We might be what you call sailboat show junkies. We toted Hailey around as a newly minted one year old at the Annapolis Boat Show in 2012, and endured the chaos of a new two year old when we brought her back to the 2013 Annapolis Boat Show. David and I left the girls in good hands and got to participate in the Take the Wheel workshop at the Annapolis Boat Show in 2015. We made a brief stop by the Miami sailboat show after our Disney World extravaganza, but even with Nana’s helping hands, it was a bit chaotic, so this year we left the girls in Mema’s loving care and took off just the two of us to Annapolis for the 2018 US Sailboat Show!
We arrived on Thursday afternoon about an hour before the show closed for the day, so we bee-lined it straight to our favorite category, the catamarans. It’s been fun to watch the layouts morph over the years as the makers continue to find ways to improve the life flow aboard and make them even more comfortable for families or friends to sail together. I snapped a few pictures of one of our favorites, the Lagoon 40, to give you a better peek into how big these boats are!
After jumping on and off a few, the sun was going down and are stomachs were rumbling. I pulled up Instagram to read the restaurant recommendations that had been given to me and after perusing a few online menus, decided on VIN 909, a cute winebar and restaurant just a couple miles away from the docks.
We drove over the bridge and snagged the last couple of seats at the bar overlooking the chef’s kitchen, barely beating out the dinner rush that descended upon the restaurant shortly after we ordered our drinks. I learned that I am not a buttery Chardonnay fan, but crisp? That’s right up my alley! David opted for a craft beer and we decided to split a couple dishes. The olives and almonds plate was a great starter; it consisted of a blend of Nicoise, Castel Veltrano, oil-cured Morroccan olives and whole, peeled almonds with a baguette. Dare I say it may be my new hosting go-to over a typical cheese platter? We also spit a spicy potato and mushroom soup, and a Nightshade pizza- pan fried eggplant, chive butter, tomato sauce, provolone, mozzarella, parmasan, basil, pepperdew drizzle. The food, wine, and atmosphere was excellent!
We knew Friday would be a full day so we made sure we got a good night’s sleep and we were up and at ’em on Friday morning. The show didn’t start until 10:00, so we stopped in the Annapolis Art District on the way in to grab breakfast.
I asked David (my poor Instagram husband…) to snap a picture of my new gray jeans, which I am completely in love with. They have just the right amount of stretch and come in petite, meaning I didn’t have to get them hemmed!
I offered to repay the favor of picture taking, but he didn’t seem quite as enthused about showing off his outfit. Men…
The Light House Bistro was quiet that morning, but the tea and food were tasty and comforting, making a great start to the cool and cloudy day. I ordered the veggie omelet with ratatouille (unique, but it worked) and David went for the avocado toast with poached eggs.
After breakfast we headed into the show and the whirlwind began!
It was an incredible morning. We chatted with so many wonderful people that share our love of adventure and penchant for the islands. We talked at length about family travel and the state of the BVI’s after Irma (spoiler alert- they are open for business!), and I’m excited to share that we’ll be taking the girls down to the islands in 2019 on a family sailboat charter. Thinking about it just makes my giddy and I can’t wait to share that experience with them, and with you!
We even met a celebrity! If you’ve been to the British Virgin Islands, there is no doubt that you have heard of the small island of Jost Van Dyke and it’s famous beach bar- Foxy’s. Well it just so happened that a newly turned 80-year-old Foxy was at the show and we lucked out getting to spend some time talking to him and his vivacious daughter, Justine.
It was a fun and full morning, and by early afternoon we were in need of some food, so we headed to the historic district where we decided on The Federal House for lunch. I went with the fish tacos which tasted so fresh and definitely hit the spot.
After lunch we met and chatted with the lovely ladies with the British Virgin Islands and got to hear all sorts of stories about the rebuild, which were touching. The spirit of the islands are clearly alive and well, and maybe even stronger in some ways. Hearing how the community is coming together and helping the small family businesses is really beautiful. Some of the island infrastructure still has a little ways to go, but everyone I met assured to the sailing scene is better than ever and that the beach bars are bumping!
One resort that was completely decimated by Irma was The Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda. It holds a special place in my heart because David and I enjoyed a day there when we chartered a catamaran a few years ago (read our charter details here, our island hopping details here and here (Foxy’s was a wild time!). They had a really cute set up at the show inside a rambler, so David and I swung by to hear the latest updates, and ended up staying for a couple hours!
I loved hearing about the history of BEYC and the rebuild (they are aiming to have the marina and restaurant back up and running by May 2019). Plus, Tony was there with DogFish Head serving rum punch which might have had a little something to do with our losing track of time…. 😉
Once the show closed at 6:00, we walked across the bay bridge to the Chart House, where we sat at the bar, toasted to a great day, watched the Georgia Tech game, and split a hummus platter, some tuna, and snapper. Needless to say, we crashed hard into bed that night!
Saturday morning we packed up and headed to the historic district are next to the show to spend some time walking around. Annapolis is one of my favorite little coastal towns. There is so much history, and everything, for lack of better description, is SO cute. Brightly painted brick, overflowing flower boxes, secret alleys- I could walk up and down the streets for hours.
We finally got hungry and grabbed breakfast outside at the Iron Rooster. Their avocado toast was out of this world! It had fresh avocado (of course), but also house made chowchow and garlic aioli, all on whole wheat toast. I mentally bookmarked it to recreate at home!
Our last stop of the trip was The Annapolis Yacht Club, right on the water. We were invited to attend the “friend of the British Virgin Islands” brunch and it was wonderful. I wasn’t hungry, but when I saw the spread I had no choice but to eat again. The people were warm, the steel drums set up an island vibe, and even Foxy himself took a turn entertaining us with guitar, humor, and original songs.
It was the perfect farewell, as right after we hopped on the road for our 7 hour drive back to Charlotte, but the excitement of the weekend is sure to carry us through until our toes are in the Caribbean sand. Thanks, Annapolis, for a memorable and wonderful weekend!