Thursday, October 30, 2014

At The Bridge

We got up at the crack of dawn to get on our way. However, the big hold up for the day is our bridge tender. He thinks it is too foggy to open the bridge. What do you think?

So, it used to be that boats could be trusted to travel in bad weather. I guess those days are gone. So we sit and play at keeping stations. Mike has threatened to turn off the engines to check the oil. He thinks that will motivate the bridge tender. Carol pointed out that we might end up on the banks of the canal. Only, as usual, she said it more politely. She said, "I would prefer that you NOT turn off the engines at this time." She did use her best teacher voice- the one that warns you of dire consequences. Mike did not turn off the engines. And still we wait.

Why You Should Visit Cape Charles

Friends had told us that we needed to include Cape Charles on future itineraries. Carol really wanted to go. We thought this trip would be the perfect time to make that visit happen. We are certainly glad we did. And now, we think you should plan to visit, too. And, I need to tell you why.

Let's start with the Town Harbor Marina. The price is better than just right. As of October 2014, the off season price is just $1.50 a foot. The pump out is just one dollar. The bathrooms are clean. The showers have lots of hot water. The hands working there are courteous as well as efficient. Yes, we did notice that a cement manufacturing plant is right across the way. But, it was not as annoying as others have reported. Also, it has been reported that this marina is really far from town. There is actually a path from The Shanty across the railroad tracks to the Main Street through town. And, it is not that far to walk. Better yet, the path ends right in front of the Brown Dog Ice Cream Shop! And, the shop next to it plans to sell frozen yogurt! 

Cape Charles also has a great old fashioned hardware store. The aisles are narrow, and there is 'stuff' overflowing into the aisles. They have a nice selection of marine hardware as well. The staff not only knows hardware, but they can tell you all about the town and the other shops. That's how we found out that Vance's Furniture refills propane bottles! It's a bit of a walk from the marina, but it can be done.  We also learned that Vance's is a third generation family business that started with propane!

Also, do not skip Gull Hummock, the wine store. It has many things a boater might look for in town. They have a large selection of wines as well as craft beers. They have cheeses, chocolates, and ice cream. They even offer a small selection of gluten free foods. The Gull Hummock may not be able to meet all your needs for groceries, but it will appeal to the gourmets on board your boat.

The public library sells some books and gives away magazines. And, they have a very nice computer lab. It's worth a stop, especially since it is housed in an old bank building. 

Finally, back to the marina and The Shanty restaurant. Once again, Dear Readers, put it on your list of places to eat should you be traveling near Cape Charles. The food is so good. The ambience is very much a seaside shanty. And, the service is just superb. Our hostess/waitress really knew her business. She was smart, funny, and efficient. She remembered preferences, and she made sure the water glasses stayed full. We had a great meal at lunch followed by another great meal at dinner. According to the local brochures, there are lots of great places to eat in town. I can't talk about the others because we couldn't resist going back to The Shanty.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dinner Tonight

Tonight was Susan's turn to cook---YAY! So, of course, we ate very well. Tonight's menu featured
Chicken Marsala with a salad. The salad had lots of baby greens, blueberries, raspberries, and candied pecans. We were supposed to have gingersnaps with pumpkin cream cheese and whipped cream for dessert, but we ate way too much of the good dinner food. There was no room left for the gingersnaps.

We dined al fresco on our lovely outdoor area. Just to make it perfect, our table featured the newest addition to LUX. Susan's daughter, Laura, sent us a gift.

Yes, she sent us a flamingo LED light. Very cool, huh? It certainly added to the ambience for the evening. We had a great time tied up to the dock here at the visitors center for the Great Dismal Swamp.

Cape Charles - Worth the Visit

Well, we made it to Cape Charles in really good time. The sailors on board said it was a great day. I think they said that because the day was like being on a monohull- lots of bouncing, waves over the bow, etc. As a result, we found ourselves in Cape Charles just in time to enjoy lunch at the Shanty Restaurant.  And, that was the best decision. The Shanty sits right in the marina. It has that on the waterfront dive vibe going for it. But, the food was exceptional. The menu features lots of locally sourced fresh foods. And, they were prepared to just the point of yummy. The crab cake was so tasty. The fish and chips were crispy as well as flaky. And, the Shanty burger was perfect.

After lunch, we took a walk into town to try to find the local ice cream shop. The Brown Dog makes all its own ice cream, so we were dying to try it. We found the shop immediately. And, no surprise, it had closed for the season. However, the sign in the window did say that we could enjoy Brown Dog ice cream up the street at the coffee shop. So we set off in search of the coffee shop.

Along the way, we ran into the nicest man outside the hardware store. He asked what we were looking for, and then told us the bad news. The coffee shop is closed on Tuesdays! BUT, we could get a pint of the ice cream at the OTHER end of town at the wine shop. Ah, a perfect combination- wine and ice cream. But first, we took a detour through the hardware store.

