Welcome Chesapeake Bay Magazine readers, to what can only be called Best of the Bay 2.0. . . . Bigger. Better. Online. Yes, this year we jumped into the 21st century, eschewing our old system of mailing our surveys via the good ol' U.S. Postal Service to 5,000 randomly selected readers.
While not all bad,the old systemyielded arelatively skinny return of, oh, say 300to 400 responses . . . all of which we had toenter by hand into a database. It was so 1982. So this year we decided to step up our game and move our survey process online. After all, with the introduction of the newChesapeakeBoating.net, it seemed silly to waste so many trees when we could put the survey on our beautiful new website instead.

So upload we did, and to the website you flocked. Nearly 700 of you took the survey online, a tremendous response. And, while the old method of surveying was strictly speaking a more statistically accurate sampling, we were impressed that this year's responses were more or less in line with previous surveys. For example, we still had about a 60/40 split between northern and southern Bay boaters, respectively. And, as always, we heard from about twice the number of powerboaters as sailboaters. We also had an excellent showing from new boaters (those boating less than five years), which just goes to show that our lifestyle continues to grow in popularity!

Now to the other side of the coin. In the past, because our surveys were sent to random readers, it would have been impossible for a business to win by campaigning for votes. But this year, given the vote tallies in a few categories, it was clear to us that some businesses were more aggressive than others in their get-out-the-vote campaigns. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But, at least for this year, until more businesses learn the ropes and the phenomenon evens out, we decided to neutralize the issue by eliminating the usual rankings within the top ten. And so it shall be that, this year, everyone is a winner.

Wait, that's not 100 percent true. We did keep some numerical rankings intact . . . in our annual photo contest! We had a great crop of photos again this year and, as always, were amazed at the talent of our entrants. The pictures ranged from great action boating shots to bucolic Chesapeake scenery to up-close-and-personal wildlife shots.

So, read on, folks. May you enjoy the wonderful photography on the following pages and may our Best of the Bay winners inspire you to visit new places and embark on excellent adventures this summer.


And the Awards Go To . . .

We've listed each category's top 10 vote-getters in alphabetical order. In cases where total votes weren't great enough to indicate 10 clear winners, we've reduced the list accordingly.

Best Towns to Visit with Couples
    Annapolis, Md.
    Baltimore, Md.
    Norfolk, Va.
    North East, Md.
    Onancock, Va.
    Oxford, Md.
    Rock Hall, Md.
    St. Michaels, Md.
    Smithfield, Va.
    Solomons, Md.

Best Towns to Visit with Family
    Annapolis, Md.
    Baltimore, Md.
    Cape Charles, Va.
    Chestertown, Md.
    Norfolk, Va.
    North East, Md.
    Onancock, Va.
    Oxford, Md.
    Rock Hall, Md.
    St. Michaels, Md.
    Smithfield, Va.
    Solomons, Md.
 
Best Cruising Rivers
    Chester River
    Choptank River
    James River
    Magothy River
    Pagan River
    Patuxent River
    Potomac River
    Rappahannock River
    Sassafras River
    Severn River
    Wye River

Best Anchorages
    Corsica River
    Fairlee Creek
    Mill Creek, Great Wicomico River
    Rhode River
    Shaw Bay, Wye River
    Sillery Bay/Dobbins Island
    Still Pond
    Swan Creek (Rock Hall, Md.)
    Wye River

Best Resort Marinas
    Bluewater Yachting Center (Hampton, Va.)
    Haven Harbour Marina (Rock Hall, Md.)
    Herrington Harbour South (Friendship, Md.)
    Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort (Cambridge, Md.)
    Mears Great Oak Landing (Chestertown, Md.)
    Mears Point Marina (Kent Narrows, Grasonville, Md.)
    Smithfield Station (Smithfield, Va.)
    Spring Cove Marina (Solomons, Md.)
    The Tides Marina (Irvington, Va.)
    Zahniser's Yachting Center (Solomons, Md.)

Best Mom-and-Pop Marinas
    Bay Boat Works (North East, Md.)
    Lankford Bay Marina (Rock Hall, Md.)
    Mears Yacht Haven (Oxford, Md.)
    North Point Marina (Rock Hall, Md.)
    Paradise Marina (Deale, Md.)
    Rock Hall Landing Marina (Rock Hall, Md.)
    Sailing Emporium (Rock Hall, Md.)
    Worton Creek Marina (Chestertown, Md.)
    Yankee Point Sailboat Marina (Lancaster, Va.)

