The Potomac River Trip with Chris and Sam (August 15th – September 1st, 2017)

It seems to me that it’s all about perspective. Seeing the world from different angles, with different people. Understanding where you are by approaching it differently. Finding new places that you just never knew existed. Viewing familiar sights in a new light. Never losing the love of learning and discovering. Never wanting to stop laughing and sharing and having fun. Never losing respect for those who have suffered. This describes our time over the past couple of weeks, the time we spent on the Potomac and in Washington D.C. with Chris and Sam.

IMG_4262eKirby and I took a walk while AfterMath’s was being attended to.  This is the lawn at Hartge Marina in Galesville, MD

John and I left Annapolis on August 15th and traveled a short distance to Galesville, MD again. Once there, John found a leak in a fuel valve that needed to be looked at, so we pulled into Hartge Marina to have a mechanic check it out. It turned out to only be a gasket than needed tightening and soon we were on our way to meet our good friends, Chris and Sam.

The plan was to traverse the Potomac River with Chris and Sam and make our way to Washington, D.C. Many cruisers spend time in the Chesapeake Bay, but most do not travel the distance of the Potomac River. It is long, 192 miles round trip. The only way back is the way you go, but the voyage was a dream of mine, and John agreed a long time ago to navigate it for me.

IMG_9771Of course we are always happy to see our Coastie friends along the way.IMG_9768IMG_9790And we can never get enough of watching the Navy jets flying overhead.

We started out by traveling to Zahniser’s Marina in Solomons, MD. The marina there had a shuttle, so I was able to provision for us and for our friends at a local supermarket. I probably should have known better, as Chris and Sam showed up on the 18th with two huge carts full of supplies for the trip and countless goodies for Kirby. Groceries stowed, and happy hour ready, we caught up on all of the family news and made ready for the journey to follow.

IMG_9923The clouds were gorgeous that morningIMG_9924The church in the historical park at St. Mary’s College.IMG_9928At St. Mary’s College.  Chris and Sam and AfterMath in the background.IMG_9930The old State HouseIMG_9931IMG_9933IMG_9939No, she’s not mixing drinks, she’s chopping garlic.IMG_9942We enjoy good meals on AfterMath!

The following day, we all traveled to St. Mary’s in MD. We were the only boat in the lovely anchorage, and there we hopped aboard Tangent and took a ride to the shore. St. Mary’s College, in St. Mary’s, is a liberal arts college on the Potomac. It’s beautiful, but really quiet. I’m not sure who chooses this college, but they do have an accomplished sailing team and a park that documents the history of the area.

IMG_9950Waiting for the trolley to pick us up at the marina in Colonial Beach.IMG_9957Aboard the trolleyIMG_9958An antique car show in town.IMG_9970Colonial Beach, VAIMG_9973IMG_9974IMG_9976

On Sunday, AfterMath and crew moved on to Colonial Beach, VA. There we took a trolley ride that we will remember for a long time. It was a new perspective and there weren’t many of us on this 50 cent a person tour. The gentleman who conducted it took it very seriously, showing us the senior citizen center, the 100 year old trees, the local grocery store, the NAPA auto parts store, the swans in the water, and much more. We had all we could do not to laugh out loud as he guided us through town, and it was even harder when Chris and I continued on part of the tour a second time. We stayed on to disembark at the beach, but, although no new guest boarded the trolley, we heard the exact same description the second time. It was all in good fun, though, and we certainly got our money’s worth!


IMG_0002Our cereal and cracker boxes ready to view the eclipse.IMG_9990Our first view of the eclipse.IMG_9997IMG_9996Sam, getting it all set up!IMG_9998Success!

Monday, August 21st brought a new excitement. It was the day of the eclipse and we were not about to miss it! The night before we prepared cereal and cracker boxes according to directions we found on the Internet. We also had paper plates ready with pinholes in them to watch the big event. When the time came, though, we found the best way to watch the eclipse was through binoculars aimed at the sun and projected onto paper with one lens covered up, thanks to my Facebook friend, Orrin Winton, who used a telescope the same way. Sam, Chris, and I had a great time watching what we could and calling John from the helm to witness the event. Unfortunately, clouds came in right at the peak of the day, but we at least got to see some of the eclipse on AfterMath. Soon after, though, a tremendous storm approached and our docking at Occoquan Harbor Marina in Woodbridge, VA became quite a challenge. John handled the wind and the rain amazingly well, as always, and we soon docked despite the horrible conditions.

IMG_9818You have to wonder who lives in these houses along the Potomac.IMG_9820IMG_9822Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home, from the Potomac.

The next day we passed beautiful homes and Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home, which we visited just a few weeks ago with Kelly, Jeff, and their families. It was so unusual, and such a different perspective, to see Mount Vernon from the Potomac River.

