Bridge Marinas – Urbana, VA – Monday, 5/17
For whatever reason, we both had a restless night’s sleep and woke up later than planned. Denise cancelled her planned run in order for us to leave by 8:00 am as we had a fairly long way to go. Once breakfast was done and everything properly stowed, we left Waterside in Norfolk and headed out on the Elizabeth River towards the Chesapeake Bay. At 8:15 we said good bye to the ICW (mile marker 0) until October when we are on our way home.
We passed the numerous ships in the Navy Shipyard, and saw many containers stacked up waiting for transport in the Norfolk Port. These days there is a shortage of storage space for containers coming into ports with all the consumer demand for imported goods; the supply chains cannot keep up. This is also resulting in container ships being held at anchor or in queue along shipping channels.
As we headed out onto the Chesapeake Bay it was like I-4 traffic, negotiating our way around tugs, pleasure boats, sailboats and barges, all the while staying in or close to the channel. It was actually less congested than we have seen it in the past as there were no Navy ships moving around today.
Once through the congestion we passed by Fort Monroe (now a national park) and the Old Comfort Lighthouse. It was a beautiful day on the “Chessy” and we were happy to not have high winds and chop. This is the way we like to cruise as it makes it so much more fun.
We ran for a good 2.5 hours before we made a left turn up the Rappahannock River. There are several places off this river we have wanted to explore and so we are taking the time this week to enjoy. The weather is really nice now with cool nights in the high 40’s and warming to the low 80’s in the daytime. As long as this holds we can make great progress and get to enjoy some of the sights. The “Rapp” was also calm and we could the beauty of both shores.
Soon we went under the Rappahannock Bridge (aka the Norris Bridge), entered the channel to the Urbanna Harbor and pulled into the Bridge Marinas. This family-owned marina is a little further up the creek than the Urbanna Town Marina, offering more protection and less surge from the River.
As Urbanna is small, this marina is still just a short walk to downtown. It is also meticulous maintained and has all the amenities that a cruiser would want, including cruiser’s lounge, laundry facilities, a full-service kitchen, outdoor and covered picnic tables, great internet, and great hospitality. We would highly recommend this place to other cruisers.
After settling the boat and checking in with the marina, we ate some lunch and did a few work tasks. We then headed out for a walk around town. As it was a Monday, several places were closed (including the Visitors Center and museum) and we learned that because it is before Memorial Day, other places have limited hours (only open Thursday through Sunday). This town is rich with US history and there is a walking historical tour to take you to all the historical sights. It is called “The Museum in the Streets”; similar to the one in Belfast, Maine. We stopped at a few of these to learn about the site (estate house, old Cocoa-Cola Bottling Plant, etc.) and the importance of this town on the early days of our country’s founding and during the Civil War.
We then walked to the Urbanna Town Marina and saw it full of mostly sailboats; there were a group of Tartan (type of sailboat) owners who were traveling together. The high fixed docks and exposure to swells from the “Rapp” made us happy we were not staying in this marina, no matter how inexpensive it was. We stopped and talked to a few locals then took some pictures, and then headed back to the boat.
We found the weather to be perfect and not too buggy, and the peacefulness of our marina (unlike Waterside in Norfolk) had us wondering if we should stay here another day. But, we have other places to go and must be mindful that Thursday’s planned journey will require good weather and we would rather press on back towards the Chessy in case things change, allowing for a shorter travel day then.
Since we will be at an anchorage the next few nights, we opted for dinner out. There are several good restaurants to choose from; we chose the one closest to the marina called Portside Grill. The restaurant has a water view over the harbor with outdoor seating, and a nice modern interior that is warm and welcoming. Due to the cooler temperatures we ate inside. The food was good and reasonably priced, and the waitress was very friendly.
Afterwards we walked back to the boat for a short evening of movie watching (“They Want Me Dead “) before we retired for the night.
Urbanna is a cute town and we were glad we came here. Clearly the town is more active in the summer and fall with numerous festivals and celebrations. Their “Oyster Festival” in November is huge and you have to book marinas and hotels months in advance. We would highly recommend this town for a stopover by Loopers, or anyone else.