Oxford Tour

Dawn brings an overcast sky and a hazy horizon. It will be another hot humid day on the Bay.

Watermen are in our little cove working their lines. We marvel as one lays down a quarter mile long line rigged with hooks. The line is apparently anchored at both ends; no floats are visible. The Chesapeake deadrise style boat has a drum mounted on its starboard side that the line runs over and the waterman simply motors the boat down the line; raising it off the bottom over the drum as he goes. Crabs are plucked off the line and thrown into a barrel on deck. Very clever and efficient.

After a lazy breakfast we lower the tender off the starboard side of Tivoli and get ready to explore. We pack up all our gear in a waterproof backpack, put on our inflatable life jackets, jump in the tender and head to town; a mile across the Tred Avon river. We enter Town Creek and motor slowly past several marinas, one of Hinckley’s boatyards, quaint private homes and lots of boats. Sloops, schooners, ketches, yawls, trawlers, work boats, dinghies, daysailors, ski boats, cruisers – you name it. It is fun to see such a wide variety of boats and especially the vintage vessels that are kept in pristine condition.

Finding a place to park the tender proves interesting. We know there is a public dock at the end of Market Street, and from the Active Captain reviews we know it is tricky to find as it’s unmarked. We tie up to a good prospect and I walk down the street and confirm we are indeed on Market Street. We then ponder how best to tie up the tender; locals use what seems to be an overly complex method of bow to dock and stern lines to pilings that clearly keeps the boat clear of the dock in any current or tide change. However, how one gets back on the boat isn’t clear and we are in no mood to study the arrangement nor do we have long enough lines to execute the method. I figure throwing out a stern anchor, as we do in the Bahamas, would work well but, in the end, we simply tie up bow and stern and place fenders to protect the boat.

We stroll down brick sidewalks on tree-lined streets; this is Mayberry. Beautiful old homes with neat yards, nicely landscaped, flowers, rockers on porches. Unlike St. Michaels there is little shopping to be done in Oxford. This is a sleepy but delightful little town. In short order we have traversed main street from Market to East Strand Road.

We eat lunch at Salter’s Tavern at the Robert Morris Inn; built in 1710. Had the crab cakes; the best on the Bay they claim (as does every restaurant on the Bay) – but these are good. The tavern is dark, mahogany lined, with heavy beamed ceilings, and massive fireplaces. One wonders who might have dined here in the past 305 years. While enjoying lunch a beautifully restored 1936 (or 1934?) Rolls Royce arrives. It seemed quite apropos to the setting; old tavern, old car, old patrons! And, a photo opportunity!

Right across the street is the Oxford-Bellvue ferry. Started in 1683 this ferry has been in continuous operation since 1836. Today it is a modern diesel-powered ferry carrying 9 vehicles plus passengers and bicycles. We can watch the ferry crossing the river every 15 minutes from comfort of Tivoli’s boat deck.

We head back to the tender and spend another hour or two poking around several neighboring marinas before heading back to Tivoli.

We are so lucky (and we’ve made a few things happen for ourselves).

Another day in life aboard Tivoli.

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