Sunday - August 31

We've all heard the term "I'm Up a Creek"?    Well, that's where we are tonight - Smith Creek off the lower Potomac (about 10 miles from the Chesapeake).    Staying at the Corinthian Yacht Club out in the boonies with an address of Ridge, MD (may check it out tomorrow.....not much there, though)    Planning to stay here till Tuesday - nice pool and very quiet.
We took the dinghy to shore and then walked a few blocks  to St. Elizabeth of Hungary for 9:00 Mass in Colonial Beach   Cruised 36 miles to Smith Creek - enjoyed the pool this afternoon.   It is HOT and to be HOT all week long!
Took Tigger (our "little" cat and dinghy) to shore and had dinner at Spinnaker's - love these little local places - nothin' fancy, but darn good food and friendly folks.,   Mark had chicken Alfredo (taking a break from shrimp and crab).    I had broiled flounder with a baked potato - 2 very good, reasonable meals.
Blair loves to eat - she fits right in with her Grandma and Grandpa!

Saturday - August 30

Woke up to very cloudy, dreary skies.    We walked to St. Mary's Church for 8:00 Mass.   Since we were planning to anchor out tonight and not near a church, we went this morning knowing God would understand if we went Saturday versus Sunday!    After Mass, we had breakfast at La Madeleine, a French bakery and cafĂ© on King Street - excellent!!!      It's Saturday and Farmer's Market in Market Square - wow, this was a big one with beautiful fresh produce and lots of flowers!!!
Sad to leave this wonderful city of Alexandria - definitely hope to come back here someday!
We cruised 67 miles today and it was actually cool on the water!  Around 1:30 the sun came out and it warmed up.    Change of plans traveling a bit further, and we arrived in Colonial Beach, VA at 2:45 and anchored out in Monroe Bay. After a late lunch, we took the dinghy to shore and walked around this beach town.....the 2nd largest beach in VA after Virginia Beach.
There were lots of people out and about.   We hopped on the trolley which took us on a 1-hour narrated tour of the town (pop. 3,500).   We drove past Alexander Graham Bell's summer home, and could see in the distance George Washington's birthplace and the homestead of Robert E. Lee.
Stopped at The Lighthouse (Thai and French place on the water) and got an order of Fresh Garden Rolls and Spring Rolls- enjoyed these appetizers along with our shrimp and crab!!!
Since we are not in the boonies tonight......there is a church in Colonial Beach, so plan to be there at 9 AM tomorrow
Nighty night!

Friday - August 29

The start of Labor Day weekend......can't believe it!    Where oh where did summer go?     A good day in Alexandria with perfect weather, good shopping, eating, etc.
Exercised this morning -  that task is not too difficult when we're on the Potomac, can see the Capital Building in the distance and have nice cool temps this early Friday morning.    Then off to breakfast at the The Firehook Bakery and Coffee Company.   They had sooo many homemade breads, including pumpkin cranberry (another sign of fall)!    We walked around downtown a bit before the shops were open and then parted ways with Mark on the hunt for a grocery store and  me getting my shopping fix satisfied!    I walked along King Street several blocks further than yesterday and did my part to boost Alexandria's economy!
This afternoon we went to the Torpedo Factory and checked out some of the artisans booths - wow.....3 floors of every kind of media with hefty $$$ tags.    They have over 500,000 visitors each year.    Fun to browse, but no purchases made! 
Torpedo Factory Arts Center

Market Square
The Chart House of Alexandria
We love the Chart House restaurants across the country (been to Annapolis, Boston, Daytona Beach and Savannah......tonight's dinner was excellent, but the noise level was really bad and it was
 COLD in there!   We refrained from ordering the chocolate lava cake, their signature dessert and Mark's very favorite!   Watching our calories, ya know;...ha ha!!!
Corn-fed boy
Have a fun, safe holiday weekend!

