Issue: June 2007
MARINA HOP: A Cultural Journey

The Colonial Beach Yacht Center on the Potomac was just the right spot for an inaugural spring overnight.

by Jody Argo Schroath


We're not making this trip just so we can ride around on golf carts," I said defensively, as my husband Rick and I kicked back to ride an early spring southerly halfway up the Potomac from the Yeocomico River to Colonial Beach. He had asked why I had insisted that Colonial Beach beour first overnight of the season. "And we certainly aren't doing it just to make a few bets at the new Riverboat," I continued, "or to loll about on the beach—it's still too cool." It was really because docking at Colonial Beach Yacht Center is as easy as slipping into bed, I thought to myself, and so the perfect place to start the cruising year. "No," I insisted, "we are going for the . . . uh . . . culture. Yeah, that's right, culture." On the second Friday of each summer month, Colonial Beach features an Art Walk along its boardwalk. Plenty of culture there. So even though this was a Friday in April, not June, it pays to practice, right?

"Well, then it's almost time to tune up the landing drill," my husband replied, "because here's the green "1" off our port bow." We let the marker slip past our stern, then trimmed the sails and turned west to find red "4" at the tip of Gum Bar Point and the entrance to Monroe Creek.

Colonial Beach Yacht Center sits right on the point, with its docks on the creek side, a location that makes it an attractive stop for boaters coming and going from Washington, D.C., about 60 miles upriver—it's the first marina south of the capital that can accommodate big transient boats (up to 100 feet and eight-foot draft) and for other Potomac River cruisers like ourselves, who are just looking for a little "culture."

Squeezing through the creek's cozy channel, we dropped our sails and motored directly into our slip at the transient dock. Colonial Beach Yacht Center has 20 slips for boats on the move, with six to eight feet of bottom room at the dock. Transients can also find overnight berths farther up Monroe Creek at historic Stanford Marine Railway, charming Nightingale's Marina & Motel and newly expanded Winkie-Doodle Point Marina.

"When we come back in the summer, we can call ahead to arrange for a golf cart to be dropped right here," I said, clambering out of the boat with a dock line. Golf carts are the transport of choice for residents and visitors alike, officially sanctioned by city ordinance, and readily available from Metro Golf Carts (824-224-2278).

"Until then," Rick said, "how about a walk around the marina? I really like all those nifty dome-shaped covered slips, and then I vote for dinner at Dockside." Since Dockside Restaurant features an English pub as well as an excellent restaurant and is owned by actual Brits, I agreed. That would be enough culture for one trip. Besides, the Yacht Center can practically be a tourist destination in itself. In addition to Dockside Restaurant, it features a full-service yard and fuel dock, playground, small store, heated and air-conditioned bathhouse, picnic facilities and its own beach. And speaking of the beach, ask Yacht Center owners Kyle and Relda Schick why it's known as Ghost Point. It's a good story . . . and very cultural.