Chesapeake City, MD
Home of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal
It's probably safe to say any person cruising between the Chesapeake Bay and the Delaware Bay has stopped in Chesapeake City , MD , at one time or another.
Situated on Back Creek Basin (aka Engineer's Cove,) The Chesapeake Inn (Restaurant and Marina) is now one of the featured stops along the way for many a long distance traveler. Chef and Owner of The Chesapeake Inn, Giuseppe Martuscelli, has a vast knowledge and love of fine foods and wines that originated in his home town of Santa Maria Di Castellabate near Salerno , Italy . Giuseppe came to America with the Italian Navy in 1967 and returned to stay in 1973, settling in Newark , Delaware , to open his La Casa Pasta Restaurant in 1978. Gianmarco Martuscelli, Guiseppe's son, is the very visible proprietor of the Chesapeake Inn. Catch him as he greets customers and sometimes acts as temporary bartender for the throngs of people that flock to this lively spot each weekend.
Across from the famous Schaefer's Restaurant (located on the canal itself) the Chesapeake Inn boating complex is managed by dock master, Andy Upp. Andy, and now Nathan and Buddy, have been welcoming boaters (with vessels up to 128' in length) to this fantastic party oasis between the bays since 1997. There are no docking fees for restaurant or deck goers from Monday through Thursday, but on weekends or holidays a five-dollar fee will buy you three hours of the finest dining and dancing this side of Baltimore. For cruisers with dinks in tow, the anchorage is very quiet and provides easy accessibility for inflatables.
The most famous dish has to be the Chesapeake Bay Pizza, which is a combination of traditional brick oven baked pizza with crabmeat, shrimp and bay seasoning all designed to pleasure your taste buds. Also, Tuesday is half-price pizza day, which makes this stop a no-brainer for hungry travelers.
Canal Day ...
Each year, during the last weekend of June, hundreds of boats and thousands of visitors descend on this tiny town to commemorate the completion of The Chesapeake & Delaware Canal, a historic waterway for commercial and pleasure boating traffic. During what is now called the Canal Day Festival, bands play all day long throughout the town to complement a citywide Arts & Crafts display that is second to none. Local shop owners provide specials and lure the shoppers into their establishments for a glimpse of local craftsmanship. And in the harbor, over four hundred boats raft up to create a party atmosphere that extends from Friday afternoon until Sunday morning. Free shuttle-boat service is provided by the marina to bring boaters from the harbor into the restaurant and festivities on land. The outdoor nightclub and tiki bar illuminate the evening with food, drinks and dancing until midnight when the town ordinance requires them to quiet down and move the party inside.
The town draws thousands for the annual Arts & Crafts display (left). Also Mount Gay Rum and Raymarine sponsor various contests for prizes, including a model sailboat race where contestants utilize their own wind sources. (right)
For those looking for a quieter meal, the upstairs dining area provides a full view of the harbor from any seating location while maintaining a casual atmosphere. The award-winning menu features fresh seafood, pasta and veal specialties along with the famous "Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes" typical of Maryland 's eastern shore.
An Engineering Feat...
This destination spot is situated on one of only two commercially vital sea level canals in the United States , called the Chesapeake & Delaware (C & D) Canal. This canal runs 14 miles long, 450 feet wide and 35 feet deep across Maryland and Delaware , connecting the Delaware River with the Chesapeake Bay and the Port of Baltimore . The C&D Canal is owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Philadelphia District. The project office in historic Chesapeake City , Md. , is also the site of the C&D Canal Museum and Bethel Bridge Lighthouse.
Today's canal is a modern sea level, electronically controlled commercial waterway, carrying 40 percent of all the ship traffic traveling in and out of the Port of Baltimore .
Since 1933 the Corps' Philadelphia District has managed canal and highway bridge operations from a two-story white frame building on the canal's southern bank at Chesapeake City, Md. Cargo ships of all sizes - tankers, container-carrying vessels, barges accompanied by tugboats, and countless recreational boats - create a steady flow of traffic. Through state-of-the-art fiber optic and microwave links, dispatchers use closed-circuit television and radio systems to monitor and safely move commercial traffic through the waterway.
- Fort Delaware State Part (on Pea Patch Island )
Ferry from Battery Park in Delaware City , April through September
- Pell Gardens, at the foot of Bohemia Street
- C&D Canal Museum, Chesapeake City
- Schaefer's Canal House Village, Chesapeake City
Navigation & Anchorages
The C&D Canal , your gateway to the Upper Bay , has a controlling depth of 35 feet (mlw) and is operated by the Army Corps of Engineers (VHF 13), which has a dispatch office in Chesapeake City . This is a busy canal; you'll see big ships up close, and you'll need to give them plenty of room. Canal dispatch recommends staying to the starboard side of the channel. Also, beware that the current runs through the canal more strongly than in most Chesapeake locations, about 2 to 4 knots. Plan your travel with the current.
Canal Rules: You must transit under power, sailing is prohibited, no water skiing, no anchoring and you must yield to commercial vessels. Minimal lift bridge clearance (when down) is the Conrail Train Bridge at 45 feet (mhw).
Canal Day visitors engage in all sorts of fun activities, including water balloon battles.
Chesapeake City (and the Chesapeake Inn) is easily accessible by car and boat. Less than an hour's drive from Philadelphia or Baltimore it becomes a daylong destination stop for shopping and partying. By boat, hailing Andy on the VHF radio will usually provide a nice berth for a few hours or even overnight dockage. It is recommended to have reservations for weekends because of the popularity of this establishment. As a backup there are a few places to tie up on the town dock but these spots are usually taken in advance.
So next time through the C & D Canal... get the lines ready or drop a hook and enjoy the local hospitality.
Submitted by Onshore Magazine