Issue: June 2005
Best of the Bay 2005

 [06.05 issue]

By Ann Levelle

At Chesapeake Bay Magazine we like to go to the experts for our information. So when it's time to put together our Best of the Bay list, it's only natural that we turn to you, our readers”the experts. As usual, you were more than happy to share your choices for the best places, restaurants, services, shops and activities on the Bay”and your thoughts on other Bay matters as well. One popular sentiment among the responses was that the Chesapeake is a wonderful place to boat and a great natural resource, and those of us who love it so much should take extra care in preserving it. Another general consensus was that sailors and powerboaters should learn to get along better and that those on the "other side" aren't so bad after all. And you all agree that boating safety is paramount and that everyone needs to be mindful of the rules”especially those for wake zones, speed limits and drinking while boating. 

This year's respondents have an average of 22 years of Bay boating experience. Sixty percent are from ports north of the Potomac River and most are powerboaters (outnumbering the sailboaters more than three to one). Since that's usually the case among our survey respondents, this year we decided to delve further into what kind of boats you have and if you have more than one. Turns out that slightly more than 50 percent of respondents have at least two boats (and one reader owns a go-fast boat, a canoe, a sunfish and a kayak, all in addition to his cruising powerboat). Small powerboats were quite popular among those who own second boats (45 percent), followed by dinghies, small sailboats and kayaks. 

Nearly all who responded enjoy cruising as their primary boating activity, get to the dock between 10 and 20 days per season and take their boat out somewhere between 20 and 40 times per season. As for cruising partners, just under half of you are yacht club members, about 40 percent bring kids along on cruises and 30 percent of you cruise with your pets. An overwhelming number of you also responded that next season you plan on taking your boat out more. So, as summer gets into full swing, get out there and find yourself some new favorites to tell us about next year. 

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 Couples
1. St. Michaels, Md.
2. Annapolis, Md. 
3. Solomons, Md. 
4. Oxford, Md. 
5. Baltimore, Md. 
5. Onancock, Va. 
6. Rock Hall, Md. 
7. Urbanna, Va.
8. Hampton, Va. 
8. Norfolk, Va.

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

Best Cruising River
1. Chester River
2. Rappahannock River
3. Potomac River
4. Sassafras River
5. Choptank River
6. Patuxent River
7. Wye River
8. Piankatank River
8. James River
9. Severn River (middle Bay)
10. Corrotoman River

Best Anchorage
1. Still Pond
2. Fairlee Creek
3. St. Leonard Creek
4. Shaw Bay
5. Dividing Creek, Wye River
6. East River, Mobjack Bay

Best Resort Marina
1. The Tides Marina (Irvington, Va.)
2. Herrington Harbour South (Friendship, Md.)
2. Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort (Cambridge, Md.)
2. Zahniser's (Solomons, Md.)
3. York River Yacht Haven (Gloucester Point, Va.)
4. Windmill Point Marina (Windmill Point, Va.)
5. Great Oak Landing Marina (Chestertown, Md.)
5. Spring Cove Marina (Solomons, Md.)
6. Bay Creek Marina (Cape Charles, Va.)
6. Salt Ponds Marina Resort (Hampton, Va.)
7. Mears Point Marina (Kent Narrows, Grasonville, Md.)
7. St. Michaels Harbour Inn Marina & Spa (St. Michaels, Md.)

Best Mom-and-Pop Marina
1. Worton Creek Marina (Chestertown, Md.)
1. Yankee Point Sailboat Marina (Lancaster, Va.)
2. Lankford Bay Marina (Rock Hall, Md.)
2. Rock Hall Landing Marina (Rock Hall, Md.)
2. Smithfield Station (Smithfield, Va.) 
3. Lewisetta Marina (Lewisetta, Va.)
3. Sailing Emporium (Rock Hall, Md.)

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

Best Tackle Shop
1. Green Top Sporting Goods (Glen Allen, Va.)
1. Queens Creek Outfitters (Mathews County, Va.)
2. R.W.'s (Callao, Va.)
3. Anglers (Annapolis, Md.)
3. Bass Pro Shops, Arundel Mills Mall (Hanover, Md.)
4. Herb's Tackle Shop (North East, Md.)
5. Bass Pro Shops (Hampton, Va.)
5. J&W Seafood (Deltaville, Va.)
5. Tyler's Tackle (Chesapeake Beach, Md.)
6. JJ's Tackle Shop (Deale, Md.)

Best Fishing Tournament
1. Reedville Bluefish Tournament
2. MSSA Spring Tournament
3. CCA Rockfish Tournament

Best Regatta or Race Series
1. Annapolis Yacht Club Wednesday Night Races
1. Leukemia Cup events
2. Governor's Cup (Annapolis to St. Mary's race)
2. Log canoe races
3. Cock Island Race 
4. Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge

Best Place to Spot Wildlife
1. Wye River
2. Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (Cambridge, Md.)
3. Chester River
4. Eastern Neck Island Wildlife Refuge (mouth of Chester River)
5. Eastern Shore
5. Still Pond
6. Mobjack Bay
7. Choptank River
7. Corrotoman River
7. Red Eye's Dock Bar

Best Waterside Event
1. Fourth of July (various locations)
2. Annapolis Boat Shows
3. Norfolk Harborfest
4. Urbanna Oyster Festival
5. Crisfield Crab Derby 
5. Hampton Bay Days
6. Parade of Lights (Annapolis, Md.)
7. Blue Angels (Annapolis, Md.)

