Issue: June 2004
Best of the Bay 2004

[06.04 issue]

by Ann Merke


Well, dear readers, it's your favorite time of year again”not only because summer is officially here, but because we're giving your favorite Bay places the credit they deserve. Every year we ask a random 5,000 of you to name your favorite places and institutions on the Bay”from anchorages and restaurants to sailmakers and repair services”and once again you've risen to the challenge. And this year many new favorites emerged in the top 10. Deltaville, Va., and other towns scattered across Virginia's Northern Neck are growing increasingly popular with the readership”Queens Creek Outfitters in Mathews County, Va., topped the list for favorite tackle shop, Deltaville's West Marine rivaled Fawcett's for favorite chandlery, and the Ship's Tailor in Deltaville was the favorite for many in the canvas department.  

If you're curious about demographics of this survey's respondents, they have an average of 21 years of Bay boating experience (though one gentleman has an astounding 84); 66 percent are powerboaters, while 26 percent own sailboats; 60 percent are from the Northern Bay (Potomac River and north); and nearly all believe they're the only ones who know the rules of the road and that everyone else should take boating classes (hmmmmmmm). Clearly, everyone was frightened by Isabel, but fortunately most came through unscathed. And since almost everyone said they planned on getting out on the water more this summer, we have to conclude that she didn't scare you into selling your boats. 

So get out there and enjoy a wonderful season on the Bay”and keep track of your favorite places. Your number may come up for next year's survey.



Where possible we've listed a category's top 10 vote-getters (with tie votes in alphabetical order). In cases where total votes weren't great enough to indicate 10 clear winners, we've reduced the list accordingly. 

Best Town to Visit with Friends
1. St. Michaels, Md.
2. Annapolis, Md. 
3. Solomons, Md. 
4. Baltimore, Md.
5. Rock Hall, Md.
6. Oxford, Md.
7. Onancock, Va.
8. Norfolk, Va.
8. Urbanna, Va.
9. Hampton, Va.
9. Smithfield, Va.

Best Town to Visit with Families
1. St. Michaels, Md. 
2. Baltimore, Md.
3. Annapolis, Md.
4. Solomons, Md.
5. Rock Hall, Md.
6. Urbanna, Va.
7. Norfolk, Va.
8. Hampton, Va.
8. Onancock, Va.
9. Oxford, Md. 
9. Chestertown, Md.

Best Cruising River
1. Chester River
2. Rappahannock River
3. Sassafras River
4. Potomac River
5. Choptank River
5. Wye River
6. James River
7. Piankatank River
8. Patuxent River
9. Severn River

Best Anchorage
1. Fairlee Creek
2. Still Pond
3. Rhode River
3. St. Leonard's Creek
4. Dunns Cove
5. Fishing Creek

Best Overnight Marina
1. Zahniser's (Solomons, Md.)
2. Inner Harbor Marina of Baltimore (Baltimore, Md.)
2. York River Yacht Haven (Gloucester Point, Va.)
3. Spring Cove Marina (Solomons, Md.)
4. St. Michaels Marina  (St. Michaels, Md.)
5. The Tides (Irvington, Va.)
6. Lankford Bay Marina (Rock Hall, Md.)
6. Rock Hall Landing Marina (Rock Hall, Md.)
6. Waterside Marina (Norfolk, Va.)
7. Herrington Harbour South (Friendship, Md.)
8. Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay River Marsh Marina (Cambridge, Md.)
8. Windmill Point Marina (Windmill Point, Va.)

Best Seasonal Marina
1. Home Dock
2. Zahniser's (Solomons, Md.)
3. Herrington Harbour North (Tracey's Landing, Md.)
4. Calvert Marina (Solomons, Md.)
5. Mears Point Marina (Kent Narrows, Grasonville, Md.)
5. Tolchester Marina (Chestertown, Md.) 

