Rock Hall & Delaware City, MD

Wednesday morning we left Annapolis and headed across the bay a short 17 miles to Rock Hall, MD.  In a Chesapeake Bay magazine, Rock Hall was ranked number 1 or in the top 3 in many categories for places to visit in MD including crab, food, family friendly, ice cream and a couple of others.  After reading that I definitely wanted Rock Hall on our list of stops.  I had mentioned my findings to the Davis family a couple of weeks ago and they went to Rock Hall and loved it.  So, I was even more excited that someone else had enjoyed it as well.

We pulled into the Rock Hall Landing marina and were greeted by the friendly owner who helped us get settled.  It was another uncomfortably humid and very hot day.  We got registered and decided to have lunch and see town before hitting the pool to cool down.  We headed directly to Waterman’s Crab House.

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It was written up as the best place in Maryland for steamed crabs and had great reviews on crab cakes as well and it was directly next to the marina.  Well, we have a mind to write to that magazine.  We had a terrible experience….not something we’ve said at all on the Chesapeake.  Hostess nowhere to be found.  Then waitress nowhere to be found.  Had to ask for kids’ menus.  Took about 40 minutes for food to arrive.  It was lunchtime and there were plenty of people there but it wasn’t crowded or under staffed.  Just seemed to be run poorly.  I debated steamed crabs and probably should have ordered them since they are supposed to be the best.  But I went for the crab cake instead.  I can’t get enough of them.  I had incredible crab cakes in Crisfield and Annapolis and was really happy with the ones we made.  The crab cake was fine but certainly not the best in MD!  We finished lunch and put Waterman’s behind us.

Next up was a marine consignment store.  It was like a treasure trove for Ben to look through.  And they had a dog.  My kids love dogs wherever we go.  They loved Chessie and kept giving her treats.  And the only thing we bought was a new life vest for me!  Ben has a nice comfy Mustang inflatable.  I’ve been wearing an uncomfortable stiff West Marine inflatable because I didn’t want us to spend the money on another Mustang one for me.  But then there was a lovely hot pink one in the consignment store and now it’s mine!

We walked into town to find the top 2 ice cream/sweet shops and see the cute main street.  Well, it turns out that Rock Hall is pretty much shut down on Wednesdays.  Go figure.  Bad luck on our part.  Both of the ice cream/sweet shops were closed.  ALL of the stores except one were closed.  The one store that was open was a higher end boutique type place.  So, sadly no magnets from Rock Hall for the girls’ collection.  And no sticker for our dock box.  There was one smart ice cream place that was open when the whole town was closed and it was doing a mean business.  Given how hot it was and the almost mile we just walked we got right in line.  We also found this one building with a boat coming out of its side!

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We gave up on town and headed back to the marina to swim.  The pool was OPEN!  The pool felt amazing and the marina also had bikes to use and a playground.  Molly rode the bikes.  Madelyn played with her dolls on the playground.  I hung at the pool to stay cool.

I’m sure Rock Hall is lovely and had we had more time we would have spent another day and given it another chance.  But we had been watching the forecast and knew if we made the trip north to Delaware City Thursday that we could get to Cape May Friday before storms moved in.  So, Thursday morning fairly early we headed north to finish our time on the Chesapeake Bay.  It’s hard to believe this was our last bit of time on the Chesapeake.  It’s been a great month.  There are endless places to explore and so many on my list that we didn’t get to.  But we’re so excited about Canada and want to have a lot of time there before it gets cold.  So we had good weather and figured we should get moving.  The Chesapeake is mostly smaller towns and beautiful countryside as we move past.  It’s green and pretty with large stretches of trees with houses scattered about.  As we were moving north we passed this one area that looked completely different.  The houses almost looked to be on top of each other.  There was beach at the water’s edge.  And all the houses above.  I thought it was unique since it looked like nothing else we’d seen.

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I’m always sad to check off another section of the trip.  Wendy from La Cigale mentioned that people would always get excited for them as they completed a section of the loop and got closer to finishing and that she always felt a little sad.  I fully understand.   That doesn’t excite me.  I’ve said a thousand times how amazing this trip has been.  It makes me sad every time we finish a section.  And yet so happy that we’ve had the opportunity to experience it.  So Thursday we got to the north end of the Chesapeake Bay and turned right into the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.  This is a 12 mile canal cut between Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay.  It saved mariners hundreds of miles when it was first built.  I’ve learned a lot of geography on this trip.  Take a look at Google Maps to see just how far south mariners had to travel to get to the south end of the Chesapeake from the Atlantic and then travel back north to reach destinations such as Annapolis and Baltimore.  We too were very happy that we could take this 12 mile cut rather than heading all the way south on the bay.  We passed Chesapeake City and then arrived in Delaware Bay.  We rounded the corner and pulled into the Delaware City marina.

I may have mentioned it was hot and humid.  Well Thursday was no different.  We didn’t even walk into town.  We were soaked from docking and just wanted to be inside.  Tim from the marina mentioned that in addition to town that if we walked directly behind the marina we’d find the library.  It is housed in an old school building, hallways, lockers, classrooms and all.  The girls love visiting libraries.  It was close by and air conditioned so we headed there.  We walked in and within five minutes there was an announcement that the sewing class was starting.  I asked if my girls could join and the lady running it said of course.  They were going to be making wish pillows – for a tooth or a wish or anything they want.  The girls were so excited.  Madelyn also wanted to look at books but I reminded her we can look at books anytime.  The girls each made a pillow and learned a slip stitch and a running stitch.  The next morning on the boat they got out our sewing kit (that otherwise only comes out when my mom visits) and sewed up another hole in another pair of Maddy’s jammies.  And then they started sewing all sorts of little things for their dolls.

While the girls were sewing Ben attended a briefing with Tim from the marina about crossing Delaware Bay.  Delaware Bay is one of the bodies of water that is not to be messed with.  We had storms moving in overnight.  And more storms late in the day Friday.  Those storms had been moved up a few hours.  Tide and current also play into the decision and the local knowledge is very much appreciated.  Tim looked at the forecast, tide, current and wind and determined that we needed to leave at 6 AM to be in Cape May and settled before the bay turned rough.  Ben was on board even though the thought of leaving at 6 AM is downright painful for him.  He told friends of ours a couple weeks ago to leave at 9:30 AM.  They are early risers and were nervous about leaving so late but Tim was spot on.   So, we were inclined to listen.

After the briefing Foster came to see us!  Anyone doing the Loop knows that Foster is one of the most famous Harbor Hosts.  He is incredibly helpful and keeps the forum entertaining on a daily basis.  He’s the Harbor Host for the northern Chesapeake and Delaware City.  He offered to drive over and say hello.  We invited him to come to our boat so I could get dinner for the girls and visit at the same time.  We had a great visit and he’s as funny and entertaining in person.  And he cares so much.  As soon as I reached out to him he started checking all forecasts for us and agreed with Tim about our travel plans.  He was set to return by boat to Delaware City on Friday for Delaware City Day so we told him we’d see him again if we didn’t make it out before the storms.

Our stay in Delaware City was very brief but all good.  Knowledgeable and friendly marina staff.  Craft time for the girls.  And meeting Foster!  We’re sorry we couldn’t stay longer.  The Delaware City Day parade and fireworks were the talk of the town and we very much would have enjoyed seeing that.

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