Baltimore is a great starting point for your journey this summer exploring parts of the middle and upper Chesapeake Bay. The city has been through a tough time lately but we love it as much as ever. Now is the time to visit! You could spend several days in the city, checking out the National Aquarium and its award-winning blacktip reef exhibit, visiting the Science Center, exploring the American Visionary Arts Museum or cheering on the Orioles at Camden Yards — all of this is within walking distance of most of the area’s marinas.
Baltimore is famous for its distinct, unique neighborhoods that line the waterfront, including Federal Hill, Inner Harbor, Harbor East, Little Italy, Fells Point and Canton. No matter which marina and neighborhood you choose, it’s easy to get around — water taxi, bike, dingy and regular taxis abound, and a seven-mile pedestrian promenade wraps around the waterfront. Marina options are plentiful, too — there’s BMC at Harborview near Federal Hill; BMC at Inner Harbor in the Inner Harbor; Harbor East Marina in Harbor East, the closest to Little italy; the Crescent Marina and Henderson’s Wharf in Fells Point; and BMC at Lighthouse Point Center and Anchorage Marina in Canton.
Day 1 Baltimore to Kent Narrows – Distance: 28 miles
It will take a little more than an hour to get to Kent Narrows from Baltimore. Kent Narrows is used by boaters as a short cut for accessing the Miles and Wye River or Eastern Bay, rather than going under the Bay Bridge. However it is also a destination in its own right, with an array of seafood restaurants, bars and marinas, and it’s a convenient stopping point before cruising to St. Michaels.
If you are craving the bay’s fresh seafood, you will not be disappointed by the choices here — Harris Crab House, the Narrows Restaurant and Bridges Restaurant are just some of the top-notch spots, many of which allow you to dock and dine. If you are ready for some good people watching and a lively crowd, head to Red Eye’s Dock Bar for the live music, bikini contests and potent frozen-drink concoctions. And don’t miss Big Owl’s Tiki Bar, where the locals gather to enjoy the gorgeous sunsets.
Dock at Piney Narrows Yacht Haven or Mears Point Marina. Another good option is Castle Harbor Marina, only about two miles northeast on the Chester River.
Day 2 From Kent Narrows to Rock Hall – Distance: 15 miles
From Kent Narrows, head north approximately 15 miles to the town of Rock Hall and find dockage or an anchorage on Swan Creek, located behind Rock Hall Harbor. There are several excellent marinas on Swan Creek, including Haven Harbour Marina, Gratitude Marina and Osprey Point Marina. All are on a shuttle route that takes you around Rock Hall.
Rock Hall is still a town of watermen who bring in oysters, crabs and rockfish daily. Visit the Waterman’s Museum at Haven Harbour to learn more about that maritime history. A great way to explore this quaint town is by bicycle. Many of the marinas have free bike rentals. Main Street is dotted with numerous antique shops, clothing stores and boutiques, such as Smilin’ Jakes Casual Apparel. On Saturday afternoons, hit the Farmers & Artisans Market to pick up fresh local produce and browse the many craft stalls. For a relaxing evening, stop at The Mainstay and listen to jazz, or head to Waterman’s Crab House to devour crabs and groove to live music on the outdoor deck. The nearby Waterfront Harbor Shack is a local favorite and offers live music and good food. during the summer there’s a stream of fun events, from the Log Canoe Races (July 18-19) to the infamous Pirates and Wenches Weekend (August 7-9).
If you need to reprovision, Bayside Food is right in town. and if your vessel needs any type of service or maintenance, you are in the right place — Rock Hall has several top yards (including Haven Harbour and Gratitude) that can perform work on your boat.
Day 3 From Rock Hall to Havre de Grace – Distance: 30 miles
Make a 30-mile run the next day to Havre de Grace in the Upper Bay. Havre de Grace sits on the Susquehanna River at the confluence of the Chesapeake Bay at Concord Point and has undergone a revitalization in the last few years. It is now filled with restaurants, galleries, jewelry shops and historic B&Bs.
There is plenty to do, no matter what your interests. For the golf aficionados there is Bulle Rock, located just a few miles from town and ranked by Golf Digest as the best public course in Maryland. The many dining options in town include Laurrapin Grill, known for its locally sourced menu, and McGreggor’s, known for its outside deck and colossal crab cake. Tidewater Grille, also with an outside waterfront deck, serves up everything crab — from crab dip burgers to cream of crab soup. Check out the many museums in town, which include Havre de Grace Maritime Museum, Concord Point Museum, Susquehanna Museum at the Locke House and the Decoy Museum. Every Saturday, there are historic walking tours and you can stroll along the riverside promenade any time you like. If you can, catch one of the great events held each summer, such as the Seafood Festival (August 7-9) and the Havre de Grace Art Show (August 14-16).
Dock at Havre de Grace Marine Center’s Log Pond Marina on Concord Street or at Tidewater Marina — both are just a short walk from town.