The Tides Inn's Chesapeake Club Encourages

Good Conversation and Provides First-Class Food.

by Jody Argo Schroath, January 2009

First of all, you should know that we came to the Chesapeake Club at the Tides Inn in Irvington, Va., to talk more than to eat. No, that doesn't sound right. How about this? We came to the Chesapeake Club for the conversation rather than the food. No, wait, let me try again. My friends Dick and Dixie and I picked out the Chesapeake Club at The Tides Inn in Irvington, Va., as a great place to meet for lunch because we knew it would be just right for a long conversation, which was what we wanted to have . . .andbecause we knew the food would be good, the setting elegant and the scenery excellent. Whew, much better.

What we hadn't counted on, however, was that it would be so comfortable a place to chat that Tides Inn general manager Gordon Slatford would eventually have to ask us to leave. Now I personally don't have that happen very often, and I'm positive Dick and Dixie don't either. But really it was all done very politely. And then only because a professional photographer's meter was running and we were keeping him from getting to work. We didn't take offense, we simply moved across the lobby to a well chaired alcove and resumed our conversation.

I don't know why they were taking photos, but I can understand it--everything about The Tides is photo-genic. The Tides Inn has been known to several generations of boaters as an elegant stopover on a trip up or down the Bay or as a destination for a summer cruise. Its location on Carters Creek off the Rappahannock makes it an easy side trip for anyone boating in the vicinity. Its marina is spacious and well equipped and makes an easy pull-in for lunch or dinner . . . and conversation, of course.

Ordinarily, the Chesapeake Club--a name that implies comfort, quiet talk and impeccable service--is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but it closes altogether in January and February, so don't run down there next week. Happily, it was on a sunny Monday in late September that we met there for lunch and were seated by a window overlooking the inn's long green lawns and creek. Falling quickly into conversation--we were talking about the old days of boating on the Bay--we ordered rather haphazardly. Dick ordered a Reuben sandwich, because he always orders a Reuben sandwich; Dixie ordered crab quesadillas with guacamole; and I ordered the crab club sandwich.

By the time food arrived--and I don't mean to imply that it took a long time--we were talking about Rock Hall when it was harder to get in and out of by boat. This meant that the quesadillas and the crab club and the Reuben all went down without too much concentration on our part. But they nevertheless went down very well. Nothing about them really could have been better. I can't so much speak for the Reuben, but Dixie and I split the crab dishes, so I can say with perfect assurance that they were both just right. Large fresh lumps of crab, either packed into quesadillas with a small island of guacamole or stacked deli-high and bookended by toast, bacon, tomato and lettuce. Dick nobly offered up his Reuben to share, but got no takers. (When you have crab, why mix in corned beef?) We consumed everything in sight and kept on talking . . . and talking. Until we were invited to leave.

Dick and Dixie told me they've had dinner at the Chesapeake Club a number of times and said it was unfailingly delicious. I suggested that since we still had a lot more to talk about, they could feel free to invite me along anytime.

The Chesapeake Club at the Tides Inn in Irvington, Va., is located on Carters Creek by boat and King Carter Drive by car. Closed in January and February, it reopens in March. Breakfast is served 6-11 a.m., lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and dinner 5:30-9:30 p.m. Sunday brunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Reservations and information at 800-843-3746

[1.09 issue]