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Old 08-03-2010, 13:28   #1
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Living Aboard - East Coast US

Hi all,

We're based in the UK half the year and are looking to either buy a cottage/live aboard at a marina on the east coast of the US the rest of the year.

We need somewhere that'll be relatively pleasant year round and were thinking about the Chesapeake area (or somewhere similar in VA), but any thoughts? FL is too far into the hurricane belt and Maine will be too cold in winter....

cheers,
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Old 08-03-2010, 14:15   #2
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We live aboard at Olverson's Lodge Creek Marina in Lottsburg, Virginia. Its on the Potomac River just inside the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. You have quick access to the Chesapeake and the price is about the best around. There are several long-term cruisers who come up from Florida/Bahamas and spend the summer here during hurricane season. It is very casual and laid back. Also, very rural but within an hours drive of every service you would need. Its about two and a half hours to Annapolis (by car). If you need to know anything else, feel free to PM me.
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Old 08-03-2010, 14:24   #3
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The Oriental area in Central NC is pretty nice. How big a boat and what types of ammenities are you looking for? The Chesapeake is significantly colder in the winter (being North of cape Hatteras is the climatic breakpoint most years. The Wilmington NC area is even warmer in the winter months. In the summer it gets pretty warm everywhere on the US east coast south of New York by UK standards.
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Old 09-03-2010, 01:14   #4
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Thanks for the feedback guys.

We currently own an O'day 34 but are looking to move up to the 40-44ft range to liveaboard, and we'd be looking to either stay long-term in the marina or buy a small property close by where we could live and head down to the boat whenever we wanted to go sailing.

My other pasttime is flying so we'd need somewhere that has a GA airport close by. The small town scene works well for us also - as for amenities, as long as we were relatively close to grocery stores and could get boat supplies relatively easily, that'd work fine for us.

cheers,
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Old 09-03-2010, 05:29   #5
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Seconding Doodles recommendation, take a look at the area called the "Northern Neck" of Virginia. He's in Northumberland County. We used to live in Lancaster County, just to the south. There are a number of marinas in the region, and also on the Middle Peninsula further south.

Numerous small cottage-type properties are for sale in the area. The sailing is great, the people friendly and the lifestyle, though basically rural, has it's more sophisticated elements as well. In the lower Northern Neck, the town of Kilmarnock is the "urban" center (well, not really urban, but everything is relative), with the largest grocery stores, shops, some good restaurants, and a pretty good little hospital. The area is a popular place to retire, and you'll find folks who've come from all over, so the social life is stimulating. Waterfront property can be a bit pricey, but not as high as some areas around the Chesapeake. You could find an inland cottage for a very reasonable price, I'd wager.
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Old 09-03-2010, 13:00   #6
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The nearest GA airport to Oriental is a grass strip about 10 miles away. Nearby towns having nice GA airports are Washington NC, Beaufort NC, and New Bern NC. The grass strip is private aircraft only and has no rentals available. The other airports have fully equipped FBOs, including flight training. All of these towns are very boating oriented with New Bern having more slips available than the others. Oriental is more of a village atmosphere, the others more of a small to mid-sized town. Beaufort has easy access to the open ocean through a class A inlet. The other towns have easy access to the Pamlico Sound/Neuse River system, though one can access the ocean through Beaufort or the Ocracoke inlet. It's just a bit of a trip to get there. I had my boat in New Bern for a while. I'm also a pilot and the Marina area is about 1.25 miles from the airport. It's a bit of a walk but not too bad. In Washington and Beaufort the airport is about 3 miles from the marina area. I've flown out of all three airports numerous times and they are all first rate.

Groceries are within a half mile of some of the Marinas in Oriental and a little over a mile in the others. Restaurants are even closer.
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Old 09-03-2010, 13:13   #7
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If you want a REAL small town with a small airport about 4 miles away, I will let you stay at our dock in Engelhard, NC for $100 per month and you pay all of your utilities
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Old 09-03-2010, 13:18   #8
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Hi ausnp84,

Not sure how you personally define "pleasant" weather, but for us sailors in Florida, Virginia gets pretty darn cold in the winter. Sub freezing temps are fairly common every year and snow is not unheard of. This winter was a bit worse than usual with blizzards, snowed in airports and highways, power outages, etc.

