New Waterparks, Updated Dining, Fishing Tournaments

New Waterparks, Updated Dining, Fishing Tournaments

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March Events Eastern Seaboard
H2OBX rendering of facilities bar and restrooms at the water park. Photo: h20bx

It’s bound to be a busy March in the Chesapeake and North Carolina.

A $46 million waterpark is being constructed in lower Currituck County, North Carolina, three miles north of the Wright Memorial Bridge. The park is designed to accommodate up to 5,000 visitors daily and is scheduled to open this summer. Among the waterpark’s many attractions will be a 30,000-square-foot wave pool, a 90-foot-tall free-fall slide, a 500-foot Constrictor slide, and a 540-foot raft ride with a zero-gravity hump. The park will add employment and entertainment opportunities to the area but will also bring more traffic on roadways especially on weekends, which is another reason to visit the Outer Banks by boat.

Multiple food and beverage locations and a Wright Brothers-themed bar are planned. Up to 50 private cabanas with luxury amenities and guest services are included in the project. H2OBX developers include Jeff Malarney, a Manteo resident and a former Navy judge advocate general, who has been involved in the North Carolina vacation rental industry having recently served two terms on the N.C. Real Estate Commission. The park is scheduled to be open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Current plans will allow local residents access to the park in June. The park will cater mostly to visitors to the area through its rental company partners in July and August. Daily attendance will be capped at between 4,000 and 5,000 visitors to keep lines from becoming too long. h2obxwaterpark.com

Casual creek dining

Mack’s Barge is back on Knitting Mill Creek off the Lafayette River in Norfolk. After a smoky, dingy existence as O’Sullivan’s Wharf, the restaurant is now clean and completely remodeled, offering American grill-style cuisine along the waterfront. The restaurant, originally called Mack’s Barge in the 1970s, has added about 100 seats and expanded its outdoor deck. The docks can accommodate four or five midsize boats. Knitting Mill Creek is on the south side of the Lafayette, about 3 miles above the mouth, with a controlling depth of about 4.5 feet.

The atmosphere is waterfront casual with fishing rods and old signs on the ceilings. The menu concentrates on seafood and smokehouse selections along with biscuits and Southern specialties such as grits and jambalaya. Oysters Rockefeller ($8) and a bowl of she-crab soup ($6) are a good way to start. macksbarge.com

Get ready to fish

The Coastal Conservation Association of Maryland (CCA MD) is hosting its 17th annual Lefty Kreh TieFest on Saturday, March 18th, at the Kent Narrows Yacht Club. The event runs from 10AM to 4PM and will feature more than 30 fly tyers demonstrating patterns proven successful in the mid-Atlantic. Casting demonstrations, lessons and equipment manufacturers will also be part of the scene. An addition this year will be tying classes for kids and novice tyers.

CCA MD is also offering its final Angler’s Night Out of the season at the Boatyard Bar & Grill in Eastport on March 28th. Beverages, appetizers and fish talk runs from 5PM-7PM before the feature film Providence is presented. The full-length, fly-fishing film chronicles a trip to Providence Atoll, where fishing for flats species include giant trevally, bluefin trevally, bumphead parrotfish, bonefish, Indo-Pacific permit, triggerfish, and milkfish. ccamd.org

By Christopher Knauss, Southern Boating Magazine March 2017