Sure, Magothy Marina looks like a nice, if ordinary, marina. At first glance there’s nothing to indicate it’s anything else. Well, yes, it is easier to get into than many marinas—it sits right on the Magothy River itself, so there are no crooked creeks or shoaling inlets to negotiate. And yes, there is plenty of good deep water—17 feet at the fuel dock, for example, and up to 55 feet in the slips. But really other than that, Magothy Marina is a pretty standard Chesapeake facility. Or so I thought.
The first time I pulled into Magothy Marina was at the end of a long lazy day. Skipper the dog and I had been exploring the river since early that morning, zig-zagging back and forth to explore first one creek and then another. We had lunched late in Cattail Creek and whiled away the remainder of the long summer afternoon poking along the shoreline of this lovely river sandwiched between the industrial Patapsco and the busy Severn. We re-emerged into the main stem of the river after exploring its upper reaches, and my thoughts were just turning to a late-afternoon rest-stop, when we happened to come to a pretty little marina, whose trim docks made tidy alleyways into the river. Magothy Marina lies on a peninsula called Crystal Beach, bounded by Dividing and Cypress creeks. Crystal Beach was the site of a popular summer resort by that name in the 1930s and home to a marina since the 1960s. Since 1982, it’s been a condominium marina, though it continues to welcome transient boaters.
“We never had a transient that had a bad time,” Magothy Marina’s manager, the very un-ordinary Victoria Shiroky, told me as we sat up in her office sometime later. “It’s very quiet and very much like a family here,” she explained. “We have Canadians and Californians who return every year, and lots of ‘Maine-iacs’.” Shiroky has managed the marina and owned the marina building and the fuel dock since 1999. She came to the marina after training as a psychotherapist, but then working as a ferryboat captain in New England, then as a cruise ship captain to the Caribbean, then . . . well, you get the idea: Shiroky is not your average marina manager. Even now that she has “settled down,” she takes a month each year to work with wild animals in Africa through Earth Watch.
But back to the marina. “We’re very family oriented,” she continued. “A close-knit group with lots of activities like potlucks and picnics. But also very welcoming to visitors.”
In addition to transient slips, fuel, deep water and a welcoming community, Magothy Marina has an inviting pool, spotless restrooms and showers and laundry facilities. Groceries and restaurants are beyond walking distance since the marina lies at the end of a winding suburban road in Severna Park, but I’d be willing to bet that the offer of a ride would be easy to come by. Also, there are no repair facilities here. But there is a lovely picnic area and a launch ramp.
And there are people who sit in the shade and play guitars. They were doing just that as I came down the steps from Shiroky’s office. Now that’s not your ordinary marina, I thought.
Severna Park, Md.
Fuel: gas and diesel
Power: 30, 50 amp
Depth: 17 ft or more