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Steamboats of the Chesapeake Step Back to a Time of Luxury & Leisure on the Water
BY SUSAN ELNICKI WADE, Author, Crab Decks & Tiki Bars of the Chesapeake Bay, www.crabdecksandtikibars.com
above the trees at the river’s bend and heard the blast of a ship’s whistle, townsfolk rushed at breakneck speed to the wharf. From farmers, watermen and preachers to housewives and especially children, everyone knew when steamboats arrived in the remote waterside village. What caused all this ruckus? Keep in mind that land travel at the dawn of the 19th-century was inconvenient. Trains were just starting to chug out of urban pockets, horse-drawn stagecoaches rattled across dusty roads, and automobiles hadn’t yet entered the transportation scene. The best way to link growing populations between Baltimore and Norfolk was to master the water. And so a new era of mass transit began in the Chesapeake Bay in 1813 when a Baltimore shipyard built the first local steamboat. “Over the next 120-plus years, the fleet would swell to nearly 600 vessels that reached 300 locations in an intricate network crisscrossing the Bay,” says Barbara Brecher, executive director of the Steamboat Era Museum in Irvington, Virginia. Steamboats changed everybody’s lives in the region. Farmers and fishermen expanded their markets by shipping wares to urban consumers. Once-isolated rural folks received the latest fashions, machinery, books, mail and more. They could travel easily to cities to conduct business, go shopping or visit doctors. Their urban counterparts gained access to new buyers for manufactured goods, welcomed the arrival of fresh foods and cruised to picturesque parts of the Bay to escape city life. 92
Steamboat Era Museum
As soon as they saw puffs of smoke rise
This waterfront boom wasn’t just about commerce. Steamboats were also built for fun. By the mid-1800s, many ship companies wanted a piece of the Chesapeake pie and competed for customers by promising hard-to-resist amenities and attractions. Floating theaters delivered entertainment to arts-starved small towns, while moonlight dance cruises brought music to sleepy harbors. Many companies lured travelers with luxurious staterooms decked out with velvet, crystal and brass, and meals served on linendraped tables. A Chesapeake Steamship Co. menu from 1900 kicked off with oysters prepared five different ways, followed by steak, tongue, lamb, chicken, soft-shell crabs and lobster salad.
Surviving War-Torn America After decades of amiable trade between the industrial North and agrarian South, the Civil War’s maritime restrictions caused the Bay’s steamboat routes to turn murky. When President Lincoln set up blockades in Southern ports to curb the flow of goods and weapons to the Confederacy, access to Norfolk was cut off and travel between Baltimore and Richmond came to a screeching halt. Old Point Comfort became the boats’ last stop south. Fortunately, steady traffic between Washington officials and Navy facilities in Virginia’s Tidewater region kept steamboat companies afloat during this difficult time. Postwar conditions created a favorable climate for steamboats. As the South rebuilt its communities, construction materials and life necessities were loaded into boats’ hulls and carried south. Cargo traffic bloomed, and a heyday even grander than before ensued. Once again, travelers were courted with lavish, swanky ships. Galley chefs dazzled passengers with feasts of local duck and terrapin. Revelers danced their way around the Bay to Big Band tunes on evening cruises. Along the Eastern Shore, Potomac River and other destinations, savvy steamer companies developed amusement parks where city dwellers could find relief from the sweltering heat. One of the most famous was Tolchester Beach, which
opened in 1887 in Maryland’s Kent County north of Rock Hall. Every summer day, thousands of Baltimore passengers took a short steamboat trip across the water carrying bathing suits and picnic baskets. Tolchester eventually grew to 150 acres and offered vacationers a hotel, beach, music pavilion, horse racing, roller coaster, merry-go-round and other fun-filled attractions. By the turn of the century, six steamboats ferried about 20,000 revelers there and back each weekend.
Running Out of Steam Steamboats reached such popularity that it was hard to imagine life and commerce on the Bay without them. But the deck was stacked against the ships, and fate dealt more bad cards than they could handle. They paddled through World War I relatively unscathed, but the Great Depression shrunk passenger rosters and put a dent in the steamers’ revenue stream. In 1933, a Category 4 hurricane shattered many of the wharfs and washed away scores of boat landings.
