The Eastern Shore

I really didn’t realize that the eastern shore of the Chesapeake has an identity all its own.

We had visited several western shore towns last fall (Baltimore, Annapolis, Solomons, up the Potomac to Washington DC) so decided to hit the east side this trip. It has been delightful.

We started our trek up the Chesapeake in Hampton, VA, which is just North of Norfolk, still at the bottom of the bay. We rented a car and drive to Yorktown and Jamestown to see some sights.

We snuck in a church service, a provisioning run and a haircut along the way.

When the weather was favorable we cruised 68 miles to Onancock (rhymes with O’Hancock), VA on the eastern shore.

Onancock is a tiny town but very picturesque. Especially from the water. We anchored a short distance from the marina and went into town several times. The peninsula is very narrow here, so the ocean is really only ten miles or so away. We did not get over there but met some people in town who live over there.

One thing we disappointingly did not get to do was take a ferry to Tangiers Island. It was something I was really looking forward to, but the ferry did not run at all the five days we were there. It turns out the captain had a medical procedure and so the boat did not run. Friends who were there before and after us go to go, but it wasn’t meant for us. Hopefully some other time.

We next hopped 62 miles over to the western shore to Solomons, MD. This was just a quick stop to wait out some weather. We anchored up a creek a mile or so from town.

We had stopped there last fall and attended the little Episcopal Church near the Solomons Island Yacht Club. Since we were there again on a Sunday, we looked up the time church started, dinghied a half hour to the dock and walked the 10 minutes or so to the church.

It was locked up tight. No cars were in the parking lot. We questioned ourselves if it was really Sunday? Yes. This isn’t time change Sunday? No.

A parishioner pulled up and was surprised to find everything empty. She looked at some emails and found out that for Pentecost Sunday, both locations of their church were meeting together at the big church, which was not nearby. Oh well. We tried.

On the half-hour dinghy ride back to the boat, we read the Acts 2 account of Pentecost. Lance picked up on the “they were gathered together in one place” aspect of it.

The apostles were gathered together and the two Episcopal congregations were gathered together!

We left soon after and cruised 40 miles to the eastern shore.

We anchored in San Domingo creek which is known as the “back door” to St. Michaels.

St. Michaels was a happening place on “Sunday Fun Day”. Lots of live music in the restaurants and lots of shops open. We looked through the Christmas shop and a specialty foods shop.

We headed down to the docks and found a lot of Looper boats who had come into the “front door”. They were meeting nearby for docktails at 5:00, so we were able to join in and meet some more people.

Some of the people we had met at the AGLCA rendezvous and some were brand new. We exchanged boat cards and heard each other’s stories. I expect we will run into these same boaters in the months to come, as we are all heading the same direction.

The next morning we weighed anchor and set out for Cambridge, MD where we had a reservation at the marina.

On the way, we pulled up to a free dock in Oxford, MD and walked around town. It is a historical town with many homes built in the 1700’s and 1800’s.

We found a small museum about the town. The young woman at the desk said her great-grandfather started the museum 60 years ago after he found some old bottles, plates, and other artifacts during a construction job. Since they were celebrating their 60th anniversary, they had exhibits dedicated to the 1960’s and what was going on in Oxford at that time. They had The Jackson Five playing on an old console color tv!

We had heard about an outstanding ice cream shop in Oxford, but it was only open Thursday-Sunday and we were there on a Monday. (Do you begin to sense a theme?)

We pulled into Cambridge Municipal Yacht Basin about 3:00pm. It was a good stop to get a Walmart delivery, do laundry, get a pump-out, fill up with water and charge up the batteries.

The next morning before we left, we walked around town.

It was another very cute town with historic houses. We had heard that the downtown was kind of depressed with lots of shuttered storefronts. We were pleasantly surprised with all the restaurants and other businesses that were operating.

Mike, the staff at the marina, had given us a run-down of the available restaurants. There were many, but the one that caught our attention was a bakery that specialized in breakfast type food. We decided to hit it up on our morning walk around town. Guess what? It was closed for the week because they are expanding and they were punching through the wall that day! Wah, wah.

One thing we did find was the Harriet Tubman “Give me your hand” mural. She was born nearby and this area was active in the underground railroad. There is apparently a National Park Service site at her birthplace, but we didn’t have a way there and we were anxious to get back moving.

Give me your hand

It looked like there would be some heavy winds for a couple of days and nights so we chose an anchorage that was protected on all sides from all direction of winds.

After three days of watching ospreys, eagles and sunsets we were back on the move.

Keeping to the eastern shore, we went through the Kent Narrows. It is directly in line with the Chesapeake Bay bridge to the west. The Bay bridge’s east end is on Kent Island and the is a small opening from the East Bay to the north.

The water really rips through there. There is a bridge that opens on every half hour. We timed it to arrive at 11:00.

The current was against us and we were so glad it was! Those coming through WITH the current have a much harder time controlling their steering.

The down-current boat called on the radio, before the opening, to arrange to come through first. The bridge opening was quite narrow, like you couldn’t get two boats side by side, and turbulent.

When it opened, the down-current boat came shooting through. Then it was the up-stream boat’s turn. We were third in line.

Lance had to REALLY gun it to get through.

Immediately afterwards, we were turning to port (left) to get fuel at Piney Narrows Yacht Harbor. They had a face dock parallel to the current. We wanted a starboard tie up since our pump-out fittings are on that side.

The current was so strong that Lance could not get the boat turned around for a starboard tie. So he aborted the attempt and made a nice soft textbook port-side docking. All was good.

We continued on our eastern shore trip to Worton Creek Marina to spend Memorial Day Weekend. It is near the top of the Chesapeake.

Worton Creek Marina has a service center that can perhaps take a look at some battery problems we’re having.

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