Chrisfield, MD

Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Maryland, USA

037-58.680 N
075-51.480 W
Marine forecast for this location

Ahoy from Crisfield, MD!

According to the guide books, Crisfield has become a major destination for cruising boats. I'm not quite sure other than it has the only large marinas in this section of the Chesapeake. The town of Crisfield doesn't offer a lot. At one point it was the "Crab Capitol of the World", but those days are long gone and the town is struggling to re-invent itself. The streets of the city are extremely clean and neat, but there's very little traffic, belying the lack of economic activity.

We pulled into the Somers Cove Marina and for most of the day we were the only transient boat there. They have 450 slips and 100 of those are for transients, so it was pretty lonely until two other boats pulled in later in the day. Clearly the peak of cruising season is well past! The marina is extremely well maintained with almost anti-septic bathrooms and the staff was very helpful. Their dockage was $1.50/ft and power was $5/30A. The long channel into Crisfield is well marked.

There's a museum and visitors center near the marina which offers trolley tours at 1 PM. We made it over there just in time, but the person who narrates the tour was visiting his sick mother. Instead the driver offered to take Sue & I and he do his best to give us the tour. Let me tell you, we probably got the most detailed tour imaginable. He would stop at places for 5-10 minutes and give us extensive descriptions of what had been there, what was planned and what the political situation was. The hour tour took an hour and a half, but we sure learned a lot. Later when we were telling some locals about what we had seen it was clear that we knew a lot more about the history of the area than they did! There's also a walking tour in the morning that takes you through some of the crab processing factories. I would have enjoyed seeing that had we been there in the morning.

One of the major issues that Crisfield is dealing with is the gentrification of the shoreline. Condo complexes have taken over the abandoned crab processing plants and huge buildings have gone up blocking the views of the bay. Of more concern is the ambiguity over the ownership of a marina where the remaining fishermen dock their boats. The city thought that they owned it, but if its found that it's on private land, the fear is that a condo complex will take over the marina and the fishing boats will be forced out of the only economically feasible marina. This will end a way of life that has existed for many generations. It's clear to me that the city needs to come up with a plan which allows the culture of the area to co-exist with the condo building craze that is attempting to take over.

One shining spot was our dinner at the Cove Restaurant. I wasn't expecting a lot, but we had a fantastic meal. Sue's Flounder was outstanding and my crab cakes were great. The sweet potato biscuits with cinnamon butter were to die for. Our waitress even snagged two more of them for us for breakfast!

Over all I wouldn't rush back to Crisfield, but if you're looking for a place to stop on the eastern Maryland shore, it's a good destination.

-- Geoff & Sue
Log ID: 899

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