July 1, 2013
When The Water Calls ... We Follow


June 20, 2013
New Adventures


May 31, 2013
Storing Our Shiny Red Tug


May 13, 2013
Viva La Difference


May 6, 2013
Swinging Free & Easy


April 15, 2013
In The Middle


March 29, 2013
On The Hook


March 18, 2013
Tinker Time


February 28, 2013
Jumping Into the Mix


February 15, 2013
Time Travel


February 6, 2013
Charlevoix - A Small Town With A World-Class Reputation


January 15, 2013
The Perfect Ending


January 1, 2013
Magical Weather & Mysterious Ports


December 15, 2012
Collins Inlet, Killarney, & Little Current


December 1, 2012
New Neighbors


November 16, 2012
What Makes a Perfect Anchorage?


November 1, 2012
Are We There Yet?


October 15, 2012
CHANGE OF LATITUDE


October 1, 2012
Womens Roundtable


September 15, 2012
Freedom to Discover a Southern Gem


September 1, 2012
Promises


August 15, 2012
Nice to Have Options


August 1, 2012
Go West!


July 15, 2012
The Perfect Boating Vacation Destination


July 1, 2012
Propane


June 15, 2012
Flagler’s Folly


June 1, 2012
Everglades Detour


May 15, 2012
Making New Friends


May 1, 2012
Something Old and Something New


April 15, 2012
Florida’s Wide Open West Coast


April 1, 2012
Life On the Water in a Trailerable Trawler


March 15, 2012
Becoming Second Nature


March 1, 2012
Last Dance


February 15, 2012
Call it Romance or Mystique


February 1, 2012
Natural Wonders Abound


January 15, 2012
Hardly a Care in the World


January 1, 2012
Wide-Eyed Anticipation


December 15, 2011
Winding Our Way to Lake Powell


December 1, 2011
On to New Cruising Grounds


November 15, 2011
Sharing the Love


November 1, 2011
On the Water Again


October 14, 2011
First Impressions


October 3, 2011
Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Fun


September 15, 2011
Getting the Show on the Road


September 1, 2011
Lets Dance!


August 15, 2011
Getting Our Ducks in a Row


August 1, 2011
Summer Without a Boat


July 15, 2011
The Water and The Boater Home


July 1, 2011
One Step Closer


June 15, 2011
Time Keeps on slippin’ Into the Future


June 1, 2011
Made in the USA


May 15, 2011
Making the Right Truck Choice


May 1, 2011
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder


April 15, 2011
What Goes Around Comes Around


April 1, 2011
Wishing Star Interlude


March 15, 2011
Helping Hands


March 1, 2011
THE PERFECT BOAT!


February 15, 2011
Weighing the Options


February 1, 2011
Making a List, Checking it Twice!


January 14, 2011
The Science of Towing


December 30, 2010
The Upside of Downsizing


December 15, 2010
The New Plan!


December 1, 2010
Homeward Bound-The Final Leg


November 15, 2010
Somethings In The Water


November 1, 2010
Our Turn to Relax & Smile


October 15, 2010
Gem in the Rough


October 1, 2010
Whats Your Favorite Place on the Loop?


September 15, 2010
Reflecting Pool


September 1, 2010
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder


August 15, 2010
Canadian Wonderland


August 1, 2010
"Low Bridge, Everybody Down"


July 15, 2010
One Day At A Time


July 1, 2010
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!


June 15, 2010
Lets All Do the Rendezvous


June 1, 2010
On the Hard


May 15, 2010
Falling in Love With Key West


May 1, 2010
Helping Women Get On Board


April 15, 2010
Key West - A Repeat Performance


April 1, 2010
Unexpected Pleasures


March 15, 2010
Mom Cruise


March 1, 2010
Okeechobee Bound


February 15, 2010
Chance Encounters


February 1, 2010
Three Nights in Paradise


January 15, 2010
New Frontiers


January 1, 2010
First Time Experiences


December 15, 2009
A Friend In Every Port


December 1, 2009
Dealing With A Temperamental Lady


November 18, 2009
You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello


November 13, 2009
A Cult Following


October 15, 2009
Somewhere in Time


October 1, 2009
Unlocking Our Minds Eye


September 18, 2009
Its In My Nature


August 15, 2009
The RBS Antidote


August 1, 2009
Crab Crazy


July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay


July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay


June 15, 2009
Our Last Leg North


June 1, 2009
Northern Migration


May 15, 2009
Priceless


May 1, 2009
Hello Goodbye


April 15, 2009
Let The Sun Shine In!


April 1, 2009
Dont Worry, Be Happy


March 15, 2009
Bahama Bound


March 1, 2009
What Do You Do All Day?


