Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Charm City Charmed us - Baltimore

Baltimore has a bit of a reputation for crime and unrest - a few years ago we diverted to avoid the city when driving from New York to Washington. We had read about riots and gangs in the news and our US friends talked of a TV show called 'The Wire' about drug crime in the city - none of this painting a pretty picture. That just goes to show how preconceptions and out dated information can be misleading as Baltimore is now one of our most loved destinations in the US. 

We opted to go to Baltimore when the weather started to cool down and we decided we wanted to stop in a marina for a while. Andrew started reading up on marina options in the Chesapeake and we liked the idea of being close to a city and an airport to fly off to see family for a while. Baltimore's inner harbour is one of the safest hurricane refuges in the Chesapeake bay. We started asking a few local people and the response we got was quite different to our earlier impressions - the result was a lovely friendly liveaboard marina in one of the coolest historic districts on the East Coast - Fells Point, Baltimore.  

Hendersons Wharf Marina - Askari just to the left of the crab
Our view at night
One of the many Fell's Point Pubs - several have live music every night and there's always a meal offer somewhere in town
All you can eat crab for 2 hours $30 - coated in Old Bay Spice -such fun
Beautiful Fells Point

Baltimore downtown waterfront
Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse built 1855- was out in the Chesapeake Bay until 1988
Returning to Fells Point in a water taxi- there's also a free bus service all over the city 
Observatory Pagoda in Paterson Park - a Baltimore icon
While we were in Fells Point a two day festival with live music took place at the end of our street attended by over 100,000 people and the celebrations around Halloween were just incredible.  We took a day trip to the Annapolis Sail Boat Show and also spent a day at the wonderful Aquarium in town.  Add in a yoga studio 5 mins from the marina, a board walk that runs all around the harbour, wonderful restaurants, great pubs and a Wholefoods Supermarket - no wonder we didn't have time to update the blog..... 

Fells Point Fun Festival

Fells Point Fun Festival
Annapolis Sail Boat Show
Annapolis Sail Boat Show - Oyster Yachts team as always fabulous
No getting ideas Andrew - although she was lovely.....
We donated the price of our free tickets and got Askari on the transom
Halloween at Fells Point.....
Halloween in Fells Point - all sides of life here - inc a few homeless :-( 
Halloween in Fells Point


You've got it - night stand!?!

Halloween - gay pumpkin!

 Aquarium Day
National Aquarium - just great

National Aquarium - we got a guided tour at the end from the lovely volunteers

We took a two week trip to check in on the family - especially James who had just started at the University of Bath. While we were away our new family at Henderson Wharf looked after Askari like she was one of their own - we were sad to say goodbye to an amazing community of special people. We left our Halloween pumpkin and hugged everyone before making a move down the bay to Annapolis for a couple of nights before heading South.
James in his new home

Lunch with my Mum and Dad at the Hamble during a great walk
Pink Ferry in the Hamble - UK

With Jonathan and Remi
With A's Mum and Dad at a very original English pub

Ledbury Market Square with A's Mum and Dad

Back in Baltimore - we have seen too many flags flying half mast in the US

Pride of Baltimore as we left - Henderson's Wharf Marina behind
Despite significant rejuvenation and investment, the city still does have problems and you need to know where not to go. We spent an evening talking to a young teacher who works in the north of the city and she described a very different picture to the one we experienced where many children have family members who have been murdered and several have no teeth. I would still encourage anyone to visit Baltimore, especially the Fells Point area as its been our favourite city in the US.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Hiding Up River

After arriving in the Chesapeake we anchored up near the mouth of the Sassafras River and had two nights in a really cool spot with sandy high cliffs in front of us and a lake with a beach we could explore by dinghy through a narrow channel. We found the water here was virtually fresh so great for a swimming but not so nice for our water maker, which cannot be run with such low salinity- sadly we only found this out after we used half our water supply to wash the boat!! I am not sure I could get used to this brown water permanently but at least it's warm so we had a few good swims in this spot.
Sassasfras River Anchorage

Up the river six miles was Georetown, we decided to whizz up there in the dinghy to take a look and found a really safe harbour full of marinas and really friendly people. Interesting to see covered marinas for power boats! However, there wasn't really much of a town near the water though, so after a great sundowner with our Canadian Neighbours the next morning we sailed down the bay about 35 miles to the Chester River.

This is a 'Buy' Boat - would have consolidated Oysters from fishermen in the bay

Our lake and beach with Askari out in the bay
We arrived in the Chester River late afternoon and anchored up for the night in Langford Creek - a really quit spot with a few homes and lots of huts on stilts covered with grass. We found out this is a massive bird hunting area - hmmmm I hope it's not the season!

Langford Creek
Outside in the Ocean meanness was heading up the coast in the shape of hurricane Maria, we had decided being far inland was a good plan, the forecast said she was going to follow the gulf stream however hurricanes can find their way into the Chesapeake and follow one or other of the shorelines; so we didn't want to take any chances....

This was Maria on our weather app

Beautiful sunset at Langford Creek
Wednesday morning we trundled up the Chester River to Chestertown - we had such a fun over the next four days, got to meet some great people, had some fantastic crab and felt quite at home in this spot and even flew the drone for the first time since we got it back after it's swim. I made a video it was that nice - enjoy.......

Saturday afternoon after the farmers market, we sailed all the way down the river on the genoa and then spent another calm night in the creek before heading over to the big city lights of Baltimore where we have booked a marina for a whole month!