Down and Up in Chestertown
13 October 2007 | Chestertown, MD
We continued further up the Chester River on Friday to Chestertown. The weather has changed dramatically - much cooler and very gusty Friday. The winds were blowing 10-15 knots with gusts up to 25. We had the main up and a reefed staysail and found that we alternated between roaring along as we heeled far over and standing straight up and practically still. Between gusts and twists in the channel, it was a complicated sail.
The books described Chestertown as such an attractive college town that we thought it would be a good spot to spend a couple of days and do some social things. It didn't quite work out that way. We stopped in to the visitor's centre where we heard that the best spot for take out seafood was Rock Hall (I wish we had persevered to reach the town centre on that hot day), live music would also be in Rock Hall and for any other events, St. Michael's was the place to go. So.... I did a much-needed laundry. Jim got a haircut. We wandered about the streets past centuries old buildings, checked out the very expensive menus at a number of restaurants, and came back to the boat to dine on BBQ'd pork chops and sautéed zucchini, onions and tomatoes (and olives for me.) After spending 3 hours to get up here, the plan was to head back down this long and winding river again on the ebb tide in the morning.
Because I took one last look at the guidebook and found that there is a Saturday morning Farmer's Market, we decided to take one more run into the town and we are happy we did. There was indeed a market at which we filled our bags with pesticide free lettuce and heirloom tomatoes, sweet white corn, multigrain bread, and multicoloured peppers straight from the garden. We chatted with the sellers, learning that one man has a son-in-law working for the Senators Hockey Team in Ottawa; another young man spent many summers at a little resort in Dryden, ON. The mood was happy. The sun shone and the feeling was good.
I picked up another book on the Chesapeake - Exploring the Watertrail of Captain John Smith - and a copy of Sibley's Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America. We are currently reading Beautiful Swimmers - borrowed from Mary and Blair, and we may have to purchase our own copy of it - it's a classic. Jim went back to the boat to try his hand at connecting on the ham radio with my cousin Russ in Nova Scotia (no luck - they'll have to keep working on it) while I wandered about town some more. Upon hearing lots of horns tooting and young voices shouting, I dashed back to High Street to see several floats of high school students tossing candy and rousing up spirit for the Homecoming football game this afternoon.
I watched the skipjack, Ellsworth, load a group of folks and head out into the river. They are fascinating boats and I'll add more to this when I've done my research! We dropped into "Play it Again Sam" - a perfect little coffee shop- to mingle with the locals and absorb the convivial atmosphere while we checked email and made these two postings. This is what we were hoping to find, and what has given us a refreshed impression of Chestertown. We'll be off a little later today to head back down to the mouth of the Chester River for a trip onward down the Bay tomorrow.