Rounding New Jersey: June 28 2011
With dicey weather off of the New Jersey coast we had more time in Baltimore. We had the polishing of Barefeet completed and experienced a bit more that the city had to offer. The Cross Street historic public market is a short ten minute walk from the boat and if our shopping list is lengthier than fresh fruits and veggies...Whole Foods is a twenty minute walk around the harbor behind the Hard Rock Cafe. We have been indulging in almost forgotten favorite recipes and even making some new things because food resources are so handy. Medallions of Pork Veracruz was a deliciously new orange and garlic Latin dish that also gave us a chance to make our old time favorites of Spanish rice and refried beans (June 17). And there will be plenty of leftovers for burritos later. Yum! The marina is becoming more festive as the weekend kicks in with many new arrivals; sailboats, motor boats, trawlers and several boat pooches, too.
Medallions of Pork Veracruz (Junior League of Palo Alto, Mid Peninsula, Cookbook): 3 pork tenderloins (trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices); 2 teaspoons dry mustard; 1 teaspoon salt; 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; 2 Tablespoons butter; 2-3 cloves garlic (minced); 1/2 cup dry vermouth; 1/2 cup white wine; 3/4-1 cup orange juice; 1 Tablespoons flour; 2 Tablespoons water; minced cilantro; zest of orange rind; orange slices. 1) Combine dry mustard, salt and pepper. Lightly rub into meat. 2) In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat and add pork slices and garlic. Brown meat for 3-5 minutes. 3) Add vermouth, wine and orange juice and reduce heat. 4) Simmer, covered, for 8-10 minutes or until meat is tender. 5) Remove medallions to a plate and cover. 6) Make a paste of flour and water and stir paste into pan juices with flat whisk - simmer to thicken. 7) When ready to serve, return medallions to gravy skillet for one minute then arrange on a serving platter and cover with gravy. 8) Sprinkle with minced cilantro and orange zest. Place orange slices around platter.
We wandered further afield to discover Greektown (June 18). It is approximately four miles east of the inner harbor and everything is blue and white. There are Greek Grocers, Greek Bakeries, Greek Attorneys and, of course, Greek restaurants. We decided on Zorba's Restaurant & Bar for a dinner of mezes; tzatziki yogurt/cucumber dip, french fries, spanikopita spinach pie, grilled bread, horiatiki salad (4710 Eastern Ave, 410.276.4484). Everything was delicious but we ran out of steam before we could try the charcoal grilled pork and chicken; however, it looked succulent spinning on the spits which we could see through the giant picture window into the kitchen. There were Greek songs playing over the speakers, few exterior windows and Greek TV on the sets that made us feel like we were back in Greece. Very fun. After dinner we returned to Fell's Point for some live music at Leadbetters (www.leadbetterstavern.com). There are two sets every night with the first from 5-9pm. The timing is right up our alley (early). The sun set so we started for home. The sidewalks were crammed with people of all ages on the warm, summer night. Live music flowed from several venues throughout our two mile walk back to the marina. We did not realize that Baltimore was such a hive of live music. It was wonderful.
Early stirring witnessed a deep red sky at sunrise (June 19). They say "red skies in morning, sailor's take warning" which has us happy to be tied up snuggly. However, the red sky warning came to nothing more than a few scattered rain drops so we targeted Fort McHenry as our destination for the day (www.nps.gov/fomc). We hopped bus #1 at the corner of Hanover and Cross streets. Hhhmmm, not a bad route so we will walk back home. Visiting the Fort and battleground gave us a new understanding about the start of our nation and the War of 1812. Although the war was thirty years after the US had declared its independence, Britain (and its Canadian colonies) continued to challenge American resolve. On the seas, the British called us "a pack of pirates" because we sank/plundered 500 of their vessels but we called it a restriction of trade. Additionally, the US expansion west and north met with direct resistance in the form of the British Empire and Canada as well as indirect resistance in the form of British backed Indian raids. Eventually, after years of diplomatic dispute, James Madison declared war on Britain despite woefully thin resources. What followed was not pretty. Washington, D.C. was burned and Baltimore looked to be next; however, Fort McHenry rallied and the British were held off. The victory made Americans proud and got them thinking about national sovereignty in much more personal terms. Heady stuff at a time of national beginnings. The Fort later served as a prison during the Civil War and as a hospital during WW I. Today, it is a lovely, quiet spot tailor made for picnics and escaping from day-to-day busy-ness.