Best Boating Supply Store
1. Fawcett Boat Supplies (Annapolis, Md.) 
2. West Marine (Deltaville, Va.) 
3. BoatU.S. (Deltaville, Va.)
4. West Marine (Rock Hall, Md.)
5. West Marine (Hampton, Va.)
6. BoatU.S. (Alexandria, Va.)

Best Tackle Shop
1. Queens Creek Outfitters (Mathews County, Va.)
2. Anglers (Annapolis, Md.)
2. Green Top (Glen Allen, Va.)
2. R.W.'s (Callao, Va.)
3. J&W Seafood (Deltaville, Va.)
4. Bass Pro Shops, Arundel Mills Mall (Hanover, Md.)
5. Toys Outdoor Store (Rock Hall, Md.)
5. Sarge's Bait and Tackle (Elkton, Md.)

Best Fishing Tournament
1. Reedville Bluefish Tournament 
2. Rock Hall Rockfish Tournament 
3. CCA Rockfish Tournament 
3. MSSA Spring Tournament
3. White Marlin Open 

Best Regatta or Race Series
1. Annapolis Yacht Club Wednesday Night Series
1. Screwpile Regatta
2. Cock Island Race
2. Yankee Point Turkey Shoot
3. Leukemia Cup Regattas
3. Log Canoe Races
4. Volvo Ocean Race

Best Place to Spot Wildlife
1. Wye River
2. Chester River
2. Eastern Neck Island Wildlife Refuge (mouth of Chester River)
3. Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (Cambridge, Md.)
3. Eastern Shore
4. Mobjack Bay
4. Still Pond

Best Town to Live In
1. Annapolis, Md.
2. Oxford, Md.
3. Deltaville, Va.
4. St. Michaels, Md. 
5. Chestertown, Md.
5. Rock Hall, Md.
5. Solomons, Md.
6. Virginia Beach, Va. 
7. Hampton, Va. 
7. Urbanna, Va.
8. Norfolk, Va.
8. White Stone, Va. 

Best Waterside Event
1. Fourth of July (various locations)
2. Norfolk Harborfest (Norfolk, Va.)
3. Urbanna Oyster Festival (Urbanna, Va.)
4. Annapolis Boat Shows (Annapolis, Md.)
5. Hampton Bay Days (Hampton, Va.)
6. Rock Hall Waterman's Festival (Rock Hall, Md.)
7. Parade of Lights (Annapolis, Md.)
8. Canal Days (Chesapeake City, Md.)
8. Tilghman Island Day (Tilghman, Md.)

Best Boat Names
C. Nile
Double Yoke (for an Egg Harbor)
Hot Ruddered Bum
Mental Floss
No Egrets
Searosis
(These aren't in any particular order, as no name received more than one or two votes”these were our favorites of the ones given to us.)

Best Family Restaurant
1. Waterman's Crab House (Rock Hall, Md.)
2. Crab Claw (St. Michaels, Md.)
3. Cantler's Riverside Inn (Mill Creek, Annapolis, Md.)
3. Harrison's Chesapeake House (Tilghman, Md.)
4. Horn Harbor House (Burgess, Va.)
5. Seabreeze (Gwynn's Island, Va.)
6. Crazy Crab (Reedville, Va.)
7. Captain Billy's (Irvington, Va.)
7. Harris Crab House (Kent Narrows, Grasonville, Md.)
7. Kentmorr Restaurant and Crab House (Stevensville, Md., Bay-side)
7. Surf Rider (Hampton, Va.)

Best Romantic Restaurant
1. River's Inn, York River Yacht Haven (Gloucester Point, Va.)
2. Dry Dock (Solomons, Md.)
3. The Narrows (Grasonville, Md.)
4. Kitty Knight House (Georgetown, Md.)
5. Bayard House (Chesapeake City, Md.)
6. O'Learys (Annapolis, Md.)
6. Tides Inn (Irvington, Va.)
7. Lighthouse Inn (Solomons, Md.)
7. Windows on the Bay (Pasadena, Md.)
8. Harbor House (Worton Creek, Md.)

