Friday, October 30, 2009

Rockin in Rock Hall

We had never been to Rock Hall. I am not sure about Steve, but I didn't know what to expect. Would it be like Ewell on Smith Island or more like Tilghman Island? The first we saw of Rock Hall was the water tower sticking up above the horizon. We had motored out of the channel at Kent Narrows and thinking that we were in for a long, rough ride. I had just stowed the mooring lines and was putting some gear away when Steve says, "see that water tower, that's where we are going." Well it made a huge difference in our mind set just being able to see where we were headed. Mary Lou and Fred shot this picture of Spartina and her "lost" sailors pulling into the harbor at Rock Hall.

As we posted earlier, it was one heck of a ride to get us there. And once there, it was still a challenge to find the right marina and get tied up, what with all the wind. But we got it done with energy to spare. (That little bit of energy we had left was for eating and drinking a beer.) And of course the most pleasant surprise was in being greeted by Mary Lou and Fred. Great people and really warm friendly smiles. After they helped us tie up and we exchanged some pleasantries, we agreed to meet them for dinner later that evening. Steve and I headed over to the motel to check in and get our gear squared away. The hour and a half sped by and we headed over to the Waterman's to meet Fred and Mary Lou for dinner.

(That was the first time on one of our cruises that someone had met us at the dock. What a great feeling! Mary Lou had been helpful throughout the summer answering questions about tides, bridges and anchorages. It had not occurred to me that she would be nice enough to meet us at the dock. - steve )

We had a wonderful evening sharing stories about our adventure and hearing about their adventures sailing the local waters. They are very experienced sailors and are involved in all kinds of museums, their local yacht club and other sailing activities. One thing we learned is that Rock Hall has a large contingent of boats and folks from Pennsylvania. Fred and Mary Lou were from the Philadelphia area themselves and have since settled in Rock Hall. During several walks that Steve and I took, looking at the marinas and docks, we noted all the many boats with Pennsylvania home towns. More than anywhere else.

(Bruce is right about the Pennsylvania connection. The charts might show Rock Hall as being in the state of Maryland, but I think it is really part of PA. - steve )

We sampled the crabcakes and Steve made the following notes......Large batch of fresh crab meat, not exactly shaped into a "patty". It seems like it had been spooned on to the platter and broiled in place, brown on top but not on bottom. Taste was good, texture not great. Somehow a splotch of bbq sauce (from Bruce's ribs????) ended up on my crabcake in the kitchen. Bbq sauce tasted ok, but not exactly traditional on a crab cake. Excellent beer, good conversation, life was good.)

Fred and I had the crabcake and ribs combo. Both were tasty and the beer went down mighty smoothly. The dinner was perfect and the company even better. About nine o'clock we said our good nights and looked forward to meeting up again the next morning.

(This was a great dinner. Fred and Mary Lou were great to talk with, funny, very informative about the area and sailing. It was a treat to spend the evening with them - an unexpected and very pleasant surprise. - steve )

As usual, Steve got up early, but not that early as it was overcast and dark and gloomy. The wind was still kicking up and we knew we weren't sailing anywhere. I got up as well and so we got cleaned up and headed to downtown Rock Hall. The sky started to clear. It might just be a sunny day after all. We had a nice walk and along the way we passed the middle school. In the field next to it we saw three nice size deer walking along the fence. They walked up towards us as if expecting us to feed them. Perhaps the locals give them a treat now and then. We easily found the downtown area. (That's basically it in the above photo.) It is one street and a block or two each way at an intersection.

We got some coffee and muffins at a local coffee shop, Java Rock. Steve surfed the web and made a post to the blog. We then spent the next seventeen minutes exploring the downtown. Since it was still too early to meet Mary Lou and Fred, we walked back to the marina and checked out some of the boats. About 9:45 we headed back to the coffee shop to meet up with Mary Lou and Fred.

When they showed up we chatted a bit and then they invited us to take a tour of some of the sights around Rock Hall. (We had already seen the downtown.) We drove over to their yacht club and got a chance to see their boat "Fretless".

We really liked it. It is a Rhodes 22. They have it rigged nicely for camping and sailing. I liked the cabin, Steve said not to get any ideas. After sharing some knowledge of some of the areas they have sailed, we secured their boat and checked out some of the other boats in their marina.

We saw a lot of different kinds of boats including this really classic skiff (below). We also saw a lot of cruising type sail boats. These are really top end boats with all the trimmings. Steve, again, told me not to get any ideas.

We spent the remainder of the morning checking out some local points of interest, they even invited us over to their house. Very lovely. (If it weren't for the mosquitoes and humidity for a lot of the year I might even want to live in this lovely town myself.) We ended up having lunch with them at a local eatery. It was a great morning. After saying goodby, the afternoon was spent doing our laundry and Steve and I doing more exploring around the harbor and marinas near the motel on our own. We ended the day back at the Waterman's and had another great dinner. We had a rockin great time in Rock Hall. Our sincere thanks to Fred and Mary Lou for their warm hospitality.

(Fred and Mary Lou tooks us to a couple of spots on the Chester River and explained the geography up there. It has got to be a great sailing area with all the creeks, rivers and coves. I could easily see spending a week just sailing on the Chester River. Maybe someday.

That evening Bruce and I walked down by the harbor. The sun was setting to the west with dark clouds above us. It made for some beautiful light, warm rich evening light set off against the dark clouds. It would have made for some great photographs of the piers and boats if we had brought a camera. But that was back at the hotel. It was just one of those sights that was there to be enjoyed. You don't have photograph everything, sometimes you just enjoy it.
- steve )


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