Family Vacations Cruising the Chesapeake Bay

I’ve been a sailor/power boater most of my life and “I’m a son of, son of, son of a sailor”. When I was In Boy Scouts I learned to sail on a Sailfish. Growing up, whenever there was an opportunity my Dad would rent a sailboat to take our family out for a day cruise. In my teenage years, he purchased a 24’ wooden sloop which he kept on Middle River, which is where I gained a lot of experience sailing on the Chesapeake. After I was married and raising my family I purchased a 30’ Catalina sloop and kept it in a marina on Rock Creek in Pasadena, Md. After many years of sailing, we converted to power boating.  

The Chesapeake Bay, immortalized by so many writers, artists, sailors, and naturalists, is a truly magical destination along the coastal shores of the United States. It is by far the largest estuary with the most coastline of any other b cay within our lands. In fact, its 11,600 miles of shoreline is more than the entire coastline of the US West Coast. It drains 64,000 square miles across six states. And although it averages only 21 feet in depth, it has deep channels that run to 100 feet accommodating the passage of submarines and commercial traffic of every description along its 200-mile length. Its width varies from 4 miles at the Bay Bridge to 30 miles at the Potomac. It has more than 150 rivers and streams feeding its rich grounds, and as much variety along its shores as any cruiser would wish to find.

The following are some of our favorite marinas and anchorages spots.    

 

The Tides Inn Carters Creek off the Rappahannock River

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On a private peninsula, surrounded by the splendor of the Chesapeake Bay, the Tides Inn is a timeless Virginia resort with sweeping waterfront views, lush native landscaping and a full-service marina. The Inn was opened in 1947 and is a jewel of the southern part of the bay.

The Marina

The Tides Inn Chesapeake Bay Marina, with new floating docks, provides the beauty and tranquility of a secluded harbor along with the facilities of a world-class destination resort. Located on Carters Creek, 11 statute miles from Windmill Point, the floating dock marina accommodates up to 24 vessels ranging from small weekend cruisers to 150-foot charters.

Sailing

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Kayaks and Paddleboards

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Spring Cove Marina Patuxent River/Solomons Island 

Spring Cove Marina is considered to be one of the finest marinas on the Chesapeake Bay and a perfect family getaway destination.  Our family enjoyed Spring Cove’s pristine, upscale facilities and our friendly, efficient staff.  The well-kept facilities, a full complement of amenities and helpful staff allow you to feel right at home as soon as you arrive!

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During our stay at Spring Cove one of our favorite activities was riding bikes to the Food Lion and restocking our supplies when we were out on The Bay for 2 weeks. Also there is a West Marine close by within biking distance. 

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Anchorage Worton Creek

The majority of the time we would anchor at the mouth of the creek for our watersport activities. With any impending thunderstorms, we’d anchor near the protected shoreline across from Worton Creek Marina.


 

 

 

 

 

Sunsets at the Mouth of Worton Creek

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Often when we were on the hook we would use our hard bottom dinghy to visit the marine for boat supplies and eat dinner at the Harbor House restaurant. On one occasion I had a fuel line break and was able to get the parts from their marine store to repair my leak.

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Fairlee Creek

Fairlee Creek is known to be a tricky place to enter. There’s a nice big red marker and then a flurry of small red and green cans that end just before the pinch. The pinch being a 90 degree turn into a shallow spot between two beaches that are 20 feet apart.  Make sure you keep a good speed going through the channel!

 

The Entrance

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The Tiki Bar

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Son Chris

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Mears Great Oak Landing

Come for the boating – stay for the fun! With 350 boat slips, a 28-room lodge and 70 acres on

Located on the Chesapeake Bay overlooking Fairlee Creek, Mears Great Oak Landing Marina boasts 350 open slips, a 28-room lodge and 70 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds to offer boating families many options for food, fun and relaxation.  d swimming are available for active guests.  Our quiet beach, large pool deck and lawns overlooking the water offer a serene oasis.  A Kids Club keeps the little ones busy all day long.  Whatever you are looking for, Great Oak Landing has it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchorages at Still Pond

Still Pond is one of our favorite anchorages and was once a well-kept secret on the Bay. There were many times we would be the only boat on the water. Unfortunately, a few years back it was written up as one of the best anchorages on the Chesapeake, so now you can expect large crowds on the weekends. Mid-week you’ll still find quiet anchorage filled with lots of soaring bald eagles, breathtaking sunsets and excellent swimming. It’s serenity and beauty never disappoint. Still Pond offers great protection from the south and west.

