There are two Herrington Harbors, North and South. Herrington Harbor South is identified as a “resort marina,” and their facilities reflect that. It has a large, flower-shaped swimming pool attached to a bar-restaurant. There are also water aerobics classes, a fair restaurant on site (see my review below), a catering business with several venues for large parties (think wedding receptions), fancy family-style bathrooms with showers, slips for 60+ foot boats and a refueling station. Herrington Harbor North, on the other hand, is touted as a “working marina,” with a number of DIY repair facilities, businesses focused on fixing boats and a boatyard for major repairs. Nevertheless, there is a restaurant (Calypsos) a short distance away, a 25yard long rectangular swimming pool in which you can do laps, the restroom and shower facilities are nice and clean, and the grounds are immaculate. For full time cruisers like us, I think HHN is the better deal while HHS is probably better if you can only spend weekends on your boat. Needless to say, we are staying at Herrington Harbor North. (It also costs about half as much as HHS and, as you know, we have to save our Boat Units for the maintenance and repair of Traveling Soul.)
Shortly after we arrived at HHN, I found Zimmerman’s Boatyard – the same Zimmerman’s that was in Deltaville. Tom Hale, the Service Manager, had the membrane for the water maker and the connector to make the head stop leaking that had been sent up here from Deltaville. I told him that while we were generally satisfied with the work that had been done in Deltaville, we were not happy with the fact that that winch went out shortly after we left. Tom was sympathetic, but not THAT sympathetic. Anyway, we now have Tom working on replacing the winch motor itself – enough with playing around with all the peripherals – when that is done, every component of any significance will have been replaced at least once. After that, the damn thing better work.
Oh, we got some good news. You remember that Boston Whaler that caused all those problems for the winch? We sold it! When we were in Deltaville, we visited Urbanna, VA. We met a dockmaster/yacht broker and mentioned that we were looking to sell our Whaler. Out of the blue he called and said one of his customers had lent his 11 foot Whaler to his grandson and didn’t have the heart to ask for it back. Since he owned a 60-foot Hatteras that was built to carry a little Boston Whaler, he wanted one to take its place. We didn’t make a fortune on the deal, but we did make enough to make a nice down payment on the inflatable we want. Moreover, he doesn’t need the dinghy until we go back down to Deltaville this September-October. This sounds like a perfect deal for us.
With all that good news, we had our share of awkward moments as well. I told you about the toilet gasket. It connects the salt water hose (that brings in the salt water to flush the toilet) with the bowl itself. Connecting it is easy, you just slip it in the hole, give it a twist, make sure the rubber gasket is set and tighten all the things that tighten. It is so simple a five year old could do it – a five year old boat repair genius, that is. I am telling you, I sat there twisting and turning that piece, flipping it on its side, trying to arrange the components differently, I tried everything I could think of, but could not get that connector to connect. In defeat I went back to Zimmerman’s and told Tom that I needed some help. He sent Wade, a young man who graduated from high school last year. Wade took a look at the problem, got out a piece of sandpaper and sanded the connector for about five minutes. Then he put it in where it was supposed to go and attached all the other pieces. Let me say that again. He took out a piece of sandpaper and sanded the piece for five minutes. I could have done that, but I usually think that when you get a widget from the manufacturer it ought to fit into the hole. That just goes to show you how much I know. GRRRR!!!
|Ann marking our anchor chain with tie-downs.|
The only other piece of maintenance we have accomplished so far concerns our anchor. Eventually, I think, we are also going to have to get a bigger anchor, but before we do that we had to re-mark our chain. If you will recall, in the past I have discussed how much chain we need to let out under certain conditions. The only way to tell how much chain we have let out, of course, is to have pre-measured and marked it. Different people mark their chain in different ways. Some use different colors of paint every 20 or 30 feet, but that eventually rubs off in the salt water and has to be redone. We used to buy little markers at West Marine, but those flimsy plastic markers don’t do well when grinding against 220 feet of hard steel chain, so we have started using plastic tie-downs.