Best Family Restaurant
1. Crab Claw (St. Michaels, Md.)
2. Harrison's Chesapeake House (Tilghman, Md.)
3. Cantler's Riverside Inn (Mill Creek, Annapolis, Md.)
3. Crazy Crab (Reedville, Va.)
4. Waterman's Crab House (Rock Hall, Md.)
5. Granary Restaurant (Georgetown, Md.) 
5. Horn Harbor House Restaurant (Burgess, Va.)
5. River's Inn, York River Yacht Haven (Gloucester Point, Va.)
5. Taylor's Restaurant (Deltaville, Va.)

Best Romantic Restaurant
1. River's Inn, York River Yacht Haven (Gloucester Point, Va.)
2. Dry Dock (Solomons, Md.)
2. Tides Inn (Irvington, Va.)
3. 208 Talbot (St. Michaels, Md.)
3. The Narrows Restaurant (Kent Narrows, Grasonville, Md.)
4. Annie's Paramount Steak and Seafood House (Kent Narrows, Grasonville, Md.)
4. Lighthouse Inn (Solomons, Md.)
4. Town Dock (St. Michaels, Md.)
5. Boathouse (Urbanna, Va.)
5. Carrol's Creek Cafe (Annapolis, Md.)
5. Kitty Knight House (Georgetown, Md.)

Best Restaurant for Steamed Crabs
1. Crab Claw (St. Michaels, Md.)
2. Cantler's Riverside Inn (Mill Creek, Annapolis, Md.)
3. Waterman's Crab House (Rock Hall, Md.)
4. Harris Crabhouse (Kent Narrows, Grasonville, Md.)
5. River's Inn (Gloucester Point, Va.)
6. Captain John's Crab House (Cobb Island, Va.)
7. Bo Brooks Crab House (Baltimore, Md.)
7. Captain Billy's Crab House (Port Tobacco, Md.)
7. Side Street Cafe (Crisfield, Md.)

Best Restaurant for Crabcakes
1. Stoney's Crabhouse (Broomes Island, Md.)
2. Robert Morris Inn (Oxford, Md.)
3. Captain's Galley (Crisfield, Md.)
3. Surfrider (Hampton, Va.)
4. Waterman's Crab House (Rock Hall, Md.)
5. Cantler's Riverside Inn (Mill Creek, Annapolis, Md.)
5. Crab Claw (St. Michaels, Md.)
5. The Narrows Restaurant (Kent Narrows, Grasonville, Md.)
5. River's Inn (Gloucester Point, Va.)

Best Restaurant for Oysters
1. Harrison's Chesapeake House (Tilghman, Md.)
2. Harris Crab House (Kent Narrows, Grasonville, Md.)
3. Middleton Tavern (Annapolis, Md.)
4. Boathouse (Deltaville, Va.)
4. Cantler's Riverside Inn (Mill Creek, Annapolis, Md.)
4. Crab Claw (St. Michaels, Md.)
4. River's Inn (Gloucester Point, Va.)

Best Canvas Work
1. Ships Tailor (Deltaville, Va.)
2. Meade Breese, Sailmaker (Rock Hall, Md.)
3. Almo Products (Millersville, Md.)

Best Electronics Work
1. Hartfield Marine Electronics (Hartfield, Va.)
2. Martek (Stevensville, Md.)
3. Mid-Shore Electronics (Cambridge, Md.)
4. Haven Harbour Marina (Rock Hall, Md.)
5. Middle River Electronics (Baltimore, Md.)
6. Marine Electronics (Deltaville, Md.)

Best Engine Work
1. Zahniser's Yachting Center (Solomons, Md.)
2. Chesapeake Cove Marina (Deltaville, Va.)
3. Tolchester Marina (Chestertown, Md.)

Best Fishing Charter Company (or Boat)
1. Buddy Harrison's (Tilghman, Md.)
2. Queen's Creek Outfitters, Less Stress, Captain Glenn Hubbard (Mathews, Va.)
3. Crabbe's Charter Fishing (Heathsville, Va.)
3. Midnight Sun, Captain Ryan Rogers, Smith Point Marina (Reedville, Va.)
3. Restin' Easy, Captain Don Bannister (Deltaville, Va.)

Best General Boat Repairs
1. Zahniser's Yachting Center (Solomons, Md.)
2. Washburn's Boat Yard (Solomons, Md.)
3. Oxford Boatyard (Oxford, Md.)

Best Yacht Carpentry
1. Zahniser's Yachting Center (Solomons, Md.)
2. York River Yacht Haven (Gloucester Point, Va.)