Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Up the Potomac to Colonial Beach

Tides Inn's Pool
Tuesday, June 30, 2009 Island Hopper and crew left the dock at 9:30 AM with a 90 mile travel day.. It was a bright and sunny day. Temperatures predicted to be around 90 degrees, but the breeze on the water was pleasant. Winds Southwest 5 - 10 and the seas 1 -2. Island Hopper arrived at Colonial Yacht Club at PM.

Joan and Ian on the Back Deck of Island Hopper

Once the dust of the Civil War had settled, Americans discovered the recreational and therapeutic possibilities offered by sojourns at the seashore. America's love affair with the beach began. One of its early trysting partners was a two mile stretch of beach on the Virginia shore of the Potomac River. about 65 miles downstream from Washington. Thanks to the perfection of the steamboat during the war, it was only hours away. To serve this new leisure-time activity, a settlement of summer cottages, hotels and attendant entertainments sprang up on the split of land between the Potomac River and Monroe Bay. The destination had already been popular for 25 years when, in a892, it was incorporated as the Town of Colonial Beach. Fortunes faltered in the 1930s when the steamboats disappeared, but the construction of the Harry W. Bridge reconnected Colonial Beach to its clientele in Washington D.C. and extended its reach to Baltimore, MD. In the 1950s, Colonial Beach saw its popularity rise again when it became the only point in Virginia with access to legalized gambling. Soon after gambling was approved in Charles County, MD, entrepreneurs established casinos on piers extending into Maryland waters from Colonial Beach. The respite ended in 1958 when Charles County lost its license for gambling. Overnight, the casinos lost their customers Colonial Beach has been a destination for tourists along the Mid-Atlantic Coast for over 50 years. Colonial Avenue leads to the popular waterfront area between Washington Avenue and the Potomac River. Colonial Beach is “THE Town on the Potomac.” Turning the corner at Washington Avenue is an acre of land referred to as Town Commons or Town Hill, where fantastic events are held throughout the year. A new and beautiful stage, built entirely from donations in 2007, is used for evening concerts, outdoor family movie nights and weekend events. A restaurant, with its paddle wheel architecture, along with other local attractions is drawing patrons from all over the Mid-Atlantic Coast. Colonial Beach is a Golf Cart Community. The carts are “dressed up” and seen everywhere. Located in the northern part of the area known as the Northern Neck of the Virginia, this historical area brings you the fine distinctions of General Robert E. Lee at Stratford Hall; The birthplace of President George Washington; James Monroe’s Birthplace. Swimmers and sunbathers enjoy the second longest public beach in Virginia. Along the waterfront, people are playing and happily enjoying the beach. The shops are busy and all the benches along the Boardwalk are full of people relaxing and eating ice cream or cotton candy from the ice cream shops. People can walk or ride their golf carts and enjoy the public owned and maintained Boardwalk and well-groomed beaches.

Local Colonial Beach Boat

(Need We Say More?)

At Hawthorn Street stands the rebuilt Municipal Pier marking the south end of the Boardwalk. The pier caters to fishermen as it runs 500 feet into the river. The Boardwalk makes it a place residents and tourists alike enjoy walking or just sitting on the benches and watching the people on the Boardwalk or boaters in the river. Along Irving Avenue, and other streets back to Monroe Bay, the houses are well kept, clean and contribute to the maritime theme. Throughout the town, many homeowners have upgraded their homes to give them the early 1900 Victorian era-look with fanciful colors and beautiful gardens. Approaching “The Point”, you pass one of beautiful parks available for picnics; out-door grilling; large updated playgrounds, for all tourists and residents. (Groups of 20 or more require a permit obtained at Town Hall.) There are many marinas on the shores of Monroe Bay and the Potomac River. The slips are full of boaters who have come for weekend fun. The influence of the local artist community is evident throughout the town. The art galleries and some local businesses (in conjunction with the Colonial Beach Art Guild) participate in a 2nd Friday Art Walk year round. This draws locals and tourists from surrounding areas and the town is becoming known as an Art Mecca. Vacationers staying at the numerous rental cottages, bed & breakfasts, hotels and motels, are the mainstay of the Town’s economy for the summer months. Throughout the year various town events are sponsored by local organizations and 5 big events are sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. Some events have brought as many as 5,000 people to town. Tourism in the winter has increased because the Town is recognized as a place to come and relax away from the congestion and grind of the larger metropolitan areas. The town has experienced an influx of younger families due to the excellence of the school system, as well as the safe and pleasing parks and recreational services available.

