Saturday, July 28, 2018

Oxford, Maryland

We enjoyed our two days in Oxford.  It's a lovely, old town with lovely homes and lots of history.  Between its location on the Tred Avon River and with Town Creek going through its center, it appears that a majority of the homes have their own water front and dock!  We loved that many of the homes had large wraparound porches - my favorite feature on a house!  We hit three of the restaurants in town, two for really nice meals and one for a drink and sunset!  My favorite was at Latitudes 38. 
There is one grocery store in town, and they also serve hand dipped ice cream – sign us up!  One other ice cream shop was next to the Restaurant, Capsized.  It was the “Scottish Highland Creamer”, where the ice cream and gelato is made fresh every day.  Yummm!  There are two really old (from pre-Revolution days) in town, the Robert Morris Inn and the Oxford Inn.  Impressive structures, lovely and well-preserved.  We visited one boat yard, where Dan was able to buy some parts he needed.

lovely porch

screened porch (Apparently there are bugs!)

another lovely porch

view from the adirondack chairs

adirondack chairs positioned perfectly!

sign in the boatyard

view across the creek from our boat

lovely home across the water

Robert Morris Inn

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Tangier Island

Our next destination, Tangier Island, is truly a unique place.  The island is losing acres  due to erosion from its currently 80+ inhabitable acres every year.  The island used to be quite large - over 800 acres!  The accent on the island is unique, said to come from Old English when the island was more isolated.  Now, a ferry comes filled with tourists every day, so lunchtime on the island is very busy for a couple of hours! Transportation is from golf carts, scooters, bikes, and about four vehicles total. I took lots of pictures, even though we were only there about 24 hours.
One of the island’s treasures is Milton Parks, owner and operator of Parks Marina.  He’s 87 years old, and told me, as we were tying up, that he is too old for this.  I told him it didn’t look like that to me!  In conversation with Dan, a few days before we came, Milton asked Dan “Where are you from, son?  You don’t sound like you come from these parts!”  Dan, now age 71, doesn’t mind being called ‘son’!  Milton rides up and down the dock on a motor scooter, and likes to tell the boaters how to bring in and tie up their boats.  
A few days after we were there, we heard that his scooter fell over onto his foot, breaking a bone or two.  Fortunately, there were some people there to help him.  Worried about him, I couldn’t think of anyone else to call to check on him, so I called Loraine’s Restaurant.  Everyone knows everyone on the island (only about 400 residents, all from four main families).  So, Loraine was able to tell me that she had seen Milton wearing a ‘boot’ (I thought she said ‘boat’ – but she cleared that up!).  He was back on the dock, on his scooter.
Besides tourism, the island depends on the crab fishermen.  You can tell that from the many crab shacks located around the perimeter and on the cut through the island.  Many of those are accessed only by boat – the shacks keep the crab fishermen comfortable in all seasons.  There is a mail and supply boat that comes at least once a day, and they have their own Post Office.  There is a health center on the island, staffed full time by some RNs (one is Milton’s daughter) and two doctors who are there a couple of days a week.  Emergency services come in the form of a helicopter that lifts patients from the island to the ER dock at the hospital in Crisfield, Maryland.
There are five restaurants, and we hit four of the five.  Loraine’s has the best crab soup we’ve had.  There is one grocery store.  We loved the sign on the grocery door that said “Legs and thighs didn’t come in today”!! 
Dan and I both have Verizon phones and WIFI, which was pretty much useless on the island.  Mr. Parks told me if I stand under a particular lamp post, you can likely make a call!  He was right.  That blessed angel let me use his land line when we had to make some calls about Max.  There is satellite cable service, so some folks actually can access the internet!
One thing we were unprepared for is that all transactions on the island are in cash – there is one ATM and it’s out of order!  We loved our time on the island, and will likely go there again.
Here are some pictures.

working boats

boat coming in (crab shack in background)

pavilion decorated with crab trap tops

crab seats at the musesum

entrance to the island

crab shacks
crab shacks and pile of crab traps (yellow)

the land under this lovely grass is marshy, but used to be solid

egret comes to call

memorabilia at Spanky's, local soda shop and hangout

one of the restaurants - pretty good!

crab shack with a boat that might need "a little work"

grocery store - notice bike left on the street.  Was still there next morning

helicopter coming to airlift health emergency off island

view of some homes on the north side of island, not really in the 'downtown area'

little girls, hamming it up for visitors

south cut out of the island - once this cut was dredged some years ago, erosion was worsened

Loraine's restaurant - GREAT crab soup

pretty Methodist church
one grave in someone's yard!

next to Park's Marina
Parks Marina

Post Office

rush hour!

