Most of last week was spent on the road, traipsing down the DelMarVa Peninsula (“gunkholing” is the term sailors use) from Annapolis, MD in the North till finally crossing the 20 mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and entering Virginia Beach last Thursday.
We had really high expectations heading into Annapolis, and while it definitely has some cool spots and nice architecture, our heart still lies in that other sailing town up in RI: Newport. I think Newport has a more “small town” feel about it that we didn’t get out of Annapolis. Outside of downtown, the big box chains take over pretty quickly and it loses all of the colonial charm of the city center. One bright spot was the neighborhood of Eastport that occupies the peninsula just south of Annapolis. We spent most of one day just walking around Eastport checking out the cool beach shack type homes, the tiny Oyster museum with public docks where we learned about crabbing, watching boats go out to the bay, and exploring the little beaches that existed as every street ended at the water.
The Chesapeake is beautiful country. There are literally thousands of small rivers, creeks, and estuaries that flow into the bay, and as such you are never far from water. We had the privilege of camping right on the water last Monday on Taylor’s Island, MD. The campground was back in the woods without any signage and I was pretty sure men in coveralls playing banjos were going to greet us at the gate, but it turned out to be a really great evening despite it being our first time dumping the land yacht’s waste tanks.
We also had opportunity to visit the Atlantic side of the DelMarVa Peninsula when we visited Chincoteague Island, VA. There is a protected barrier island there that is a national wildlife sanctuary. As such, we were unable to drive onto it (we are travelling with our dog), so we parked at nearby hotel that was nice enough to let us use their lot and walked in. Three hours of non-stop hiking and about ten miles later we returned after having seen more birds that I can ever remember seeing at any one time. We also had an opportunity to view the wild ponies of Chincoteague; if you’ve ever looked at horses grazing in a field you can imagine what that was like. Overall the area was very pristine and beautiful. We walked down the beach on the Atlantic side of the barrier island and didn’t see another soul for over a mile.
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is quite the feat of engineering prowess. I wouldn’t in my wildest imagination try to construct something over, and under open water for twenty miles! I’d probably opt to run a ferry boat, but then again I’m predisposed to messing about in boats. Anyway, it’s quite impressive and was worth the $12 entry fee, I mean toll, to see it.
Last Thursday was the four year anniversary of our marriage. It was on our Honeymoon just after, in Jamaica, that we first tried sailing and first experienced that notion of “Island Time”, a state we have been trying to get back to ever since. That week, more than any other time in my brief stay on this planet, affected my outlook on life and what I want to get out of it more than any other. We celebrated our anniversary by grilling some shrimp and tuna, drinking a couple of Red Stripes, and staying at a campground on the beach in Virginia. Towards the end of our meal it started to rain, and then it really started to rain; huge droplets coming down in sheets, soaked the second you walk outside kind of rain. So we danced in it. Best anniversary ever.
We are now back on the road after a brief stay at my parent’s home near Smith Mt. Lake, VA. While we had a great run of weather last week on the Peninsula and were able to wear shorts and flip flops for most of it, the forecast has turned decidedly chilly and we’ll be making a push to get a bit further south before stopping to fully explore one area like we did the DelMarVa again.