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Rivah Visitor's Guide

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Riverboat on the Potomac: food, fun & family friendly


by Sarah Bowis

Overlooking the Potomac River in the quaint waterfront town of Colonial Beach, the Riverboat on the Potomac encourages multiple accesses: by boat, golf cart, helicopter, motorcycle or car. Once called Old Reno, the Riverboat was purchased back in the early 90s by Tom and Penny Flanagan and was the core of leisurely activities in and around the Westmoreland town. Keno arrived with the Flanagans and in 1994, they received their license for Off Track Betting (OTB). But on September 18, 2003, Hurricane Isabel swept through the Northern Neck, destroying the building. Tom and Penny rebuilt the Riverboat, but sadly Tom did not live to see the completion of the new building, making Penny the only female OTB owner in the state of Maryland. According to their website, the Riverboat is in both Virginia and Maryland because it jets out into the Potomac River.

I’m not one for laying odds, but when struck with the opportunity to visit Colonial Beach, the town the Saturday Evening Post termed Little Las Vegas, I was ready for a fun afternoon. Joined by friend and co-worker Lisa, we were seated on the back deck, given an umbrella, and enjoyed the sounds of jet skis whizzing by, families laughing and playing on the beach nearby and panoramic views of the Maryland coastline. Dining outside meant we got to enjoy clear views of Swan Point and Woodland Point, Maryland along with faint views of the Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge.

Mermaid Water was the daily drink special. A recipe of coconut rum, pineapple juice and blue curacao, topped with an orange and cherry made it an easy choice for me. Lisa opted for a refreshing pina colada. Our friendly waitress explained the menu was new and the highlighted items such as the crab dip, crab cake and shipwreck platter are among customer favorites. Fried green tomatoes and steamed mussels were on special as a appetizers. I never pass up steamed mussels, but was sad to learn the mussels were already sold out for the day. Lisa and I selected the fried green tomatoes and crab dip for starters. Huge fried green tomatoes were served with a tasty tangy remoulade sauce. The hot and creamy crab dip was served with slices of buttered baguettes and was delicious. We both agreed with other customers that the crab dip is certainly a favorite menu item.


Lisa and I were enjoying a late lunch, gave in to temptation and ordered dinner entrees. The new menu offers entrees from salads, to soups and sandwiches, to seafood, chicken and beef. Po’boys and baskets are also featured. Weekly dinner specials feature a Tuesday night 10-ounce prime rib for $12 and a Friday night all-you-can-eat fish fry for $12. Prime rib is a regular menu item, so even though it wasn’t Tuesday, Lisa ordered it. She decided on the 16-ounce prime rib, knowing she could always take leftovers home. It came served with vegetables and baby bakers (small skin-on potatoes seasoned to perfection). The delicious and tender prime rib was cooked to an ideal medium and served with au jus. I was leaning towards the shrimp flatbread pizza but finally decided on the crab stuffed shrimp, also served with vegetables and baby bakers. The delicious four-large shrimp are stuffed with the Riverboat’s signature crab blend then baked and it was just as tasty as it sounds.

Saving a little room for dessert, I quickly decided on the sunken treasure-a chocolate lava cake, surrounded with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce. Lisa, who only ate half her prime rib to save room for dessert, was enticed by the orange dreamsicle cake-a large slice of orange flavored cake with a cream cheese and white chocolate icing served with a dollop of whipped cream. The last course served as a great ending to a fun, tasty and hot afternoon in Colonial Beach.

And although there is off-track-betting on premises, the dining room is family-friendly. There’s even a children’s menu.

Colonial Beach is a town with history while offering a great variety of activities. The beaches are coined the second longest public beach in the Commonwealth and offer jet ski, kayak and water ski rentals. I encourage you to plan either a day trip or better yet, a peaceful weekend getaway to Colonial Beach, I’m certain my family and friends will be visiting this small Westmoreland town very soon.

If you go:

Riverboat on the Potomac

301 Beach Terrace
Colonial Beach, VA 22443
(804) 224-7055

Monday- 11AM to 6 PM
Tuesday- 11 AM to 8 PM
Wed.- 11 AM to 9 PM
Thursday- 11 AM to 9 PM
Friday- 11 AM to 11:30 PM
Saturday- 11 AM to 11:30 PM
Sunday- 9 AM to 8 PM

On the Menu
Lunch & dinner: seafood, chicken, beef, soups, & salads.

Did you know?

The Riverboat has three facilities to accommodate any size party, wedding or special event. A Wedding Show event is October 23, 2016 from 1-4 pm.

Operation: Help Our Vets is scheduled for November 12, 2016. Tickets go on sale October 15 and are $30 a couple or $16 for an individual. Your ticket includes a buffet dinner. Additional information may be found on the Riverboat website,

posted 08.16.2016

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