Welcome to the year 2011. Yes, that's what I said: 2011. It may be only late October or early November 2010 when you read this . . . but we're thinking ahead this year. Always looking for ways to increase the reader response to our Best of the Bay Survey, this time around we've decided to start the ball rolling early--that is, right now, while all those marvelous days on the Bay this summer are still fresh in your mind. Why wait till February or March, by which time your fingertips will no longer be stained orange and smell faintly of Old Bay, by which time you will have eaten so many frozen fish sticks and bowls of instant oatmeal that you won't remember how delicious those huge jimmies were last Fourth of July at your favorite crabhouse. Why wait till you'll have seen so many steely gray winter skies that you've forgotten the look and sound and smell of a perfect evening in your favorite hidey hole in your favorite creek?
I say we don't wait, and that's why you'll find the 2011 Best of the Bay Survey on page 15 of this very issue and on our website, www.ChesapeakeBoating.net. If you're old-fashioned--uh, I mean, a traditionalist--just tear out the page, find one of those quaint old pen or pencil things and fill out the form. Then mail it to us by December 15. If you'd rather do it the new-fangled way, go to the front page of the website and find the Best of the Bay link, which will take you right to the form. Bada-bing, bada-boom. Thanks in advance for participating!
Item two: Just as we were wrapping up this issue we learned that congratulations are in order for two of our stalwart contributors: John Page Williams and Jan Adkins. At this year's International Regional Magazine Association (IRMA) conference in Branson, Mo., in the association's very competitive annual writing and design competition, John Page's "Fearless Fishing Forecast" in the April 2009 issue won the bronze medal in the category for Best Reader Service Article. And Jan won a bronze as well, in the General Feature category, for his very funny and informative January 2009 article, "Knots, Nautical Miles and King Henry's Nose." I should point out that this is not a first for either of them. Both John Page and Jan have won IRMA honors before, and no doubt will again. Congratulations, gentlemen!
Item last but not least: If you read my story in this issue on Occoquan, Virginia ["Mill Town Magic," page 18], you'll see that my visit there was made all the more convenient by the good people of K dock at Prince William Marina, in particular Alan and Diana Gross of Burke, Va.--who, you may recall, were also my hosts at the Aquapalooza event this summer at Tim's Rivershore II in nearby Dumfries. Charming little town that Occoquan is, it would have been great fun in any case, but Al and Diana, and all their K-dock buddies--Roddy, Randy, Greg, Mary and of course Schatzi the German shepherd, to name only a few--took me in and made me feel like part of the K-dock family. Thank you, one and all, and I hope to see you again soon. And, Al, you make a mean Manhattan!