101 Baltimore to Solomons, MD

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Inexpensive long-term dockage, friendly marina staff, convenient shopping and great places to eat draw cruisers to Baltimore for extended summer stays. Before we’d reached the office to register we’d spotted a number of boats we knew. To get the inexpensive dock rates we signed up for a month and speculated if we could stay in one place that long.

Tired from a day of exploring we wandered across the street from the marina and found a table next to a small fountain. It’s quiet splashing muffled street noise and complemented the quiet jazz trio as we enjoyed the setting sun, sushi and a glass of wine. We were back in the big city again and had many things to see.

A trip back to Rochester, NY for a magical family visit delayed the start of our serious Baltimore exploration for a week. Once back we began to find intriguing neighborhoods. Canton, Fells Point, Mt Vernon, Federal Hill and the road out to Fort Henry passed beneath our feet. Eight-mile days yielded to ten then twelve-mile days as we enjoyed seeing the uniqueness of each neighborhood. Trademarks of Baltimore neighborhoods– scrubbed white granite front steps were evident. Painted window screens and leaded-glass windows were also fun to discover, and we found many great examples. Row houses are the primary type of home here. They were in every kind of neighborhood.

For hours we wandered around in what felt like a full scale Lionel train layout. B&O railroad has sectioned off a large portion of their freight yard to be a train museum. The old round house, now clean, is home to an amazing collection of rail cars and engines. Outside locomotives, hopper cars, reefers, track maintenance equipment expand the variety. A chain link fence is the only indication where the museum stopped and the still-working yard begins.

Three weeks proved to be enough of the big city. The horror of the World Trade Center and Pentagon came on the news as we were checking out. We headed out toward the Chesapeake listening to the radio reports of the World Trade Center collapsing. We couldn’t comprehend when the announcer said the World Trade Center was gone. Later in a quiet anchorage we got our TV going, saw the destruction and finally understood.

Our quiet anchorage on Saltworks Creek just off the Severn River became home for another day while we listened in shock to the emerging story. It was surreal hearing the fear and grief the attacks caused while gazing at beautiful homes barely visible in the sheltering trees on the edge of Annapolis.

Relocating to a marina on Back Creek near Annapolis we found an intriguing operation in progress. Work crews were launching dock sections and prefabricating what would soon be the huge floating marina for the Annapolis boat shows.

Steph and Ralph from Sea Jay came to visit. We dingied across Back Creek to a corner bar known for great food. Just as we arrived all the patrons spilled out on the street, and we were handed a candle. A moment of silence, and we all sang God Bless America.

Across Chesapeake Bay, way up the Wye River just where our chart ends is Skipton Creek. The home just before the creek maintains a flock of about twenty black sheep to keep the beautiful lawn trimmed. Their side yard held a small pitch & putt golf course. This was the location for the Wye River Accords between Palestine and Israel several years ago. We slipped into the creek and found a quiet area to anchor. Trees blocked views to most of the estate and provided a wilderness feeling. The next day we spent hours exploring by dinghy, getting a closer view of the black wool lawnmowers and exploring the creek’s rustic shores. Sea Jay and Passion with Don and Marsha aboard found us, and we enjoyed each other’s company for a number of days.

A cool rain started to fall as we anchored in Tilgman Creek. A 25-foot sailboat shared the anchorage. A couple appeared in the open unprotected cockpit, raised the main sail and pulled up the anchor. Clad in foul weather gear they silently sailed out the creek entrance. For us it was like looking back 30 years to the days we first sailed with just the bare essentials.

Chesapeake Bay Waterman The predawn sound of rain on the cabin top mixed with the pleasant rumble of a slow turning diesel. A waterman was close by working a crab line before dawn. Just after sunrise the day cleared. As we left the creek entrance we found our waterman and his unique Chesapeake boat returning from his early morning work on mirror smooth waters. Modern technology: digital camera and color printer now allows this classic moment to grace our wall of pictures and our web site.

Knapps Narrows was going to be a fuel stop on the way to St Michaels back entrance. However, as we took on fuel and talked with the dock master his description of the area peaked our interest, and we decided to stay and skip St Michaels. Walking the town we found a curious mix of waterman homes and just the beginnings of city people coming in and beginning to improve or build new luxury homes. In a few years the undeveloped charm of the place will be gone. While exploring Sea Jay and Passion came in, and we all enjoyed one last night together with a shore dinner.

Light winds and flat seas frustrated the sailors, while providing us with a smooth, easy ride across the Bay and down to Solomons. When we’d arrived earlier this summer just a few boats were anchored out. Now with the fall migration of cruisers starting many boats rode at anchor. We tucked into a small indent on Mill Creek just behind Calvert’s Marina, dinghied to shore and headed to Annmarie Garden. An art show along sun-splashed wooded paths complemented the garden’s art. We spent a few hours enjoying the garden and the art on display. A small Chesapeake picture now graces our wall and provides a fond memory.

We lingered over breakfast with Roy and Lynn off Lyndal K. We’d first met in Baltimore and found time rapidly slipped away as we enjoyed each other’s company. Rising wind from a fast moving front finally caught our attention, and we parted company to dinghy back to our mutual boats. We needed to get Odyssey relocated to her Trawler Fest slip before the winds built to their forecasted 20-knot strength. Rob and John from Endeavour helped with lines as Ruth greased us into our new slip with a rising crosswind. A few minutes later we were completely secured and could relax as we continued to feel the wind build

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