While Delaware may be just barely south, it’s where we first encounter a little bit of southern hospitality. As if by magic, most people tend to be a little friendlier, they may remember you the 2nd time you go into their store, they’re not glued to their phone, suddenly your new name at many restaurants is “hon” & “what is it y’all like to try today?”.
Delaware “City” (1,600 people), was especially memorable our first time in 2010. We were completely wiped out & sleep deprived upon arrival after our long, challenging 170 mile overnight sail from NYC to Delaware City, so a bit of southern hospitality at the marina & throughout town was never forgotten.
Delaware City is also where we can begin to relax a bit, after the always busy departure from Connecticut, our nerve-racking (but fascinating) trip thru NYC, challenging offshore conditions off New Jersey & then often boisterous trip up the Delaware River. Now with our faster powercat, we can make Cape May, NJ during daylight, before heading up the Delaware River the next day, avoiding an overnight voyage. Leaving Delaware City, we transit the C&D Canal, which brings us into the upper Chesapeake where we can proceed at any pace with literally a hundred possible places to explore, making more casual 5 – 50 miles days.
While we enjoy most of the larger towns & cities we stop at, it’s the smaller towns which truly make our trips enjoyable. All along the way in towns such as Belhaven, Oriental, & Beaufort in North Carolina, for example, you really get a taste of very small town America. Perhaps the restaurant owner sits down with you to chat a bit (well – before COVID), or a clerk will want to (really) know what brings you to their town. It’s common for people to wave driving by or offer to pick you up if carrying bags of groceries. I recall our first year cruising walking back to our marina at dusk when a passing car screeched to a stop, then backed up towards us – we must have had an alarmed look on our faces as they laughed & said, “no … no … we just wanted to offer you a ride … we used to be boaters too & know how heavy those bags get walking back”. In another example, a marina owner threw us the keys to his brand-new $50,000 truck – we hadn’t even asked.
The sad aspect of some of these little towns is how they are aging out. In too many cases, the young people don’t stay, industry slowly moves out & Main Street begin to shutter as the Walmarts & chains open up outside of town. Progress, they say, but very sad nevertheless.