Matt and I took a dinghy ride around Spa Creek the other day, which is one of our favorite spots in Annapolis. It’s a quiet little neighborhood cove far enough away all the chaos of Ego Alley, yet still just a short walk or dinghy ride to the downtown attractions.
To get here, head past the Annapolis Harbor towards the draw street bridge we locals like to call the Eastport bridge. Spa Creek separates the downtown Annapolis area from Eastport, a funky little neighborhood with a great laid back vibe. Each year they feature a huge Tug Of War across the creek between teams from “Annapolis Proper” and the “Maritime Republic of Eastport” in a battle for ultimate supremacy. Or maybe just beer & bragging rights. It's a great time either way.
The Annapolis Yacht Club is on your starboard side (Annapolis Side) as you approach the bridge. You need to be a member or know a member to get in, which we are not so we’ve yet to see the inside. But it’s pretty awesome looking from the water, especially at dusk. And the “parking lot” is pretty impressive too. Look at the size of those yachts! Good Lord. I’d forgo seeing the inside of the club to climb aboard one of those beauties instead! You only see them in the Summer time though... as soon as the weather starts to turn I imagine they're headed south. Like will hopefully be someday soon!
On the port side (Eastport side) is the Annapolis City Marina. Here they have fuel/water/pump-out facilities as well as transient & live aboard slips available. We looked there when we were searching for places to dock our boat, but they didn’t have any slips that would fit a 24′ wide catamaran at the time. It also happens to be right next to our favorite restaurant, Carol’s Creek Cafe, which I’m sure would have caused our waistlines to go up while our bank account went down. Probably for the best that it didn't work out :)
The Eastport bridge is a small little drawbridge, opening up every hour on the hour to let sailboats that can’t make the 17′ clearance in and out of Spa Creek. We’ve gotten stuck several times approaching the bridge – by car and on foot – only to have to wait it out until all the sailboats that have gathered on either side slowly pass. Usually it’s only a five minute wait, but it can really back traffic up, which surprisingly, really pisses people off. Hello - you live in ANNAPOLIS, the self proclaimed Sailing Capital of the USA! I mean c'mon! The way we look at it as it's a small inconvenience for everything else you get that makes this place so darn charming.
On either side of the bridge, there's a mooring field owned by Annapolis City. It’s pretty affordable – $25 a night – and the water taxi will pick you up and take you to wherever you want to go. Not a bad deal. Most people choose to pick up a ball on the outside of the bridge, but the smaller field inside of the bridge (in our opinion) is the better of the two. It's quieter with much less traffic and the view of the houses along Spa Creek are amazing. There’s usually a bunch of boats who choose to drop anchor here too since it’s a well protected area and the water is always pretty calm.
This is St. Mary’s Church and High School, which was originally built in the mid 1800’s. This should be a post card or something.
But the real attraction of Spa Creek is that it back up to one of the oldest and most beautiful neighborhoods in Annapolis. There are a few bulkheads along the Annapolis side that you could tie a dinghy to if you wanted to hop on land for a walking longer tour of the neighborhood. The waterfront houses here are just stunning. Especially at twilight when you can see inside the houses. Full disclosure - we’re total voyeurs… not in a pervy way, but in a very-curious-as-to-how-the-other-half-live sort of way. Bet you’ll think of us the next time you decide to leave the curtains open at night…
While we were out taking in the sights, we noticed a huge board floating on the water. This thing must have been at least 16′ long. We have no idea where it came from, but we knew if we didn’t pull it out, it was destined cause some serious damage to someones prop.
Let me assure you, dragging a water logged 2×16 out of the water on a dinghy was just as difficult as you’d think it would be. Just call us the Stewards of Spa Creek. You’re welcome.