U.S. Sailboat Show — A Sailor’s Smorgasbord
by Bill Hooper
Maryland is the sailing mecca of the U.S. and
when the boat show comes to town it becomes the
frenzy of sailors. The 38th Annual U.S. Sailboat
Show starts October 4th and ends the 8th. So start
making plans now. Most sailors fly into BWI (Baltimore)
and rent a car for a 30 minute drive to Annapolis.
There are a number of hotels, B&B’s,
or rooms to rent, but don’t delay. They
are spendy close to the show, so spread out if
you are on a budget. For parking, find a ramp,
lot, or go to Eastport and find a spot on the
street. Buy tickets at the show or online at www.usboat.com.
This time of year, when midwest weather cools
off, you are usually treated to another weekend
of wearing shorts as you walk the docks and climb
on vessels from all over the world. Compare dinghies,
daysailors, ocean cruisers, racers and multihulls.
Browse tents packed full of accessories, info
It is one of the largest shows
in the world — all sailboats — in
the water and nestled in a harbor deep within
a town off of a post card full of history, fabulous
food and shops. Everything around you is nautical.
If you are in the market for a boat you can talk
to builders, designers and sales staff. I am sure
you won’t need guidance on how to navigate
a boat show but, I might be helpful in suggesting
where to drop your hook for a bite or other non-boat
Hungry? Get out of the show
for a break and try Oyster Shooters at the Middleton
Tavern (circa 1750), or Maryland Crab Cakes at
McGarvy’s. All within walking distance from
the show find all ethnic foods, but don't forget
seafood. Grab a water taxi and cross Spa Creek
for lunch at Carol’s Creek, or dinner over
the water at the Chart House and O’Learys
for seafood. If steaks are your thing, go to Lewnes.
The Boatyard Bar & Grill and Davey’s
Pub are Eastport local sailor bars, but at the
show, all the bars are sailor’s bars. Want
to get away? Try Sam’s Waterfront Café
(Chesapeake Harbor), or devour steamed blue crabs
at Mike’s on the South River (Riva Road)
or Cantler’s. Into fine wines to take home?
Mills Liquors is tops.
history? Take a stroll to State Circle
to the first U.S. Capitol and see the Naval Academy,
their harbor, maritime museum (Preble Hall) and
John Paul Jones crypt. Or drive across the Bay
Bridge to the Eastern Shore to St. Michaels. Check
out the unique architecture of old town Annapolis
Want more boats? Walk Eastport or take Bay Ridge
Road to Edgewood and see real marina life on Back
Creek. Like marine stores? Faucett’s is
impressive or Weem’s & Plath. You will
find a most outstanding selection of nautical
art, clothing and artifacts in Annapolis. You
will also find a most outstanding selection of
sailor people there too and you can become one
Bill Hooper owns Hooper’s Yachts in Afton,
MN. He has been a regular at the Annapolis Sailboat
Show for over twenty years.