Our summer cruise through New England has taken us as far as Isle au Haut, Maine, and along the way we’ve discovered and rediscovered some of the finest waterfront destinations in America. Starting in Annapolis, our major stops have been Block Island, Plymouth, Portland, Rockport and Newport. We’ve also spent time on the hook in some of the most beautiful anchorages in the Northeast, including Shelter Island, Seal Cove and the Thimble Islands. As fall approaches, we are heading south in search of milder weather, colorful foliage and even more adventure. Leaving New York’s Liberty Landing Marina, we take one more look at the Statue of Liberty before heading under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and threading our way through a sea of freighters, tugs, ferries and commercial fishing boats. We’ll be visiting several big cities during the next few months, but nothing will compare to the bustling scene of New York Harbor.
After receiving a fair weather forecast, we run 125 miles down the New Jersey coast, stopping in Cape May for the evening. We fuel up and get a slip at South Jersey Marina, which has undergone a major renovation after experiencing the double whammy of a fire followed by Superstorm Sandy. The all-new facility includes the Saltwater Cafe, where we have a hearty breakfast the next morning before heading up the Delaware Bay. We’re glad that one of our favorite marinas has not only reopened, but is now better than ever.
Approaching Chesapeake City, Maryland, on the C&D Canal, we see that Schaefer’s Canal House, the legendary restaurant and marina with its 750-foot dock along the canal, is open after being closed and abandoned for several years. It’s lunchtime, so we decide to stop and see what’s new. The place is packed, and after our delicious Maryland crab cakes (naturally) and friendly service, we see why. With a history that dates back to 1936, this landmark had been a mandatory stopover for generations of boaters making the trip between the Chesapeake Bay and points north and south. Thankfully, its new ownership seems committed to bringing it back to its glory days.
Baltimore, our next major stop, is less than 50 miles away. Running down the upper eastern shore of Maryland, we pass the beautiful Bohemia, Sassafras and Chester rivers as well as the popular gunkholes of Still Pond and Worton Creek. With more than 150 rivers and tributaries, the 200-mile-long Chesapeake Bay is a place where exploring could take a lifetime.
We’ve reserved a slip at the Baltimore Marine Center at Inner Harbor, located downtown in the middle of all the action. Updated in 2007 with state-of-the-art floating docks, a boater’s lounge, Wi-Fi and access to a pool and health club, this marina is a gem. The view from our slip is quite spectacular. To our left, the USS Constellation is docked at Harborplace, one of the flagship marketplaces developed by visionary James Rouse. Directly across the harbor is one of Baltimore’s main attractions, the architecturally photogenic National Aquarium, which has been wowing visitors with its breathtaking exhibits for more than 30 years.
It’s been a full day on the water, so we take the easy way out and simply walk down the dock to the Rusty Scupper Restaurant, where we are pleasantly surprised. The food is excellent, and the view of the city lights is an added bonus.