Baltimore's Inner Harbor East Marina delivers service with a smile.

by Ann Levelle

Getting into Baltimore Harbor wasn't nearly as difficult as I expected. We had no hairy run-ins with giant freighters, almost no enormous powerboat wakes to contend with, and Inner Harbor East Marina, where we'd made reservations, was right on the ball.

As we got close, we came across lots of brightly colored flags and the sign for Inner Harbor East. We got our slip assignment via VHF and had no trouble finding it, despite the fact that the 200-slip marina is laid out like a maze. We didn't ask for any help, but guessed it would've been readily available, since the boat we followed in had some dockhands waiting to catch lines.

After getting into our spacious slip--complete with full finger piers on both sides and nice floating docks--we headed to the marina office building. Lined with portlight windows and topped by a giant clock, the squat gray building has a nautical air. Its rounded western end has a wraparound patio. Inside the office we found the laundry, a coffee machine and everything we ever wanted to know about Baltimore--the office was filled to the brim with fliers and pamphlets about sights, restaurants, tours and almost any service you could think of. We checked in and were loaned a power cord converter (most pedestals only have 50-amp service), and given a code to the seriously secure dock gates.

Situated next to the Marriott and the Pier Six Concert Pavilion, the marina is just a quick walk to the heart of the Inner Harbor. The trek is filled with places to stop, too. There are tons of restaurants, the ESPN Zone, the National Aquarium, the U.S.S.Constellationand a whole lot more.

By the time we'd made it to the Science Center, it started to rain--and unfortunately we'd left the boat wide open. We immediately called the marina and spoke to a nice dockhand who assured us that he'drunout and close it up for us. (We did ask his name before he took off, and gave him a nice tip afterward.)

After quick showers in the clean and spacious heads, we set off for an excellent dinner in Little Italy, only a few blocks north. As we walked we saw the water taxi pick up a group of folks from the marina (one of its scheduled stops), and passed several very large condo buildings under construction (a Four Seasons hotel will be built here soon, too.)

On our way back we passed hordes of people in lawn chairs on the sidewalk (across a narrow inlet from the concert pavilion, it's a good place to listen for free).

Sunday morning we walked down the dock past a boat club gathering for breakfast. (Inner Harbor East caters to club gatherings and has a big square portion of dock set up with a tent and lots of picnic tables.) Then we took one last look at the fantastic view of the Inner Harbor, marveling that only a few blocks away from the heart of the big city, we still found a lot of friendly faces, good service and a quiet getaway.

Inner Harbor East Marina
Baltimore, Md.
Power: 30 and 50 amp
Depth: 10-17 ft
Dockage: $2/ft
Pump-Out: Free

[10.06 issue]