Linda is excited to be adding states that she has never visited before to her list and this leg of the journey has definitely facilitated that goal!
A month ago we left Southport, NC and headed to Morehead City, NC with one stop in between at Hampstead, NC. In Morehead, we were able to reconnect with friends from our dock in Ft. Myers, Louis and Diane. What gracious hosts they were! They left us one of their vehicles and we were able to reprovision and tour the area. They invited us to their lake home on the beach and took us to dinner at their Beach Club on Atlantic Beach. It was very special.
Conrad wanted to make up some time during this leg of the trip due to the week we lost in Southport because of bad weather and the two weeks we spent at home for Conrad's Mom's funeral. We needed to identify a marina location near an airport in order to fly home around the first weekend in June for our oldest granddaughter's (Andi) graduation...more on that later. As we decided on Norfolk, VA, we realized that there were some major waterways to be traversed...the first was Pamlico Sound. The Intracoastal Waterway is a wonderful route to travel; however, where it intersects with inlets to the ocean you find that some are very large bodies of water that can have very large waves depending on winds. Over the next few days we stayed a night at Belhaven, NC, and Columbia, NC. We then needed to cross Albermarle Sound, which wasn't the nicesest crossing (don't need to say much more) and we arrived in Elizabeth City, NC for an evening. Lamb's Marina at Elizabeth City was in a mostly rural setting, although the town had a Dollar General, but that was about it. We left Lamb's on Saturday, May 21, and made our way through the Great Dismal Swamp, which isn't dismal at all and rather picturesque. This is a 22-mile canal that connects the ICW from Elizabeth City, NC to Norfolk VA. Most cut the trip in half and stay at the Dismal Swamp Visitor's Center and then make their way to Norfolk. We opted to make the trek in one day without the stop since the day pushed to 95 degrees and there was no power at the Visitor Center on the transient boater docks. Even with the two locks we needed to go through, we were able to arrive in Norfolk, VA by mid-afternoon. After traveling for almost a week in very rural areas we arrived in Norfolk at the Waterside Marina right in the Downtown area.
We ended up staying in Norfolk for 2 weeks...the first week we were on the boat and had a rental vehicle. The second week we flew home for Graduation. The week we spent on the boat in downtown Norfolk was over Memorial weekend and the city was having its Patriot Festival. About 50,000 people were out and about with some big-name country bands playing open air right across from the marina. It was a very festive time. Norfolk is the largest Naval base in the world and the presence of everything Navy was very apparent. We enjoyed visiting the General Douglas McArthur Museum and learned that this is where the General and his wife are entombed. It was very easy to spend a day there. We drove to Jamestown and Williamsburg one day and basically relearned all the history we learned in grade school (the British "Virginia Company", Pocahontas, Captain John Smith). We enjoyed some of the great restaurants in the area. It's so hard to cook on the boat when there are so many places to choose from. And, on one rainy day, we went to opening day of Top Gun Maverick...loved it! We needed to move the boat across the river to Portsmouth, VA on Wednesday, June 1, and we tried to fly home the next afternoon on Thursday. However, the airlines had different plans for us and after we arrived at the airport our flights were promptly cancelled. We returned to the boat for another night and had a 3:30 am wake-up call on Friday, 6/3. This was fine except for approxiomately $100 in LYFT charges going back and forth.
Graduation was fun and spending time with the family even more so. It was great to be able to well wish Andi in person and actually see her graduate. We were very happy that Linda's Mom, Emily, came to the graduation party. It was a quick and busy five days. We returned to the boat on Wednesday, June 8, and left first thing in the morning for Deltaville, VA, about a 62-mile run. We got tied up and after checking an app we have that shows where other "Loopers" are located along the way we realized that a couple that we spent a month next to in Punta Gorda two winters ago were at the next marina in Deltaville. We walked over to greet Jim and Peg and made plans to connect with them at the next stop the following evening. A lot of the fun in Looping is the people we meet along the way.
The next day we traveled to Solomons MD. We were able to have dinner with Jim and Peg. Solomons is an active little coastal town. We are finding that the coastal towns along this stretch of the Chesapeake remind us of the towns on Lake Michigan on the Michigan side.
Next stop...Tracey's Landing, MD...about a 40 mile run. We probably would not have gone into this particular harbor, but this is the home harbor of our good friends, Mary and Jim. We met Mary and Jim the first time in Spring, 2020 when we were both stranded in Vero Beach FL due to the Covid shut down for about six weeks. We have run into them several times along the journey. This particular harbor, Herrington North, is home to about 1,500 boats, probably one of the largest we have encountered. Mary cooked a great dinner the first night we were there and then the four of us enjoyed a dinner out the second evening.
We said our good byes and on Monday, 6/13/22, after a quick 25-mile run, we arrived in Annapolis MD. What a nice town! The harbor is once again right downtown and the US Naval Academy sits on the water next to the marina. We toured the Naval Academy and were very inspired. The architecture dates back to 1845 and was beautiful. The 4,500 midshipmen are housed in one, very large dormitory built with magnificent marble stone inside and out. Again, we learned a lot of history through this tour. Conrad was very excited to see the Chapel/Catherdral which housed a 5-manual pipe organ with over 15,000 pipes. Sadly, we were not able to hear it played. We also saw where John Paul Jones is buried in a beautiful marble crypt constructed under the Cathedral. We walked downtown Annapolis and had a cocktail at a bar called The Federal House. It was built in the 1800s and has previously been a brothel, oh my!
Wednesday and Thursday, 6/15-16/22, we set course for the northern part of the Chesapeake Bay where it intersects with the C & D Canal (Chesapeake & Delaware). It seems like just yesterday we were down in Norfolk looking north at this huge body of water called the Chesapeake Bay and wondering what it was all about. We are now at the Summit North Marina in Bear DE on the C&D Canal. We are at the top of Chesapeake Bay! This marina is in a very rural location but has a nice restaurant on the property. We will leave Friday, 6/17/22, and head down the Delaware River to Cape May NJ. It is at this point where we must travel out in the Atlantic Ocean up to New York City (about 150 miles). We may need to wait a day or two until winds calm down but as we have found out you never know how the weather will change.
Since our last entry a month ago, we have traveled through North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and are now in Cape May, New Jersey. Linda has now narrowed her "every state visited in the USA" except Rhode Island, Connecticult, New Hampshire and Maine. These four will need to wait for another bucket list adventure.