Chesapeake lovers have spoken, and more loudly than ever this time. Now firmly in the 21st century, we have again conducted our annual Best of the Bay Survey primarily online,
and this year some 875 of you took the trouble to vote for your favorite restaurants, marinas, rivers, ports of call, crabcakes, and so on. That's almost 200 more respondents than last year's survey, which was our first attempt at online balloting, and it's easily double the response we had come to expect in the olden days, when we conducted the survey by mail. (Before that it had been by packet ship, and before that, of course, stone tablets delivered by ox cart.) Demographically, the survey continues to closely model our readership, with roughly a 2-to-1 power-to-sail ratio and a slightly greater predominance of northern Bay boaters to southerners (south of the Potomac). We present the results of your votes, category by category, in the pages that follow.

And, following our new tradition, we also present the winning entries in this year's Chesapeake Bay Magazine Best of the Bay Photo Contest. As you'll see, it's a wonderful batch of photos this year, running the gamut from dinghies to schooners, ducks to cormorants, skiers to snoozers. Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all who submitted their photos!

And now, without further ado, the envelope, please! . . .



Where possible, we've listed the top 10 vote-getters in each category, in order of total votes. In cases where we felt the cutoff was unfairly arbitrary, we've listed more than 10. By contrast, in the few categories where the balloting did not reveal 10 clear winners, the lists are accordingly shorter.

Best Mom & Pop Marinas
Lankford Bay Marina (Langford Creek)
Deltaville Yachting Center (Deltaville, Va.)
Worton Creek Marina (Worton Creek)
Rock Hall Landing (Rock Hall, Md.)
St. Michaels Marina (St. Michaels, Md.)
Higgins Yacht Yard (St. Michaels, Md.)
Sailing Emporium (Rock Hall, Md.)
Yankee Point Marina (Corrotoman River)
Duffy Creek Marina (Sassafras River)
Mears Yacht Haven (Oxford, Md.)

Best Resort Marinas
Herrington Harbour South (Herring Bay)
Mears Annapolis (Annapolis, Md.)
Mears Great Oak Landing (Fairlee Creek)
Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort (Cambridge, Md.)
The Tides Marina (Irvington, Va.)
Smithfield Station (Smithfield, Va.)
Haven Harbour (Rock Hall, Md.)
Mears Point Marina (Kent Narrows)
Kingsmill on the James (Williamsburg, Va.)
Bluewater Yachting Center (Hampton, Va.)
Spring Cove Marina (Solomons, Md.)
Bay Creek Marina (Cape Charles, Va.)

Best Marinas for Natural Environment
Herrington Harbour South (Herring Bay)
Haven Harbour (Rock Hall, Md.)
Mears Great Oak Landing (Fairlee Creek)
Spring Cove Marina (Solomons, Md.)
Lankford Bay Marina (Langford Creek)
Mears Annapolis (Annapolis, Md.)
Smithfield Station (Smithfield, Va.)
Deltaville Yachting Center (Deltaville, Va.)
Osprey Point Marina (Rock Hall, Md.)
Bluewater Yachting Center (Hampton, Va.)
Sailing Emporium (Rock Hall, Md.)
Bay Creek Marina (Cape Charles, Va.)

Best Marinas for Small Boats
Smithfield Station (Smithfield, Va.)
Bluewater Yachting Center (Hampton, Va.)
Deltaville Yachting Center (Deltaville, Va.)
Haven Harbour (Rock Hall, Md.)
Spring Cove Marina (Solomons, Md.)
Chesapeake Cove Marina (Deltaville, Va.)
Ferry Point Marina (Magothy River)
Herrington Harbour North (Herring Bay)
Norview Marina (Deltaville, Va.)
Paradise Marina (Deale, Md.)
Yankee Point Marina (Corrotoman River)

Best Boatyards
Herrington Harbour North (Herring Bay)
Bert Jabins Yacht Yard (Annapolis, Md.)
Haven Harbour (Rock Hall, Md.)
Bluewater Yachting Center (Hampton, Va.)
Deltaville Yachting Center (Deltaville, Va.)
Zahniser's Yachting Center (Solomons, Md.)
Tolchester Marina (Tolchester Beach) 
Norton Yachts (Deltaville, Va.)
Spring Cove Marina (Solomons, Md.)

Best Restaurant for Breakfast
Chick & Ruth's (Annapolis, Md.)
Smithfield Station (Smithfield, Va.)
Annie's (Kent Narrows)
Skipper's Pier (Deale, Md.)
Captain's Table (Solomons, Md.)
Ken's Back Porch Cafe (Annapolis, Md.)
Muskrat Alley (Rock Hall, Md.)
The Inn at Pirates Cove (Galesville, Md.)
Boatyard Bar & Grill (Annapolis, Md.)

