Cruising on Last Dance

This blog archives the adventures of Glen and Jill Moore and provides a means of communication for friends and family. Exploration and adventure have been synonymous with boats and water for centuries. The joy of adventures shared while exploring new places and meeting new people has built a strong bond for Glen and Jill. Last Dance is the platform for the exploration.

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." St. Augustine, 354 - 430

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain, 1835 - 1910

"There is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats." The Wind in the Willows, 1908, Kenneth Grahame, 1859 - 1932

"I've never believed speed and ease are conductive to living fully, becoming aware, or deepening memory, a tripod of urges to stabilize and lend meaning to life." River Horse: a log book of a boat across America, 1999, William Least Heat-Moon,1939 -

The Great Loop -- The current adventure is a circumnavigation of the Eastern United States, cruising north up the east coast through New York into Canada, across the Great Lakes to Chicago, navigating multiple river systems south to Mobile, along the Gulf coast to the Florida Keys and back to St. Augustine. This trip by boat is commonly referred to as the Great Loop. Progress and current location are indicated by the red line on the map to the right. It was titled the Traceless Path in recognition of a German sailor we met in St. Augustine who published booklets of his travels with hand-drawn, detailed maps describing his travels across the water as the Traceless Path.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Potomac River

The advice of many was: "Don't do the Potomac!"  The reasoning that Washington, DC, is 100 miles up the river, then requiring a return by the same route 100 miles back, makes a good argument.  Our Land-Bound-Friends may think a 100 miles is a short jaunt, but at 7,5  miles an hour, and less with an unfavorable current, a trip of that length requires serious consideration.  The advice was appreciated, but the decision was to cruise the Potomac River to Washington, DC.  It proved to be a good decision as the river has some interesting places to visit along the way.

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.

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