The best way to link growing populations between Baltimore and Norfolk was to master the water. During World War II, the War Shipping Administration gained the power to expropriate civilian-owned ships, and seized the cream of the steamboat crop for the nation’s defense. Many of the
pilfered steamboats were sunk abroad or sustained extensive damage that was too costly to repair. The knockout blow came from planes, trains, automobiles and bridges. PostWWII America became infatuated with modern transportation. Superhighways replaced bumpy dirt roads, and bridges spanned waterways where ferryboats once reigned. Railroads could transport more cargo and people longer distances across the continent than watercrafts. The 12-hour cruise down the Chesapeake Bay seemed slow and outdated compared to speedy new modes of travel. The remaining steamboat companies tried to win back the hearts of their passengers. They ran ads extolling the romance of adventure on the water and the benefits of a leisurely cruise. Vessels were reconfigured to carry cars, but travelers’ interest was lukewarm and ticket sales sunk. In 1962, steamboat service on the Bay ended, as did an era of elegance on the Chesapeake. ml To experience life during this extraordinary time, visit the Steamboat Era Museum in Irvington, VA (steamboateramuseum.org).
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Liquid Gold CHESAPEAKE BAY SECTION
RETURNS TO THE BAY
Local Distilleries Spark a Cocktail Comeback
Matt Ryb for Sagamore Spirit
BY SUSAN ELNICKI WADE Author, Chesapeake Oyster Loversâ€™ Handbook,weloveoysters.com
Each barrel at Sagamore Spirit is tasted for quality before being hand bottled and labeled.
If you like sweet rum and cokes, crisp martinis, or smooth bourbon on the rocks, you’ll love sipping your way around the bay this season. The Chesapeake watershed is overflowing with new distilleries, and they’re popping up so fast that it’s hard to keep track. At the start of this summer, Virginia is home to 30 new distilleries, Maryland has sprouted 21 and Washington, D.C., claims eight, with many more on the way.
What’s behind this booze bonanza? One factor is demand for drinking and eating local wares. Distillers of rum, gin, vodka, whiskey and other spirits are in step with the farm-to-table trend or, in this case, field-to-bottle concept. They blend together fresh ingredients such as sweet Maryland corn, grains from Northern Neck and Eastern Shore fields, and water filtered naturally through limestone springs. As a result, a diverse spectrum of local liquor is infused with rich taste profiles. The local libation escalation is also in sync with the trend in craft cocktails that prompts restaurants to hand out house specialty drink lists along with food menus. To create unique recipes, bartenders are combing their home turf for local spirits and ingredients. In every corner of the Chesapeake, booze makers and shakers are teaming up to design idyllic regional pairings of homegrown liquor with bay oysters, seafood and meat. Chesapeake history doesn’t need to appear on a grand scale to capture the new liquor distillers’ imagination. Many of them dip into their family recipe book or rekindle legends of bootlegging ancestors for inspiration.
Let’s Have Another Round
Good news for our taste buds! A new generation of distillers has stepped up to the plate with a diverse array of local craft liquors, using high-quality ingredients and savvy market branding to revive boozy traditions of the bay’s glory days.
Some of our other favorite distilleries along the Chesapeake include:
Sagamore Spirit Baltimore, Md. Visit the only waterfront whiskey distillery in the USA! Sagamore Spirit, a start-up whiskey brand in Port Covington, opened its 5-acre whiskey distillery in April. The distillery campus features a 27,000-squarefoot processing building and visitors center and a 27,000-square-foot distillery building which is home to the world’s only 40-foot mirrored finished copper column still. Sagamore Spirit is a 15-time award-winning whiskey brand and committed to putting Maryland back on the map as the premier distiller of Rye Whiskey. The vision for the brand started 22 miles from the distillery at Sagamore Farm in Glyndon, Md. Owned by Under Armour Founder and CEO Kevin Plank, the farm sits on a limestone aquifer that naturally filters a unique water used to cut each bottle of Sagamore Spirit Rye Whiskey to proof. A restaurant is also slated to open on the distillery campus this fall. Where to Dock: Tidewater Yacht Center at Port Covington (410-625-4992, tysc. com; 0.1 miles away)
Bad Alfred’s Distilling (B.A.D.) Chestertown, Md. As a family-owned, boutique distillery in the heart of Chestertown, Bad Alfred’s
Distilling or B.A.D., as it’s also referred to, uses grape-based spirits to make their vodka, gin and brandy. The distillery also sources local apples to concoct their apple brandy, and locally grown corn for their whiskeys. Where to Dock: Chestertown Marina (410-778-3616, chestertownmarina.com; 0.3 miles away)
Blackwater Distilling Stevensville, Md. Keeping pace with its philosophy, Blackwater Distilling focuses on what’s in the bottle, offering only the finest ingredients in their “Sloop Betty Vodkas” and “Picaroon Rums.” Blackwater Distilling prides itself on starting each distilling process with raw, natural ingredients — nothing added or removed. Where to Dock: Bay Bridge Marina (410-643-3162, baybridgemarina.com; 1.6 miles away)
Tobacco Barn Distillery Hollywood, Md. As a true ground-to-grass distillery, Tobacco Barn Distillery grows all of their corn used in their bourbon and whiskeys on-site at the farm at the distillery. Ingredients that are not grown on site for products are sourced from Chesapeake farmers and suppliers. Tobacco Barn Distillery is also a huge proponent on protecting southern Maryland’s environment-using a combination of
Chesapeake history doesn’t need to appear on a grand scale to capture the new liquor distillers’ imagination. S U M M ER 2 01 7
11 solar, geothermal and heat recovery 10 systems to supply electricity to 9their distilling facilities.
