Winter on the Chesapeake is not for the faint of heart. Perhaps it’s the cold and damp, the lack of protection from wind off the water, or the bare trees against gray skies that seem uninviting.
Most years, only the hardiest outdoorsmen and -women really embrace the region’s winter climate. Hunters, watermen, and birders are among those willing to spend January and February tromping around frosty marshes or running an oyster boat.
As for the rest of us, our boats are carefully winterized and our houses are warm and cozy, thank you very much. We’ll embrace the indoors, maybe escape to Florida or the islands for a while, and resume enjoying the Bay in April or May.
This winter, however, is a pandemic winter. Many indoor activities and events are canceled, or at best they’ve “gone virtual.” Winter getaways to warm places aren’t advised. Even winter boat shows, which remind us that boating season will come again, are off for 2021. (Never fear, we’re still reporting on the newest boats and innovations in this issue’s special Boat Boom section further down).
Adding to this grim set of winter circumstances is the fact that we’ve already spent a lot of time at home. Like…a lot of time. So, what now?
This is the year to discover the beauty of the Chesapeake in winter—the migrating wildlife, the views revealed when leaves are off the trees, or the reflection of a sunset over a thin layer of ice on the water. Yes, it’s cold, and sometimes damp and windy, but boredom is a powerful motivator. We can all become hardy outdoorsmen and -women if we simply get out the door.
If you’re dressed in the right layers, hiking through a forest of native trees to a Chesapeake Bay overlook is its own reward. And nothing tastes better than the hot coffee or soup waiting for you afterwards.
The January/February issue celebrates the wintering Chesapeake—a chapter of Bay living we tend to skim over. This year, let’s put on our boots and meet it head on.