I think typical Virginia weather will be a bit colder than you see in the UK. That's the reason a lot of sailors from that area head south for the winter.
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Old 10-03-2010, 05:32   #9
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I think you will see more hurricanes, and bad weather in general in the Cheasapeake than in Jacksonville FL. I am not knocking the Cheasapeake just my opinion...the Cheasapeake is beautiful in the spring and summer.
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Old 10-03-2010, 06:15   #10
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I live aboard on the Magothy River (Magothy Marina), just north of Annapolis. Easily accessible to the Chesapeake and the river itself is one of the best for sailing or gunkholing (much better than the Potomac or Severn):

Magothy Marina
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Old 10-03-2010, 08:21   #11
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Thanks guys - I appreciate all the feedback.

We're living and working in the UK at the moment but are looking to setup an American "base" for when we leave here. We looked at Door County, WI (where my other half works) but I don't fancy having to navigate the Lakes everytime we want to do an extended trip, and I'd like somewhere on the east coast where we can readily head south to the Carib.

Winters over here are generally -4 - 0 Celcius during the day and GREY..... (maybe add in a splash of drizzle now & then also) - what we're looking for is somewhere with a relatively pleasant summer (ie. not too many bugs and not scorchingly hot - odd for an Australian to say, I know) and a mild(ish) winter (and if that second one isn't achievable, easy access to the Caribbean to escape the snow).

cheers,
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:42   #12
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While the Northern Neck area is wonderful, it has real winter. Most boats are hauled. It's also very warm and humid in summer. Can't beat spring and fall!

I'd take a look at Savannah and Hilton Head. Negligible hurricane risk and considerably warmer than the Chesapeake in winter. Savannah is beautiful and relatively cosmopolitan for that part of the US. Hot, humid and buggy in the summer - but the whole east coast of the US is buggy in summer - even Maine. Lots of small airfields.

Have you considered the Bahamas? Maybe Abaco. Since you're a pilot it's very convenient from Florida. There's a hurricane risk but it's manageable if you plan ahead.

Carl
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Old 13-03-2010, 11:47   #13
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Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
While the Northern Neck area is wonderful, it has real winter. Most boats are hauled. It's also very warm and humid in summer. Can't beat spring and fall!

I'd take a look at Savannah and Hilton Head. Negligible hurricane risk and considerably warmer than the Chesapeake in winter. Savannah is beautiful and relatively cosmopolitan for that part of the US. Hot, humid and buggy in the summer - but the whole east coast of the US is buggy in summer - even Maine. Lots of small airfields.

Have you considered the Bahamas? Maybe Abaco. Since you're a pilot it's very convenient from Florida. There's a hurricane risk but it's manageable if you plan ahead.

Carl
Many thanks for the info Carl - we'd thought about the Baha but for ease of registering an "experimental" class aircraft, basing it in the US will work best.

Our O'day was originally registered in Savannah and I've been meaning to get down there to visit......

cheers,
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Old 13-03-2010, 14:08   #14
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You may want to check out Cape Charles, Virginia. The town is small and historic. There are lots of homes for sale near the water at reasonable prices. During the recent property boom, a big marina/resort was built there. We've gone over there for long weekends over the last couple seasons and enjoyed our stay. The facilities are top notch and seem to be fairly under utilized. I think the whole town went through a speculative frenzy during the real estate boom and there seem to be a lot of "investors" looking for a way out. My wife and I have talked about retiring there some day. Beautiful beaches with easy access to the bay and only 30 minutes or so away from Norfolk/Virginia Beach area by car. The big drawback is that there doesn't seem to be much of an economy there. Much of the Eastern Shore of Virginia is agriculturally oriented. Any chance you are a farmer? The spectacular sunsets over the bay make it worth checking out anyway. Good luck in your search.

Info on the town:

Cape Charles - Virginia Is For Lovers

This is the marina:

golf community Chesapeake Bay Marina va waterfront homes
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Old 14-03-2010, 18:11   #15
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Personally I'd go for Oriental... 4-5hrs down the Waterway gets you to Beaufort/Morehead, and its a pleasant trip on a late Friday afternoon.. get into Taylors Creek and pick up a mooring or drop the hook then off ashore to the BackSt Pub for a few jars.... they even sell draught guinness.. back for a nice kip.
Next morning pop outa the inlet for a sail.. maybe anchor the night at Lookout..
Bit more sailing next day then head back up the canal on the tide and be 'home' by 5-6pm... lovely weekend..
Great sailing in Pamlico Sound as well... lots of private slips available as well as Marinas/Boatyards.... check out the Town on this link...
www.towndock.net.
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