Best Boating Supply Stores
    Fawcett Boat Supplies (Annapolis, Md.)
    Haven Harbour Marina Ship's Store (Rock Hall, Md.)
    West Marine (Alexandria, Va.)
    West Marine (Annapolis, Md.)
    West Marine (Deltaville, Va.)
    West Marine (Glen Allen, Va.)
    West Marine (Hampton, Va.)
    West Marine (Kent Island, Chester, Md.)
    West Marine (North East, Md.)
    West Marine (Rock Hall, Md.)
    West Marine (Solomons, Md.)

Best Tackle Shops
    Anglers Sport Center (Annapolis, Md.)
    Bass Pro Shops (Hampton, Va.)
    Bass Pro Shops, Arundel Mills Mall (Hanover, Md.)
    Bishop's Fishing Supply (Yorktown, Va.)
    Green Top Sporting Goods (Ashland, Va.)
    Herb's Tackle Shop (North East, Md.)
    Marty's Sporting Goods (Edgewater, Md.)
    R.W.'s Sport Shop (Callao, Va.)
    Sarge's Bait and Tackle and Marine (Elkton, Md.)

Best Family Restaurants
    Cantler's Riverside Inn (Annapolis, Md.)
    Crab Claw (St. Michaels, Md.)
    Fisherman's Inn & Crab Deck (Kent Narrows, Grasonville, Md.)
    Harbor Shack (Rock Hall, Md.)
    Harris Crab House (Kent Narrows, Grasonville, Md.)
    Harrison's Chesapeake House (Tilghman, Md.)
    Horn Harbor House (Burgess, Va.)
    Skipper's Pier Restaurant & Dock Bar (Deale, Md.)
    Surf Rider (Hampton, Va.)
    Waterman's Crab House (Rock Hall, Md.)

Best Romantic Restaurants
    Carrol's Creek Waterfront Restaurant (Annapolis, Md.)
    The Chart House (Annapolis, Md.)
    The Dry Dock Restaurant (Solomons, Md.)
    The Granary Restaurant (Georgetown, Md.)
    The Inn at Pirate's Cove (Galesville, Md.)
    The Narrows Restaurant (Kent Narrows, Grasonville, Md.)
    Osprey Point Inn (Rock Hall, Md.)
    Pusser's Caribbean Grille (Annapolis, Md.)
    Smithfield Station (Smithfield, Va.)
    The Tides Inn (Irvington, Va.)
    The Wellwood (Charlestown, Md.)

Best Restaurants for Steamed Crabs
    Cantler's Riverside Inn (Annapolis, Md.)
    Crab Claw (St. Michaels, Md.)
    Fisherman's Crab Deck (Kent Narrows, Grasonville, Md.)
    Harris Crab House (Kent Narrows, Grasonville, Md.)
    Kentmoor Restaurant (Stevensville, Md.)
    St. Michaels Crab & Steak House (St. Michaels, Md.)
    Skipper's Pier Restaurant & Dock Bar (Deale, Md.)
    Waterman's Crab House (Rock Hall, Md.)
    The Wellwood (Charlestown, Md.)
    Woody's Crab House (North East, Md.)

Best Restaurants for Crabcakes
    Cantler's Riverside Inn (Annapolis, Md.)
    Crab Claw (St. Michaels, Md.)
    Harris Crab House (Kent Narrows, Grasonville, Md.)
    The Narrows (Kent Narrows, Grasonville, Md.)
    Signals, Skipjack Cove Yachting Resort (Georgetown, Md.)
    Skipper's Pier Restaurant & Dock Bar (Deale, Md.)
    Smithfield Station (Smithfield, Va.)
    Stoney's Crab and Seafood House (Broomes Island, Md.)
    Surf Rider (Hampton, Va.)
    Waterman's Crab House (Rock Hall, Md.)
    The Wellwood (Charlestown, Md.)
    Woody's Crab House (North East, Md.)