Morning showers quickly dissipated which meant that Andy and Michelle of Ships Ahoy Detailing could make Barefeet's topsides sparkle and shine (firstname.lastname@example.org, 443.618.6320). Holy cow, we thought we worked hard at keeping Barefeet clean but they put our work to shame. While they buffed and polished we wrapped up mundane tasks like mail and were ready to move north (June 20). It was a drizzly and foggy morning as we departed Baltimore's Inner Harbor (June 21). We motored to Chesapeake city and nuzzled into a spot in the small anchorage bay. Looks like many other folks have the same weather window idea that we do about rounding New Jersey and using the canal to shave 300 miles off of the journey. The free dock was full and a total of eight boats were anchored. Drinks aboard at sunset were tranquil; however, a bit of floor show occurred as two rafts (one with a slide) was positioned for the weekend festivities of Canal Days. It looks like it will be quite a party but we will have to miss it this time. Before the sun came up we were off for the first leg of the Jersey coast (June 22). Erin used the headlamp for the 4am departure as she raised the anchor. Driving the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal was a bit like being on a motor highway...complete with streetlamps evenly placed. Herons, egrets and deer came into view as the sun began to light the day. By 7am we were out of the C&D Canal and into the Delaware River. A favorably timed current had us scooting along at 9 knots as we passed a dolphin parade. Not sure where they were going to but ALL of them were frolicking and heading in the same direction. By Noon we were rounding Cape May when...fomp...down came the fog and we had a mere one mile of visibility. Thank goodness for radar. We were anchored at Atlantic City at 6.30pm. It was a long day but we made lots of miles.
It was more of the same the next day as we made a 90 mile run from Atlantic City to Sandy Hook (June 23). Our luck at avoiding thunder showers ran out which left us tossed around in churned up waves, pelting rain and swirling wind. Arriving in Sandy Hook at 10.30pm was an oasis of calm after completing a tense entrance in the pitch dark. Chris kept an eye on the green buoys while Erin kept track of the red ones. City lights behind the buoys means that focus is everything. Our slow but steady progress was fine by us. We were around New Jersey and into New York. Yippee! Fog and drizzle continued but could not dampen the excitement of passing by the Statue of Liberty (June 24). We cranked up the volume of the portable Bose sound dock so that Alicia Keyes could belt out "Empire State of Mind." Wow, NY is one of a kind. The orange Staten Island ferries buzzed, the skyscrapers disappeared into the fog and grand bridges linked masses of land. We picked up a mooring ball at the Harlem Yacht Club on City Island just after passing through Hell's Gate with the tide and current on our side (www.hyc.org). Within two blocks of the Yacht Club we found a well stocked supermarket as well as diesel oil for an oil change. Sorted! But no time to linger just yet. Off we went north in the Long Island Sound with friend John aboard (June 25). The fog and drizzle thinned out which gave us a lovely day. Okay, John was pretty amused at our bundled attire when he had not even brought a sweatshirt. There is no doubt that winter in Boston will be tough for us this year. But back to the sea. Lobster pots have replaced crab pots as things to avoid. Plus, countless mylar balloons dot the water's surface after escaping graduation celebrations. It all feels very festive. John popped off at Stamford, CT, and we continued to Lloyd Harbor.
Just one more stop and we would be at Block Island, Rhode Island. What a fun arrival that will be. But first we anchored the night in Island Bay, CT, beside the Thimble Islands (June 26). The coastline was New England in all of its splendor: craggy brown rock bordering the sea; dense green woodland beyond and majestic brick and stone mansions dotted intermittently along the way. We were almost home and we could feel it. The 50 mile hop from Island Bay to Block Island across the Block Island Sound was amazing (June 27). Conditions were calm with the sunlight glimmering on the surface of the water - magic. We basked in the beauty but could not help being a little bit impatient. But then there we were; entering the harbor channel between the red and green markers. We anchored in the familiarity of the Great Salt Pond that had been a weekend adventure and getaway spot while we were readying for the trip. And now we were back and still charmed by this small island. We walked into town where a few places were for sale but most were tarted up with fresh paint and manicured gardens. Then, of course, it was dinner at The Oar. The onion rings are as amazing as ever, Chris inhaled a mudslide and Erin had two grilled cheese sandwiches (on sourdough bread). Awesome! In just a few days we will be back to Barrington and our old slip up the Narraganset Bay. It is hard to process it all but we will take it slow and continue at our established walking pace.