Oh give me a home where the paddle boards roam and the waters are calm all day; Where seldom is heard, “Oh crap I fell in”, and the SeaDoos don’t come out and play.
Yes, we know a place like that; Harness Creek off the South River next to Quiet Waters Park. We’d anchored there for nearly a week 5 years ago for weather and to get Ms. Ortolan’s screecher repaired after Russ lost the race with s/v Pride of Baltimore off New Jersey. 🙂
And first off a few good boat pics as we headed down the Bay.
We keep out of the channel, which is for the big ships, but at one point just before I took this shot, it sure looked like we’d be meeting up head on. The day was overcast and not very pleasant so we were surprised to find lots of local boats anchored in Harness Creek.
Sunday was sorta warm and quiet pleasant so why not practice? In the top part of the photo you can see the yellow rental kayaks, (SUPs too) at the floating dock. It’s where you can leave your dinghy to walk through the park.
Monday brought breezy and a chance of showers but we bravely walked through the park headed for lunch at Main Ingredient, another great dining spot only one mile away.
Because Main Ingredient also caters, the dessert offerings are extensive and from our booth I could hear them calling out to us. The Andes (Mint) chocolate multi-layer cake served us for two dinner desserts. We share. 🙂
Next stop Solomons, where we’d re-connect with our friends Mike & Ann of Traveling Soul, now also owners of a beautiful condo unit. Spot was more active than we usually have seen her, as she’s got more leg room (even though Traveling Soul is a large Defever motoryacht) and an attentive audience.
Do you know you can grow more romaine lettuce from the ends? Ann told me you just do like in the photo below and soon you will have more for your money. Nice uh?
We were invited not only for dinner and Vodka & Tonics made with Ann’s magical formula homemade tonic, but to do a load of laundry. I know some of you can’t imagine how great that was, but it was pretty special.
We got to spend three nights at Calvert Marina (same place as this past June), but they were booked for the weekend due to the upcoming Krogen Rendezvous and a Defever Rendezvous after that. Rain was the word, especially Wednesday which of course was errand day. Ann took me to shop and we both got some things off our lists.
After leaving the dock we moved less than 1/8 mile up Back Creek to anchor. The wind was still honkin’ in the Bay although we felt little all tucked in, and rain came and went through Saturday evening. During our Solomons stay the wind display function on our wireless weather station crapped out. I don’t think you will be surprised to learn that the one year warranty recently passed.
Early on during our Solomons stay we began reading about Tropical Storm / Hurricane Matthew. The models disagreed, the spaghetti strands fanned out like octopus tentacles and we devised several plans, each based on severity and guestimate location of the storm as it headed up this way.
Top Rack was a planned stop for diesel and dining but they’d kick us out if a hurricane warning was in effect, so we had to cancel. I mean did we want to just assume we could find room at a protected marina close by? Not many choices for those.
One option was to head way up the Potomac as far in as possible; either find an acceptable anchorage or protected marina with floating docks.
One suggested marina could only offer us the outside of a T head, so even though it was a floating dock we declined and kept calling.
Then I came across Sunset Boating Center in Hampton, VA. Up the Hampton River and down a dead end canal, it met all our criteria.
We arrived on Monday Oct 3, well ahead of the very slow moving hurricane. The NE Bay winds were forecast to pick up mid week so why endure a rough trip when we can avoid it?
Never visited Hampton before, so a few days of settled weather allowed us to explore by dinghy and by land.
Over by the side street entrance sits the Barking Dog where we ate dinner. Casual atmosphere as you can see. Hot dogs, several types of sausage grinders are menu’s focus but they also make a fantastic crab cake-super thick and virtually all crab. Hush puppies were great too.
Tuesday morning we walked approximately 1/2 mile to a nearby Food Lion. At the checkout the woman ahead of us pegged us for boaters (lugging a cooler bag) and offered us a ride back. She told us of a great dining spot downtown, “next to Goodys” with pizza, tapas and more. She even gave us her name and phone number should we need anything.
After stashing the groceries we head for downtown and well what do you know? we stumble (ya right) upon a doughnut place. If you dinghy up the Hampton River to Hampton Public Piers there’s a place to tie up and walk one block to downtown Hampton. The area is small but has many restaurants, a few gift shops, the Air & Space Museum Hampton History Museum, water access, tour boats and a restored carousel.
We find Goodys and next door is Venture. (hidden behind the trees) The posted cocktail menu was all we needed to lure us in. Priced to entice with Classic and Crafted Cocktails averaging $7, you can see below these were not eensy teensy drinks.
One size crafted pizzas made with their own dough, sandwiches, salads and seafood; tapas items served starting at 4pm. But what are Tots? Our waitress- phenomenal- plopped down this free sample. Cook potatoes and skins, add just the right amount of seasoning, spread in a jelly roll pan, chill, cut into small squares and fry em up fresh!! Served with a side of spicy mayo, they were out of this world delicious. Some entrees are served with a side of Tots but you can also order them as an appetizer.
Each day small boats arrived to be hauled out and placed into rack storage. We had a front row view. The only other transient boat here was the blue sailboat you can see a bit of in the below photo.
Matthew was due to be at its closest to us sometime Saturday night-ish, and Friday’s weather was pleasant so why not one more trip into town? This time we walked and before ending up at Venture for an early dinner, we popped into the Hampton History Museum for a side of culture.
At this point any of our considered options would have been fine, even Top Rack but we were happy with Sunset as many days in a slip can add up those $$$$ and this place was “B2G1F” and only $1/night for 30amp power (only had 30amp). It’s a smaller boat place lacking nice scenery; even across the water is a huge barge. But the power was great; many places cause our ground fault warning to sound, the wi-fi worked well and we could easily get to downtown,groceries, pharmacies and yes, ok doughnuts!
Thank you to all who checked on us. 🙂 Next up; fun times during and after Matthew.