Thursday - August 28

Another pretty morning in our nation's capital!    After breakfast we took the bikes for a nice ride thru the East and West Potomac Parks (like a big horseshoe)!     There are sooo many cherry trees (several years ago, 3,000 trees were given to Washington from Japan).    The best places to see the blossoms are the East/West Potomac Parks and the Tidal Basin where we were yesterday.    Definitely want to return in springtime...
On our way back to Catrina, we stopped at the fish market and bought some fresh shrimp and crab....can't wait to devour!

Bye Bye DC....thanks for a wonderful 3 days!

At 11:30 we meandered down to Alexandria (5.6 miles) - we are tied up at the City of Alexandria Marina AND right next door to The Chart House (yeah)!!!!

Time for some retail therapy - we are in the heart of the historic district, so.....let's go check it out!!!
 Luke with Mommy at gymnastics class
We took off together and found Pop's Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Company for some yummy treats and then walked King Street.    Mark finally turned me loose and he went back to boat (he's installing new depth gauge) and I just walked and walked.    So many cute boutiques, some of the chain stores, lots of cafes and restaurants, etc.    All of this in a lovely setting of old buildings (several shops are up 2-3 steps), 3-story town homes, brick sidewalks and pretty flowers.    Tomorrow I shall return! 
There's nothing like a delicious, fresh shrimp cocktail.....sooo enjoyed ours tonight and more left for another time!     I had my leftover Chinese from last night and made a BLT for Mark.  We walked around the waterfront and historic district - lots of people dining outdoors this beautiful evening.    The weather is just sooo nice with low humidity and right now at 8:00, almost feels cool sitting on Catrina's bridge having a glass of wine.    The planes are flying into Reagan National one right after the other!   
Our marina faces the Torpedo Factory Art Center which houses more than 82 artists studios, 6 galleries and 2 workshops.    In 1918, it was a torpedo factory and munitions storage site.

Wedneseday - August 27

Sunny, warm day!   After exercising and breakfast, we took the bikes and rode and rode - DC has great bike paths.    Here are some sights along the way....
The Jefferson Memorial
Large tribute to Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor
statues, waterfalls and numerous quotes from FDR
The Lincoln Memorial
Honest Abe
Reflecting pool between Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument
Rode past many many cherry trees now with leaves all dried and falling.
On my Bucket List to come here some spring and see the Cherry Blossoms!
Large cranes are working near Catrina in marina in preparation for the new docks and all the demolition and building for the Wharf.
Did some laundry this afternoon and then had a wonderful dinner at Jenny's Asian Fusion which is on top of the Capital Yacht Club.    Been awhile since we've had good Chinese - really hit the spot!
Two other tidbits from our visit to Mount Vernon...
1.  Back in the day, the "necessary" was the word to describe outhouse, privy, etc.....makes sense!
2.    We saw several trees still standing that were planted back in the late 1700's on the grounds.  
 Tall and mighty!

Miss Leia (my great niece)
A true "fashionista"

Tuesday - August 26

Clear blue skies this morning and after breakfast and tidying up Catrina, we took off by foot to get in some exercise and figure out what we wanted to see.    The Washington Monument is fairly close, so that was first stop - no tickets available till late this afternoon for tours 1.5 hours and free).    That wasn't going to work since we're having dinner with our nephew, Tom.    Today would've been spectacular with those brilliant deep blue skies.    You can only get the tickets day of, so maybe we'll try for tomorrow or Thursday (have to get there EARLY).    So we just walked around, stopped at Starbucks for iced coffees and eventually back to the boat for some "down" time.
There is a fresh fish market very close to us (one of the oldest continually run in the country).   We walked by this morning and oh my......thee most beautiful shrimp, crabs, scallops and every kind of seafood imaginable!   You can buy fresh to take home and prepare or already cooked and ready to eat (that's our kind)!   We shall return!
Mark was reading about Burger King buying Tim Horton's (our Canadian coffee/donut favorite) for $11B and will be headquartered in Canada.    Each food chain will continue carrying what they now carry!   Glad to hear that!
This afternoon we walked some more - we are in the heart of a very major renovation project (just getting started) called "The Wharf".   Our Capital Yacht Marina building will be torn down October 1st along with several other buildings along Water Street which will be no more.    The demolition has already begun further down the street.    This marina will be moved and condos, businesses, restaurants and shops will be coming with beautiful walkways, etc.    Phase I will be completed in 2017 costing $2B.    "A new World-Class Waterfront"
Found a very nice upscale grocery store - Safeway and enjoyed the cool comfort as we browsed and bought a few things.   It really warmed up today, but NOTHING like 2 years ago when we were here with Drew, Davis and Brady - that was HOT, HOT, HOT!!!
Thinking of Mark's sister, Theresa and Mike and brother Jim and Lydia, plus some friends from back home (including Claire and Mike) who are all on European river cruises the next 2 weeks!   Hope they enjoy as much as we did!
I love my breakfast!
Scenes around DC today... 
Just one of the many vendors at the fresh fish market

