Please select your home edition
X-Yachts Leaderboard 2024 1

A Chesapeake Bay Loop - part 1

by Jeanneau 5 Mar 2023 18:29 UTC
Jeanneau NC 895 © Jeanneau America

Sue Redmond and her husband Mark are owners of a Jeanneau NC 895, 'Bout Time'. Sue is the author of, Our Inaugural East Coast Journey, which documents their voyage from Portsmouth, RI to their Homeport of Northeast, MD.

After completing our inaugural journey from Portsmouth, RI, last summer to our home port of North East, MD, we wanted to spend as much time as we could getting to know our new Jeanneau NC 895 by completing our own Chesapeake Bay loop.

To achieve that, our plan was to list our home on Airbnb for the summer. If someone expressed interest in our rental, we would then move to the boat. Little did we know how much interest it would bring. We rented our home pretty much from June to September, prime boating season. This not only gave us time on the boat but helped to cover fuel costs and slip fees. We enjoyed marina life at Bay Boat Works but really wanted to get out and explore. Using Dockwa, we could secure slips relatively close to our home port in places such as Annapolis, St. Michaels, and Rock Hall. Utilizing the marina's WiFi, I could work remotely from the boat. My Team's calls were always the envy of my co-workers (and for some, even made them a little seasick from my swaying on camera).

When I had some time off from work, we decided to head south on a longer journey exploring some smaller southern Chesapeake Bay ports we hadn't been able to visit in our older, smaller boat (a 24-foot Four Winns). Our first adventure took us to Oxford, Solomons Island, Smith Island, and Deale, MD.

Oxford, MD — one of our favorite ports

The first stop was Oxford, quickly becoming one of our favorite stopovers. It's a great town for walking and biking, with a few great restaurants nearby. We stayed at the Safe Harbor Oxford Marina—complete with floating docks, pool, bike rentals, and newly renovated laundry and shower facilities, all in close proximity to the town center.

Arriving on a Monday limited our restaurant options. We settled on Pope's Tavern and couldn't have been happier; one of the best meals of our trip. Located at the head of Town Creek, it is a little Italian restaurant within the Oxford Inn which offers nine quaint rooms. The menu features homemade pasta and other specialties from the owner's grandmother's recipes. A favorite of the locals, it should not be missed. For dessert, don't miss the Scottish Highland Creamery, a short walk from our marina.

The small town of Oxford has a quaint, treelined, unspoiled feel to it. The end of many of the streets offers endless public accessible water views. South Morris Street, one of the main thoroughfares, is one of the oldest streets in America.

Boating is a part of life in Oxford—it's a paradise for vessels big and small. We walked through the Cutts and Case shipyard where beautiful classic wooden boat restorations were being undertaken. Oxford also has many historic homes, picket fences, cute shops, inns, and the Oxford-Bellevue ferry, which has been carrying passengers since 1683.

We spent one night in town before heading further south but did return for one additional night. It will remain one of our favorite ports.

Onto Solomons Island

Our next port, Solomons Island, took us across the Bay from Oxford. We tried out another Safe Harbor Marina, Zahnisers, located on Back Creek. This is a good size marina going through some upgrades. Complimentary bikes made exploring the town fun and easy to conquer in a day. We enjoyed the pool, a great dinner at CD Café, and happy hour cocktails at the Tiki Bar.

Solomons is home to the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, which works to keep the Chesapeake healthy. The town was a bit spread out, quiet mid-week, and very warm during our two-night stay. There is still so much more to explore in Solomons, so we'll look forward to returning. On our list is the Calvert Marine Museum, many great restaurants, the Annmarie Sculpture Garden, and more great biking opportunities.

A tornado in Smith Island

The next leg of our journey took us south down the Bay to the tiny town of Ewell on Smith Island. Our first stop was Smith Island Oil, one of Ewell's only gas docks available. We were met by one of the locals who worked at the gas dock and moonlighted with her husband at one of a few restaurants in town, the Bayside Inn located at the ferry dock. She told us all about the island's offerings, including golf cart rentals, a museum, the bakery, and other available food options and hours.

We tied up our boat on a pier at Three Knots Marine undergoing extensive renovations. Since our marina lacked electricity, we stayed at the quaint air-conditioned B&B, The Smith Island Inn. To gain access to our room, you were instructed to pick up the keys from the local Smith Island Bakery which is home to the famous Smith Island Cake.

Before settling into our room at the Smith Island Inn, we jumped on a golf cart to explore the island. The Smith Island Cultural Center, a must-stop if you're visiting the island, gave us a glimpse into the history of the village and its locals. Smith Island has two other towns to explore so we look forward to returning for another visit.

We had all our meals at the Bayside Inn; the best-steamed crabs I've had in years along with other Maryland seafood specialties and the famous delicious eight-layered Smith Island Cake. So good! A must-have... I have vowed to order one for my birthday every year from now on.