IMG_9834Entering the National Harbor.  IMG_0007IMG_0010The giant in the sand.IMG_0014Watch out if you are on the Ferris wheel!IMG_0016Inside the Gaylord HotelIMG_0017IMG_0018IMG_0022IMG_0058The Ferris wheel the first night, all red, white, and blue.IMG_4292At the Gaylord Hotel, a laser and dancing fountain show.IMG_4294IMG_4302Meeting up with a few celebrities at the National HarborIMG_4300IMG_4304IMG_4301IMG_4298Always helpful, Chris found this lady weighed down with bags.  Funny thing, the lady never moved!IMG_4305What trip to a tourist area is complete without visiting the candy shop?IMG_0069I met this gentleman in the old torpedo factory, now a home for art shops, in Alexandria and asked if I could take his picture.  He was from Iran and 100 years old.IMG_0071King St, Alexandria, VAIMG_0080That’s Chris and me inside the new MGM hotel and casino at the National Harbor.IMG_0087IMG_0098New colors on our second night at the National HarborIMG_0127IMG_0155It is so pretty when you are on the Ferris Wheel.

We traveled on to the National Harbor in Washington D.C. I had only seen or heard of the National Harbor when our daughter, Kelly, and her family visited it a year or so before. It is a busy place, full of fun and excitement. There is a beach where a giant struggles to escape the sand, a huge Ferris wheel that is beautiful beyond belief at night, a carousel, a long walkway along the shore, countless restaurants and hotels, and statues, some of which that look so real you wonder if they are just people waiting for tips like those you find in Key West. We spent two days at National Harbor, walking the town, catching a laser show at the Gaylord Hotel, and taking a trip on Wednesday to Alexandria, VA where we had a wonderful lunch after taking the tour along King St. The history in this area of the United States is remarkable, and we all felt like we were living it for the first time. The last night at the National Harbor was capped off by a ride on the Ferris wheel. The top of the wheel is 180 feet off of the ground, and the whole ride is a beautiful and amazing sight. If ever you find yourself in D. C., be sure to make the trip to the harbor to ride this wheel. It is a ride you will long remember.

IMG_9836Ft. McNair in D.C.IMG_0177Inside Trump HotelIMG_0178IMG_0179IMG_0180IMG_0183D. C.’s fish market right near the marina.IMG_0184IMG_0187IMG_0191IMG_0194

Thursday, AfterMath and crew moved to the Capital Yacht Club in Washington, D. C. It is an area under construction, and one that will be beautiful when complete, but it was a bit of an inconvenience right now. The marina is about a one half hour walk to many of the attractions, but the construction added a couple of blocks to the distance to town. Cutting through the construction site each time we left or returned, we were spoken to by workers about our indiscretions; somehow it never stopped us. We had all been to D.C many times and we skipped most of the standard monuments this time but we managed to tour the Holocaust Museum for the first time, the Federal Bureau of Engraving, the Trump Hotel, the Museum of American History, and the Fish Market. The Holocaust Museum was an experience long to be remembered. I don’t think I will ever understand just how it all came to be. How did so many people die for no reason at all? How did people feel right about what they were doing? It is just inexplicable to me. The Fish Market was an eye opener as well. How many of you knew there was such a great fish market right in D. C.? We had dinner at a local beach bar, and heard bands playing in the park one night and ate fresh fish from the market the next. I really never realized how close Washington, D. C. was to the water, once again, a new perspective.

IMG_8425Courtney’s Seafood Restaurant – it looks like a dive, but the food is amazing.IMG_8421IMG_8381Mrs. Courtney and her daughterIMG_8378Mr. and Mrs. CourtneyIMG_8363 copyIt was a rainy night and the tidal surge was up.  Here is the road outside Courtney’s when we went to dinner.

Finally it was time to start our way back down the river. On Saturday, August 26th, we anchored in a beautiful anchorage on Mattawoman Creek in Maryland, and on Sunday we stayed anchored in Canoe Creek, also in Maryland. Finally we moved to Point Lookout Marina for our last night with Chris and Sam. There we had dinner in Courtney’s Restaurant, a real family operation where the dad fishes, the mom cooks, and the kids serve dinner. The food was wonderful and Chris, Sam, John, and I reminisced about the amazing time we spent together traveling the Potomac River and visiting Washington, D. C. in a most unusual way. Chris and Sam left Tuesday to return to Connecticut, but not without leaving us with memories we will always treasure.

Wednesday night found John and me back near Reedsville, VA and now we are back in Onancock, VA where we will meet up with more good friends, Becky, Judd, Donna, and Gary this weekend.

So, we continue to have adventures that are not the norm. It is good to see things in a different light. It keeps us thinking, makes us appreciate who we are, what we have, and whom we love. Our friends make us laugh, keep us remembering the past, looking forward to the future. We find much to appreciate every day. Our perspective is always changing, and that’s a good thing. It’s important to look at the world every day in a fresh new way. And it’s important to live your life to its fullest.

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