“Anchors Aweigh!” is more than the U.S. Naval Academy’s fight song … or the march of the U.S. Navy … or a 1945 movie starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra. This time of year, it’s the cry of recreational boaters from coast to coast (even if few people actually say that when they leave the dock).
So, with the sun on our faces and summer on our minds, we asked our Facebook community a two-faceted question: “Where do you tie up? What’s the best summer hotspot to drop anchor and relax on the water?” From seasoned captains to weekend skippers, your answers sent us in search of boat ramps near and far—with a lot of help from Google Maps.
Bill Mathisen sent us north to Alaska. “Depends if I’m still crabbing or longlining for halibut, and also wind direction, as there aren’t too many places to hide out here on the Bering Sea (inside Golovin Bay, the east side of Sledge Island and sometimes even St. Lawrence Island). I try not to hang around Little Diomede (Island), especially the west side. The Russians get a little testy if you cross the International Date Line.”
Doreen Chick posted a photo showing a road sign in Webster, Mass., that says it all (and then some): “Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg.” The 45-letter lake near the Massachusetts-Connecticut border was once known as Lake Chaubunagungamaug, but those 17 letters obviously weren’t enough to match the lake’s grandeur. So in 1921, the spelling bee contestant’s worst nightmare was lengthened to its current 45 letters. And it gets worse. In 2009, Fox News reported that the sign Doreen shared is actually misspelled (letter No. 20 should be U instead of O, and letter No. 38 should be N instead of H). At least we have Matthew Pilch to show us exactly how it is pronounced. Maybe we should just throw up our hands, as many of the locals have, and simply call it Lake Webster.
What’s in a name anyway? In some cases, plenty. Gail Williams’ favorite place to drop anchor is Party Island (aka Ship Bottom), a sand bar just off Long Beach Island, N.J. Tom Marshall loves Party Cove on the Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri. And who could resist Papa Nedz’s pick: Boaters Beach, a nearly half-mile stretch on Saginaw Bay (Lake Huron) near Bay City, Mich.? On the other hand, Dennis Buono vows that Ordinary Point on the Sassafras River near Galena, Md., is hardly ordinary.
Kyle Bowen’s No. 1 boating destination is extraordinary too, and we can vouch for it, since it isn’t far from our headquarters in Traverse City, Mich. “Elk River to Lake Skegemog to Torch River to Torch Lake is the best all-day boat run you could ask for,” he wrote. Indeed, the trip offers beautiful water and scenery, and Torch features a sandbar that—much to the chagrin of the locals (and the police)—draws hundreds of energetic boaters, particularly on weekends and holidays.
Hagerty Marine’s own Carla Gernhofer embraced the mitten too, suggesting another northern Michigan gem: “Pick a spot … any spot … as long as it’s Glen Lake.” And Jay McCumber gave two thumbs up to Sugar Island in the Detroit River (northwest Lake Erie), near Grosse Ile.
Heading east, four of you named boating destinations in New York. Raymond Sindone Sr. drops his anchor in Swan Bay on the St. Lawrence River, a short distance from the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton; George Patton enjoys Sandy Bay on Lake George; Jon Romero loves Croton Point Park on the Hudson; and John Kuretz chose Lake Titus in Malone.
Pasquale Dibenedetto loves New Jersey’s Stow Creek State Park, and Dennis Buono prefers the not-so-ordinary Ordinary Point on the Sassafras River near Galena, Md.
Blake Gran wrote “Paris Landing” without further explanation, but after a quick search we’re assuming he’s referring to beautiful Paris Landing on Kentucky Lake, just south of the Kentucky-Tennessee border in Buchanan, Tenn. Venturing farther south, Phillip Martin loves Lake Murray, near Lexington, S.C., and Brad McAlister named his two Georgia favorites, Lake Oconee and Lake Sinclair.
Not surprisingly, Florida was well represented. Robert Wall enjoys the Panhandle, particularly Destin; Michael King’s favorite boating spot is on the Fort George River near Jacksonville; Richard Evans picked Silver Springs; and Bruce Davis loves Cabbage Key near Fort Myers. John Wheeler Jr. and Steve Roche would rather drop anchor a little farther south—“anywhere between Fort Piece and the Keys” for John, and “Key West during the opening of lobster season” for Steve.
Heading north and west, Cory Walker and Rob Cason anchor their boats in Possum Kingdom Lake near Graham, Texas; Bob Faires loves Table Rock Lake in Branson, Mo.; Rob Cason recommends George Winter Park on the Meramec River in Fenton, Mo.; Nicholas Hodek picked Rotary Beach between Lake Le Homme Dieu and Lake Carlos, near Alexandria, Minn.; David Michael Sylican loves Steamboat Cove on the Colorado River, just south of Lake Havasu, Ariz.; Frank Guida named Bass Lake, Calif.; and Thomas Martin recommends Lake Merwin, Wash., north of Portland.
For many of you, the question wasn’t as simple as it seems. Boe Sison joked, “Where do I tie up? I’m tied up to a mortgage, wife, kids, and job.” Steve Howlett, who must be a fisherman, wrote: “If I told you, it wouldn’t be the best spot anymore.” And Mike Stone couldn’t help but see opportunity in the answers he read. “Wow, look at all the watering spots to go metal detecting. Thanks, everyone.”
But the finals words are reserved for Shawn Barnhart and Eric Hancock, who definitely know how to live in the moment. Shawn’s favorite boating destination is “wherever the water is clear and the beer is cold.” As for Eric, “home is where the anchor drops.”