We headed to the bakery to get our key to settle into our room at the inn. I took the opportunity to take a luxurious bath and enjoy the air-conditioning and other room amenities. With a storm approaching, my husband Mark returned to the marina to check on the boat.

While on the boat adjusting our lines, the winds began to kick up and the sky continued to get darker. As he was about to head back to the inn, he looked up and to his surprise was face to face with an approaching funnel cloud. Having never experienced anything like that before, he quickly contemplated all his options. At that time of day, after the last ferry leaves, the entire island and businesses shut down, leaving him with few options for cover. My husband then decided the best thing to do was return to the inn to check on me, who was totally unaware that a tornado was approaching. His walk quickly turned into a panicked run, a feat for someone who hasn't run in more than 20 years, losing his hat and flip-flops along the way.

The funnel intercepted his path with swirling shingles, branches, and debris. Unable to outrun the tornado's wrath, he took cover behind a small cottage. After the tornado had passed, he could finally make his way back to safety at the inn, sharing his harrowing tale with me, who was totally unaware of what had just happened. The tornado had cut a path between the inn and the marina only feet from the Smith Island Bakery, damaging homes and outbuildings.

After the weather had settled, my husband went through the debris to check on our boat, not knowing what to expect. Surprisingly our boat was untouched, but overturned boats were found only a few hundred feet away. The marina, with stacks of building supplies, luckily escaped the tornado's path preventing further damage. We lost power until after midnight. All the residents, including our marina and inn owners, worked together through the night clearing debris and restoring power. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries.

The next morning, we were treated to breakfast by a local elder who arrived by bicycle at the inn to prepare our meal. She was a descendant of one of the founding families on the island. In her 87 years of growing up and living there, she had never experienced anything like that storm. My husband is still reeling from this experience and hopes never to encounter anything like it again... A crazy adventure for sure followed by a great breakfast and local conversation at the inn.

To be continued... stay tuned for part 2!

Related Articles

Recapping the inaugural 'Jeanneau Days'
The first ever ‘Jeanneau Days' were run around the globe during May The first ever ‘Jeanneau Days' were run around the globe during May. They highlighted the breadth of the Jeanneau range across both power and sail. The new concept was presented by Jeanneau as a way to connect with our customers and prospects Posted on 22 Jun
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 350 just arrived in Sydney
Set to premiere at the 2024 Sydney International Boat Show The very first example of the new Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 350 anywhere in this part of the world has just arrived at Performance Boating Sales. Posted on 21 Jun
Jeanneau Yachts 60 at SCIBS
What a true luxury cruising yacht this really is Having just spent three days showing the yachting public over the Jeanneau Yachts 60 at the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, my time on board reiterated what a true luxury cruising yacht this really is. Posted on 31 May
38 South Boat Sales announce first Jeanneau Days
A great selection of the Merry Fisher and Cap Camarat range on display We pleased to announce that we are having our first 'JEANNEAU DAYS' open doors event at Unit 5, 227 Wells Road in Chelsea Heights this Saturday. Posted on 1 May
Adventures aboard the Jeanneau Yachts 51, Teatime
Getting ready for the departure towards the Great Barrier Reef and Indonesia Teatime and her crew, Domi, Anna, Boróka, and Katalin, embarked on their journey from Croatia in late June 2020. Posted on 13 Apr
All sails up for BVI Rendezvous 2024
A sail rally to North Sound, Hobie Cat racing at the Bitter End Yacht Club, a dock-tail contest What started in 2012 continued this year with 13 boats and more than 50 attendees, coming from all over the United States and Canada. Posted on 12 Apr
Jeanneau NC 895 S2
Step aboard the perfect family pocket cruiser As we mark the impressive milestone of 12 years since the NC 895 first set sail, we're proud to share that over 1,800 of these vessels are now navigating waters around the globe. Posted on 6 Apr
Welcome to the 2024 Pittwater Sailing Yacht Show
A new initiative of the sailing industry in Sydney View all the new yachts from Jeanneau, Beneteau, Excess, Grand Soleil, X-Yachts, Bavaria, Hanse, Dehler, Moody, Elan, and Viko over three days, April 5th-7th. Posted on 22 Mar
Back with a vengeance
Categorically been on the Mixed two-handed offshore bandwagon from the beginning Categorically been on this bandwagon from the beginning. Flag bearing, card-carrying, full-blown trumpeter. Mixed two-handed offshore. You might argue it had a wee false start, but it just was a bridge too far at the time Posted on 26 Feb
Leader 7.5 CC S3: Crafted for family fun
Jeanneau has tapped all of its savoir-faire in ergonomic design Designed by Michael Peters, the Leader 7.5 CC Series 3 was built for family fun. With versatile onboard entertaining spaces, the options are endless on this cruising console. Posted on 18 Jan
2024 fill-in (bottom)Selden 2020 - FOOTERHenri-Lloyd - For the Obsessed