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July 21, 2005

Back on the Chesapeake and Washington, DC

The last month has been spent on the Chesapeake Bay as we moved north from Norfolk. Our first stop was at Fishing Bay near Deltaville, VA where we visited with our friends the Keens from “White Winds.” Their land base is in Hartfield, VA just outside Deltaville and they made arrangements for us to borrow a slip at their docks on Wilton Creek and we spent a pleasant day enjoying their company at their townhouse and going out to dinner. We met them in Nassau on our first trip south and have seen them several times since then. Peter was a shoe designer before retiring and their son is the inventor of the “Keen” sandals that have become so popular.
This was our year to go up the Potomac to DC and we timed it to be there for the 4th of July. Washington is about 110 miles up the Potomac so it took two day to get there with overnight stops at Glebe Creek and then Cobb Island. To get to Washington you have to pass through the Woodrow Wilson (I-95) drawbridge and because of the heavy vehicle traffic, it only opens once a night! We caught an opening scheduled for midnight and went through with another sailboat that was also waiting and anchored off of Alexandria until daylight. We then moved up to the Washington Channel in downtown DC and anchored. It is a short walk to the Mall and the Smithsonian museums and the Capital Yacht Club welcomes visiting boaters and has a nice facility with laundry, showers and air conditioning!
We did all the usual museums – Air and Space, American History, Natural History, American Indian, etc., and enjoyed the food festival that was taking place on the Mall.
We also walked up to the Library of Congress and both got library cards so we could use the library for “research”. I have always wanted to learn more about the books that belonged to my ancestor Peyton Randolph. My middle initial R is for Randolph. He had one of the largest personal libraries in the colonies and was the senior representative to the Continental Congress. When he died during the Congress just before the declaration of independence was signed his library went to his younger cousin and protégée Thomas Jefferson.
After the British burned DC and along with it the library of Congress during the war of 1812, Jefferson offered to sell Congress his personal library of some 6,400 books to start a new one. Randolph’s books were included. We went to the rare books section of the library and the specialist was very helpful with my question about Randolph’s books and offered to bring several of them out for us to examine! In two of them Jefferson had added his initials by hand on certain pages “numbered” T and J as a way of marking them. TJ apparently had a sense of humor! It was an eerie feeling to be sitting and reading books published in the mid 1600’s that had been owned and touched by Randolph and Jefferson!
We met up with our friends Lou and Faye Font and went to their home one evening and out to dinner with them and their children David and Elizabeth.
On our way down the Potomac we went through the Wilson Bridge with the tall ship Denmark that had been visiting DC. As always, seeing one of the tall ships is exciting. We stopped at St. Marys, MD to walk around the original seat of government for the Maryland colony and the college where Elizabeth Font will be a freshman this fall. It is a beautiful location and friendly to boaters.
From St Marys we crossed the Bay to the Honga River. This is a part of the Chesapeake that is not mentioned I any of the cruising guides but looks attractive on the charts so I was curious to see what it is like. We found it to be another one of those beautiful but remote parts of the Chesapeake and were the only boat there with very few signs of people around us.
By way of contrast, when we crossed back to the western shore of the Bay to Solomons, we were back in high density “civilization” again. After several provisioning runs and a visit to the local West Marine we headed back to the Eastern Shore and San Domingo Creek, which is the “back door” to St Michaels and the maritime Museum. We linked up with new friends Jeri and Mike Innis on “Cloud 9” whom we met at Solomons to go out to dinner and tour the museum. They brought their boat from the San Francisco Bay area through the Panama Canal and have just purchased a 50-foot catamaran as their next boat.
I finally bought my 2 pounds of chicken necks and caught 2 crabs that became a nice crab salad appetizer. With picked lump crabmeat a $25 per pound, catching them is a real bargain as well as fun.
Since then we have moved to Oxford where we are just hanging out, doing boat chores and reading our latest batch of paper back exchange books. It has continued to be hot and humid but yesterday was much better with a nice breeze and lower humidity but it is still typical hot and humid summer on the Chesapeake.

Posted by Dick at 07:24 AM