port side only saves a bit of pain 😊
  • Master Bath Window. This window just happens to be at chest height – not terribly convenient if you’re showering in a marina… We’ve covered it with a more opaque, decorative window film but after 3 years it was looking ragged. Martin replaced it and it’s back to looking pretty.