Best Place for Steamed Crabs
1. Crab Claw (St. Michaels, Md.)
2. Waterman's Crab House (Rock Hall, Md.)
3. Cantler's Riverside Inn (Mill Creek, Annapolis, Md.)
4. Harris Crab House (Kent Narrows, Grasonville, Md.)
5. Captain Billy's (Irvington, Va.)
6. Tap Room (Chesapeake City, Md.)
6. River's Inn (Gloucester Point, Va.)
7. Crab Shack (Newport News, Va.)
7. Crazy Crab (Reedville, Va.)
7. Mike's Restaurant and Crab House (Annapolis, Md.)
7. Woody's Crabhouse (North East, Md.)

Best Restaurant for Crabcakes
1. The Narrows (Grasonville, Md.)
2. Stoney's (Broome Island, Md.)
2. Waterman's Crab House (Rock Hall, Md.)
3. Stoney's (Solomons, Md.)
4. Cantler's Riverside Inn (Mill Creek, Annapolis, Md.)
4. Crab Claw (St. Michaels, Md.)
4. Harris Crab House (Kent Narrows, Grasonville, Md.)
4. Harrisons Chesapeake House (Tilghman, Md.)
4. River's Inn (Gloucester Point, Va.)
4. Woody's Crabhouse (North East, Md.)
5. Captain's Galley (Crisfield, Md.)
5. Robert Morris Inn (Oxford, Md.)
5. Tides Inn (Irvington, Va.)
5. Tolchester Marina (Chestertown, Md.)

Best Yacht Charter Company
1. Gratitude Yachting Center (Rock Hall, Md.)
2. Bay Sail (Havre de Grace, Md.)
2. C&C Charters (Kent Narrows, Grasonville, Md.)
2. Norton's Yacht Charters (Deltaville, Va.)
2. Tradewinds (Gloucester, Va.)

Best Canvas Work
1. Ships Tailor (Deltaville, Va.)
2. Meade Breese, Sailmaker (Rock Hall, Md.)
2. Potomac Sailmakers (Alexandria, Va.)
2. Scott Sailmakers (Annapolis, Md.)
3. Almo Products (Millersville, Md.)
3. Cover Loft (Annapolis, Md.)
3. Creative Canvas (Solomons, Md.)
3. K&K Canvas (Kent Narrows, Grasonville, Md.)
3. Price Yacht Canvas (St. Michaels, Md.)
3. Ullman/Skelly (Irvington, Va.)

Best Electronics Work
1. Marine Electronics (Deltaville, Va.)
2. Martek (Stevensville, Md.)
4. Middle River Electronics (Baltimore, Md.) 
4. Mid-Shore Electronics (Cambridge, Md.)
5. Electronic Marine Inc. (Annapolis, Md.)
6. Hartfield Marine Electronics (Hartfield, Va.)
6. Yacht Electronics Systems (Annapolis, Md.)

Best Engine Work
1. Tolchester Marina (Chestertown, Md.)
2. Zahniser's Yachting Center (Solomons, Md.)
3. Worton Creek Marina (Chestertown, Md.)
4. MR Power (Baltimore, Md.)

Best Fishing Boat Charter Company or Boat
1. Buddy Harrison's (Tilghman, Md.)
2. Midnight Sun, Smith Point Marina (Reedville, Va.)

Best General Boat Repairs
1. Myself
2. Zahniser's Yachting Center (Solomons, Md.)
3. Washburns Boat Yard (Solomons, Md.)
3. Worton Creek Marina (Chestertown, Md.)
3. Yankee Point Marina (Lancaster, Va.)

Best Yacht Carpentry
1. Myself 
2. Deagle's Boat Yard (Deltaville, Va.)
2. Norton's (Deltaville, Va.)
2. Yankee Point Marina (Yankee Point, Va.)
2. Zahniser's Yachting Center (Solomons, Md.)