The first leg of our East Coast cruise takes us from Annapolis to Cape May. Check out our favorite stops.
Rounding Kent Island’s Love Point, we’ll turn east into the wide mouth of the Chester River for a 23-mile run to Chestertown. Founded in 1706, the town has done a superb job of preserving its finest attributes: its beautifully restored historic homes and unspoiled commercial areas. It is also home to Washington College, founded in 1782 and today one of the most highly regarded liberal arts colleges in the nation. Great pubs, fine restaurants and unique shops can be found within walking distance of the public landing.
Rock Hall and Swan Creek
After returning down the Chester River we’ll leave Eastern Neck to starboard and thread our way into Swan Creek, passing the entrance to Rock Hall Harbor. We’ve often anchored here, appreciating the undeveloped shoreline, but this time we’ll get a slip at the attractive Haven Harbor Marina and enjoy the mile-long walk into town. Rock Hall, directly across the bay from big, busy Baltimore, is a different world with its fleet of workboats, funky seafood restaurants, modest cottages and quiet, laid-back attitude.
Sassafras River and Turner’s Creek
Lined with high, rust-color cliffs, the Sassafras contains mostly fresh water, which discourages those nasty summer sea nettles that are so widespread on the lower Chesapeake Bay. We’ll proceed to Turner’s Creek and anchor off a public landing where a number of workboats are docked. Climbing an old wooden stairway from the beach, we’ll discover a small, attractive park complete with a covered picnic pavilion. Workboats heading out at 5 a.m. will wake us, so we’ll get an early start ourselves.
C&D Canal and Chesapeake City
After entering the C&D Canal, the 17-mile cut that connects the Chesapeake and Delaware bays, we’ll stop at Chesapeake City for lunch. Located on the southern side of the canal, the small anchorage basin is easy to enter, and the city provides free dockage for up to 24 hours. The Chesapeake Inn also offers transient slips and casual dining. Watch for no-wake zones near marinas and docked commercial vessels.
Cape May, New Jersey
The 50-mile run down the Delaware Bay is rarely pleasant, because its shallow depths, strong currents and long fetch can create a nasty chop. But Cape May rewards visitors with its top-rated marinas, gingerbread houses, ocean beach and variety of restaurants, pubs and diners. Although the anchorage on the south side of the harbor is spacious, it’s exposed to the wakes of commercial traffic. We’ll get a slip at South Jersey Marina and have dinner at the famous Lobster House.