Properties on the Water, North VA & South MD

Chesapeake Bay at sunset Chesapeake Bay covers 64,000 square miles, and more than 150 rivers, creeks and streams flow into it. Hundreds of miles of Chesapeake Bay coastline and long stretches of Potomac River shoreline make northern Virginia and southern Maryland ideal areas for prospective buyers wanting to live on the water. Other rivers and tributaries add further to the many hundreds of waterfront homes for sale at any one time.

An Area Rich in History

The British colony of Virginia originated at Jamestown in 1607. In 1649, a land grant to eight loyal supporters of Charles II included northern Virginia. One them, Lord Culpeper, became Virginia's governor in 1677. Legal claim to about 5.3 million acres was established by Culpeper's grandson, Lord Fairfax. In 1748, he employed a 16-year-old named George Washington as his surveyor. Lord Fairfax would go on to become one of the best-known individuals of the late colonial period.

In 1634, southern Maryland was first settled near today's St. Mary's City by those escaping religious persecution in the British Isles. They built the first Jesuit church in the colonies in St. Mary's City, and it would serve as Maryland's capital for 61 years.

Parks and Recreation

Heron Those attracted to the waterfront lifestyle may enjoy spending time at some of the parks on the waters of Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Along the Potomac in Fairfax County, Virginia, you'll find Fort Hunt Park, once part of George Washington's estate. The fort was built during the Spanish-American War to help defend the nation's capital. Mason Neck State Park in Woodbridge, Virginia is surrounded by the Potomac River, Pohick Bay and Belmont Bay. Herons, swans and bald eagles all frequent the wildlife refuge.

In Maryland, Piscataway Park lies along the shores of the Potomac. Here, visitors may spot bald eagles, ospreys, foxes, beavers, deer and other wildlife. The public fishing pier and two boardwalks are popular attractions. The National Colonial Farm recreates the 18th century farming experience. A certified organic farm is also maintained here. The park lies along the 290-mile Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, where hikers, bikers, equestrians, canoeists and kayakers explore the region at their own pace.

Point Lookout State Park is right at the tip of the southern Maryland peninsula. Launch your boat, kayak or canoe here and leave daily life behind. Fishing and swimming are other popular activities at Point Lookout. While you're there, visit the Marshland Nature Center and the Civil War Museum. Hike miles of trails that meander through forests and along the shore.

Activities and Attractions

St. Mary's City at the southern tip of the peninsula that includes southern Maryland. It is the home of a replica tall ship named Dove that gives visitors a sense of what the first settlers faced in 1634 as they made their way across the Atlantic. At Historic St. Mary's, a living history museum includes a brick chapel and Maryland's original State House, both dating to the mid-17th century.

Lighthouses are a reminder of the area's maritime history that spans centuries. A number of these iconic structures, including the Piney Point Lighthouse, were constructed in the 1830s. Some, like the Cove Point Lighthouse, are still in service. Smith Point Lighthouse, at the mouth of the Potomac River has a history dating back to 1802. The 52-ft structure is still active. New Point Comfort Lighthouse is a classic white tower put in service in 1804. It is possible to tour some of these historic structures. Others have become maritime museums.

Festivals and Special Events

In June, Colonial Beach, Virginia, hosts the Potomac River Festival. Highlights include the boat parade, carnival and firemen's parade. In October, BikeFest comes to Colonial Beach. The Colonial Beach Yacht Club organizes the boat parade, and a fireworks display closes out the day's festivities on Saturday. In early December, residents enjoy hot cocoa and cookies at Santa's Wonderland and Winter Festival as they browse the arts and crafts on display. Younger attendees write letters to Santa and enjoy pony rides.

A number of events are staged at the St. Mary's County Fairgrounds every year, including the Southern Maryland Spring Festival. A carnival, entertainment, arts and crafts, and a horse show all contribute to a festive environment. A tractor pull, hayrides, and sand art also fill out the schedule. In the fall, the fairgrounds host the Brew and BBQ Festival. Savor a craft beer or a glass of local wine as you take in the live music. A nationally sanctioned BBQ competition attracts top pit masters.

The Waterfront Lifestyle

Couple in hammock Living along the shores of Chesapeake Bay or its tributaries in northern Virginia or southern Maryland offers many advantages, including privacy, personal boat slips and piers and unencumbered water views. Entertain friends and family in a relaxing and intimate setting.

Once you're living on the water, it's possible to go boating, water-skiing, sailing, parasailing or fishing in a matter of minutes. Beachfront living gives you and your family members the pleasures of a year-round resort lifestyle. Imagine relaxing on your balcony, wine glass in hand, as the sun gradually descends to the horizon. Properties with private sand beaches afford residents the opportunity to relax under the sun or frolic about in the water at their convenience.

Some waterfront properties combine history and a bucolic landscape in unforgettable ways. Some properties date back to before the American Revolution. Of course, grand estates on large parcels of land are another attraction. Some feature broad sand beaches, swimming pools, elaborate gardens and guest houses. Although you'll find many million-dollar estates along the shores of Chesapeake Bay, other properties are priced in the mid-six figures or lower. It is also possible to find creekside properties in the low-six figures.

I'd welcome the opportunity to assist you in locating your dream home on the water. I look forward to learning about your preferences. For example, if you have a boat that requires deeper water dockside, I'll locate properties that meet your requirements.

Many recreational, cultural and entertainment opportunities enrich life across northern Virginia and southern Maryland.To learn more, please contact Gerri Ross.
Gerri Ross
Gerri Ross
Real Estate Consultant