Washington Monument

Crepe Myrtle in front of the Holocaust Memorial
(a must see when in DC)

Just a few of several food vendors with every kind of food to feed the folks for lunch
Tom picked us up at 6:00 and we had a fabulous Italian dinner at Casa Luca sitting outdoors on this gorgeous evening.    So fun to visit with our Godson who lives and works in Arlington, VA.
We'll see him on September 12th in Baltimore and he'll have his first Blue Angel experience!
Great evening with Tom!

Monday - August 25

What a wonderful, glorious, fun day!!!    Perfect weather and the thrill of waking up and exercising in front of Mount Vernon was extra special!   
 Early-morning sun shining on Mount Vernon as we lifted those weights!
After breakfast, we took the dinghy to the wharf where boats can tie up and where the tour boats come in.    Not that long ago, folks in their private boats could tie up and just pay price of admission.   Times have changed and they now charge $2 per foot just for the privilege of being there + the price of admission on top.    It would've cost us $68 for Catrina + $17 each for tour.   There was no one around at the wharf, no tour boats come in on Mondays, so.....just had to pay admission fee.
After watching a brief orientation video, we walked to the house for the tour and how neat to come out of the house onto the porch and tah dah.....there was Catrina!

Catrina bobbing on the Potomac in front of Mount Vernon

College students digging for artifacts

Pretty gardens
Great memory

We spent almost 4 hours walking around with our audio sets and soaked up all this wonderful history.   Not a very large group touring today, but still a lot of children (some schools out east start after Labor Day - of course, have no idea where these kiddies were all from?)   The Donald Reynolds Museum was excellent, too, and we learned so much about George and Martha.   We left this beautiful historic area and cruised 16 miles to Washington, DC.    Along the way, there were several very large mansions with rolling lawns that looked like velvet!    We cruised past a Naval Research Center, Alexandria, etc.  Yesterday, we passed the Qauntico Marine Base.  So neat to have the nation's capital and Washington Monument come into view - a whole different perspective than from land!
We are docked at the Capital Yacht Club in the heart of DC.....our dockhand who helped us tie up is from Rockford, IL AND.......had Mark's sister Janet as a teacher back in 2002-03 when she taught summer school classes at a junior college!    SMALL world.   He remembers her as an excellent teacher who made learning, "FUN" and also that she really enjoyed wine!   HA....that's Janet!   Looking forward to tomorrow night when we meet Tom (Janet's son and our nephew) who lives in Arlington, VA.
We gave Catrina a good scrubbing and then walked up to the Yacht Club, did 2 loads of laundry, and had a drink in the bar.    Met some nice folks - Phil and Monica who are liveaboards at the marina (along with 60 other boats - wow)!    They home school their 10-year old daughter.
Reagan Airport is very near us.   Can only imagine what George and Martha would think about all these planes flying overhead, the technology that now is at our fingertips and on and was just a wonderful educational experience!

View of Mount Vernon at night
We have been so blessed with nice weather - normally this time of year, the Chesapeake and Potomac areas are sweltering, but they are all loving these cooler, very pleasant days and nights!    We know how HOT it is back home and heading this way later this week!
Our little Connor has been sick with a fever and sore throat - fortunately, he does not have strep, but some ole bug is lurking around!
Ready to take on the sites tomorrow in our nation's capital!