February 15, 2009
Slow Motion


February 1, 2009
On The Hook With A Million-Dollar View


January 15, 2009
High Anxiety


January 1, 2009
A String Of One-Night Stands


December 15, 2008
Pushing Into New Tennessee River, Upstream To Adventure


December 1, 2008
All Together Now


November 15, 2008
Kismet in the Aftermath of Hurricane Ike


October 31, 2008
Our Love Affair With The River


October 16, 2008
Big City Lights


October 1, 2008
The Adventure Begins


September 15, 2008
Prepping For The Loop


September 1, 2008
The Space Ship


August 15, 2008
Jumping Aboard In Seattle


August 1, 2008
If We Knew Then What We Know Now!


July 10, 2008
The Second Time Around


July 1, 2008
Our Turn For The Great American Loop

   

Unlocking Our Minds Eye
By Kismet, Thursday, October 1, 2009

Places we’ve never been to before always seem mysterious and harbor the element of many unknowns, at least for me. Before visiting a new harbor, I’ll conjure up images in my mind’s eye as to what the harbor will look like, I’ll wonder how well kept are the historical monuments, or how the town will manage to capture and hold our attention. This is especially true of destinations on the water that folks have told us about long before we got there to see it for ourselves. One such place is Saint Michaels, Maryland – a must-see, in my opinion, if you’re cruising the Chesapeake Bay area.

After Lisa and I returned from a two-week road trip to Ohio and Michigan, we felt it was time to get back out onto the water. We made plans with Bob and Sharon, on Catch Me If You Can; to depart our slips in Solomons, Maryland, together, for a three-day outing to this quaint port we’d heard so much about. We wanted to see firsthand if everything we’d heard was true.

We left Solomons at 7 a.m., with clear skies and calm seas for our 50-mile run up and across the Chesapeake Bay. Three hours into the trip we started to hear chatter on the VHF radio about a severe high-speed storm working its way towards us. This was somewhat unexpected, as we’d known a storm was coming but not scheduled to arrive until well after our estimated arrival time. So much for forward planning to experience an uneventful cruise.

We were heading into Eastern Bay, about 20 miles southeast of Annapolis, about an hour out of Saint Michaels, when the storm approached us from behind. The sky darkened as all visibility from our pilothouse windows quickly vanished. By this time the radar was warmed up and displaying the bleeps on our screen of many of the other temporarily lost souls traveling to and from Saint Michaels. There must’ve been at least 25 vessels showing up on our radar screen, all going in different directions. We took it slowly. Between our limited visibility, straining between the flapping of wiper blades, and watching the radar screen, we hoped all the other vessels were keeping a careful eye for us as well as for themselves.

If it wasn’t for the paved streets and sidewalks we could almost picture ourselves riding into town 200 years ago on a horse.

With the sky now as dark as night, coupled with the hard-driving rain, our visibility was only about 100 feet, not anyone’s ideal boating conditions. Driving from the vantage point of our pilothouse, using our radar helped us keep busy as we kept a close eye on all the approaching boats. We also hoped that they could see us as well. I recall one small runabout maneuvering erratically by us; once we were close enough I could see that they didn’t have any radar aboard. Then I noticed that their Isinglass was steamed over, making their navigation problematic for seeing around their boat. I hope they made it back safely! As we rounded Tilghman Point and started into Miles River, the storm finally made its way past us, and the clear blue sky returned to make our final descent into Saint Michaels picture perfect.

Dating back to 1677, Saint Michaels has a rich marine history in fishing and boat building but today the town has transformed into a tourist Mecca for boaters and landlubbers. As Lisa and I left the marina for our first tour of town, we were excited to unlock the mysteries Saint Michaels held for us. Not far from the marina we could already tell that the glowing reports we’d heard were based in truth. We knew we were going to like this place.

Dinner on the boat with friends is always a treat. We first met Bob and Sharon on the water more than three years ago.

As we walked the narrow streets into town from the marina, through one of the old neighborhoods, it seemed like each house had an historical plaque attached to its façade. The homes have a distinctive colonial look to them, are all nicely painted and sit on wonderfully immaculate tree-lined streets. Some streets have even been returned to the cobblestone era, making our first impression even better then our mind could’ve imagined. As we worked our way up to the main street, we noticed that there are only local shops, bakeries, restaurants, grocery stores, and art galleries – nothing with any national chain association attached to it. For us this completed the package. This is what we find attractive about small-town America. We continued our walk into the town proper where we found the typical tourist shops, ice cream parlors, and restaurants lined up and down Main Street, however they’re all housed in a Mayberry-type setting.