Best Dockside Bars
    Chesapeake Inn (Chesapeake City, Md.)
    Harbor Shack (Rock Hall, Md.)
    IBX at Smithfield Station (Smithfield, Va.)
    Jellyfish Joel's, Mears Great Oak Landing Marina (Chestertown, Md.)
    Pusser's Caribbean Grille (Annapolis, Md.)
    Red Eye's Dock Bar (Kent Narrows, Grasonville, Md.)
    Skipper's Pier (Deale, Md.)
    Surf Rider (Hampton, Va.)
    Tiki Bar (Solomons, Md.)
    Tim's Rivershore Restaurant and Crab House (Dumfries, Va.)
    Waterman's Crab House (Rock Hall, Md.)

Best Annual Waterfront Events
    Blue Angels Commissioning Week Demonstration (Annapolis, Md.)
    Chestertown Tea Party (Chestertown, Md.)
    Downrigging Days (Chestertown, Md.)
    Fourth of July (Rock Hall, Md.)
    Hampton Bay Days (Hampton, Va.)
    Hospice Turkey Shoot Regatta (Lancaster, Va.)
    Norfolk Harborfest (Norfolk, Va.)
    Olden Days Festival Raft Race (Smithfield, Va.)
    Pirates & Wenches Fantasy Weekend (Rock Hall, Md.)
    Urbanna Oyster Festival (Urbanna, Va.)
    U.S. Sailboat Show (Annapolis, Md.)

Best Maritime Museums
    Annapolis Maritime Museum (Annapolis, Md.)
    Calvert Marine Museum (Solomons, Md.)
    Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (St. Michaels, Md.)
    Mariners' Museum (Newport News, Va.)
    Nauticus (Norfolk, Va.)
    Reedville Fishermen's Museum (Reedville, Va.)
    United States Naval Academy Museum (Annapolis, Md.)
    Upper Bay Museum (North East, Md.)

Best Boating Websites
    www.boatered.com
    www.boatus.com
    www.cbpba.com
    ChesapeakeBoating.net
    www.noaa.gov
    www.thehulltruth.com
    www.tidalfish.com
    www.yachtworld.com

Best Canvas/Sail Work
    Canvas by Victoria (Rock Hall, Md.)
    Canvas Plus (North East, Md.)
    Haven Harbour Marina (Rock Hall, Md.)
    Meade Breese Sailmakers (Rock Hall, Md.)
    North Sails (Annapolis, Md.)
    Quantum Sails (Solomons, Md.)
    The Ship's Tailor (Deltaville, Va.)
    UK-Halsey (Annapolis, Md.)
    Ullman Sails (Deltaville, Va.)
    Wendy's Custom Yacht Canvas (Deltaville, Va.)

Best Electronics Work
    Bluewater Yachting Center (Hampton, Va.)
    BOE Marine (Annapolis, Md.)
    Haven Harbour Marina (Rock Hall, Md.)
    Marine Electronics (Deltaville, Va.)
    Marine Electronics of Hartfield (Hartfield, Va.)
    Martek (Stevensville, Md.) Middle River Electronics (Middle River, Md.)
    Mid-Shore Electronics (Cambridge, Md.)
    Tidewater Marina (Havre de Grace, Md.)
    West Marine
    Yankee Point Sailboat Marina (Lancaster, Va.)

Best Engine Work
    Bay Performance Inc. (North East, Md.)
    Bay Shore Marine (Annapolis, Md.)
    Bluewater Yachting Center (Hampton, Va.)
    Deltaville Diesel (Deltaville, Va.)
    Full Throttle Marine Services (Portsmouth, Va.)
    Gratitude Marina (Rock Hall, Md.)
    Haven Harbour Marina (Rock Hall, Md.)
    Jaws Marine (Curtis Bay, Md.)
    Long Point Marina (Earleville, Md.)
    Tolchester Marina (Chestertown, Md.)
    Yankee Point Sailboat Marina (Lancaster, Va.)
    Zahniser's Yachting Center (Solomons, Md.) 

Best Boatyards
    Bay Boat Works (North East, Md.)
    Bert Jabins Yacht Yard (Annapolis, Md.)
    Bluewater Yachting Center (Hampton, Va.)
    Gratitude Marina (Rock Hall, Md.)
    Haven Harbour Marina (Rock Hall, Md.)
    Herrington Harbour North (Tracys Landing, Md.)
    Lankford Bay Marina (Rock Hall, Md.)
    Yankee Point Sailboat Marina (Lancaster, Va.) 
    Zahniser's Yachting Center (Solomons, Md.)