Crab and Cheesesteaks (Maryland and Philadelphia)

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We were so sad to leave Washington, DC – we barely skimmed the surface of things to do and loved the camaraderie at the Capital Yacht Club, where we were anchored out. But to keep on schedule for an Atlantic crossing, we needed to keep moving. I usually develop a case of “Departure Depression” when leaving a port, and it can become acute if I’ve really enjoyed that port. Such was the case with DC.

We did an overnight passage to St. Michaels, Maryland, which took us all the way back down the Potomac and up the Chesapeake Bay. We had a lot of navigation lights and some ship traffic to motor through but we were glad to reach our next port in such a short amount of time. St. Michaels houses the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, which is a “working” museum including a working boatyard that builds and resorts wooden boats. Dante had a great conservation with one of the boat builders about different hull types and rigs. (It’s interesting what knowledge boat kids accumulate. In the Bahamas, one child who visited our boat wanted to know all the different types and brands of ground tackle (i.e. anchors) we had on board, while another child who came aboard in Georgia complimented Darold on his varnish job and wanted to know how many coats it took.) The St. Michaels anchorage was just lovely. It was calm and the view of the town was beautiful, especially at twilight.  Nights like that are what cruising is all about.

We then took a short trip across the Chesapeake to Deale, Maryland, where we stayed in a marina (our first marina since Georgia!) and visited with new cruising friends we’d met in Washington, DC. Dante got to take his Lego boat into the pool (his favorite pastime whenever we encounter a pool), and we were able to get Benevento washed and charged up.  Another short trip took us to Annapolis, where we visited the Naval Academy including a trip to the crypt of John Paul Jones (An American Revolution hero and considered the founder of the US Navy.)

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We decided to make a non-stop run up to Philadelphia from Annapolis. This meant going up the Chesapeake Bay, crossing over to the Delaware River through the “C&D Canal” and then going up the Delaware. Darold was ecstatic that we were able to sail up the Chesapeake, due to favorable winds. And because the Chesapeake is fairly narrow there aren’t big swells so it was a very comfortable sail (my favorite kind.) We crossed through the C&D canal at night. The canal is pretty narrow but used by shipping traffic so we had to communicate with some large container ships passing mere feet alongside us (in the dark) as we traversed the canal.

 

 

 

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The next day we found a nice little anchorage just north of Penn’s Landing, which is Philadelphia’s waterfront. We took our dinghy into a marina and explored the city for a couple of days.   For history lovers like us, Philadelphia is awesome. The Independence National Historic Park includes Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, among other historic sites. In addition, there’s the National Constitution Center where you can learn all about our nation’s constitution. Cue the Schoolhouse Rock preamble tune…

At Independence Hall our NPS “interpreter” was a very passionate New Yorker, very well-versed in history, who gave us a fabulous tour with interesting historical tidbits. For example, did you know that Napoleon, when asked (while in exile) if he’d “do it the same way all over again” he reportedly said, “Everyone wants me to say I wouldn’t have made myself emperor. But I am no George Washington.”

 

 

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The National Park Service also has a great museum about Benjamin Franklin. Ben was the MAN. I think his only mistake was proposing the turkey as the national bird. In addition to inventing (but purposefully not patenting) loads of inventions we already know about, he also designed all sorts of improvements for watercraft, such as a sea anchor and a colonial jet ski.

Several cheesesteaks later, it was time to move on to New York, New York..

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