Cruisers to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor will see more green and more wildlife by the end of this decade.The National Aquarium has unveiled a plan to create an urban wetland to demonstrate how natural ecosystems can improve the health of the harbor and the Chesapeake Bay.

The urban wetland will be in the water between Piers 3 and 4 and consist of habitats such as floating wetlands and underwater shelves with bay grasses and terraced edges. The project’s goal is to showcase natural ecosystems as an aesthetic and practical method to improve water quality.

The 2.5-acre area would be free and open to the public. Work is expected to begin by the end of this year, with completion set for 2019. The project includes interactive exhibits, kayaking, picnic spaces, and educational activities in the middle of the aquarium’s campus off Pratt Street. “We see this as an opportunity for a second renaissance for Baltimore’s harbor by creating not only a commercially thriving place, but also one that is thriving in terms of its health and green space, and as a habitat for animals and humans to enjoy themselves,” said John Racanelli, the aquarium’s CEO.

Laurie Schwartz, president of the Waterfront Partnership, said her group fully supports the aquarium’s plans. “We’re excited about bringing the National Aquarium’s conservation and educational components outside,” she said. “It really helps advance the Inner Harbor 2.0 objective of creating a more dynamic harborfront area.”

Judge the soup

Crab soup lovers will get their fill at the East Coast She Crab Soup Classic at the 24th Street Park in Virginia Beach on April 9th. The rain or shine event showcases an open competition among local restaurants who serve their individual recipes and compete for People’s Choice Awards, the winners of which are determined by the ballots of those attending and a panel of four regional cuisine experts. Tickets are sold in advance and offered at the gate if available. (The event is limited to 1,500 paying guests.) Children 12 and younger who are not sampling and are accompanied by an adult are free. Dogs and beach chairs are not permitted in the tasting area.

Smoked duck tacos

The Duck & Wine Festival is slated for April 30th in the town of Duck on North Carolina’s Northern Outer Banks. Festival attendees are invited to sample each restaurant’s special dish paired with a selected wine. Ticket sales are all online this year and the event has sold out in the past. The price of a ticket includes a reusable wine tote bag, an event wine glass, a wine lanyard, and cork screw. A good place to park your yacht for the rain or shine festival is Coinjock Marina & Restaurant located on the ICW at Mile Marker 50, an ideal stop for mariners traveling north and south along the waterway.

 

By Christopher Knauss, Southern Boating Magazine April 2016

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