One of our favorite activities was to strap on our life jackets and wade into the Ebb tide, along the shoreline near the narrow channel, during which water flows away from the shore creating a lazy river for us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purely Pleasure

On one occasion anchored in Still Pond was the boat owned by Jerry Herson of Herson’s Honda in Rockville. Purely Pleasure is an 85’ express cruiser. The Yacht has 4- 18 Caterpillar Engines for a total of over 4,000 HP, top speed of 45 knots and 4,000 gallon fuel capacity.

 

 

10 Things To Consider in B2B Lead Generation

Chet Bigelow sales funnel lead generation
Are you filling your sales funnel with quality leads?

Let’s game-plan a scenario: Your company has got a good (or great, hopefully the latter) product line, your sales team is armed with pitch materials, case studies, etc… They’re well-armed to win new business or invigorate their existing clients and approach them with solid up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. So it’s up to the marketing team to create a thorough lead generation plan and put it into action. Here are 10 important things to consider so that marketing team can hand nice warm leads over to their crack sales team.

1. Think of all of the channels through which you can generate leads, and come up with a feasible plan to drive lead gen through the best options. It’s great if you have a large team and major budget, allowing for a plan with more breadth, but with limited resources, it is crucial to ascertain this at the outset and have confidence that you will quickly produce warm leads for the sales team.

2. Don’t be afraid to try something new, though it is smart to do a test-case before jumping in with a significant new expense. Prove your case before you take a big budget hit that doesn’t provide returns.

3. Define what the lead generation and nurturing plans and goals are for both your existing customer base and also for new business leads. They could be quite similar, but I’ve seen many situations where there is a sharp contrast in the lead gen and sales approaches between the two.

4. Analyze, analyze, analyze. Yes, I am talking about data here, it’s what drives our mad world, more and more each day. Don’t just look at key metrics, look deeper to see if you can spot trends or patterns that will help you get even more exacting with your lead generation targeting.

5. Even with the importance of data analysis, qualitative analysis is still a very important component to understanding what is working and not working in your lead gen. Is an inside sales team making calls to prospects? What is getting them in the door and starting conversations? What is a non-starter? Is the customer or prospect able to easily see where your product or offering solves a problem or tackles a challenge they have?

6. Similarly, qualitative feedback from your sales team is important too. Taken as a whole, they can clue you in as the the readiness of a lead. Through their feedback you should be able to glean whether they feel that you are turning over properly qualified leads to them.

7. Keep in mind that it often pays off to do something that others in your industry aren’t doing. It can really pay off to be different from your competition, if you realize opportunities to help your company, products and image stand out from among the clutter. Nobody else does creative direct mail pieces, but you’ve got an amazing idea for one? Why not try a small test and test the waters?

8. You may have a singular goal of reaching the decision maker, but bear in mind that those decision makers often have trusted advisers that serve as influencers. Understanding the nuance of their relationships and roles can sometimes be hard to decipher, but often winning over a key influencer can lead directly to the decision maker.

9. Think like a sales person, in that perhaps there are ways to facilitate a faster interest in purchasing, or a lower-cost entry point that can not only generate warm leads, but also provide quick wins for the sales team.

10. How to handle those organizations that are the perfect target, but nothing you seems to open the right door or start a conversation? It can be very helpful to discuss the organization and what attempts have been made to sell to them; and also to know what other solution or product they are using, if any. In these instances your company needs to know precisely why they have not been able to sell in, and your marketing knowledge can be vital in developing creative solutions in these situations.

An Enlightening Vacation Trip to the South of France

Several years ago I traveled to the south of France with my wife, Laura and my daughter, Casey. It was an unbelievable, gratifying and thoroughly enjoyable experience. The relaxed pace of life in southern France seems so different, in some of the towns and villages I couldn’t tell who the tourists were and who were the residents.

Chet Bigelow France Trip 1Itinerary…We flew into Paris and then caught a connecting flight to Marseille. Our initial jumping off point would be a house in the suburbs of Aix-en-Provence. During our stay in Aix we went to the market every day for fresh food and ate croissants for breakfast.

History of Aix… Aix, a graceful, lively city, is known for its thermal hot springs, art schools and universities. Wander the Cours, old town and Quartier Mazarin on foot, stopping at cafés, bookstores and markets. Aix reportedly has 1,000 fountains.

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Each day we’d schedule a day trip to various locations. Always on our way back to our home we would stop by a local Vineyard for wine tasting and purchasing some wine. The Chateau Beaulieu vineyard was one of favorites.

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A day trip to a Chateau near Aix, unfortunately I can’t recall the name of this Chateau, but I wanted to share the incredible site of these stunning castles rising up through country side.

