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Ship Watch Inn
401 1st Street
Chesapeake City, MD 21915
410-885-5300

Ship Watch Inn Home Page

April 2001

Welcome to www.weloveourlife.com. This is our page dedicated to our experiences while staying at the Ship Watch Inn in Chesapeake City, Maryland.


Accommodations Amenities Food Bar/Lounge Service Attractions Dining Nightlife Weather Tips

Accommodations

We stayed in one of the inn's eight rooms (six have whirlpools), and had a king-size bed. The inn has central air conditioning, and each room has a telephone and cable TV. All of the rooms have French doors opening onto a shared balcony that overlooks the canal. The room was nicely decorated and clean, and the bed was comfortable. It would have been nice if there was a screen door so we could open the room up to fresh air without worrying about bugs coming in. The whirlpool was perfect for one person, and a bit of a tight squeeze for the two of us (but we insisted on sharing it anyway).

Inn Amenities

The #1 attraction for the Ship Watch Inn is its location: perched right along the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal (which runs between the Delaware River and Chesapeake Bay). The spacious balconies on all three floors contain comfortable chairs and tables that beg the guest to sink down and watch the ships go by.

Guests are welcome to soft drinks, water, and ice, available in the refrigerator in the kitchen, and are also welcome to use the refrigerator for storage (we planned ahead and brought our champagne in a cooler). A feature we particularly enjoyed is the canal-side hot tub, which is built into decking and offers a wonderful view of the canal. We spent an hour soaking and waving at the passing ships.

It was the first hot tub we can recall that offered "seat jets," lots of tiny holes that pushed the water up through the bench seat that encircled the tub. It was a beautiful weekend day and there were plenty of pleasure craft on the canal, but some fascinating large ships as well. We found the fact that we could check in at 2 p.m. particularly appealing, as it gave us almost a full day to experience the town (check-out is at 11 a.m.). We recommend the Ship Watch Inn as an enjoyable, affordable, experience.

Inn Food

The inn has bowls of snacks available in the entrance. Breakfast was served in a room overlooking the canal on the first floor. The cook/server was cheerful and accommodating. We dined on fresh fruit, bacon, and pancakes. Not being coffee drinkers, our hostess smilingly provided us with Cokes and glasses of ice. The orange juice was some of the best we have tasted - fresh-squeezed yet chilled.

Inn Bar/Lounge

This is a B&B and did not contain a bar. Guests were welcome to store beverages in the kitchen's refrigerator. We brought champagne to sip in the whirlpool.

Inn People/Service

We met three different people: one who greeted us and checked us in, the breakfast hostess/server/cook, and the owner, who showed up at breakfast and happily told the guests they would be giving the balconies a fresh coat of paint that day (the inn was empty that evening - a rare occurrence). All those we encountered were friendly and helpful.

Area/Attractions

Chesapeake City is a little gem of a town we discovered when we made a stop for lunch returning from a trip to the Eastern Shore several years ago. We thought at the time it would be a perfect place to spend a night or two and vowed to return. We finally got the chance. Chesapeake City sits right on the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal and has historically been somewhat the center of canal life.

Chesapeake City is nearly 200 years old and remains dedicated to preserving its historic heritage, including strict guidelines for historic preservation of buildings. Walking through the historic district is like taking a step back in time. At the left is a picture of the City Hall.

It is home to the C&D Canal Museum. Its location makes it an easy drive from Philadelphia, Baltimore, Annapolis, southern New Jersey, and points south (southern Delaware). There are many quaint shops containing antiques and canal and nautical memorabilia. There are boat tours available. The best part is that everything is within walking distance, and there is always the magnificent sight of the canal to behold. Although not the "Deep South," Maryland is south of the Mason-Dixon Line, and we found residents to be friendly, laid-back, and even speaking with a slight drawl. While there are many bustling cities within 60-90 minutes, our suggestion is to leave the city behind, and spend a day or two in this dreamy little town, relaxing and watching the ships sail by. The town is in the shadow of a bridge that is breathtakingly high over the canal (to allow for the passage of very large ships). We held our breath several times wondering if the ships were going to fit under the bridge (they all did). There was a wonderful historical book about Chesapeake City in our room that contained hundreds of old pictures, and we learned that local residents felt that their town underwent a downturn when a previous bridge was destroyed by a large ship in 1942. The new bridge bypassed the town. From a visitor's perspective, that very fact probably allowed the preservation of this special little hamlet.