local distilleries 1
Where to Dock: Zahniser’s Yachting Center (410-326-2166, zahnisers.com, 9.6 miles away)
Lyon Distilling Co. St. Michaels, Md. Lyon Distilling Co. is the second distillery to open in Maryland in the past 40 years. Lyon’s home is St. Michaels, a quaint historic town on the Eastern Shore. Co-owners Ben Lyon and Jaime Windon, both from distililng backgrounds, immerse themselves in handcrafting rum and whisky in old-fashioned Chesapeake style and now also vodka from Gray Wolf Craft Distilling, located within Lyon Distilling. Their recipes reflect the spirit of the bay and sweet flavors of the region. Where to Dock: St. Michaels Marina (410-745-2400, stmichaelsmarina.com; 0.4 miles away)
George Washington’s Distillery Alexandria, Va. After leaving office, our first president ran one of the biggest whiskey distilleries in 18th-century America. George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate was an ideal location with fresh water from the Potomac, a variety of grains and a grist mill already in place. In 2009, the old distillery was
Bad Alfred’s Distilling (B.A.D.)
George Washington’s Distillery
St. Michaels, Md.
Tobacco Barn Distillery Hollywood, Md.
The Ironclad Distillery Co. Newport News, Va.
restored and is now yielding about 1,200 gallons, or almost 5,000 bottles, of unaged whiskey each year. With careful reconstruction, today the working facility produces only a small batch of spirits and is open to visitors from April to October. Where to Dock: Alexandria City Marina (703-746-5487, alexandriava.gov/marina; 9.8 miles away)
Newport News, Va.
The Ironclad Distillery Co.
Lyon Distilling Co.
In 2015, a distillery opened in a historic warehouse overlooking the site of a historic battle in 1862 and used the name Iron Clad Distillery to commemorate the maritime event. Printed on the labels of its small-batch bourbon whiskey is the newspaper headline that ran the day after the battle. With hopes of creating the finest small bourbon available, The Ironclad Distillery Co. aimed its efforts at producing only what it knew best — whiskey. Created from local Virginia corn,
wheat and rye, each batch of Ironclad Bourbon Whiskey is distilled in a stainless steel still and aged for two summers. Where to Dock: Bluewater Yachting Center (757-723-6774, bluewateryachtcenter.com; 6.9 miles away)
Take a Seat and Have a Sip
As you cruise around the bay this summer, stop by and visit the local distilleries. In addition to tours of their facilities, many of them have tasting rooms, pubs or restaurants that encourage you to sample their wares. To find locations along your travel route, go to Virginia Distillers Association (virginiaspirits.org/members/ distiller-directory) or Maryland Distillers Guild (marylandspirits.org/distillery-map). ml
To view this article online, visit marinalife.com/distilleries
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Summer Survival Guide
FA M I LY- F U N P L AC E S TO P L AY O N T H E B AY BY SUSAN ELNICKI WADE, Author, Crab Decks & Tiki Bars of the Chesapeake Bay, www.crabdecksandtikibars.com
squelch summer monotony, here’s a packet of destinations guaranteed to turn temperamental toddlers into cheerful cherubs and entice teens to put down their cell phones. With our Summer Survival Guide in hand, you can experience an enchanting world of Chesapeake treasures, ranging from historic forts to water parks, pirate ships to pony rides, and fearsome battleships to hidden islands.
Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
coral reefs and living seashores, you’re surrounded by tanks teeming with exotic fish.
little guppies’ activity pool and more provide unlimited fun.
