My Favorite Day of Summer 2016
So we left Gem&I in Deltaville for two weeks with the intent to bring her home to O Dock at Mears Point Marina as soon as we could. The summer’s emotional events of our “land lives” (regarding our family and loved ones) had robbed us of our excitement, joy, and energy. We longed for endless hours to truly relax, vacation, and appreciate the final days we had on break. Thus, when Damian returned from FL and met up with me at our home in Virginia, our intent was to reclaim as many days of our summer vacation as we had left. Our last sailing adventure of the summer would be bringing Gem&I home from Deltaville. Damian and I both planned to make the most of it despite the setbacks we had confronted all summer long.
What to do in the town of Deltaville, Virginia
This quiet town was the one in which we had purchased our 1986 Catalina 30 sailboat in two years earlier from good ole Carl Hawkins, and it was familiar to us. Mostly populated by old-timers and red-neck watermen, it offered few places of interest to explore and almost no restaurants that were open past 4:00pm. Once we arrived, we were aware that we would have to wait out yet another hundred degree day before we could set sail and head north. To pass the time, we put together our fold up bikes and went exploring in the few hours that we had left before the town shut down for the night.
Buy a bluewater sailboat?
After browsing the local West Marine, we poked our heads into Chesapeake Yacht Sales (CYS) to say hello to our good friend, Carl, and to see what bluewater sailboats were on the market. We had just started talking about seriously looking for our dream boat—a classic that could take us around the world and comfortable enough to live aboard permanently. These sailing dreams had really begun to gnaw at us, especially this summer—as it was our “escape” in many ways to the world we so desperately wanted for ourselves.
We learned that Carl no longer worked for CYS but had become an independent broker. But we skimmed the photographs of the “For Sale” boats any way in the entrance hallway and perused the spec-sheet binder to see if there were any Hans Christians, Passports, or Island Packets to take a look at. We found a Downeaster 38 Cutter Ketch and made plans to take a look at her later that day. The Downeaster was on the hard at a nearby marina.
A young, annoyed broker drove us out to her to see the boat for ourselves. We tried to make our visit to the Downeaster as efficient as we could, because we were aware of broker’s attitude and did not want to waste any more her time with us. The sailboat had a beautiful exterior with elegant woodwork on the bowsprit, a ribbed hull, and two masts, which were all positives in our book. She had an old-school, wooden wheel and a wooden hatch. But as soon as we climbed down below, we noticed that she was rather narrow and did not offer a comfortable living space. She was in need of a lot of work and had few upgrades, so we knew she would cost us much more in the long run than the asking price. The cockpit only had a captain’s chair and did not seem safe for other crew members to gather and sit. So we both agreed she was not the boat for us as we mounted our bikes once more.
Even though we hadn’t found anything promising, this investigation commenced our official search for a bluewater sailboat of our own. We put “calling Carl” on our list of things to do so that he could join us in our sailboat hunt and point us in the right direction.
Dinner at the Table
The one positive take-away from our annoyed broker was that she shared with us the name of a new restaurant in town that had just recently opened and encouraged us to check it out. The new place was across from the Italian sandwich shop that Carl had taken us out to on the day we had purchased Gem&I. As we pulled in to the parking lot, we were sad to see that the Italian diner had closed down.
But a cute, upscale bistro greeted us with a few outside café tables and a chalk board announcing the daily specials by the door. Inside we were welcomed by a friendly staff and the eclectic décor that acknowledged a vibrancy—unbeknownst before to the sleepy little town of yester-year. The rustic but chic style adorned the window treatments, kitchen and farm tables, as well as the front counter, wine racks, and menu board.
As a foodie, my heart was racing with delight! What a pleasant surprise to spruce up my evening! I started with a glass of quality red wine. We sat down at a charming table with a smattering of unmatched, but carefully-selected, high-back wooden chairs. We ordered the meatloaf special, which was wrapped in bacon and served with a side of homemade whipped, mashed potatoes. Each course from salad to appetizer to dinner and dessert were wows! Delicious and carefully-prepared, each food creation exhibited the excellence and creativity of the mastermind behind this unmatched delicatessen shop. In fact, the Table gives me an actual reason to return to Deltaville! I look forward to my next magnificent food experience when I return.
Perhaps my favorite day of summer 2016
We climbed aboard our bikes with our bellies full and our palates satisfied. We headed back down main street towards Norview Marina. Looking around me we passed the odd but familiar gift shops, Post Office, quaint churches, hardware store, West Marine, and the Deltaville Dockside Inn. Known for decades as the boating capital of the Chesapeake, Deltaville lost the tourist and visitor demand that it once held claim to as other seaside towns drove the boating traffic away in recent years. The seaside town has now evolved into a haven for old timers who fondly remember the boating rush that had employed over 75% of its citizens at the industry’s peak. The warm evening breeze brushed the wisps of hair out of my face, pedaling along the sidewalk lining the road as I followed behind my husband who cycled on ahead.
We loaded our disassembled bikes into the aft cabin and both remarked how grateful we were for choosing to leave Boo-bah (our little feline friend) at home in Virginia for this trip, so he would not have to endure the impounding heat like before. We heard a knock on the deck of our boat and peaked out of the hatchway to see who it was. A couple from the covered dock greeted us with warm smiles, and I learned that Damian had met them a few weeks before when we had first arrived at Norview Marina. They had come down the dock to chat, and we passed the time as the sun sank in the west listening to their sailing stories and the journey their life had taken them. Despite calling South Carolina home, they had sailed the Chesapeake for many years—like us—before trading in their sailboat for the live-aboard trawler they had just a few slips down from where Gem&I was tied up. Discovering that I was a history teacher, the wife encouraged me to consider joining the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), as it was an organization that she was a member of and took pride in to preserve historical artifacts and documents relevant to our American heritage. This is one reason I love sailing: the people. Damian and I have had the privilege of meeting the most authentic, kind, and adventurous people as we have launched into our sailing endeavors. This couple was just one example of that.
As we said our “goodnights,” Damian and I donned our bathing suits and headed off to the swimming pool on the other side of the marina. Vacancy at this pool was a rarity that Damian and I wished to capitalize on. And the gorgeous sunset was painting the sky with hues of orange creamsicle and providing the ideal romantic setting for two semi-newly-weds to go for a late-night swim.
What made this perhaps the best day of the summer? These are a few of my favorite things:
- Excellent food at a magnificent restaurant
- A quality glass of rich red wine
- A bike ride through a quiet, seaside town
- Checking out a sailboat for sale
- Friendly, enjoyable conversation
- Beautiful sunset
- A comfortable night aboard my sailboat in the V-berth