Led by the Tides Inn ecologist, Will Smiley, these new experiences were created to foster a deeper connection to the natural world and the beautiful waterways that surround our resort.
- Beautiful Swimmers
Offered Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 9am, 2 hours: The Blue Crab, AKA Callinectes Sapidus, which translates to "beautiful swimmer," is an icon of the Chesapeake. Spend the morning with our ecologist and learn how blue crabs are caught in our waterways. Aboard the watermen's boat, you will learn how to set a crab pot and bring crabs back to the Watermen's Pier. There, you will inspect our crustacean friends and others in miniature aquariums. At the end of the excursion, guests will enjoy sampling Chesapeake Blue Crab, nonalcoholic beverages, wine or beer. Room for six people, $120 per person.
- Chesapeake Gold
Offered Wednesdays-Sundays at 2pm, 2.5 hours: Oysters are delicious and loved by many, but they are so much more! Guided by the Tides Inn ecologist, learn why oysters are the keystone species of the Chesapeake Bay. They are ecologically essential for the health of the bay, filtering water and providing an essential habitat for hundreds of species. Boarding a traditional watermen's boat, you will take an oyster cage out to the "farm," pull up a cage and investigate it back at Waterman's Pier. Upon return to the shore, you will learn about oyster reproduction, how to grade oysters and of course, taste the legendary "Chesapeake gold"! Guests will also enjoy nonalcoholic beverages, wine and beer at the end of the excursion. Room for six people, $180 per person.
- Creek Kayaking with Our Ecologist
Offered Thursdays and Saturdays at 9am, 2 hours: Carter's Creek is full of life with a high diversity of species. Paddle on the creek (kayak or canoe) with our Tides Inn ecologist, William Smiley, and discover what lies beneath the surface. First, while wading through Carter's Creek, using a seine net, you will create a temporary aquarium and inspect several species. Guests will also enjoy nonalcoholic beverages at the end of the tour. Room for six people, $80 per person.
At the Tides Inn, Smiley lends his expertise to working on the water and informing guests of the living aspects of Carter’s Creek and the Rappahannock River, including growing more oysters to create better water quality and educating guests on their key role in the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Smiley believes the Tides Inn is at the center of the Chesapeake Bay’s oyster industry and that oysters are an icon of sustainability-balancing people, profit, and planet.
Smiley’s goal as the Tides Inn Ecologist is to have guests leave the resort with a better sense of stewardship and the desire to help waterways near their hometown. “We all live downstream from someone else, and we all need to do our part to protect water as a valuable resource.”