Best Restaurants for Crabcakes
Cantler's Riverside Inn (Annapolis, Md.)
Stoney's (Solomons, Md. and Broomes Island)
Waterman's Crab House (Rock Hall, Md.)
The Crab Claw (St. Michaels, Md.)
Smithfield Station (Smithfield, Va.)
Surf Rider (Hampton, Va.)
Signals/Skipjack Cove (Georgetown, Md.)
The Narrows (Kent Narrows)
Kentmorr Restaurant (Kent Island)
Skipper's Pier (Deale, Md.) 

Best Restaurants for Steamed Crabs
Cantler's Riverside Inn (Annapolis, Md.)
The Crab Claw (St. Michaels, Md.)
Waterman's Crab House (Rock Hall, Md.)
Harris Crab House (Kent Narrows) 
Mike's Crab House (Riva, Md.)
Skipper's Pier (Deale, Md.)
Harrison's Chesapeake House (Tilghman, Md.)
Stoney's Seafood House (Broomes Island and Solomons, Md.)
Kentmoor Restaurant (Kent Island)

Best Restaurants for Maryland Crab Soup
Cantler's Riverside Inn (Annapolis, Md.)
The Crab Claw (St. Michaels, Md.)
Waterman's Crab House (Rock Hall, Md.)
Davis' Pub (Annapolis, Md.)
Harbor Shack (Rock Hall, Md.)
Carrol's Creek Cafe (Annapolis, Md.)
Harris Crab House (Kent Narrows)
Stoney's Seafood House (Broomes Island and Solomons, Md.)
Fisherman's Inn & Crab Deck (Kent Narrows)
Kentmoor (Kent Island)
Woody's Crab House (Northeast, Md.)

Best Restaurants for Cream of Crab Soup
The Narrows (Kent Narrows)
Carrol's Creek Cafe (Annapolis, Md.) 
Smithfield Station (Smithfield, Va.) 
Annie's (Kent Narrows)
Cantler's Riverside Inn (Annapolis, Md.)
Harris Crab House (Kent Narrows)
Harbor Shack (Rock Hall, Md.) 
The Inn at Pirates Cove (Galesville, Md.) 
Surf Rider (Hampton, Va.)
Thursday's (Galesville, Md.)
Mango's (Herrington Harbour South)
Waterman's Crab House (Rock Hall, Md.)

Best Restaurants for Oysters
Cantler's Riverside Inn (Annapolis, Md.)
McGarvey's (Annapolis, Md.)
Surf Rider (Hampton, Va.) 
The Crab Claw (St. Michaels, Md.)
Skipper's Pier (Deale, Md.)
Harbor Shack (Rock Hall, Md.)
Harrison's Chesapeake House (Tilghman, Md.)
Middleton's Tavern (Annapolis, Md.)

Best Restaurants for Burgers
Harbor Shack (Rock Hall, Md.)
Davis' Pub (Annapolis, Md.)
Smithfield Station (Smithfield, Va.)
Surf Rider (Hampton, Va.)
Boatyard Bar & Grill (Annapolis, Md.)
The Galley (Deltaville, Va.)
McGarvey's (Annapolis, Md.)

Best Restaurants for the View
The Chart House (Annapolis, Md.)
Smithfield Station (Smithfield, Va.)
Hemingway's (Kent Island)
Waterman's Crab House (Rock Hall, Md.)
Harbor Shack (Rock Hall, Md.)
The Crab Claw (St. Michaels, Md.)
Mears Great Oak Landing (Fairlee Creek)
Surf Rider (Hampton, Va.)
Carrol's Creek Cafe (Annapolis, Md.)
Skipper's Pier (Deale, Md.)
Stoney's Solomons Pier (Solomons, Md.)

Best Dockside Bars
Red Eye's Dock Bar (Kent Narrows)
Pusser's (Annapolis, Md.)
Harbor Shack (Rock Hall, Md.)
Tiki Bar (Solomons, Md.)
Jellyfish Joel's (Mears Great Oak Landing)
Mango's (Herrington Harbour South)
The Jetty (Kent Narrows)

Best Canvas Work
North Sails (Annapolis, Md. and Hampton, Va.)
Meade Breese (Rock Hall, Md.)
Ship's Tailor (Deltaville, Va.)
Chris Ford (Annapolis, Md.)
Quantum Sails (Solomons, Md.)

