Help Make a Home for Half Shell

Hi folks! We are Gwyn & Donald Novak, and we are so excited to be opening our new cooking studio (No Thyme to Cook) and seafood steaming kitchen (Steamers Seafood Shack) on Solomons Island, Maryland in early 2018. As a professional chef (Gwyn) and commercial waterman (Donald), our dream has always been to bring an historic Chesapeake Bay buyboat to Solomons so folks can enjoy two of our favorite things – good food and life on the water.

And the great news is…we’ve found the perfect boat – the Half Shell. Built in 1928 in Perrin, Virginia, she is U.S. Coast Guard certified, and ready to carry up to 42 passengers.

What the Heck is a Buyboat Anyway?

Buyboats were the workhorses of the Chesapeake. Long before tractor trailers took over their job on land, buyboats would purchase (literally “buy”) oysters and fish from watermen as they were working and bring them into port to sell. In between seafood hauls, they were loaded down with watermelons, tomatoes and pumpkins – making their way up and down the bay to market. Operating as large, open decked boats, they’re the perfect choice for recreational cruises.

How Will the Half Shell Be Used?

As lifelong residents of Maryland, Donald and I are passionate about sharing our love for the Chesapeake Bay and its amazing bounty of good food. Once purchased and brought to Solomons, the Half Shell will  offer 3-hour seafood cruises (featuring all you can eat crabs or oysters with crab dip, crudites, steamed corn, hush puppies, brownies, cookies, iced tea, lemonade, and beer & wine). The Half Shell will also be used for private charters, school groups, weddings, and more. The opportunities are endless. 

We believe she will be a fabulous addition to life on Solomons Island. Restaurants are wonderful, but dining aboard the Half Shell will be an experience like none other!

How You Can Help

Our original GoFundMe campaign was so successful that within 24 hours of launching it, we were able to find investors to fund the entire purchase price of the boat. But there is still a way you can help and be a part of the fun.

The Half Shell is badly in need of a new pier to call her home. We have all of the necessary state and local permits to begin construction. In fact, we plan to begin driving the pilings this winter. But we need your help to fund it. FYI - A donation of $150 will cover the cost of one piling.

Special Offer!

If you are one of the first 10 people to make a donation of $500 or more (before November 30, 2017), you will be invited to join us on this year’s lighted boat parade cruise aboard the Half Shell with appetizers and drinks.

We hope you will consider helping us bring the Half Shell to Solomons with a donation of any amount. All donations are greatly appreciated. Each donor will receive a handwritten thank you card.

If you consider giving a…

$10 Donation - You will receive $10 off your first cruise.

$50 Donation
- You will receive a first printing Steamers Seafood Shack/Half Shell t-shirt recognizing you as a donor.

$100 Donation – You will be recognized on an engraved donors plaque aboard the Half Shell.

$500 Donation
– You will receive 2 complimentary tickets to a special Farm-to-Table demonstration cooking class at No Thyme to Cook. This  3-hour class features three courses complete with wine pairings from some of the area’s finest growers and producers. Your name will also be added to the engraved donors plaque.

$1,000  Donation – You will receive 2 complimentary tickets to the VIP inaugural cruise complete with hors d’oeuvres & drinks aboard the Half Shell catered by No Thyme to Cook. Your name will also be added to the engraved donors plaque.

Over $1,000 Donation – As a platinum donor, you will receive all of the above gifts!
a donor.

Thank you so very much for your support!


Gwyn & Donald Novak
  • Sarah&Josh Wynne 
    • $100 
    • 42 mos
  • Elisabeth Langmack 
    • $100 
    • 45 mos
  • Kim Bradbury 
    • $50 
    • 45 mos
  • Carrie Boyersmith 
    • $50 
    • 45 mos
  • Captain Fred Bates 
    • $35 
    • 46 mos
See all


Gwyn Novak 
Prince Frederick, MD
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