|Sunset at Worton Creek|
Where to Go?
So, with apologies to those of you not living in the Mid Atlantic, I thought get a bit local on you guys for a bit. As we're going into the spring and a new year, we figured it might be a good time to do some planning for Spring cruising and destinations here on the Chesapeake, particularly some of the less built up destinations you might try. So, drag out the marine maps, guys, because we've got some recommendations. Ready?
If you look at the eastern shore of our wonderful estuary, you'll see in the upper right corner a shoreline dotted with the mouths of multiple rivers and creeks and a not a whole lot else. Lucky for us, these are some of the most beautiful anchorages on the bay, deep enough for sailors, with available fuel and food stops and some really wonderful protected spaces should things turn gnarley. And, since all these inlets are west-facing, you'll get some of the most spectacular sunsets you've ever seen Let's take a look.
Start just north of the bay bridge and Kent Island. You'll come across Tolchester Beach
. No real inlet here, but a great beach you can sim or dinghy to in good weather, some very pleasant beach bars and restaurants, and a great place for a day of swimming. Just north of there, you'll find the opening to:
The opening to Fairlee Creek is sometimes tricky, and yes, you'll have to hug the shore like the charts say, but once inside, there's a sheltered anchorage. The space is dominated by the Great Oak Marina and Resort, with fuel and food and a tiki bar. Good place to tank up, both yourself and the boat, as some of the other inlets are a lot less developed. Next up:
Wharton Creek is the first really decent anchorage headed north. The bottom is a mixture of sand and clay, with pretty good holding. There are also (at least when we were there last) a LOT of fish, so bring your rod.
Follow the channel into the creek and you'll find a couple of marinas and a dockside restaurant. We usually make Worton Creek our first overnight when sailing northward.
Next up the coast, you'll find the entrance to Still Pond, The south shore of the outer mouth of the creek offers a good anchorage, with decent depth and reasonable protection from swells from the bay (barring NW winds). and some wonderfully unspoiled coastline.
|Just the place for a calm afternoon and a nice libation.|
If you need a bit more protection, follow the markers (CAREFULLY) through the (EXTREMELY NARROW, TWISTY) channel into the inner part of the creek. You'll have to hug the starboard shore going in if you draw more than about three feet (we draw five, and by "hug" I mean close enough to reach out and touch people's docks. Fortunately we encountered a kind local resident in his john boat that showed us the way.). Once inside, though, you'll find ten feet of VERY protected water (there were 55MPH winds on the bay that night. We got none of it.) and lots of unspoiled shoreline. There's also a Coast Guard station there if you get into trouble. Next we typically run up to the
I could do an entire book on the river alone. The mouth of the river is broad, over a mile across, with a good 12 feet of depth pretty much throughout. Just inside, on the southern shore, you'll find the community of Betterton, which has a lovely sand swimming beach, a free dock (sailors may find it challenging due to depth and position, but you can always anchor off the shore and dingy in), public showers and restrooms, and a sweet little town with restaurants overlooking the river. This is just the introduction to the treat that is the Sassafras.
|Skipjack Cove Marina after some gnarly weather.|
Follow the channel markers east into the river proper. You'll find literally miles of unspoiled shoreline, multiple good anchorages, and some of the most beautiful waters you'll see in this neck of the woods. A few miles in, you'll come to civilization again, with Fredericktown and Georgetown separated by a drawbridge (functional) across the river, fuel docks, well-equipped marinas, transient slips, some wonderful dockside restaurants, and some very, very nice people. We ducked into a transient slip to avoid some heavy winds and spent some lovely evenings at some very nice dock bars.
That's Just a Sampling.
|The Sassafras River at sunset.|
Head north from the Sassafras and there's even more to uncover. There's the Bohemia River with lots of marinas and decent dining. There's the long, tidal (if you can't plane, plan on hitting this going into high tide or you'll face a whopping head on current) stretch to the C and D canal and Chesapeake City, with it's city dock, lagoon for anchorage, and a plethora of great restaurants, bed and breakfasts, and sites to visit (great place to have folks meet you when you're on the cruise.). We'll save those for another day.
The Chesapeake is full of amazing places to visit and drop the hook. Look forward to seeing you out there.