Later that evening, back at the marina, we had Bob and Sharon over for happy hour and dinner on Kismet, and watched the tranquility of the harbor together from our pilothouse. To think that only a few short hours ago we were all struggling with the wind, rain, and visibility, trying to make it into the shelter of the harbor. We had a nice social hour before retiring to the salon to enjoy one of Lisa’s wonderful meals with crème brulee for dessert. To top off the night we played a board game called Sequence. Bob and I took on the ladies and they trounced us three games straight. Next time I want a different partner. Bob and Sharon had so much fun playing they went out the very next day and bought their own game.

When we can find locally baked bread, rolls, and cakes during our travels it’s always nice to partake. I’m really surprised we don’t weigh a lot more than we do!

We’d never been to Saint Michaels before, so Lisa and I wanted the convenience of being close to town by staying at one of several marinas that line the harbor. On our next visit, we’ll undoubtedly want to explore the highly touted anchorage possibilities off the Wye River, Leeds Creek, and Hunting Creek, then dinghy into town as needed. The possibilities for exploration are seemingly endless on the Bay. So many places with so little time!

One of the big attractions in Saint Michaels is the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum that sits on 18 acres of waterfront property close to the harbor entrance. Developed to chronicle the history of the region’s maritime life, they have a working boatyard, a collection of Bay boats and nine buildings of artifacts. This is a remarkable one-stop place to visit and learn about the Bay’s history. For additional information visit: www.cbmm.org

This represents a typical postcard photo op of the neighborhood area in the oldest part of Saint Michaels… picture perfect!

We spent the next two days being tourists. We went for long walks along the waterfront and through the tree-lined neighborhood streets. We found Sugar Buns, the local bakery and pastry shop on one of our morning walks. It’s critical to us that we sample the local bakeries on all of our trips, to make sure we haven’t missed anything special. We’ll be back.

Even the Museum Store at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is a converted vintage colonial home! Saint Michaels has several waterfront restaurants, including the Crab and Steak House, that sits just across from the marina where Kismet was docked.

A good portion of our afternoons were spent in the refreshing water at the marina pool trying to reduce our body heat from the hot and humid temperatures that finally arrived to the Bay area. Up until now, the weather has been what I’d describe as normal summer weather. We were warned ahead of time to expect very hot and humid weather conditions on the Bay so when it finally arrived we were somewhat prepared, but, for northerners, we couldn’t help but think that these temperatures were over the top. We don’t care to run our air conditioners much but during these temps and humidity, we really had no choice. I never thought I’d be wishing for cooler weather and that we’d be thankful when it arrived later in September.

Saint Michaels, holds all the characteristics, charm, and history needed to draw us back for future visits. From the many waterfront restaurants, unique stores and museums, there’s enough to even keep me busy. Plus, a bonus, everything’s just a short walk away from the harbor. If you’re in the area go and unlock the mysteries of your mind’s imagination. We did and found it well worth the trip.

I must’ve done something wrong to deserve to be in this shot. Crabs, crabs, crabs! It’s all about the crabs. And now Lisa has turned into one and has me by the pincers.

After three full days, we departed Saint Michael’s for or return trip to Solomons. As we were maneuvering out of the marina I noticed our stern thruster was making an unusually loud noise. It worked but sounded more like a garbage deposal with a bone rattling around inside. When I discovered the new noise I recalled that a line from our dinghy, when we’d been towing it last, had got caught up in the thruster’s prop and apparently bent or broke one of the blades. Upon further investigation I found out it was missing a blade, which created the unusual noise. Just when I thought I had all my projects completed, a new one found me.

Once this damaged thruster propeller was replaced with a new and improved five-bladed model, it was much quieter and more powerful then the original one.

The ride back to Solomons was as beautiful a day as we could have asked for. We had a slight breeze in the early morning, calm waters, and a clear blue sky, all complimented by gentle one-foot waves. We slowly approached the west coast of the Bay and traveled by the beautiful Calvert Cliffs before we made our cut into the Patuxant River. Today was a special day, as the 30 miles of sandy cliffs were made even more dramatic with the clear-blue sky as a backdrop. The cliffs were formed 15-million years ago when all southern Maryland was under water. Today Calvert Cliffs is a Maryland State Park that boasts over 600 species of fossils with a variety of different shark teeth as its most abundant fossil. Most of what the park offers is like most State Parks, with the exception of the fossils that can be seen there along with the stunning display of natural beauty from the vantage point of the water.

Our mind’s-eye image of all the places we’ve been on the Chesapeake Bay has been surpassed by the real-time experiences we’ve had so far. We’ve been more than pleased with the explorations, people, anchorages, marine and wildlife, history, museums, and natural beauty. Best of all, we still have two more months and many more mysteries to unlock before our summer spent on the Chesapeake Bay comes to an end.