Calvert Cliffs State Park
After a short introductory film at the visitor’s center, explore the star-shaped fort that inspired Francis Scott Key to pen our national anthem during the War of 1812. Battle reenactments, awe-inspiring fireworks and engaging guides make this a grand destination for young historians.
National Aquarium Baltimore It’s easy to spend hours strolling through spectacular exhibits, coming face-to-face with schools of aquatic creatures ranging from jellyfish and sharks to dolphins and tiny seahorses. As you meander around displays of
Summer break will not be complete until you release your inner swashbuckler on-board this fantastical pirate ship. Search for sunken treasure, fire water cannons and watch your kids’ imagination soar as they learn stories of the Seven Seas.
Formed 10 to 20 million years ago, the massive cliffs are a timeless cache of remains of prehistoric sea creatures, sharks, whales, rays and seabirds. Fossil hunting, swimming, beachcombing, hiking trails and picnic areas make this an extraordinary summer destination.
Chesapeake Beach Water Park Chesapeake Beach From Memorial Day to Labor Day, your family can splash around in water activities designed for kids of all ages. Water slides, fountains, a lazy river, the
C&D Canal & Museum Chesapeake City To see a endless parade of all types and sizes of boats, head for the C&D Canal. This 14-mile man-made causeway between the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware River is a sight to behold. The S U M M ER 2 017
National Aquarium, Baltimore, Md.
fleet of historic ships and buildings with exhibits that preserve the water culture, history and recreation on the Chesapeake Bay.
Delmarva Discovery Center & Museum Pocomoke City This hidden-gem museum takes you on a timeless journey through the river ecology and human history of Pocomoke River and Delmarva. Interactive exhibits reveal info about wildlife in Cypress Swamp, watermen culture, Colonial times and Native American traditions dating back 12,000 years.
VIRGINIA Historic Yorktown Yorktown The location where George Washington’s troops defeated Cornwallis’ British army in 1781 is packed with historic sites, battlefield reenactments and museums. This charming waterfront town bustles with events and activities all summer long, and you will find family-friendly restaurants along the river walk and beach.
Alliance Tall Ship Day Sails James Trudeau
Delmarva Ballon Rides Chester, Md.
museum is located in an original pump house, and a nearby lighthouse offers visitors a glimpse into the past.
Delmarva Balloon Rides Chester Leave the Earth’s terra firma below to get a bird’s eye view of the Eastern Shore. After ascending about 1,000 feet above the treetops, your children will be awestruck by defying gravity the old1 06
fashioned way to see the landscape from a unique perspective.
Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum St. Michaels Climb to the top of a 19th-century lighthouse, tong for oysters and help shipwrights build vessels in the boatyard. This interactive museum houses a floating
Sailing on-board the schooners Alliance and Serenity carry you away from the battlefields to glide along the York River in 18th-century style. Your kids will love to help set sail, steer the ship or watch for dolphins and osprey while developing a deeper understanding of maritime history.
Colonial Williamsburg Williamsburg This epicenter of Colonial America takes kids who yawn over dull history books and converts them into 18th-century experts. The era comes alive when actors in period clothing portray tradespeople, shopkeepers, slaves and politicians all around the city. Restored buildings, museums, events and activities are geared for all ages.
Busch Gardens & Water Country USA Williamsburg Nestled amid a plethora of Colonial sites awaits a destination where children can goof off and have fun. With both an amusement park and water park, this destination’s got everything from roller coasters and water slides to bumper cars, playgrounds and shows to entertain the entire family. Busch Gardens & Water Country USA, Williamsburg, Va.
Historic Jamestowne Jamestown
Fort Monroe Hampton For 400 years, this piece of land at the mouth of the Bay has played a role in U.S. history. It’s been a fort, Civil War slave sanctuary, prison for Jefferson Davis, military base and more. Recently decommissioned and open to the public, its miles of beaches, historic sites and grand buildings make it a sweet summer getaway spot.
Newport News Park Discovery Center Newport News This 8,000 acre waterfront menagerie of fun is one of America’s biggest city parks. Its Discovery Center showcases displays of local wildlife creatures, as well as artifacts from the Civil War. On the grounds, you can enjoy hiking trails, picnic areas, model airplane flying field, disc golf course, archery range and more.
Virginia War Museum Newport News U.S. military history buffs salute this impressive collection of personal war mementos, guns and weaponry, tanks and vehicles, uniforms and artifacts from 1775 to the present. Must-see exhibits: Women at War and the propaganda poster gallery.