We put three or four tie-downs through the links of the chain every 25 feet. We use red for 25’, white for 50’, blue for 75’ and yellow for 100’, then we repeat (red for 125, white for 150, etc.). The tie-downs worked well as a replacement for the West Marine markers, so we hope they will work just as well when they are the primary method of marking.
|Caylin, Gavin and Grandpa playing Tic-Tac-Toe|
I told you that Dave and Joan came to visit. When they come we often go out to eat. So let me give you a review of four different restaurants we have visited since we have been here: Skipper’s Pier (across Tracy’s Creek in Deale), Calypsos (just outside the gates of HHN), Mango’s (on site at HHS) and Restaurant Normandie (in Annapolis). Over the years we have discovered that Chesapeake Bay restaurants that are on or near the water are renowned for three things: slow service, mediocre food and high prices. Once in a while you find an exception, and finding that exception is why we all keep going – that and the wonderful atmosphere and the usually beautiful water view. Now when I said we try to find an exception, I didn’t mean that we try to find a Bay restaurant that has fast service, good food and reasonable prices – we are not that naïve – but we are looking for at least one dish that is good, reasonably priced and/or is served faster than molasses. Well, Skipper’s and Calypso’s did not disappoint; the service was as slow, the food as bad and the prices as high as we remembered them. Mango’s however, surprised us. Now don’t get me wrong, it took forever to get our entree, the server forgot to bring me silverware until she was asked for the fourth time and the prices were way out of line. But we each ordered a cup of Maryland Cream of Crab soup as an appetizer – and it was to die for. Not only did it taste scrumptious, but there was actually extra crab piled in the center of the soup. It was delicious.
|Ann and our friend Joan in Annapolis, |
just after feasting at the Cafe Normandie
Café Normandie is in a different category. It is a small French bistro on Main Street in Annapolis and does not purport to be a Bayside restaurant. Among the four of us we split two appetizers – honey glazed Brie and Crab filled avocado (and I do mean filled!) and had four nice, but not extravagant luncheon entrees. Everything was delicious, it wasn’t THAT much more that we paid at the Bayside eateries and the service was superb. So here are the three lessons I learned: (1) Mangos has wonderful Maryland Cream of Crab soup –go as often as your cholesterol and waistline can afford it. (2) If you want atmosphere and cool water views, and will be satisfied with the equivalent of bar food and a couple of drinks, Bayside restaurants like Calypsos, Mangos and Skipper’s are the place to go. But (3) if you are anything approaching a “foodie” and are looking for something tasteful, you need to go elsewhere – and Café Normandie in Annapolis would be a good place to start. Now see? Don’t you think I would have been a great food critic for the Post, the Times or the local Herrington Harbor North Newsletter? I would call it “The Adventures of a Boating Gourmand.” That way, I should be able to start deducting things from my taxes. Like a boat maybe??
I will probably be able to give you more restaurant reviews in the coming weeks because we have had to change our plans. We were going to go to Gangplank Marina which is downtown Washington, DC and within walking distance to most of the sights we would want to see. Unfortunately, the doctors want to do surgery on my foot on 23 August. I used to be a big-time jogger, running 5-6 miles per day – and then going really crazy on the weekends. Well, I can’t do that anymore and sometimes even have trouble walking any distance. The surgery should fix all that, but I will be in a cast for 4-6 weeks. Now you see the problem. Why should we go to Gangplank to be within walking distance of all the sites if I can’t walk to them? So, I think we are going to cancel our plans for Gangplank, stay here for another month (maybe taking a few overnight cruises), and then head for points south. I know those of you who look forward to the traveling stories on our Blog are going to disappointed, but no more than we are, I assure you. But we will try to keep you interested until we head back into the land of the deadly man-eating fly.
ANN’S NOTES: I have been keeping busy doing things inside the boat where it is air conditioned J I just do not remember Virginia being so flipping hot…Yuck
|Lord knows what can be done with some |
K-mart shelving, a few bungies, and a little velcro.
I am excited about our Boat Warming party and it made me get to some reorganizing that needed to be done. I have been avoiding turning the shower in the ‘train room’ into a pantry… I had to give up that idea and put shelves in the shower stall. Michael wanted them to be ‘ocean ready’ meaning that they would stay in place in rough seas. Well … those shelves and what is on them are NOT…repeat NOT going to go anywhere. Between the bungy cords and Velcro, Traveling Soul could be in the Perfect Storm and nothing would happen to those shelves.
It seems like a lot of the boat repairs and improvements are getting finished. Of course there will always be something that needs to be done on a boat … but the list we had is shrinking. I am so thankful that the Boston Whaler is sold. We have already looked at some dinghies and we are just trying to figure out what kind will meet our needs.
We have had a good time since we have been back in Virginia, having our little car has really made that possible. Sharing this boat with friends and family is wonderful. Spending time with Caylin and Gavin is fun for me, I miss taking care of them, so any time spent with them is wonderful, even if it a cold, wet, rainy day. We still got out to the play ground and had fun … saw a duck that quacked back at Gavin when he talked to him … also saw a small river otter swim under the bridge we were standing on. Caylin was busy being fearless on the jungle gym, she has no fear of heights and will climb to the top of any play structure. That is my granddaughter !!
That is about all for now … stay tuned for the boat warming party results…