Best Electronics Work
BOE Marine (Kent Island)
Haven Harbour (Rock Hall, Md.)
Bluewater Yachting Center (Hampton, Va.)
Marine Technical Services (Herrington Harbour North)
Bristol Technologies (Solomons, Md.)
Marine Electronics (Deltaville, Va.)
Martek-KI (Kent Island)

Best Engine Work
Haven Harbour (Rock Hall, Md.)
"Myself"
Bay Shore Marine (Annapolis, Md.)
Bluewater Yachting Center (Hampton, Va.)
Deltaville Yachting Center (Deltaville, Va.)
Tolchester Marina (Tolchester Beach)
Cooks Marine (Herrington Harbour North)
Seven Seas Yacht Services (Kent Narrows)
Spring Cove Marina (Solomons, Md.)
Vosbury Marine (Annapolis, Md.)

Best Towns for Foodies
Annapolis, Md.
St. Michaels, Md.
Baltimore, Md.
Solomons, Md.
Rock Hall, Md.
Kent Narrows
Hampton, Va.
Smithfield, Va.
Onancock, Va.
Portsmouth, Va.

Best Towns for Nightlife
Annapolis, Md.
Baltimore, Md.
Solomons, Md.
Kent Narrows
Norfolk, Va.
Rock Hall, Md.
Hampton, Va.
St. Michaels, Md.

Best Towns for Sightseeing
Annapolis, Md.
St. Michaels, Md.
Baltimore, Md.
Solomons, Md.
Oxford, Md.
Chestertown, Md.
Yorktown/Williamsburg, Va.
Washington, D.C.
Hampton, Va.
Rock Hall, Md. 

Best Towns for Inexpensive Docking
Rock Hall, Md.
"No such thing" / "Doesn't exist" / "hah!" / etc.
Solomons, Md.
Deltaville, Va.
Hampton, Va.
St. Michaels, Md. (CBMM)
Cambridge, Md.
Galesville, Md.
Onancock, Va.
Tangier Island, Va.
Oxford, Md.

Best Towns for Families
Annapolis, Md.
St. Michaels, Md.
Baltimore, Md.
Rock Hall, Md.
Solomons, Md.
Smithfield, Va.
Hampton, Va.
Portsmouth, Va.
Cambridge, Md. (Hyatt)
Oxford, Md.

Best Waterfront Events
Annapolis Boat Shows (Annapolis, Md.)
Pirate Weekend (Rock Hall, Md.)
Christmas Boat Parades (Various locations)
Bay Days (Hampton, Va.)
Blue Angels, Naval Academy (Annapolis, Md.)
Harborfest (Norfolk, Va.)
Chestertown Tea Party (Chestertown, Md.)
Waterman's Day (Rock Hall, Md.)

Best Maritime Museums Chesapeake Bay 
Maritime Museum (St. Michaels, Md.)
Calvert Marine Museum (Solomons, Md.)
Mariners' Museum (Newport News, Va.)
Deltavile Maritime Museum (Deltaville, Va.)
Annapolis Maritime 
Museum (Annapolis, Md.)
Nauticus (Norfolk, Va.)
Portsmouth Naval 
Shipyard Museum (Portsmouth, Va.)
Reedville Fishermen's Museum (Reedville, Va.) 

Best Regattas
Screwpile Regatta (Solomons, Md.)
Leukemia Cup (Various locations)
Hospice Cup (Various locations)
Hampton Cup (Hampton, Va.)
Governor's Cup (Annapolis to St. Mary's City)

Best Fourth of July Celebrations
Annapolis, Md.
Rock Hall, Md.
Herrington Harbour South (Herring Bay)
Baltimore, Md.
Solomons, Md.
Mears Great Oak Landing (Fairlee Creek)
The Tides Inn (Irvington, Va.)
Washington, D.C.
Norfolk, Va.
Yorktown, Va.

Best Cruising Rivers
Chester
Wye
Sassafras
Rappahannock
Choptank
Severn
Patuxent
Potomac
Magothy
James

Trickiest Channels
Entrance to Fairlee Creek
Knapps Narrows
Onancock Creek (Onancock, Va.)
Kent Narrows
Still Pond
Mill Creek (Annapolis)
Kings Creek (Cape Charles, Va.)

Best Weather Websites
NOAA/National 
Weather Service (www.weather.gov)
Weather Underground (www.wunderground.com)
Weather Channel (www.weather.com)
Accuweather (www.accuweather.com)  

Best Online Fishing Reports
Tidal Fish (www.tidalfish.com)
Maryland DNR (www.dnr.state.md.us)
Chesapeake Angler (www.cbangler.com)

Best Anchorages with Kids
Still Pond
Fairlee Creek
Rhode River
Dobbins Island

Best Sporting Events by Boat
Baltimore Orioles games
Thunder on the Narrows
Baltimore Ravens games
Navy football games 

 

Photo Contest Winners
Honorable Mentions are magazine-only