WOW! Talk about your old time hardware store. If this place doesn't have it, you didn't need it! It was definitely a store that could be on the historic register. As you might have guessed, Michael did find something to buy.

So we took off for the wine store. Believe it or not, it was OPEN. And, it was an incredible wine store. What a variety of wines AND craft beers. And olive oils. And gluten free foods. AND, best of all, a freezer with pints of Brown Dog ice cream. Mike bought wine and a pint of Muddy Hummock ice cream. Believe me, any trip to Cape Charles has to include a trip to Gull Hummock, the super wine store!

Back at the boat, Mike and Carol decided to walk off with the propane bottle to get it filled. They had to walk to the end of town to Vance's Furniture Store- the best place in town to get propane tanks filled. Meanwhile, Susan called to say she was on her way. We were able to have Susan pick up Mike and Carol! It all worked out so nicely.

Finally, we decided that the Shanty was so very nice that we would need to go back for dinner! Even yummier on the second visit. Wow! What a great place. The food was, yet again, just wonderful. But, it was outshined by the wonderful dessert.

Yes, that would be apple pie with salted caramel ice cream. The ice cream was made just for The Shanty by Brown Dog. Ohhhhh.... It was so good. We are DEFINITELY coming back to this place again.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Another Beautiful Morning

We woke up to another beautiful morning in another beautiful anchorage. Now, we have headed off toward Cape Charles.

A note just for Linda-- look, the frames have a midpoint so that the horizons are lined up, if you want to play with the picture. Just for you, I worked to try to get that horizon just right. But, I just noticed that I left a little line of blue at the top. That would be why Linda is the photographer, and I am not.

On to the true issues of the day.....

I did not hop right out of bed today. That left Mike in charge. There was no Peggy to manage the morning beverages. The "regular" drill is to fill up the cups of the coffee drinkers and then the water left goes in the teapot. With Mike in charge, the first batch of water FILLS THE TEAPOT! There was NOT enough water for the coffee! And the propane ran out in the middle of the second pot of water! Seriously, I need my sous chef. And that would NOT be Mike!

Also, Carol does not like to play Yachtzee. This will be my third day on the water without Yachtzee. Yesterday, I gave in and played 500 rummy. And, as usual, I lost to our onboard card shark.

But, today Susan is joining us. Ah, reinforcements for the galley management. We will pick her up in Cape Charles, our first 'real' destination. Carol has wanted to visit for sometime, and this trip gave us the perfect opportunity. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

4 PM, and We Are Anchored

We did get an early start this morning when we pulled out at 7:30 AM. Leaving early let us catch some breezes so that we could motor sail for most of the day. Along with the ebb tide, the breeze let us travel along making up to 8 knots at times. 

At 3:42 PM, we are anchored here in Fishing Bay off the Piankatank River. It's a lovely spot.

You probably noticed that the pictures are not really clear. Even though the weather forecast said 72 degrees, it was rather chilly today. Carol and I ended up making muffins for lunch just to warm up the cabin. Then we spent all afternoon trying to keep the salon doors closed. Yes, Michael does hate those closed doors, even when he can see through them! Oh well.

Tomorrow, we head over the bay to Cape Charles. There we are supposed to pick up Susan. She will be joining us for part of the way south. I am looking forward to regaining a sous chef. With Peggy gone, I am working overtime just to keep up. Just to make sure I am living up to Peggy's standards, here's proof that I did the morning setup last night.

As you can see, everything is ready for breakfast. Yay, me!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

It's Cocktail Time!

We reached Solomons Island at 3:30 today after a great day of sailing. At midday, we enjoyed a great lunch of pumpkin butternut squash soup. Yes, Dear Readers, it was made by me. I am sad to report that I truly miss my companion in arms, Peggy the Sous Chef. We have already misplaced more food than you can imagine. Peggy is the queen of refrigerator managers. Everyone keeps asking where things are in the refrigerator, and no one answers- at least not correctly! Michael has volunteered to take on the chore of refrigerator diving, and he is working very hard at it. Not an easy task when no one knows where anything is.

Meanwhile, here is a picture of the soup. It has a garnish of pumpkin seeds and parmigiana cheese. And, it was yummy!

We made such good time that we arrived in Solomons before 4 PM.

We are anchored in Mill Creek. The cheese, crackers and drinks are out. We'll leave early tomorrow because weather forecasts say the wind will be good tomorrow morning. It promises to be a "wee doggie" day, but only until early afternoon!

On Our Way

Well, we are headed back south once again. We left the dock at 9:04 AM- after a short fight with the dock. The wind is really blowing today, and it was blowing us back and toward the dock. It seems the dock did not want us to leave. But, we managed to get off without any damage. So, it's a good day.

Actually, its an even better day than we might have wished for when planning this trip. Check out our view.

Yes, that is a race you see. The wind is brisk today, so everyone is having fun. We are making 9.1 knots under sail. This is the point where I tell you once again how much I love catamarans. The monohulls out here are really heeling out here today. We are not doing that, but we really are sailing along! We're looking forward to a great day on the water.