Sunday - August 24

Wow...tonight was pretty darn special!   It was a beautiful sunny evening and we are anchored in front of Mount Vernon - the home sits on the hill right in front of us!   Mark grilled out burgers and we watched and listened as a large group of men/women/children had a picnic and concert on the rolling lawn.   Tomorrow morning we plan to tour this national landmark.
Back in Newburg this morning, we rode our bikes to church which was packed for 8:00 Mass.    It's right on the Potomac River - such a pretty peaceful setting!  As I said yesterday, it's in the middle of nowhere!   
St. Francis de Sales in Issue, MD.

We went to Capt. John's for breakfast and then were on our way.    Cruised 63 miles from Newburg to our anchorage here at Mount Vernon.    Lots of planes flying in a path around Catrina heading to National Airport.   And we know this cause Mark's phone has an app that even tells where each plane came from.....AMAZING!!!!

Mount Vernon

One little tidbit.....46 years ago tonight, Mark proposed!!!   
 And the adventures continue...

Saturday - August 23

Rainy, drizzly Saturday.   We exercised and Mark made delicious breakfast of blueberry pancakes and sausage.   Left the anchorage at 9:30 and cruised up the Potomac River (Virginia on our left and Maryland to our right) for 36 miles and now settled in our slip at Capt, John's Crab House and Marina in Newburg, MD on Neale Sound.      We are 45 miles south of DC (as the crow flies). Shortly before we arrived, the drizzle started....
So we are back to some civilization after 2 days at anchorage.   Hooked up the electric cord and water
hose, grabbed our raincoats and ready for a walk.    Drizzle didn't last long.....we walked across the bridge to Cobb Island and first stop....."Beaches and Cream" - yummy ice cream cones ("salty caramel" for Mark and "peach cobbler" for me - excellent)!   Walked around the residential area (around 400 homes with 1,166 residents).   Went into the Cobb Island Coffee Shoppe and Galleria - nice gift shop and good coffee and nice chat with 2 local ladies.   Stopped at the little market for a few groceries and back to Catrina.   Put the groceries away, grabbed the bikes and off we went.    Wanted to do a dry run to St. Francis de Sales Church for tomorrow's 8:00 Mass.   It was 2 miles from here on a very nicely paved road with no traffic thru the woods.....and then tah dah, found the little country church in the middle of NOWHERE overlooking the Potomac!   The church has an address of Issue, MD....but there is absolutely nothing else around!    No "Issues"....ha!
Rode back to Cobb Island where we had our ice cream and coffee this morning and stopped at the Scuttlebutt Lounge and sat outside for an Orange Crush (me) and beer (Mark).    Met some folks (9) from across the river in VA .  Had a nice visit about us traveling on our boat and spending the summer on the Chesapeake,  1st time on the Potomac, etc.    One of the gals mentioned she was from a large family.  Whenever Mark hears this, he always asks "How large" and usually wins this one with 13 children in his family.    But.....this gal came from a Catholic family of 14 so she and Mark had some good laughs and gabbed about growing up with lots of siblings!       Left these very friendly folks (today was their 34th wedding anniversary) and rode around Cobb Island.    The drizzle started but we went from one end of the island to the other and returned to Catrina just before it came down heavier.
So happy for our friends, Pat and Brenda who welcomed a new granddaughter last night near St. Louis.    Brooklyn Ray weighed 8 lbs. 1 oz. and is 20.75" .   New Mommy, Kassie is 25 days younger than Ryan.   Brenda and I went thru our pregnancies (surprise for both of us) together!   Mark and I were at Santa Rosa Beach, FL for her wedding to Kyle in June, 2013.
Congratulations to all....
Brooklyn Ray
So tonight we meandered to Capt/ John's for dinner.   The parking lot was packed this afternoon around 3 when we were bike riding and when we got there at 5:30, had to wait for a table.    DELICIOUS dinner......crab and shrimp and so fresh!    The big draw here is steamed crab where they spread big sheets of brown paper across the tables and bring on the platters of steamed crab - what a mess and not our thing;.   We both LOVE crab, but prefer someone else do all the work!   Ha....
Our friends Bob and Carol (Bob took the neat Blue Angel photos last weekend in Chicago) sent us some pics from the tallest  flagpole in the USA......they just took a road trip around Lake Michigan and came upon this flag pole and flag in Sheboygan, WI.    It is 400' tall and 11'  diameter.  In normal conditions, they fly a 220 lb. flag and a 350 lb. flag is flown in harsher weather.    The flag measures 60' by 120' and each star is 3' high and each stripe measures 4 1/2' wide.   This flag proudly stands at the Acuity Insurance Company (headquarters) in Sheboygan.   It is dedicated to our veterans.