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My favorite day was a trip to a Saint-Tropez beach club and then to the town and port. Saint-Tropez is a coastal town on the French Riviera, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of southeastern France. Long popular with artists, the town attracted the international “jet set” in the 1960s, and remains known for its beaches and nightlife. The cobblestoned La Ponche quarter recalls its past as a fishing village, although yachts now outnumber fishing boats in the Vieux Port. A one night dockage fee is $50,000 Euros. Brigitte Bardot who is a French actress, singer, dancer and fashion model is a popular resident. White linen is the dress code in the village.

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On our way to Lodeve/Olmet we stopped at the Arena of Nîmes. The Arena is a Roman amphitheater, built around AD 70. It was remodeled in 1863 to serve as a bull ring. The Arena of Nîmes is the site of two annual bullfights during the Feria de Nîmes, and it is also used for other public events. The arena’s shape is elliptical, 133 metres long and 101 metres wide with a height of 21 meters. Sixty arches cover each of the two levels and are surmounted by an attic. The central ring (69m by 38m) is encircled by 34 rows of seats that can accommodate 20,000 people.

Our last stop, Olmet above the city of Lodeve.. The home we stayed in was built around 1000 AD, a family residence. Recently the home has been sold and converted into a bed & breakfast, the “Chateau Olmet Guesthouse”. We had a lovely time staying in this superb stylish grand setting with uninterrupted views of pristine forested hillsides all around, yet only 5 mins by car to the local town Lodeve with all its facilities.

Very tasteful, stylish interiors and a warm, attentive welcome for the hosts. Would recommend it highly for those looking for that extremely rare thing: a tranquil, relaxing time in beautiful unspool surroundings.

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On one of the days in Olmet we took a trip to a swimming hole outside the town of Lodeve. We parked our car on the side of the road and walked down a dirt path through the woods as we picked blackberries along the way. The swimming hole was a perfect water temperature and relaxing from the summer heat. On our return trip back to the house we stopped at a Trout fish farm where we picked up some fresh fish for dinner. The proprietors cleaned and gutted the fish for us. We grilled the fish that night, and it was spectacular.

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Guatemala City Missions Trip: Undertaking the Lord’s Work

Several years back I volunteered as a chaperone for 20 high school students, including my daughter Casey, from Chapelgate Christian Academy for a missions trip to Guatemala.  Our team felt a strong call to work with impoverished children, so in 2012 we headed to Shalom Church and School in Guatemala City.

Alongside Pastor Alvaro Perdomo from Shalom and our team leader David Webster, our team developed programs consisting of simple crafts, games, sports, singing for the children. In addition our team provided construction assistance in building a balcony for the church.

Some History of Shalom Church and School.

June, 1996: Construction teams began work on Shalom Church with Pastor Alvaro.

May, 1998:  Construction began on the Shalom School.

The school has over 700 students from low income homes. 

What was our aim in Guatemala?

Our mission was to encourage Christian values by providing humanitarian assistance to children living in extreme poverty.

Our team needed to understand that this experience is not a holiday. It consisted of many enjoyable experiences and activities; however, our primary focus was to be a “missionary” and to give of ourselves to the people and children of Guatemala.

Work Projects
One of our primary goals was to assist in the development of Christian education as a means to disciple a generation for Christ. Therefore, construction projects are often associated with Christian schools and with the churches that support these efforts.

Daily Debriefs
Every day we had group devotions with our Chapelgate team. This provided opportunity for debriefing and served to bring us closer as a team. Our schedule was full, and often by the end of the day everyone was tired. However, these times of prayer and sharing were essential in providing a cohesive factor to the team and give an avenue for team members to connect their experience with decisions that will affect their future.

God wants to use YOU!!! He is inviting YOU to an experience like no other. A short-term mission trip will cause you to:

Be stretched… experience the rich cultures of the Central American Spanish and Indigenous people. 

Be used… work under difficult conditions on Christian Schools and churches. 

Be humbled…feel the pain as you serve and assist people who suffer under oppressive and relentless poverty.

Be fruitful…walk in the power of God’s Spirit and minister to people in ways that will surprise you. 

Why? 

God wants you to be the hands and feet of Christ. He wants to use you to show the people of Guatemala His “Father” heart in a tangible way. Your participation in evangelism efforts, ministry opportunities and work projects will reflect the compassion of Jesus to people who have physical, emotional and spiritual needs. These efforts will bear much fruit in God’s Kingdom.

If interested in further information or contributing, their contact information is below, or visit their website to learn more about all of their missions and projects. http://www.theshalomfoundation.org.

