Monday, October 21, 2013

Hampton, VA - Mad boater friendly

Our anchorage in Hampton. Our swing radius brings us
within ten feet of some of the boats docked nearby.

Look familiar? If we had been here earlier, maybe
we would have been on the cover of the visitor's guide.
Hampton goes out of its way to welcome boaters. In addition to the free internet that some progressive cities provide, the city marina offers $1 hot showers (including complimentary hair dryers and flat irons), the use of free bicycles, and fresh herbs for the taking.  This year they even organized a "Snowbird Rendezvous" which attracted a large number of boats. We heard about it too late so didn't get to participate in the free meals and booze they were dispensing, but Matt attended a few of the seminars while I stayed with the kids. Not quite sure how they financed it, but we did see one officer writing 4 speeding tickets in the course of 1 hour. So watch it if you arrive by car instead of boat.

One of the seminars focused on weather planning for the journey south.  The expert basically said that it is crazy to attempt to go south around Hatteras and you should NEVER DO IT. Multiple slides devoted to "meteorological bombs" and other weather horrors had the audience ready to sign on for a quiet tour of Afghanistan rather than get within 100 miles of Hatteras.  That was a little disappointing to hear, since that is our plan (and only option) as soon as the weather and wind is with us. Of course, the expert's audience was smaller boats that have the option of using the ICW. And all our research indicates that as long as winds are from the northwest, or pretty  much any direction other than north east, we should be okay. But having every other well-meaning cruiser make it sound like we would be approaching the seventh circle of hell can start to make a person have doubts. Despite all this, we will probably be leaving Wednesday or Thursday with a couple of other boats. In addition to the worrying about the weather, we will need to leave red-eye early as we want to time our departure so that we don't have to fight the considerable tides that can flood the inlet to the Chesapeake.

In the meantime, we have been enjoying the attractions in Hampton. The Virginia Air & Space Center, the official visitor center for NASA Langley Research Center, is fantastic and the perfect field trip for kids living on a boat. With three stories, a Mars rover that you can control, lots of interactive exhibits and an IMAX theater, the boys never wanted to leave.

We also joined in on a tour of the nearby Fort Monroe offered by the Snowbird Rendezvous.  The tour was led by Greg, a local sailor who spent part of his Army career stationed at Fort Monroe. Among other interesting facts we learned that Jefferson Davis (bonus points if you remember him from high school history) was imprisoned for two years at the fort and that Edgar Allen Poe was amazingly whiny while he was in the Army at Fort Monroe, judging by his letters to his dad. 


  1. Hey there! Glad to see you were able to make that move out of Annopolis and continue on. Jake always loved the museums up there in Hampton, too. Not sure if it's open, but they have a pretty neat carousel and a very small Jacque Coustou (sp?) museum by the water. If you decide to duck in here in Norfolk or Portsmouth, don't forget to call...would love to hang out (or give you a ride to the grocery store)! Don't worry about the naysayers...due your homework, don't be in a hurry and you guys will be fine. Monica, s/v Savannah

    1. Hi there! Thanks for the info. The carousel is closed for the season (just, I think) but we'll have to check out that museum if we're still here. Conditions are forecasted to be pretty good to leave tomorrow so we'll probably go. Sorry we'll miss seeing you again. Hopefully we'll see you out there. Enjoy the rest of your stay here (hang in there).


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