For Old Point Comfort Marina, its location is its identity.
by Jody Argo Schroath
There are marinas that have identities of their own, quite apart from their location—the Herrington Harbor marinas on Maryland’s Herring Bay and Kings Creek in Cape Charles come most immediately to mind. Most marinas fall into a second category—a happy combination of location and personal identity. But there are a few marinas that are tied so inextricably to their location that it’s difficult to separate the two. And to my mind, no marina is as closely related to its location as is Old Point Comfort Marina, tucked in along Fort Monroe at the tip end of Hampton, Va. Fort Monroe—with its great stone walls and moat, its tree-lined avenues of officers quarters and its commanding presence at the entrance to Hampton Roads—is so much a place unto itself that its marina seems organically part of the whole. Just as it feels a little odd to be able to walk into the fort unchecked by guards, it also feels a little odd to be able to motor into the marina like any Joe Blow and tie up for the evening. Until a couple of years ago, of course, Joe Blows like me were indeed prohibited from doing that. But now that the fort and grounds, including the marina, have been decommissioned and the Army has packed its duffle bags and moved elsewhere, the public is welcome to wander at will and marina is open to all boaters.
I have now docked twice at Old Comfort Marina and look forward to a third and fourth time. For me it has served as a convenient stop when coming and going from the ICW, which begins in nearby Norfolk. My second visit was this past October, when my husband Rick and I put Moment of Zen alongside a facedock at the end of one of the 10 docks that lie within a long breakwater. The entrance could hardly be easier. From the east end of Hampton Roads, we motored close to the Fort Monroe side then turned north just before the tunnel entrance to the Hampton Bridge Tunnel. We took the first opening in the marina’s breakwater (there is a second at the far end) and found our assigned dock. After we had tied up, we walked down the dock, through the gates and turned right to find the marina office and small ship’s store—which also has a cafe that is open Fridays through Sundays during the season. The restrooms and showers are across the street and a short walk from the dock gate, and although they are a bit of a hike, they are large and clean. After we had checked in, Rick and I retrieved the ship’s dog, Skipper, and walked through the largely deserted and slightly eerie modern-day grounds of the fort across a moat to enter the stone fortress. This was a continuation of the exploration we had begun two years earlier on the trip back to the Bay with our new boat. But the evening came too soon and we had to return to the boat long before we had finished. What better excuse for making yet another visit?
Old Point Comfort Marina
Fort Monroe, VA
Fuel: Gas and Diesel
Power: 30/50 amp