This past May was our first stop at Hampton Public Piers; the name makes it sound not very inviting, but the reality is that it’s quite the opposite. Floating docks with good power/water pedestals, good communications and help with lines, and no extra charge for the fact we take up two spaces. We knew from our long Matthew stay last October that the dining and donuts would bring us in again and again. The Preferred Boater Program was a no-brainer for us even though it’s geared toward local boats.
But first, two new stops after departing Solomons, MD.
Stop #1:Heard about Deltaville forever from fellow cruisers, never had reason to stop. With two to three decent days to get into Hampton, we decided to swing by Deltaville,VA which like most stops is several miles in from the Bay.
Oh Look! A Maine Cat 30 at the dock. We could have been at the end of the row of boats already anchored, but decided to turn back and anchor part way up the next creek. Very pleasant.
Ok, check that one off the bucket list.
Stop two was one we’d been hoping to make happen for well over a year- well not the place but the boat/owners who are full-timers like us from our neck of the woods in Connecticut. Connections are made for many reasons; boat type, location, chance, etc. Heading up the Cape Fear River spring 2016 the lovely Kadey-Krogen, m/v Tapestry passed us and we both saw very familiar home ports on our sterns. Thus began a FB friendship but one that had yet to be, shall I say, consummated?
Finally we made it happen while they were enjoying an extended stay at York River Yacht Haven; family nearby is always nice. Even though Tapestry is 58ft we saw many similarities to the 42ft Krogen, Viking, we were married on in 1990. Just a gorgeous yacht and Lisa is an accomplished seamstress with beautiful cushions, window treatments and more to prove it! A long, leisurely lunch at the on site restaurant for that “getting to know you” stuff.
Another bucket list item completed.
While in Hampton we had another item to check off and since it’s a fort, it would add one more to our fort list that’s grown stale lately.
Here’s the fort history overview:
Built from 1819-34 and named for US President James Monroe, the fort occupied a strategic location for maritime defense and commerce. It remained a Union stronghold throughout the Civil War, earning the name, “Gibraltar of the Chesapeake.”
Even before this time, English explorer Capt John Smith and the Virginia Company recognized the same strategic locale for the Bay and in 1609 Fort Algernourne was built here on what is known as Point Comfort.
In 1619 a Dutch man-of-war arrived at Point Comfort with the first “20 and odd” Africans brought to the English colonies.
The fort has remained a national symbol for freedom and protection. It continued as a base of defense and training until being deactivated in Sept 2011- I think we anchored nearby a month later. Fort Monroe National Monument was established on November 1, 2011.
Robert E Lee, a 24 year-old West Point-trained engineer, was stationed here 1831-34 to oversee construction. Lee and his new wife, Mary Anna Custis Lee a great-granddaughter of Martha Washington, occupied quarters similar to the one several photos below. Their first child was born here in 1932.
Entrance to the fort and casemate museum is free and you can tour and walk around at your leisure.
The view from the Flagstaff Bastion Overlook was expansive and afforded us a look from an entirely different perspective than what we usually see from water level in a “small craft.”
In addition to President Lincoln, the above Quarters No 1 was occupied by Major General Benjamin Butler when he made the 1861 pivotal contraband decision.”
Fort Monroe is the largest stone fort ever built in the United States. It has been home to thousands of military families throughout the centuries.
After an exhausting fort tour, lunch at the Deadrise was in order. A great spot with a view overlooking Old Point Comfort marina, the Deadrise was very busy but our food was worth the wait. Among the best fried calamari ever.
The anchorage area is the empty area outside of the marina.
We enjoyed another delicious meal and artfully crafted cocktails at Venture, which is at most a six- minute walk from the docks. Dessert tempted us this time.
I think the fenders ruin the authentic look.
And yes, donuts were a fresh daily event for a few mornings.
We also discovered a favorite place for fantastic burgers at Brown Chicken Brown Cow, almost next to Venture. Grass fed, pastured with the “right” official rating, they weren’t huge, so you could actually eat them without dislocating your jaw. Served on a lightly toasted brioche bun you could pick from named combos on the menu or create your own by selecting three toppings. Ground beef often disagrees with Russ, but these he found to be very agreeable in many ways! Totally yum. And his choice of a local brew- wow. Ok then, we will return.
Weather (what else?) was dictating when and where we’d move to. Plus we had leave here so the Hampton Snowbird Rendezvous boats could arrive on the 12th… or not, given what the conditions ended up being as that day drew near.