Dining

Chesapeake Inn Restaurant & Marina - 605 Second Street, Chesapeake City, MD 410-885-2040
Chesapeake Inn's Home Page
We walked to the Chesapeake Inn (only a few blocks from our inn) for lunch, arriving at noon (when they were opening). The restaurant overlooks the canal with huge glass windows. Since it was a beautiful day, we opted to sit outside on the upper deck. We learned the full menu was available on the upper deck, and a more limited menu was available on the lower deck, which was more casual (plastic cups as opposed to glass). The lower deck seemed to be more of a gathering spot and included a covered stage area in one corner. Lori, a seafood lover, was happy to be in Maryland and even happier when she perused the menu. She opted for the Shrimp Chesapeake appetizer (shrimp and crab with sauce in a pastry shell) and shrimp and scallop quesadillas for her entree. Give Lori shrimp and the rest is easy - she would eat them every day, all day, if she could. Keith decided on the soup of the day (escarole) and a sandwich of pan-seared chicken coated in cornmeal, and served on wonderful fresh bread. Keith particularly enjoyed putting Old Bay seasoning on his fries. Sitting out on the deck on a beautiful day was relaxing, and we had a couple drinks and enjoyed the view. The service was very good and it was a nice way to spend a couple hours on a beautiful afternoon. Slips are available for boaters to dock while dining.

Bayard House - 11 Bohemia Avenue, Chesapeake City, MD 410-885-5040 or 877-582-4049
Bayard House Home Page
We had eaten lunch at the Bayard House back in 1998, and Lori had decided it was where we would have dinner. We called several hours ahead of time and made a reservation. This is a gourmet restaurant with great food and service and is always full; we strongly suggest making a reservation. Because they place emphasis on service, they do not rush their guests, and even those with reservations can end up waiting a bit (but it's worth it). We started our evening at the Hole-In-The-Wall tavern downstairs. Supposedly the name can be traced back over 100 years to immigrant workers who were not allowed in the tavern and were therefore served their drinks through a hole in the wall. During nice weather, guests have the option of dining outdoors, canal-side (of course!). It was a beautiful mid-spring day, but was cool at night, so we opted for indoors. If possible, ask for a table by a window when making reservations. We were given a table with a window and a great view, and even got lucky and saw an extremely large ship from the Netherlands pass by.

The Bayard House's emphasis on service is apparent as there are servers constantly filling up water glasses, pouring wine, etc., but they are never in the way. There was a nice balanced wine list, and we chose a 1999 Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay. Keith had a caesar salad and ate all of it - even the croutons (which he usually gives to Lori). Lori ordered the warm brie in puff pastry with almonds (very tasty). For his entree, Keith had the boneless chicken breast stuffedwith roasted garlic pancetta and Boursin cheese, which included Yukon gold potatoes and spinach. The cheese offset the garlic nicely. Lori had the seafood imperial, which included shrimp, lobster, and carbmeat, along with a bit of Maryland spice (Old Bay). We split some tiramisu for dessert, and Keith had some Remy Martin VSOP and Lori ordered Frangelica. It was a most enjoyable experience, and we highly recommend this restaurant.

Nightlife

This is a small, quiet town, but gets more busy in the summer due to the boating activity on the canal. The Chesapeake Inn has entertainment (including bands) several nights a week.

Weather

We lucked out and had two beautiful days. Chesapeake City is in the mid-Atlantic region which means it gets all four seasons, but less snow than points 25 miles to the north (such as Philadelphia). Summers can get extremely hot and humid and we recommend making sure you have plenty of sun protection (reflection from the water), and air-conditioned accommodations are a must.

Tips/Suggestions

Arrive as early as possible to get a good parking spot. Although you can walk almost anywhere in town, the good spots go quickly. If you really want a good table at the restaurant of your choice - especially on a weekend - make a reservation. If you have a good vantage point over the canal, take binoculars - the ship traffic is fascinating. Take the time to breathe and relax - this is a charming town and can truly take you away - if you let it.