Carol and Bob at base of tallest flag pole

Beautiful photo of very large "Old Glory"


Nighty night from Catrina and crew on this rainy night in Newburg on Neale Sound.

Friday - August 22

We left our anchorage at 8:30 this morning and cruised 44 miles entering the Potomac River.    St. Mary's River is the first river on the north side.   It just started to drizzle as we came into Horseshoe Bend.   Mark dropped the anchor, we had lunch and then took the dinghy to shore where St. Mary's College of Maryland is located.   It has an enrollment of 1800 students (coed), is a liberal arts school and boasts an excellent sailing program    Classes resume next week, so very quiet as we walked around some of the campus.    We would've walked more but skies were threatening, so we hightailed it back to Catrina.   Of course, not one drop from those ominous dark skies!!!
Sweet Luke taking a nap traveling with Mommy and Daddy to Sarasota today

Oh my....still cute even having a bad hair day!

And now...much better and gobbling down breakfast
 Had BLT's and fresh fruit for supper.   

Thursday - August 21

We exercised, had breakfast and left at 10 cruising on the Choptank River to the Chesapeake (38 miles and 3 hours later,) anchored in Mill Creek near Solomons, Maryland.   It is hot and sunny today, but nice breeze.
Mark worked on the water pump of the generator and took the dinghy to a service department at a local marina in Solomons to have them pull off a gear on the old pump and put on the new pump.   We are good to go - enjoying the AC here at anchor

Ryan narrating from North Avenue Beach in Chicago on Saturday
Ryan taking off....
Thanks for this, Bob B...

Another fun day on the playground for Luke riding his buddy
We are looking forward to our cruise up the Potomac - 96 miles of navigable waters with gently sculpted, lushly foliated shoreline interrupted by well over 2 dozen welcoming creeks and rivers (copied this from the Cruising Guide).   

Wednesday - August 20

We arrived  HOME on Catrina in Oxford at 3:25 this afternoon - hot and sunny; but after driving 4 hours in very heavy rain this morning, anything would be better!   Hats off and cheers to Mark for getting us here safe 'n sound!    It was awful coming thru parts of Ohio, but more so in Pennsylvania.
Not much else newsworthy in our travels.....did stop at a service plaza on the turnpike in OH (these are very nice and have a good variety of restaurants, etc.)    This particular one had a huge Panera - part of it was express (mainly coffee and pastries) and then a large area with full menu and lots of seating.    
Stopped at Taylor's Produce for a cantaloupe, tomatoes, cucumber, HUGE peach and blueberries.
So....we turned on the air, got the bags unpacked and settled in starting a grocery list.
Davis (7th) and Brady's (3rd) first day of school

Sweet Pea
I got my hair cut at 5:00 - so appreciated Lisa getting me in as I canceled twice since we were gone longer than expected.    She was telling me about the terrific flooding at BWI (Baltimore airport's long-term parking) on August 12th - 2 days after we picked up the truck and drove home cause flights were full.   I went online and sure and several articles about the very hard rain (500-1,000 year flood) that came fast and furious.    That full flight and then our drive home was meant to be.   What a shock for those passengers to find when they returned to their vehicles!
Nancy (Mark's sister) and Mark with their new grandson
Jack Andrew
We went to Easton tonight for a grocery run....outside Acme was a sure sign that fall is
 just around the corner
Beautiful mums
and then discovered the Halloween candy is on the shelves - duh, over 2 months away!
Pretty rainbow over the marina when we returned from shopping

