I grew up in a small town outside a small city. I joke that if I got into trouble on Avenue A my Mom heard about it before I got to Avenue C. It was a great place to grow up. People looked after each other. We took time to stop and chat with our neighbors. It was rude not to say hello or least waive as you passed someone. There was always a quick toot of the car horn and a waive to those you knew. It was a different world from my adult life a big cities.
As an adult we lived in mostly major cities. Like any big city, it is all hustle and bustle. Everyone is on a schedule. Everyone is busy. And for whatever reason the more people in a city the less people you get to know. They don’t waive at strangers or make eye contact as they pass. I simply thought times had changed and so had most people. I tried to remain true to my roots even when I got weird looks for saying hello to perfect strangers.
On our adventure north from Florida we have stopped in some small towns and cities. I am being reminded that there are wonderful, kind people all over this country. This did not change once we arrived in Maryland. The people we have met in Maryland are helpful, friendly and kind. I had almost forgotten how nice people can be to one another. We have been in mostly smaller towns and cities in Maryland at this point. I hope it does not change as we get closer to the bigger cities.
There we were, relaxing in a cove for a second day. We had all of our chores finished and thought we would just take the rest of the day off and relax. That evening a small boat was heading our way from the shore. Generally it is not good news when a boat from shore is headed toward a boat at anchor. First thought, “Is there a time limit that we can anchor here and have we exceeded it?” Second thought, “ We checked the charts and this is a designated anchorage…right?” Third thought, “Do they want to sell us goods?” (this has happened to us before).
As the thoughts flew through our heads the boat came closer and a lady stood up with a bag in her hand. They greeted us warmly and offered us the bag. They wanted to welcome us to the river and brought fresh tomatoes from their garden as a gift. There was a nice note inside the bag as well (cropped below to leave out their personal information). They offered to drive us to town if we need provisions. They were boaters and had done some cruising. They knew what it was like and wanted to help if we needed anything. How generous and kind. As they pulled away from our boat and were on their way to a restaurant down the river we smiled and waved. Mark remarked that his faith in the kindness of the human race was being restored bit by bit on this trip.
Being obvious tourist we stick out. Maybe it is the camera gear strapped to our backs or the obvious lost looks on our faces. We’ve often been approached and asked if we need directions or help finding what we are looking for in town. People walking past stop to ask where we are from, how we are doing and if we like their town so far. If asked they will happily offer tips on places to visit or restaurants in the area.
We briefly met a couple in one of the marinas one evening. They were there for just the night and left early the next morning. To our surprise they arrived in one of the same coves we had picked out. What a small world. It was just too incredible with all the coves in the bay to end up at the same one just a few days later. We motored the dingy over to say hello. Not only were they happy to see us but invited us on board for dinner. We had a nice evening and watched the sunset while making new friends.
We met a nice family at a marina who lived on their boat every weekend. They offered us the use of their car or to drive us wherever we needed to go. While the boat was at the boatyard not only did they offered to have us over for dinner but came by a few times to offer any help we might need. The offers were genuine. They barely knew us and treated us like family. We were very touched by their kindness.
We met a couple who were tied up next to us at a marina. We swapped boat cards and wished each other well. A few days later we received an email from them with an extensive listing of great places to anchor while in the bay. They even sent coordinates. A while later they followed it up with some more great spots to visit. What a nice gesture and a total surprise. We have a few planned for our trip south.
One morning, while at a marina, I was leaving to take the trash out. The dumpster was a bit of a walk up the hill, past the marina office. I had forgotten something and went below briefly. When I returned on deck the trash was gone. I was worried that it had gone over the side of the boat into the water. I was sure I put it away from the edge. I was wandering in circles wondering where the trash had gone and looking over the edge of the boat at the water. Our neighbor boater stuck her head out. They had come in late the night before and we had not yet met. She told me that her husband was on his way to the dumpster, saw our trash on deck and took it with him to save me the trip. What a nice surprise and a nice way to meet our new neighbors.
We spent a bit of time in Crisfield, Md. Since walking is our main mode of land transportation we walked around the small town quite a bit. We got to know some of the folks in town while we were there. I think we tried almost every flavor of Smith Island Cake that they sold at The Water’s Edge Cafe. On our last day in town as I was walking to one of the shops a car horn tooted, an arm came out the window and the driver waived at me. The driver yelled, “Hi Cindy! Have a safe trip. We hope we see you guys again!”
These acts of kindness and help are just a few of the nice things people have done for us along the way. I could fill pages but will just say each one was very welcomed and so much appreciated. We have met so many kind people along the way. Not just fellow cruisers, boaters or marina staff but also bus/shuttle drivers, restaurant staff, store employees and perfect strangers at events or on the street.
I remember when I was young, when people just struck up a conversation with someone because they were sitting next to each other. To my delight this has not gone away. I have found it again in places along our journey. We have met such nice people and learned so much just by being in close proximity to them and having a light chat. It has been refreshing and made us feel welcome. As with any part of the world there have been a few grumpy sorts but by and large people have been very friendly. It is not hard to be nice to others and the rewards are endless.
Thank you to the all of the boaters on this vast bay who read our blog and have sent comments with suggestions for places to stay and things to see. Your kindness and help has been welcoming and appreciated. It is such a big bay and there is so much to see and do. We could not possibly see and do it all in one season–though we are giving it a good try. 🙂 We have not yet seen much of the Virginia part of the bay. Something to look forward to, I am sure.
Thank you Maryland for such a warm welcome to your state and beautiful bay. Thank you to all the small towns and cities along our way north from Florida to the Chesapeake Bay for your hospitality. We hope to see some of you again as we head south. You have made this small town girl feel right at home. It gives me inspiration to move onto the next leg of our journey.