More than 20 years ago, Raynell Smith realized Deltaville boaters needed a place to buy good used equipment and sell stuff they no longer needed. Raynell and her husband, a boat-graphics artist named Kaptain Krunch (his given name is a closely guarded secret), were highly experienced cruisers, having sailed the East Coast, the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean. So when they settled down on the Rappahannock River’s Broad Creek, Raynell had a keen sense of just what boaters needed.
Raynell set up shop on Deltaville’s main drag and continually expanded her collection of consignment goods. Over the years, all things nautical began filling the shelves and spilled outside to a covered backyard. There you’ll find an array of anchors, enough dock line to stretch to Norfolk and every conceivable brass fitting or piece of fishing tackle. Of course, it’s the inconceivable piece, the what-on-earth-is-this-for? item that makes scrounging fun. That’s when you fetch Raynell from the front of the store for an explanation.
Need a drogue big enough to slow down a 75-foot ketch? She’s got it (at least it was still there when we last checked). A two-way diverter water pump valve? Yup. Or how about a winch, power cord or single dinghy oar to replace the one gone missing? Nauti Nell’s has it—whether you’re looking to pick up something new or off-load something unwanted.
Once her consignment business was established, Raynell started working with local artisans to offer unique and exclusive gifts, each with a nautical theme. She stocked her shelves with an impressive array of antique and modern brass lights, half hulls, and framed prints by Chesapeake Bay artists. There are books to peruse and Chesapeake-themed jewelry to admire. Or perhaps you’ll be captivated by a siren’s song from one of numerous mermaids on the wall.
During the winter months, Nauti Nell’s is a warm and welcome refuge from the wind and cold—just the place to pick up something, anything to remind you of the season yet to come. And if you’re willing to brave the snow on the ground out back, you might just spot that anchor you’ve been looking for to go with the mermaid who already stole your heart.
Nauti Nell’s is a hike from Deltaville’s Jackson Creek and even more of a trek from Broad Creek. Borrow a car or hitch a ride from someone at the local marinas. In 2016, BayTransit (www.baytransit.org) started a shuttle bus service between the marinas and area businesses. It runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day and is 50 cents a ride.
If you’re looking to consign something, bring it in when the shop’s open. Or contact Raynell (804-776-9811) for more information.
6507 General Puller Hwy (Route 33)
Deltaville, Va. 804-776-9811
Hours: Monday–Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Closed on Tuesdays September–December.