St. Michaels, MD – October 8-9, 2012

We had an uneventful, chilly, rainy sail from Annapolis to St. Michaels on Monday. Brian stayed at the helm while I bopped inside and out while navigating and researching points of interest in the Chesapeake. It felt great to be on the move once again, although I had wished we were heading south rather than east. (If you think this recurring theme is getting old, try living on a boat with me!)
Bloody Point Bar Lighthouse (actually looks a bit bloody with all that rust)

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Rainbow Ahead over Eastern Bay

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We made four attempts to anchor in Fogg Cove with good holding each time. The first we were too close for our comfort to another boat. The second we were too close for our comfort to another boat. The third we thought we were just fine until the boater nearest us suggested we bugger off; he even embellished the wind forecast telling us there would be “25mph winds from the north.” Finally on attempt number four we called it a day, although still quite close to our neighbors Por Dos and Yes. Luckily for us we know Por Dos and they thought we had quite mastered close anchoring. Good preparation for the Bahamas! We didn’t sleep well however because we kept spinning and spinning, each time our chain rubbed against the bobstay and woke us with a start. Brian peeked outside with each “clank!” to make sure it wasn’t a neighboring

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The movie “Wedding Crashers” was filmed throughout the area, including the Inn at Perry Cabin of which we had a lovely view from our anchorage.

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Early on Tuesday morning we said farewell (again) to Por Dos and made ourselves ready to go ashore. A reliable source had deemed St. Michaels “the Nantucket of the Chesapeake.” We hoped our agenda entailing museum and brewery would be comparable to those in Nantucket, both of which we have fond memories. First stop, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. This 18-acre, waterfront museum houses a number of exhibits highlighting the history and culture of the ever changing bay. We really enjoyed these interactive exhibits. Well worth the stop!

In the Boat Yard, we spoke with a volunteer to learn about their current projects. The museum runs an apprentice program for boat building and also restores boats. Their biggest project at the moment is restoration of a skipjack boat which was once used to oyster on the Chesapeake. The volunteer demonstrated to us how a square, tapered wooden mast becomes circular.
View of the Boat Yard from the Hooper Straight Lighthouse

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Skipjack

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Other Projects at the Yard

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Forming of a Mast

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The Hooper Straight Lighthouse was moved to the museum in 1966; it was actually split in two halves upper and lower and shipped to its current location via tug boats. This was a screwpile lighthouse; named so because each piling upon which it rested was literally screwed into the ground. The lower portion of the lighthouse was the light-keeper’s quarters; office, kitchen, bedroom. The upper portion of the lighthouse contained the fog bell, another sleeping area, and of course the lantern at the tip-top. We were able to learn about a light-keeper’s lifestyle and walk around the tip-top. Can you spot Rode Trip from this bird’s-eye-view?

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The At Play on the Bay exhibit showed us the transformation of the bay from watermen’s working grounds to vacationers’ playground. Nowadays the Chesapeake is a conglomeration of work and play with crabbing, oystering, fishing, recreational fishing, vacation homes, permanent homes, sailing, and motor boating. I enjoyed looking at old photographs, Brian was interested in the canoe hull racing sailboats. Here and throughout the museum we took a walk in Chesapeakers’ shoes by reading quotes from people who spent their time living and vacationing on the bay.

Brian tried his hand at oystering at Waterman’s Wharf which depicted a typical waterman’s shanty and methods for crabbing, trapping eels, and oystering. At the Small Boat Shed we learned about picking crabs and read quotes from some of the best pickers in the industry. Picking crab hasn’t changed much over the years.

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We learned the power of tug boats in the Steamboat Building where tugs are the current display. We both failed miserably at tugging a barge through a narrow river; made it through the bridge but not even close to rounding the next corner.

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If fishing doesn’t pan out…Brian plans to get out the BIG guns. After our tour through the Waterfowling exhibit, duck hunting seemed promising for our cruising budget. One shot equals 30 ducks. Now that is how you really kill two birds with one stone! Numerous ducks and geese heading south converge in the Chesapeake. It was once prime grounds for hunting.

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After our half day at the museum we were nearly spent so we refreshed ourselves with a trip to the Eastern Shore Brewery. This brewery really did get our vote for delicious beers all around! My pick was the Duck Duck Goose Porter and Brian’s pick was the Knot So Pale Ale IPA. But truly, all of the beers had great flavor and we enjoyed even those that aren’t our favorite types. We also had great conversation with Zac, the assistant brewer/bartender. We met a very nice couple from PA and hope they continue to enjoy time spent with family on the homestead while we will try to stay safe and enjoy our travels.

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A walk through historic St. Mary’s Square led us back to Rode Trip. St. Mary’s Square is the famous location where St. Michaels became the “town that fooled the British” during the War of 1812. The townspeople hoisted lanterns into the trees to fool British troops into aiming too high when firing at the town. The guise worked!

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We hurriedly prepared for departure in order to reach Wye River before sunset as we hoped to find a more comfortable anchorage there.

2 thoughts on “St. Michaels, MD – October 8-9, 2012

  1. Thanks, I enjoyed the report on the Maritime Museum. I think I need to add that to the itinerary for my trip in November.
    –Mark

  2. I think we met the boat that told you to bugger off (Marta says it wasn’t) – two days ago we tried to anchor 3 boat lengths in front of him (150′) and he came out and yelled that we were over his anchor and insisted we move. I checked with him and he had 85′ of chain out so we were at least a boat length from his anchor but he wouldn’t believe it. We gave up and moved, but he was clearly incompetent – to start with 85′ of chain out in 8 feet of water in a tight anchorage with less than 10 knots of wind forecast is ridiculous – 2nd he had no idea of where his anchor was or how far 85′ is – and 3rd even if we had been sitting near his anchor, that is pretty normal for a tight anchorage though it does mean you might have to move when he tries to pick it up. He’ll have fun when he gets to the Caribbean or Bahamas!

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