Solomons Island at the mouth of Patuxent River, where it meets the Chesapeake Bay is more than a port; it's a waterfront village.
As you make your way through the yawning harbor, you are surrounded by beautiful marinas and yacht clubs drawing you deeper and deeper within. It is easy to see why the British used the island as a refuge during the War of 1812 and how it served well for safe training of amphibious invasion forces during WW II. I read that over 60,000 servicemen were trained on this island during WW II, which seems incredible in and of itself.
Today, in peacetime America, Solomons Island is filled with delightful surprises. We again rented bicycles and explored.
History recounts the first inhabitants of this two-mile island arriving in the late 1600's. Believed to be a grant of Eltonhead Manor, it was named "Borne Island." In 1740 it was renamed to "Somervell Island" - which I like best - and later to "Sandy Island" (1827-1865). In 1865, Oyster Farmer, Isaac Solomon purchased the island, and it has carried his name since.
Homes dating back to 1780 when the island was named Somervell’s Island were meticulously cared for, and new construction complemented the seaside town. Although I knew the island also was once a tobacco growing industry, I was somehow surprised to see spanning waves of golden cornfields. While they held their own beauty, they seemed too contrast the beautiful boardwalk and harbor ambiance.
Other highlights were the Calvert Marine Museum where you can walk through the Drum Point Lighthouse, the first screwpile lighthouse built in 1855. Showing my ignorance here, I envisioned the lighthouse keeper as a lonely man sitting in an empty room upon a metal chair. Ha, was I wrong! Lighthouse keepers were encouraged to bring their families, and the last keeper of the Drum Point Lighthouse raised five children in the 1200 sq. foot home. There were many other fascinating exhibits at the Calvert Museum and, it even has a boat building facility for anyone wanting to learn the craft. It was an adult and child hands-on smorgasbord that I'd love to bring my grandchildren to someday!
Not open when we were there, but a “want to see” is a Smithsonian affiliate, the Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center. After visiting the Sculpture Garden on Roache Harbor, I long to discover more of them.
We stayed at the Zahniser Yachting Center, which was one of the most service-oriented marinas we have visited of yet. The site team was helpful, friendly and seemed to love what they do. Amenities included pump out, water, repairs, excellent Wi-Fi - which is a rarity, showers/laundry, free bicycle rental and daily runs to the grocery store a few miles away. A sailing club and the Dry Dock restaurant is also on the premises.
This island visit was a thorough delight!
Zahniser Marina Amenities:
WiFi – Excellent!
Free bicycle rental
Shuttle into town to buy groceries – a real plus!