The Island Hopper Crew found Colonial Beach to be a depressed and very uninteresting town. Restaurants and shops were not at a tourist level. That said, the crew ate dinner at the Gambling Boat. Good fun was had by all.


Kevin and Tate

Monday, June 29, 2009

Off to Irvinton, VA

Island Hopper docked in Bay Creek Marina
Aqual Restaurant in Bay Creek Marina
Tate Resting in the Salon
Monday, June 29, 2009
MV Island Hopper left the dock today at 9:05 AM ready for the 40 mile cruise to Irvington, VA. The winds are NW 15 -- 20. Seas 2 -3 and a bit choppy. Island Hopper did great job in the blue water crossing the Chesapeake Bay

Located on Virginia's Northern Neck, Irvington sits on the shore of Carter's Creek, a tributary to the Rappahannock River. Irvington once thrived as a steamboat town during the 1890s and early 1900s, when steamboats brought goods and travelers to the town. However, a fire destroyed much of the town in 1917, and the end of the steamboat era left Irvington a shadow of it's former self. However, as is the case with many Chesapeake Bay waterfront towns, Irvington is experiencing something of a come back. The Tides Inn and Resort was opened in 1947, bringing many visitors to the town. The town has steadily rebuilt itself and is now features a variety of lodging, shops, restaurants, and other attractions. A collection of shops can be found downtown along Irvington Road

The town of Irvington is mainly know for the Tides Inn. Although Irvington is much older than the 50 year old inn. Island Hopper is staying at Tides Inn marina. (http://www.tidesinn.com/) The inn is surrounded by manicured grounds overlooking Carters Creek. Tides Inn, here since 1947, is sandwiched between the Potomac and Rappahanock rivers. The resort offers all the modern amenities travelers expect, and features a wide variety of on-site activities.
After docking and a wonderful lunch prepared by Joan and Debbie, the crew set off to explore Tides Inn. Tonight they had a wonderful dinner at the Chesapeake's Club East Dining Room restaurant.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Back on the Chesapeake to Cape Charles, VA

Sunday, June 27, 2009 Island Hopper left the marina at 10:50 AM for a two hour run of 32 miles to Cape Charles, VA. The winds were North 10 -15 and the s1 to 2. Island Hopper traveled smoothly again, making for an enjoyable voyage. Cape Charles, established in the early 1880s as a railroad ferry junction, quieted down considerably after its heyday, but in the past few years the isolation has begun to attract people farther and farther away. The town holds one of the largest concentrations of late-Victorian and turn of the century buildings in the region. Clean, uncrowded public beaches beckon, as do a marina, and renowned golf course.
Island Hopper docked at Bay Creek Marina. (http://www.baycreek.net/) The marina is beautiful and new. It has shops and two restaurants. The crew rented a golf cart to explore the town. The town district has restaurants and a few shops. One attraction is a train ride dinner cruise.
Downtown Cape Charles
Tonight is dinner is at Aqua Restaurant. Great seafood is anticipated and welcomed!

Exploring Williamsburg and Jamestown

Saturday, June 27, 2009
The crew got up early and went into Williamsburg to explore for a second day.

Reenactments at Williamsburg

After a day of exploring Williamsburg, they headed to historic Jamestown, an island originally seperated from the mainland by a narrow isthmus, was the site of the first permanent English settlement in North America. (1607) and the capital of Virginia until 1699. May 13, 2007, marked the 400th anniversary of its founding. The first settlers' bitter struggle for survival was here, on now uninhabited land, makes for a visit that stirs the imagination. Redbrick foundation walls roughly outline the settlement, and artists' conceptions of the original buildings can be seen at several locations. The only standing structure is the ruin of a church tower from the 1640s, now part of the Memorial Church built in 1907; the markers within indicate the original church's foundations. Other monuments around the site also date from tercentenary celebration in 1907. Statues portray the founder of Jamestown, Captain John Smith, and his advocate, the Native American princess Pocahantas, who Smith credits for saving his life.

For dinner the Island Hopper Crew drove back in to Williamsburg and ate dinner at Christina Campbell's historic tavern. George Washington frequented the tavern in his time. It is know for its outstanding seafood.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Spending A Day In Williamsburg

Friday, June 26, 2009 Island Hopper stayed in port today. The crew drove to Williamsburg to explore the historic town. Williamsburg was the capital of Virginia from 1699 to 1780, after Jamestown and before Richmond. Williamsburg hasn't been politically important for a long time, but now that Colonial Williamsburg is there to represent it in era of glory, it's a jewel of the commonwealth. The restoration project that gave birth to Colonial Williamsburg began in 1926, inspired by local pastor W.A.R. Goodwin, and financed by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. A total of 88 original 18th - century and early 19th-century structures have been meticulously restored, and another 500 have reconstructed on their original sites.

