We love every boat show. Truly, we do. Whether it’s the mega-yachts in Fort Lauderdale or the Downeast debuts in Newport, Rhode Island, or the center consoles and family-friendly cruisers in New York City, each boat show has its own vibe and reasons to get excited.
The United States Powerboat Show in Annapolis offers plenty in that respect, but for us, an added bonus at this particular show is the after-the-docks dining in the historic district. Quite a few restaurants are within walking distance. Some are in buildings more than a century old. A handful have helped to keep oystermen and other seafaring enterprises going for generations.
McGarvey’s is our choice for oysters, served with a cocktail sauce, fiery horseradish and lemon, plus crackers to give your taste buds a break. (Thank goodness.)
Close by is the Federal House Bar & Grille, established in 1830 and still winning awards for its cream of crab soup. Its other specialty is crab cakes, and a recently added fan favorite is the Crabby Patty: a burger topped with a fried onion, crab dip and cheese.
Near there is the Iron Rooster, which is the place to go for comfort food such as Lowcountry dirty rice, meatloaf and chicken pot pie — say, if you need to soothe your nerves during a bidding war for a brokerage boat.
And as hard as it might be to save a few calories for dessert, we highly recommend a stop at the Storm Bros. Ice Cream Factory, which has been serving up sweetness since 1979. There are single-, double- and triple-scoop versions of everything from traditional chocolate and vanilla to deep-dish apple pie. (Yes, as ice cream. On a cone.)
So, walk the show docks until your feet are good and sore, and work up a hearty appetite. Annapolis never disappoints — on boats or bellies.
Boat Show Favorite
McGarvey’s Saloon and Oyster Bar was established in 1975 and has been a favorite hangout among Annapolis boat-show patrons for years. Fresh oysters, clams and mussels are delivered to the restaurant six days a week. The oysters come from Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.
The United States Powerboat Show is scheduled for October 11-14 in Annapolis. More than 650 boats, including new and brokerage models, will be there. The show has a demo deck where builders and manufacturers demonstrate new boats, engines and equipment. Cruisers University provides tips for living aboard, planning a cruise, maintenance and more. Children get in free if they are 6 or younger. Adult ticket prices are $18 in advance or $20 at the gate. The preview day price is $35. A $48 combination ticket includes the preview day plus one additional day. An adult two-day ticket (not including the preview day) is $31.