The Potomac River divides Maryland and Virginia in an interesting way -- all the water is in Maryland and the Virginia border is defined by the water's edge. The term "separates" may be more appropriate as the river keeps the people of each state apart since the last 96 miles of the river, from the Chesapeake Bay to Alexandra, VA, is spanned by only one bridge.
On the northern shore, up the St. Mary's River, is a college by the same name. St. Mary's College is a boating college, friendly to cruising boaters. The College is a State of Maryland College, designated as their Honors College. The athletic programs focus on the water with intercollegiate crew and sailing teams. The waterfront center has over 40 sailboats and as many kayaks on the docks and the beaches.
St. Mary's College allows cruising boaters to tie up to their dock for a short period and to join them for dinner in the student center. The variety, quantity, and quality of food are more than one would expect at a college. There are at least 12 different food stations, some staffed with chefs who prepare your request to order. Then, the Commons, where students eat their meals, is beautiful. The photo of the Commons below is included to provide guidance to St. Johns River State College as they work toward building a new, more adequate student center at the St. Augustine Campus.
The women's crew team walks their racing shell to the water and practices with their coach observing.
Last Dance shared a dock with some of the College's sailboat fleet.
Colonial Beach, VA, is located on the southern shore of the Potomac, farther up the Potomac.
The city hall has only one parking place and it is reserved for the mayor, who was not using his spot.
Colonial Beach is a weekend resort town, filled with cottages from an earlier era. It appears that little has changed in decades. The architecture is interesting, with many Victorian cottages throughout the town.
Alexander Graham Bell's cottage has been converted into a bed and breakfast, the only one observed in town.
Visitors without their own cottage are served by 1950's motels, reminiscent of the Florida beach motels that have disappeared to provide space for big condominiums. Doc's still has a sand parking lot that was common of west Florida motels of that time period.
There is a beach at Colonial Beach, located on the Potomac River.
And, streets devoid of traffic making it a perfect spot to unload the bikes and tour the town safely while pedaling.
Last Dance was tied to the dock at Nightingale's Motel and Marina, a six unit motel with a dock on Monroe Bay, which with the Potomac River, boarder the skinny, four-street wide penninsula of the southern half of town. Monroe Bay provides a protected, albeit shallow, spot for boats.
The owner's house is located right at the motel/marina. Marine radio is not monitored, so you must contact them by phone. The instructions received when we called were: "We will not be here when you arrive. Just pick a slip or the T-head, and we will see you later in the day." This is a laid-back kind of place. The only disappointment with the Nightingales, was that they did not accept the suggestion that their 1958 Corvette should be the courtesy car for transient boaters.
The Lighthouse Restaurant is located next to Nightingales. The exterior did not suggest that outstanding dinning experiences were contained within. However, it was given a try and resulted in another restaurant recommendation. The cream of crab soup and the crab cakes were the best sampled in the Chesapeake Bay.
As documented in an earlier post, Nightingale's was the spot where Last Dance experienced snow for the first time -- a bit of winter reminding everyone why they look forward to spring.
There are interesting places and people along the Potomac River. It is a place that adds to the journey.