Spanky's soda shop and hangout



and more sunset!

love the signs!

local kids getting around town

mail and supply boat

ferry from the mainland

main street through the island

misplaced Yankees fan?

our last picture of Max, on Tangier Island
We had a very nice time on the island, but we had a shadow hanging over our heads.  Our second day there, Max stopped eating and drinking.  He had been doing better, we thought, since his near drowning in Crisfield at the docks.  But, with this new development, we cut our visit to Tangier Island short, and hurried back to the nearest town of any size, Crisfield. It was two hours away.  There being no veterinarian there, we rented a van and drove Max to a Vet ER in Salisbury, Maryland, about 45 miles away.  The rest of this sad story is included under the Crisfield entry.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Crisfield, Maryland, Somer's Cove Marina

Next stop, Crisfield, Maryland, Somer’s Cove Marina       
Crisfield is a little town on the Eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay of Maryland.  Somer’s Cove Marina is HUGE, having over 500 slips.  The marina is well run, all the restrooms and showers immaculate, the docks well-made and maintained, the staff friendly and helpful.  There is a bar, where they serve…well, bar food, and nice slushy drinks.  The marina is state owned and run.
The town is trying to make a comeback after many years in decline.  It is mostly a water town, like many (most?) on the Eastern shore.  After Super Storm Sandy, which devastated the town, federal monies came in to allow them to redo many of the main streets, sidewalks, and to build this amazing marina.  In the past, we are told, there was a 2 to 3 year waiting list to get a permanent slip.  However, in recent years, there have been several townhouse or condo complexes built, each with their own docks.  Consequently, there are actually very few boats in the marina.  There are 3 or 4 good restaurants, and we tried them all!

We met some fellow loopers while in Crisfield, Debbie and Joe Martin.  They had a big, white, Max-like dog, Abby.  Max and Abby really took to each other! 

We actually ended up staying in Crisfield longer than we thought…why, you ask?  Well, there is a boatyard there, Sea Mark, whose owner, Mark Good, is known in the boating world.  He is very familiar with Bayliners, and we were able to get our generator serviced.  We haven’t used it, but Dan really didn’t want to do the contortion necessary to change the oil and filters! 
The other reason we hung around Crisfield was that Mark knows the owner of Cruiseair Annapolis, one of the largest sellers and servicers of marine refrigerators, including Vitri Frigo!  Yes, hope was born!  Again!  Dan talked to him, and, after a few false starts (we think he just forgot to call), he called Vitri Frigo on our behalf.  His company won’t service our fridge, since they didn’t sell it to us.  But, he thought contacting the company might help us more than our contacting them.  We had told him about having the fan replaced before the last failure of the fridge.  Here’s the sad sad bottom line:  Vitri Frigo did not issue a service bulletin, but turns out you cannot just replace the fan (as was done for us at Atlantic Yacht Basin) must replace both the control module and the fan.  Terrific.  When the Cruiseair guy finally talked to Vitri Frigo about the needed parts, he found out that those parts are in such demand (virtually every VF and Norcold refrigerator owner needs the same ones), they cannot even tell us when they might be available.  So, that’s that for now.  Electric cooler will be it for a while yet.  On with our life.

This next part of the story is hard to tell, and was worse to live through.  Two nights before we left Crisfield, we were sitting on the dock having some conversation and wine with new boating friends.  Max went onto the boat, probably to get some water.  When he was coming back to be beside us, the ramp from our boat to the dock came off the dock, plunging him headfirst into the water.  It was dark, the water was dark, and, making matters much worse, when he came up, it was under the floating dock.  He had gone into the water a couple of times, but was always able to swim until we pulled him out.  But the floating docks don’t leave any air under them, so he struggled over a minute (a long time to be under the water) trying to find a way out.  He was in pretty bad shape when we got him on the dock, vomiting and shaking.   We watched him carefully over the next couple of days, feeding him a diet of chicken broth and rice.  He ate it with appetite and seemed to be recovering.  So, we went on to Tangier Island.  While there, he seemed to continue to recover, until the second morning when he wouldn’t eat anything.  That’s when we knew he was in trouble.  There is NO veterinarian on the island, and the closest town was Crisfield, where we had just been, a two hour cruise away.  There is no vet there, but they do have a car dealership that rents vehicles.  We cast off as quickly as we could, got that rental van in Crisfield, and headed off to Salisbury, which was about 45 miles away.
To make a long sad story short, Max spent 4 days on oxygen and broad spectrum antibiotics.  He had developed aspiration and bacterial pneumonia.  We spent the third day next to him on the floor, loving on him, and praying for his recovery.  But, it was not to be.  His old body, riddled with some really bad arthritis, just couldn’t overcome the pneumonia.  That fourth morning, the vet called us and told us he had taken a turn for the worse.  So, we went, spent a few minutes loving on him and telling him how much we loved him, and then we let him go.  Oh my, our hearts are broken.  That canine had a really big place in our lives and our hearts.
Now, for a few of our favorite shots of this sweet boy.
When we first met him, May 2015

Laura and the boys, (Derek wasn't in pic), when they passed him to us
Passing on the sweet boy

He loved his seat in the car or truck - wherever we were!

In our recently seeded yard, in his Max-sized hole

Max and sweet Meg, before she left us

On the Potomac, first trip together

Maybe his favorite spot in the world - back seat of Dan's truck

Nice shot in my garden

Brave hunter Max, lurking in the garden

Max, the dock dog
Max on the fly bridge

Portrait done at Christmas - he wasn't thrilled with the idea...

Max introduced to the dinghy - not a fan!

Max in friends', the Sprenkles, yard