The Shalom Foundation
P.O. Box 1354
Franklin, TN 37065
(615) 595-5811


Guatemala City Mission Trip 2012

Direct Mail – Trending Up or Down?

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As a longtime direct mail professional, I hear all the time about the rise of digital marketing, and the shift away from direct mail it has led to. And for good reason; digital marketing is multifaceted, much more-so than direct mail, and it brings so many more options to the table for the marketer looking to creatively engage their audience.

The marketing landscape is such that most people think direct mail is dead, or at least suffering from a sputtering and wheezing cough, listless and far behind digital. But is that really the case?

This morning I googled “direct mail trends” to gauge how “dead” direct mail is in 2017. What I found may surprise you. The first result was this post, https://www.iwco.com/blog/2016/12/09/direct-marketing-trends-2017/. The bottom section of the post extols the current virtues of direct mail in a digital world.

“Not only are direct mail volumes on a steady rise, but surveys are reflecting a desire for mail, citing the credibility and – dare I say? – novelty of physical mail as the reason for high response rates. In fact, mail is expected to take a larger seat at the table due to the first two trends listed, as direct mail is a great tool for connecting marketing efforts, driving response through other channels and targeting specific audiences.”

The third search result led me to this post titled, “New Trends in Direct Mail Coming on Strong in 2017“. This post has some interesting points to make, and is worth reading all the way through. It echoes similar posts in that direct mail is being viewed more and more as a way to enhance your digital marketing efforts. They used some very good real-world examples to illustrate their points.

The post states that, “84% of consumers say they open DM pieces that have their names printed on them, not just on the address label, but also their first names in the body of the text. Here’s where digital technology, like programmatic marketing that captures online consumer activity and other data, combines with variable printing techniques to deliver a personal message within days of an online product search.”

That 84% figure is surprising, but it goes to show that marketers that capture the right data from their digital efforts will be able to greatly enhance the success of their campaigns by properly tying in direct mail.

The last post I am sharing is one that makes the case for direct mail with lots of statistics. Of course, statistics can always tell a story that we want them to, but when you really get down to it, people still love to get mail from brands and organizations they have a real interest in. Yes, consumers are getting more savvy right along with us marketers, but that doesn’t mean you need to eschew direct mail. It means that you have to take a big step back and re-examine where direct mail fits, and the many ways it can work together with your digital efforts, and enhance your engagement rates. Read more at https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/01/direct-mail-marketing-statistics.html.

 

 

3 Useful Marketing Resources You Should Use

3 Important Marketing ResourcesIn starting this blog, I’ve been putting a lot of consideration into how to begin. That seems to be the most difficult part, simply getting the first words together, but I will start at the most basic level, taking a look at useful marketing resources from around the web.

Marketing is a broad brush, but we’re going to focus on a few key areas, one of which is NOT social media. Not yet, anyway. I may have a guest blogger on to cover that area in the future. That said, let’s get started.

The first is http://www.copyblogger.com/blog/, which will be a highly referenced tool for me as I build this site. Forget the notion that words are no longer important and nobody reads anything. Communication will always be key, and getting the words crisp, sharp and right can make the difference in garnering the attention of new prospects to your business, whatever it may be. The blog goes far and wide into several critical areas of content marketing that, frankly, most professionals probably haven’t even thought of. Crucial site, bookmark it now.

The next is https://moz.com/blog. Per their tagline, The industry’s top wizards, doctors, and other experts offer their best advice, research, how-tos, and insights—all in the name of helping you level-up your SEO and online marketing skills.” I will be up-front and tell you that I am no SEO wizard, but anyone with a website needs to have at least a serviceable level of knowledge in this area. The Moz Blog is the top resource on the web for understanding the intersection of search engine optimization and marketing.

Digital marketing leads the rapidly changing marketing landscape in terms of fast-paced evolution, and it’s a space that serious businesses need to firmly grasp. My go-to site has been http://www.digitalmarketer.com/. They lay it out the way you need to know digital marketing to leverage it effectively. Just check out this article on customer value optimizationhttp://www.digitalmarketer.com/customer-value-optimization/. Just telling you now, if you click on that page, you will read the whole thing and bookmark it.

Just keeping it simple for now, sharing a few key sites that you should be aware of. What are your preferred marketing blogs and resources? Hit me up on Twitter at @chester_bigelow.

Future Posts

Hello,

As I build this website I’m going to write about business and personal topics. On the business side, I’ll discuss Direct & Email Marketing, Operational issues and Quality Assurance.  Personal I’ll focus on Baseball and boating on the Chesapeake Bay.

Talk to you soon,