Unique Stays Around the Bay

From a historic Georgian-era farm to a tiny house made from a steamboat, here are seven sweet stays for a unique Baycation.

Period Pilothouses

Cross Rip Campground, Deltaville, Va.

I daydream of going back in time and experiencing the days when graceful steamships plied the Chesapeake. Most of these boats have been lost to time, but a tiny campground in Deltaville has turned two vintage wheelhouses into cabins perfect for a weekend of not-quite-roughing it.

Photo: Susan Moynihan

California transplants Catherine Bellows and Rebecca Wondergem have owned Cross Rip, set on the easternmost tip of the Deltaville peninsula, since 2016. But it was the original owner, the late Anna “Scotty” Hoye, who founded Cross Rip in 1950 and made the steamboat cabins. 

The Virginia Dare is built around the pilothouse of its namesake, which was operated by the Old Dominion Steamboat Line and the Old Bay Line in the early 20th century. The pilothouse has been turned into a bedroom with twin beds, accented by the original ship’s wheel, fuel lantern, compass box, and windows, positioned towards the water. The connecting wood-paneled living room has two more beds, a sofa, and shelves stacked with board games and vintage store finds. A galley kitchen and screened side porch round out your cozy stay.

Across the way at Nan’s Place, a red pilothouse juts out from a tidy gray cottage. Preserved from a menhaden fishing boat, the wheelhouse has a built-in daybed ideal for reading, attached to a studio with kitchenette, queen bed, and bathroom. The screened-in porch and wide wooden patio overlook a narrow cove and beach, and bonus: This one is dog friendly. 

The campground has two other cabins and 46 tent-or-RV sites—many of them booked year after year by return guests who want to keep it a secret. After spending a lovely weekend there, I totally relate, so please don’t tell anyone else about it. Cabins available from $75-160/night via airbnb.