The Capital

The Court Room in the Capital

Joan and Ian talking to two members of the Black Watch Company
The Magazine (Where the Weapons and Ammunition Were Stored)
The Govenor's Palace
The crew had a very interesting day in the restored town.

The Weary Cew after a Captain Kevin's Whirlwind Tour

The crew had a great meal at the marina's new restaurant.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Yorktown, MD

Thursday, June 25, 2009 Island Hopper departed Hampton Public Pier at 9:32:46, then stopped for fuel. Back on the water at 10: 23. He weather; winds North 5 -10, seas 1 - 2. The day is warm, sunny and humid. There is a very nice breeze on the water. Overall a great day for cruising. Today Island Hopper is heading to Yorktown, VA for a three day visit. Yorktown is 14 miles northeast of Colonial Williamsburg via Colonial Parkway.

Approaching York River Yacht Haven

It was at Yorktown that the combined American and French forces surrounded Lord Cornwallis's British troops in 1781; this was the end to the Revolutionary War and the beginning of a nation. In Yorktown today, as at Jamestown, two major attractions complement each other. Yorktown battlefield, the historic site, is operated by the National Park Service; and Yorktown Victory Center, which has re-creations and informative exhibits, is operated by the state's Jamestown - Yorktown Foundation. As well, a stately Waterman's Museum educates visitors about those who earn their living from nearby waters. Yorktown has three major places to visit: Yorktown Battlefield, the town of Yorktown, and the Yorktown Victory Center.
Settled in 1691, Yorktown had become a thriving tobacco port and a prosperous community of several hundred houses by the time of the Revolution. Nine buildings from that time still stand, some of them open to visitors. Moore House, where the terms of surrender were negotiated, and the elegant Nelson House, the residence of a Virginia governor ( and a signer of the Declaration of Independence), are open for tours in the summer. Riverwalk Landing is a group of specialty shops, an upscale restaurant , and an outdoor performance venue on the shores of the York River. The Island Hopper Crew dined at Nick's Riverwalk Restaurant on the landing. The menu featured baked crab meat imperial, sauteed fillets, and local oysters.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Leaving Maryland to Hampton, VA

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 Island Hopper left port at 8:35 AM. Weather today is sunny, winds North 10 - 15. Seas 1 - 2. Today's cruise to Hampton, VA is 103 miles, approximately 6 hours. Hampton, VA is 5 miles north of Newport News and 16 miles northwest of Norfolk.
Founded in 1610, Hampton is the oldest continuously existing English speaking settlement in the United States. It also holds the country's first aviation research facility, NASA Langley Research Center. The center was headquarters for the first manned space program in the United States: astronauts for the Mercury and Apollo missions trained here.
Hampton was one of Virginia's major colonial cities. In 1718 the pirate William Tech ( better known as Blackbeard) was killed by Virginia sailors in a battle off North Carolina. As a warning to other pirates, the sailors brought his head back and mounted it on a pole at the entrance to the Hampton River (now Blackbeard Point, a residential area). The city has been partially destroyed three times: by the British during the Revolution and again during the War of 1812, then by the Confederates preempting Union invaders during the Civil War. Since the mid - 1990's Hampton has been undergoing a face-lift. It hosts many summer concerts and family festivals.
The crew walked through the town, which is very depressed. Many shops are closed and there are only a handful of restaurants. The crew decided to have inner at the restaurant at the city pier, Latitude 32. The dinner and service were very good.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Solomons - Here Comes Island Hopper

Tuesday, June 23, 2009 Island Hopper departed Yacht Basin Marina at approximately 10:00 AM, traveling 52 miles to Zahneiser's Yachting Center,Solomons, MD. Winds were North 10 - 15. Seas were 1 -2 with some white caps. Island Hopper soared smoothly through the waters for a pleasant cruise.
On the tip of the peninsula, Solomons is where the Patuxent empties into the Chesapeake. The town has become a popular getaway for sailors, boaters, and affluent professionals. Island Hopper's crew encompasses all of the for-mentioned categories. But it's still a laid-back waterfront town compared with Annapolis or St. Michaels. There are several antiques, book, gift, and specialty shops and galleries side by side, parallel to the boardwalk. Wherever you go, stunning views surround you at every turn.

