Exploring the Quiet East Bay

Septemeber 22, 2022

From Leeds Creek, we hopped down to St. Michaels, one of the most popular resort towns on the eastern shore. We anchored in San Domingo Creek with 5 other boats, finding it more developed than we expected with homes surrounding the creek. (The new dinghy is wonderful, and our well-functioning davits make this attractive rhythm possible. We can enjoy both the serenity of the anchor and the buzz of the area.) We waited until the following day to go into town, per CDC Covid  guidelines and our symptom day counts. Ashore at St. Michaels on Chew Street, a colorful, hippy house with a bright green picket fence, wild and exuberant gardens, and pithy signage greets folks who dinghy in. The town was quiet, the shops easily an afternoon’s entertainment, the ice cream delicious. We made reservations for dinner and then returned to the boat to rest. After eating aboard for a week, we enjoyed sharing a delicious crab cake dinner at the Crab Claw on the patio, watching the activity on the water.

On Saturday we cruised to Oxford and anchored in Flatty’s Cove. In town we walked to the park, enjoying a constant breeze and the shade offered by its mature hardwoods right up to the shoreline. We felt like we had stumbled onto the Chesapeake’s version of Saturday soccer—one-design sailboat racing. Parents stood ashore with binoculars, handheld radios, and snack coolers with the family dog on leash, as they milled around, watching and chatting. We continued our walk along the popular anchorage known as The Strand. The field of mooring balls was empty, but in high season it is filled with both partiers and cruisers on the move. The following day, we returned to town for Sunday brunch on the porch of the historic Robert Morris Inn. Morris built this house overlooking the water in 1710, and it is the oldest full-service inn in America. Morris, himself a founding father, and his son Robert Jr., a financier of the Revolutionary War, would have discussed trade issues and the state of affairs here while hosting other dignitaries, such as George Washington who visited eight times. Serving as a convalescent home for soldiers in World War I and a general store, the Robert Morris Inn has come full circle in offering lofty creative inspiration: James Michener, who owned a home in nearby St. Michaels, wrote the outline for his novel Chesapeake here.

On Monday we returned to Herrington Harbor North for steering fluid and to check out a possible house battery issue. Both issues were addressed promptly and with relatively little ado. In other words, whatever issues remain are not urgent and can be addressed during the winter (i.e. “the 2 weeks prior to our departure in the spring”). Refilling our water tanks, pumping out our black water, doing laundry, and provisioning filled our day. 

Tuesday we crossed the Bay again, finding the passage choppy and rough, and arrived at Rock Hall, northeast of the Bay Bridge and a favorite destination for Loopers on the Chesapeake. We got a slip at Rock Hall Landing, and easily understood its attraction. The marina provides inviting accommodations for groups, with not only swimming pool, picnic tables and grills, but also hammocks hanging between mature trees and 18 Adirondack chairs encircling a gas fire table. A town of 1500 sturdy year-round inhabitants, Rock Hall is quaint and—rather sleepy at this time of year. It being Wednesday when we road bikes to town, most businesses were closed. We chatted with the shop keeper of a lovely little quilt shop attractively packed with fabric, quilting essentials, and classroom space, and I purchased a few yards of fabric that called out to me. Our circuit around town concluded with afternoon coffee and a treat at Java Rock. There was still time left in the afternoon for some cleaning chores, and having eaten at the popular Waterman’s Crab House next door the previous night, AND it being Wednesday, with many restaurants closed, we opted for grilling and eating dinner aboard.

The night Tuesday was a restless night one for us, as the wind shifted and whistled through the jetty at the perfect angle for causing a loud slap-slapping of waves against the bow right at our ears. We lay awake thinking about the weather and the projected high waves the next day. Just when one has plans, the weather interjects with a reminder that there are things beyond one’s control. Meeting Scott, Holly and grandson Wes tomorrow is a “go!” Which side of the Chesapeake we will meet is yet to be determined!

The drawbridge at Knapps Narrows, a cut through that is lined with crab fishing commerce and small homes.
Such a happy greeting to St. Michaels!

One design (sailboat) racing is a very popular activity in coastal life! Each boat has one helmsman, and the races are by age class. Parents monitor from the shoreline.
Sunset viewed from Waterman’s Crab House over the ghostly silhouette of masts.

Java Rock was one of the few businesses open on a Wednesday afternoon.

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