Nauticus Norfolk The massive Battleship Wisconsin docked out front with gun barrels aimed at the sky proves your family is in for a boatload of nautical fun. Exhibits include military technology, vessels in this bustling port,
U.S. naval history, shipwrecks and weather phenomena. The horseshoe crab cove and shark tank are new crowd hits.
Virginia Sports Hall of Fame & Museum Portsmouth This multimedia, interactive tribute to regional champions presents sports highlights from early baseball greats to a Redskins skybox experience. Kids can call plays like television announcers, celebrate college victories, explore sports medicine science, hone math skills through scorekeeping, kick soccer balls and lots more. ml
Newport News Tourism Development Office
Some visitors say the archaeological dig where John Smith built a fort in 1607 is the best part of this destination. Others prefer presentations of life in America’s first permanent English settlement. But everyone agrees the wooded island along the James River where Pocahontas once roamed is ripe for family adventure.
Canoes in Newport News Park Discovery Center
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CHESAPEAKE SUMMER BEGINS WITH YOUR FIRST BITE OF CRAB BY SUSAN ELNICKI WADE Author, Crab Decks & Tiki Bars of the Chesapeake Bay, crabdecksandtikibars.com
AROUND THE BAY, images of the iconic red crustacean appear everywhere — from flags, hats and T-shirts to bumper stickers, menus and refrigerator magnets. Outsiders might wonder about a regional mascot with spindly little legs and oversized claws, but locals see this beloved aquatic creature as a symbol of summertime and a tasty reason for gathering family and friends. The ingredients for an authentic Chesapeake crab feast are quite simple: a bushel of live crabs still kicking and snapping their claws, a picnic table covered with brown paper, wooden mallets for cracking stubborn shells and bright yellow canisters of Old Bay seasoning. A waterfront view and a dash of sunshine set the mood for perfect picking. Patience is required while waiting 25 minutes for crabs to steam, so creamy coleslaw, hushpuppies, silver queen corn and a bucket of cold beer stand at the ready to stave off hunger. When piles of hot red crabs finally land on the table, the bay’s favorite epicurean rumpus begins. Prying the shell open and liberating meat from the muck takes a little work. But when a nugget of tender jumbo lump reaches your tongue, you taste the essence of the bay and welcome the arrival of Chesapeake summer. If your stomach is now rumbling for sweet Maryland crabs, set your sites for these 12 destinations where you can eat your fill and savor the season’s bounty.
Captain James Seafood Palace & Crab House
Baltimore, Md., captainjameslanding.com With a building that looks like a merchant ship docked on Boston Street and a wooden crab deck that floats above the waves, this family-owned restaurant has dished out fresh local seafood since the 1970s. Go for a dozen or all-youcan-eat steamed crabs accompanied by popular dishes such as crab soup, crab cakes and steamer pots bubbling with mussels, shrimp, clams or snow crab legs.
Mike’s Crab House North Arnold, Md., mikesnorth.com
Just off the Patapsco River awaits a crab picker’s paradise that gets everything just right. The long waterfront deck holds rows of picnic tables shaded by umbrellas as red as the steamed crabs and shrimp beneath them. Music flows from the outdoor bar, where cool cocktails and brews magically appear in your hand. The spacious indoor dining area pays tribute to Bay watermen with nautical artwork and vintage photographs.
Jimmy Cantler’s Riverside Inn
Annapolis, Md., cantlers.com It takes five generations of watermen to create a place as crab-friendly as Cantler’s. Daily catch from the bay rolls
in every morning on fishing boats, giving each seafood dish a freshness that’s second to none. Families and neighbors pick crabs on the outdoor deck while children play on the pier. In shedding tanks near the water, crabs molt their outer shells and are brought to the kitchen to become fried soft-shell delicacies.
Skipper’s Pier Restaurant & Dock Bar Deale, Md., skipperspier.com
It’s no surprise that a town like Deale that’s packed with so many boats would be home to a fantastic waterside restaurant. Recent renovations to the double-deck dock bar make sunsets over Rockhold Creek an unforgettable experience. New chefs and an upgraded menu conjure up innovative dishes such as crab bruschetta and crab-crusted broiled oysters. Traditional steamers of crabs, clams and mussels remain big crowd pleasers.