Tuesday - August 19

Today we experienced the "Circle of Life" as we buried my Aunt Lois in a beautiful Mass and celebration of her life at Holy Cross Church in Mendota.   This afternoon we welcomed a new great nephew, "Jack Andrew" born to our niece, Nora and Pat (Mark's family)!    
Up early to tidy up the house, load up the truck, and breakfast at Panera.    It was really good to see my cousins and catch up, but never enough time.    Stopped at Ron and Vicki's to change clothes after the luncheon and we were on our way!    Tonight we are in Fremont, OH.....just back from dinner at Chub's, a local bar and grill in a residential neighborhood.   Boy did we enjoy our walleye and perch from Lake Erie (been a long time since we've had some of this on Lake Michigan)!
Eight more hours of driving tomorrow till we get to Oxford....tired nomads tonight!
Nighty night 

Monday - August 18

Up and at 'em to exercise, have breakfast with the neighbors, laundry, unpacking, repacking, etc., etc.
I have so enjoyed my flowers since we've been home and our gardener, Sue has taken great care
of all the landscaping.....

Begonias in the flower box
Pretty hydrangeas
Had dinner at Bob Evans with Anne, Patrick, Liam and Connor and then said our good-byes...

See y'all in 5 weeks, guys!
Friday night in downtown Chicago
Tomorrow morning we'll be off to my aunt's funeral and then start the long trek back to Catrina!

Friday-Sunday, August 15-17

We're back home after a whirlwind weekend starting Friday morning when we left for Chicago - spectacular weather for the air and water show with turquoise water, clear blue skies and nice breeze.    We sailed on Kevin and Dawn's boat (32' sail catamaran just like our first Catrina).   2 couple friends of theirs came onboard and we had a great sail and then anchored out for the Blue Angels.    Wonderful show, good lunch and just a delightful afternoon.    We were about 300 yards off shore from where Ryan was narrating, so couldn't hear him, but sure enjoyed the Blues performing their magic in the sky!
Our boating friend, Bob took these pics from Friday's show...
Over the Hancock Building
Had dinner downtown with Ryan that evening and so good to visit and catch up!    My Aunt Lois passed away this morning.    She was 90 and has had Alzheimer's for many years.
Saturday we were off to Dixon for our niece's wedding.   Lots of fun with Mark's family and beautiful wedding.    

Cory and Kyle
This morning we had breakfast with several of Mark's siblings, spouses, nieces and nephews. and then stopped in for visit with his Mom.   Onto Mendota and saw my cousin, Jim at the Lutheran Home followed by visit at Ron and Vicki's and then to Bob and Linda's for yummy lunch (brats, burgers, potato salad, sweet corn, fresh tomatoes, and topped off with delicious ice cream dessert)!
Great to see everyone.....also including our nephew Jason, niece Jennifer, Jake and Leia, and  Linda's brother John!
Jake, Jennifer and Leia

Grandpa Bob and Leia
We drove on home and will stay put till Tuesday morning when we'll go back to Mendota for my aunt's funeral and then leave for Oxford from there.
Went to 4:00 Mass at Historic St. Pat's.
So, today Anne, Patrick and the boys were off to Chicago for the air show.     They were at North Avenue Beach in the VIP section, close to Ryan but show was canceled cause of fog over Lake Michigan.   I was sooo disappointed for them as they were all so looking forward to hearing Ryan and seeing the Blues fly for the first time.    The planes were taking off and landing from Gary this weekend, but visibility was worse there, so....
Uncle Ryan, Liam and Connor in foggy Chicago
Ryan is back in Pensacola tonight - soon as the fog lifted enough, they were outta there!