Cruisers make a beeline for the comforts of air conditioning and amenities of Point Lookout Marina.

by Barbara Hampel

It was one of the hottest Julys on record, and my husband Richard and I had been sailing around in the middle Bay, drifting along on light breezes during the day and taking advantage of the wind scoop at night while we were at anchorage. But when NOAA forecast 100 degrees and severe thunderstorms over the next several days, we heard the call of the air conditioner. We called a few marinas in the lower Potomac area to check on wi-fi access, but when Harbormaster Samantha Irwin told me over the phone that Point Lookout Marina also had a pool, we made a beeline for Maryland’s Smith Creek.

After sailing seven miles upriver from the mouth of the Potomac along the Maryland shore, we easily found the zigzagging--but well marked, and deep--entrance to Smith Creek. A cheerful dockhand named Alex helped us tie up to a T-head, and we immediately plugged in the electric. 

Air conditioning? Check!

Internet access? Check!

That done, I headed quickly for the pool. 

Clean, large, refreshing pool? Check, check and check!

With all of our requirements met, I soon realized that Point Lookout had even more to offer. It’s a full-service marina with an onsite mechanic and 160 slips, situated along a curving shoreline with beautiful views of both Smith and Jutland creeks. Within its well kept 24 acres are gardens and ornamental grasses and a pine grove that shades a large picnic area with barbecue grills and picnic tables--plus a playground that includes volleyball and horseshoe courts. There are immaculate air-conditioned bathhouses and a coin laundry. Benches along the waterfront offer a great vantage point for viewing sunsets . . . or for approaching thunderstorms.  
Alex the dockhand had offered to drive me to get groceries when he got off work, but I opted to borrow the courtesy car for the one-mile trip through the countryside to Ridge, the nearest town. There the market has a good supply of most of the items cruisers might need, including beer and wine. 

The marina also has a restaurant, Spinnaker’s (301-872-5020), which is open during the season on Wednesdays through Sundays for lunch and dinner, plus breakfast on weekends. The original building that houses Spinnaker’s was destroyed in 2003 by hurricane Isabel. It was replaced with a beautiful restaurant overlooking the water. We happened to be there for prime rib night, so Richard ordered the ribs, while I ordered a salad and a tender grilled chicken breast smothered in crab meat. Dessert was a mouth-watering bread pudding. All of the food was tasty, well prepared and moderately priced. We did not get the opportunity to visit either of the two other restaurants that are within walking distance. 

Point Lookout has all the serenity you would expect from its location at the tip of southern Maryland, but the marina also hosts a lively event each month during the summer. Check their website (www.pointlookout for information on activities--from car shows to bluegrass festivals and family picnics. 

Point Lookout Marina
Ridge, Md
Fuel: gas and diesel
Power: 30 and 50 amp; $5 and $10
Pump-out:  $5 
Depth: 9 ft
Dockage:  $1.50/foot
Free dockage while dining at restaurant

[11.12 issue]