Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Day Trip - North Beach, MD

Chesapeake Bay - my new favorite giant body of water.

I've been craving a day at the beach. Although the Atlantic isn't too far away, the thought of driving 4 hours in traffic to a crowded beach didn't seem worth it. I stumbled across a small article in a free paper here in town about North Beach, MD. It's only 30 miles from our house, and it has all of the offerings of a decent beach town: sand, boardwalk, ice cream stand, hot dog vendor, candy store, and seafood restaurant.

2011 will mark the summer I fell in love with the Chesapeake Bay.

The sand beach is divided in two by a nice size peer. I didn't get the chance to fish from the peer, but maybe Kathryn will let me try next time.

We went for a walk down the boardwalk to get a plate of mussels, crab chowder, and cold beers.

The beach had filled in by the end of the day, but it was far from overrun.

Getting Out - The Accidental Crabbers

Half a bushel of crabs.

A few weeks ago, my good buddy John and I went fishing at his friend's house. His friend's house sits on a river which feeds into the Chesapeake Bay. The fishing wasn't going so well, but in a weird turn of events, we found ourselves on a commercial crabbing boat. John's dreams came true as we got our chance to trot line crab.

Brief tutorial: A trot line is a 1,000 to 5,000 foot long rope that has buoys at either end. The line is dotted with chicken necks tied every two to three feet. The line is then laid across the river bottom or bay floor. You ride along in a boat pulling up the line as you go. Crabs latch on to the chicken necks, and you pull them off with a basket.

Here's a pretty hefty blue crab coming off the line.

You can see the chicken necks on the trot line. This was at the end of the day when the line was being pulled in.

At the very last run of the day, the crabber let John and I try our hand at scooping up the crabs.

Here I am getting instruction from our Captain.

Unfortunately, the line was a little bare at the end of the day.

We also had a few pots we set out earlier in the day.

Our crabbing boat Captain gave us a half a bushel of female crabs for what equated to a case of beer and a burger. Since it was 4th of July weekend, I assume that's what he bought anyway.

John and I steamed the crabs.

There were tons of leftovers, so Kathryn and I made crab cakes the next day.

The leftover crabs sitting on The Cuba Free Press.

Mixing up the crab, breadcrumbs, eggs, red bell pepper, old bay, and pepper.

Pan frying.

Crab cake sandwich with grilled asparagus and grilled corn.

Vacation - Niagara Falls

American Falls.

A few weeks ago, I went on a business trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario for two days of meetings, but Kathryn was able to tag along for a short vacation. Also, we were able to check out Niagara Falls on the way.

At first, I was disappointed to learn that Niagara Falls are in a gorge. I always pictured them pouring down a mountain. It's the most I've ever been disappointed by something beautiful.

Kathryn at the top of American Falls.

The happy couple.

We, of course, took the Maiden of the Mist boat tour to the base of the falls.

Kathryn's picture of the American Falls from the boat.

It's hard to see in this picture, but I was getting pelted by the water/mist. Also, you might note that I'm starting to sunburn. I accidentally burnt the crap out of myself that day.

On the way up to Niagara-on-the-Lake, we stopped at a beautiful horticulture garden.


While I was sitting through presentations, Kathryn was out bicycling the countryside and checking out wineries.

Here she is at a vineyard.

Niagara-on-the-Lake is home to several wineries and known for ice wine. Kathryn made sure to take in a tour.

Enjoying a glass of wine and a few pages of one of the "The Girl with the Something or Other" books.

We did get to visit one winery together briefly.

Inniskillin is the oldest ice wine producer in the area.

Getting Out - Fletcher's Boathouse

Brought plenty of ice water for these hot days.

This summer, I have returned to fishing, or more precisely, I'm once again obsessed with fishing. In my quest for some decent fishing close to home, I came across Fletcher's Boathouse on the Potomac. It's less than two miles form downtown Georgetown, but once you're on the river, it feels farther from the city.

The boathouse rents kayaks, canoes, and rowboats. I opted for the solid wood row boat built in Maryland.

Small stream running into the Potomac.

The cove also offers some decent birding.

It wasn't the best day of fishing, but I pulled in this little guy.

Garden Update

Kathryn picks the first load of cherry tomatoes.

I bought this orange tree which will be an indoor tree in the winter. Here's hoping this thing works.

Kathryn planted a nice collection of herbs.