Newburg, Md., gilliganspier.com If you prefer to pick crabs in a tropical setting, this is the place for you. Gilligan’s 1.5-acre beach along the Potomac River, with dozens of swaying palm trees and tiki bars overflowing with orange crushes, creates an idyllic summer getaway. The menu is laced with crab S U M M ER 2 017
North East, Maryland Woody’s Crab House in hot steamed crabs. specializes in delivering r 2 million crabs ove up ved Woody’s has ser er these famous in 24 years. You can ord have them shipped crab cakes online and king instructions! coo fresh, complete with m for more .co use ho Visit woodyscrab n. informatio
dishes and gives a nod to the 1970s shipwreck sitcom with items such as Mary Anne’s Salads, The Professor’s Sandwiches and Thurston’s fried seafood baskets.
Waterman’s Crab House Restaurant & Dock Bar
Rock Hall, Md., watermanscrabhouse.com When a menu touts locally caught steamed crabs, along with award-winning stuffed rockfish and jumbo lump crab cakes, you’ve hit the seafood lovers’ lottery. Plus, it’s hard to resist the spectacular sunsets, live bands on weekends and 30 deep-water slips at this Upper Bay paradise. Caribbean steel drums on Sunday afternoon will make you consider calling in sick to work on Monday morning.
Fisherman’s Inn & Crab Deck
Grasonville, Md., crabdeck.com A trinity of heavenly crabitude awaits on Kent Island: Fisherman’s Inn Restaurant with the Nauti Mermaid Bar, the bustling waterfront Crab Deck and a seafood market to carry out all kinds of delectable seafood. Watch watermen unload bushels of crabs that are cooked to old-school bay standards and then served at your table. Steamed variety pots invite you to sample a medley of crabs, shrimp, clams and mussels.
Fisherman’s Inn & Crab Deck
The Crab Claw Restaurant St. Michaels, Md., thecrabclaw.com
The building was a clam- and oystershucking house in the 1950s, morphed into a seafood restaurant in 1965 and has been a haven for traditional Chesapeake seafood ever since. Waitresses deliver heavy trays piled high with steamed crabs to the waterfront deck, while guests inside the two-story dining rooms enjoy vintage maritime décor and a bird’s eye view of St. Michael’s beautiful harbor.
Cantler’s Steamed Crabs
Fisherman’s Inn & Crab Deck
Tim’s II at Fairview Beach Restaurant & Crab House King George, Va., tims2.com
Dining out on a long wooden pier with a panoramic view is hard to beat. Tim’s II has that fun waterfront set-up yet takes things up a notch with 12-foot tall red and yellow plastic palm trees, a beach area, live bands and cocktail tables sunk waist-high in the waves. Classic bay seafood dominates the menu with hot crabs, steamed shrimp and fish tacos leading the pack. Sunsets here are legendary.
Urbanna Seafood Market & Raw Bar
Urbanna, Va., urbannarawbar.com The amiable market staff offers to wrap up seafood meals as carry-out, but the location along Robinson Creek is so lovely you’ll want to dock your boat and stay for a while. Red and blue tarps are stretched across the wooden deck to protect diners from the sun’s rays while they devour scrumptious home-style seafood. Steamer buckets of crabs, shrimp, clams and mussels are ideal for lazy summer days. The oysters are phenomenal.
Cape Charles, Va., shantycc.com It’s new but authentic, traditional yet innovative. With only a few years under its dining service belt, The Shanty artfully combines opposing culinary concepts by tapping into the easy-going spirit of Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Food here is simple and fresh – pulled straight out of the bay just before it hits your plate. After a hearty meal, parents can soak up magnificent views while kids keep themselves busy with cornhole and other games.
Crab Shack Seafood Restaurant Newport News, Va., crabshackonthejames.com
Located between a beach area and fishing pier overlooking the James River, this place is all about water, sun and local seafood. Since 1993, it has specialized in steamed hard-shell crabs and sautéed soft shells that are nurtured in shedding tanks on site. An impressive raw bar is stocked with regionally harvested oysters. The casual, family-friendly atmosphere makes it a terrific place to bring the entire crew for the day. ml
To view this article online, visit marinalife.com/crabdecks
Crab Feast Maryland Crab Soup
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^ŝŐŶĂŶĞǁƐĞĂƐŽŶĂůƐůŝƉůĞĂƐĞΘGET 1 MONTH FREE!
Brokerage boats get discounted slip rates
DOCKMASTER’S OFFICE: 410-732-1049 1001 Fells Street, Baltimore, MD 21231 • HendersonsWharfMarina.com