Monday, June 21, 2010

Beautiful Annapolis, MD

Friday, June 11 - Sunday, June 20, 2010
It's official...we LOVE Annapolis! We've spent 10 days here and really don't want to leave. We had a gorgeous sail up from Solomon's Island, with westerly 10-15 knot winds that piped up to 20+ at times. We've taken a US Navy mooring ball in Weems Creek, which is about a mile up the Severn River past the Annapolis waterfront. Cruisers are allowed ("condoned" may be more accurate) to use the USN balls on a first come, first served basis. If a hurricane comes, the Navy will boot you off so they can tie up their patrol boats. Even if you can't get a ball, the holding is good in this beautiful, protected anchorage. There's a dinghy beach nearby, and it's only three blocks to a grocery store, laundromat, bakery, bus stop, drug store, and liquor store. Best of all, it's an easy 20-30 minute walk to downtown Annapolis.

We've spent the first part of our stay here with Rick and Linda (Sojourner), who are in town for a few days before making the 300+ mile trip up to Long Island Sound. It's given us a chance to meet their friends, John and Sandy, on Moonstruck, as well as their land-based friends, Skip and Betsy, who own a home on Weems Creek and look forward to the day they can quit their jobs to go cruising with the rest of us. Rick and Linda have been great hosts as usual, showing us the ropes and taking us on tours of different parts of the city. We've been blown away by the cruiser-friendliness of this town, which certainly deserves it's reputation as "Sailing Capital of the World"!

Our first full day in Annapolis required a tour of the neighborhood near the anchorage as well as a walk into town. Rick and Linda showed us a few of their favorite shops, and hosted happy hour on Sojourner that evening. We got to meet some other cruising friends of theirs, Dave and Lisa, on the catamaran Hullabaloo. They're a lot of fun, and we hope to stop in to see them if we make it up to the Magothy River.

The next day, we had a very serious goal in mind: find a bar with a TV that was showing the World Cup games! We tied up to Skip and Betsy's dock and walked to their neighborhood bar, Heroes. Having been told to expect a little hole-in-the-wall bar, we were blown away by their 50+ draught beer selections. This was our kind of place! We watched the US-England match with Rick, and came back with the rest of the gang for dinner that night. It was a fun spot, and we managed to watch a couple more soccer games there before our trip was done.

Sunday Rick & Linda took us on a bus tour of greater Annapolis. We hopped on the Gold B route to Westfield mall, a huge shopping complex complete with shops, restaurants, a cinema, and AIR CONDITIONING! After spending a few hours in the mall, we got on the "wrong" bus back home. It worked in our favor, because we drove past quite a few more stores that we'd have to go visit before leaving Annapolis. :-) Monday brought a dinghy ride to the head of Weems Creek followed by a short walk to Bacon's, a boating re-sale shop. We had a similar shop in Kemah, but it wasn't nearly as large as this one. We found some great buys, and felt we deserved a reward after all of our hard was time for Mexican food and margaritas at El Toro Bravo in downtown Annapolis! The day ended with yet another boater happy hour...this time on Frank and Joanne's boat, Fantasy Island. Rick and Linda met Frank and Joanne a few years ago, and they just happened to be in Weems Creek with us this week. Frank and Joanne invited a few cruisers over from the anchorage, which allowed us to meet John and Eve on Always and Warren and Bobbi on Grand Eagle. As usual, if a bunch of cruisers are in an anchorage together for a few days, you'll always have a party!

The touring continued on Tuesday with a walk into downtown Annapolis to do some recon work for Rene's mom's visit, plus a walking/photo tour of the city. We rented audio players from History Quest (near Ego Alley), and spent the day wandering around town learning about the city. We ate lunch at the historic Reynolds Tavern, built in 1737 and serving continually since 1742. Lunch was great, but what really caught our attention was the three-tiered plate of high-tea scones, finger sandwiches, and pastries. We're going back! That evening, we enjoyed a final happy hour with Rick & Linda, who were heading north to Long Island Sound the next morning.

The rest of the week involved boat chores, a happy hour with Skip on his boat, a happy hour with Always, Grand Eagle, and Skip on our boat, and dinner at a fantastic French bistro with Skip and Betsy. We really enjoyed getting to know Skip and Betsy, and look forward to seeing them again when we return to Annapolis later this summer. In the meantime, we've heard from our friends on River Rat that they're coming up for a week-long sail. We'll head out in the morning to meet up with them...destination to be determined!

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