After a lovely time traveling south down the Delmarva Peninsula, it was time to part ways for a bit with our buddies Nina & Paul.
They were headed out to the Outer Banks of North Carolina (Nina just posted her recap here of their trip – hmm.. it’s like we’re taking the same breaks from our social time to blog), a coastal trip we would have loved to join them for.
However, we were on our own mission – soaking up as much boat knowledge as we could for the upcoming Great Loop adventure, and we just can’t do it all.
Our broker had let us know that the mid-Atlantic chapter of the Marine Trawler Owner’s Association (MTOA) was holding its first ever rendezvous in New Bern, NC.
The super helpful organizers, Peter & Nancy, graciously invited us to attend last minute.
On the way, we made a quick overnight stop in Norfolk, VA to look at a boat on our list.
Which worked out perfectly for us to accept a kind invitation from a live-aboard blog reader to park in their marina’s lot for the evening and hang out. We really appreciated the opportunity to chat with experienced boaters, and tour a couple boats.
This post covers October 19 – 27.
A rendezvous is sorta like a rally/convergence in RV-speak. Just like in the RVer world where we have organizations like Escapees, FMCA, Good Sam (click to read more on RV Clubs)- boaters have similar groups.
They also offer a combination of community, support network and benefits.
Thus far, we have joined the American Great Loop Cruiser’s Association (AGLCA) and now the MTOA.
The rendezvous we’d be attending was for a regional chapter of mid-Atlatanic cruisers, and held over 3 days. First day was a happy hour, second day a couple seminars followed by happy hour and the third day local touring followed by happy hour (yup, our kinda people!)
After a long driving day from Norfolk, we arrived to our campground just in time to get parked and head to the opening happy hour.
And we were immediately welcomed in by the community – with several anxious to share their wisdom for our upcoming boating adventures.
The next day was spent in a banquet room listening to a few seminars on First Aid, the state of the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway), tips on selling your boat and boating insurance. All welcomed topics for these sea sponges.
We skipped the local touring day, as we were pretty tired by this point after a couple of travel days and little time at home. But did return for the closing happy hour held on the docks where the attendees were staying.
We were extra grateful to be invited in to tour a few boats. Each boat we spend time on, increases our knowledge and helps us narrow down our must-have features.
All-and-all, we felt it was definitely worth our time to attend the event and soak up the knowledge. And of course starting to make connections within a new community.
Flanners Beach Campground – Neuse River
When we were hunting for RV parking options to attend the rendezvous we found 3 options. The closest two were staying at the Elk’s Lodge or KOA just a couple miles away.
But when I spotted a Forest Service Campground just 10 miles south – we were sold. From pictures, the campground looked like just our style and we could grab a huge wooded site with electric for about a week. And just $17/night.
Flanner’s Beach Campground was exactly what we hoped it would be.
A super chill and well maintained campground, right on the banks of the Neuse River. Some of the dry camping sites actually have a super water view.
Our site (#4) was HUGE, wooded and private feeling. We made it even more private feeling by pulling straight in to surround our view with trees instead of the bathhouse across the way.
There are miles of paved and unpaved trails to explore, plus beach walking up and down the shore. Perfect for getting the bikes out and keeping active.
We had ample connectivity for working through several projects and relative peace & solitude.
The 10 miles was a touch longer than we’d like for commuting into an event 3 days in a row, but it was definitely manageable. And afterwards, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay in a perfect spot.
We were also pretty thoroughly smitten with the darling town of New Bern. We enjoyed just strolling around the waterfront, through the quaint blocks and sampling the dining choices.
New Bern has a rich history, settled by Europeans in 1710. It was also the birthplace of Pepsi-Cola.
We look forward to having time to explore more once we return on our boat some day.
And as a special bonus, our friends Sue & Doug (their post about the stop) stopped in on their way north after wrapping up their 6 month inaugural extended RVing trip.
(They were so gracious to loan us their property in Vermont for our stay over the summer.)
What’s Up Next?
We’re presently wrapping up another 1-week stay in the awesome Charleston, SC where we’ve re-convened with our buddies. We’ll soon be hitching up and continuing southward with stops near Savannah with dear friends and then more boat shopping near Jacksonville.
We’re really digging this ‘drive a few hours and then stop for a week’ pace.
After that, we head to the west coast of Florida where we’ll be arriving in time for Thanksgiving with family.
We have a special adventure planned in early December with my mom and then we switch to super focused boat shopping this winter while we roam around Florida. We’ll be mostly winging it based on where boats present themselves, taking advantage of last minute cancellations at campgrounds (and perhaps some driveway surfing invitations?) as we can.