A Day In Annapolis, MD

Monday, June 22, 2009 Ian, Joan and Kevin toured the Naval Academy and the Maryland State House. Kevin served as an up close and personal docent. The United States Naval Academy is probably the most interesting and important site in Annapolis, the Naval Academy runs along the Severn River and abuts downtown Annapolis. Men and women enter from every part of the United States and foreign countries to undergo rigorous study in subjects that indlude literature, navigation, and nuclear engineering. The USNA, established in 1845 on the site of the U.S. Army forrt, occupies 329 waterfront acres. The centerpiece of the campus is the bright copper-clad dome of the interdenominational U.S. Naval Academy Chapel.
The Chapel
The Maryland State House was completed in 1780. The State House is the oldest state capitol in continuos legislative use; it's also the only in which the U.S. Congress has sat (1783 - 84). It is here that George Washington resigned as commander in chief of the Continential Army and where the Treaty of Paris was ratified, ending the Revolutionary War.
The Dome
With tired feet from a bust day of tours, the crew took the water taxi to O'Leary's for dinner.

Taking to the Waters For Beautiful Annapolis

Sunday, June 21, 2009 Island Hopper traveled 19 miles to Annapolis, MD. Berthing for two nights at Yacht Basin Marina, just a five minute walk from the small town. In 1649 a group of Puritan settlers moved from Virginia to a spot at the mouth f the Severn River, where they established a community called Providence. Lord Baltimore, who held the royal charter to settle Maryland, named the area around the town Anne Arundel County, after his wife; in 1684 Anne Arundel Town was established across from Providence on the Severn's south side. Ten years later, Anne Arundel Town became the capital of of Maryland and was renamed Annapolis after princess Anne, who later became queen. It received its city charter in 1708 and became a major port, particularly for the export of tobacco. In 1774 patriots here matched their Boston counterparts by burning the Peggy Stewart, a ship loaded with taxed tea. Annapolis later served as the nation's first peacetime capital (1783 - 84) Today the city's considerable colonial and early republican heritage is largely intact, and because it's all within walking distance and highly accessible. Although it has long since been overtaken by Baltimore as the major Maryland port, Annapolis is still a popular pleasure - boating destination.
Today was a walking tour of the town and then a dinner at The Chart House.

The Water Taxi

St. Michaels Wooden Boat Show

Crab Art At The Museum Boat Show
Saturday, June 20, 2009 Another wet and soggy day. The weather has been very unusual for this time of the year. Again the crew put on their weather gear to tour the museum and boat show.
The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, one of the regions finest, chronicles the Bay's rich history of boat building, commercial fishing, navigating, and hunting in compelling detail. Exhibits among nine buildings on the 18 acre waterfront site include two of the bay's unique skipjacks among the museums more than 80 historic regional boats. There is also the restored 1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse, a working boatyard, and a "waterman's wharf" with shanties and oystering and crabbing tools. After a few hours of looking at boat show boats, Joan and Debbie were suffering from "Boat Fatigue". The crew took a break for lunch. After lunch Ian and Kevin went back to the museum for more boat viewing, while Debbie & Joan went shopping and later had wine at the St. Michael's Winery. They ate dinner at Kevin's favorite restaurant, The Bistro. Never a bad meal yet!! The crew walked home again tonight.

Island Hopper Heads To St. Michaels, MD

Friday, June 19, 2009 Island Hopper left Rock Hall at 10:00 AM to travel to Bob Pascal's St. Michael's Harbour Inn. After securing the boat the crew had lunch aboard island Hopper and then walked into the town center. St. Michael's, once a shipbuilding center, is today one of the region's premier leisure-time destinations. It's ever-growing popularity has resulted in more and more shops, cafes, waterfront restaurants, and inns. In warmer months tourists and boaters crowd its narrow streets and snug harbor. Talbot Street is lined with restaurants, galleries, and all manner of shops. Joan and Debbie went into many shops during their first day. But they were happy that many shops are still left for tomorrow. The crew had dinner at 208 Talbot Restaurant & Wine Bar. The restaurant is unobtrusively situated on St. Michael's busy main street. 208 Talbot, long a favorite among discriminating diners, has several intimate dining rooms with exposed brick walls and brick floors. The crew walked back to the boat ( about 2 miles) to burn off some dinner calories.

Off to Rock Hall, MD - Island Hopper's Summer Berth

Thursday, June 18, 2009
Island Hopper Pulled To Exchange Props
Island Hopper departed Baltimore's Inner Harbor to travel 22 miles to Haven Harbour Marina in Rock Hall, MD. Kevin and Debbie took Ian and Joan around the small town of Rock Hall. They enjoyed seeing the town and all the sail boats at the many local marinas. The crew ate dinner at Osprey Point Inn. The chef is back from last year and the food was outstanding.

Osprey Point Inn