It is not surprising that roses are located at the entrance to The inn at Perry Cabin, a nice resort in St. Michaels on the eastern shore of Maryland because the rose is considered the most beautiful flower of all and symbolizes romance and deep passion. The Inn at Perry Cabin also displays huge bouquets of roses in the library, lobby, spa and elsewhere around this beautiful 26 acre property. Many couples arrive to get married or celebrate a honeymoon, babymoon or anniversary. It is a place where both children and dogs are eagerly welcomed as well as visitors traveling alone like myself.
I have chosen the inn at Perry Cabin for a quick 2-night trip, an antidote to work burnt out. Water is soothing to me and the inn is located on the tranquil Miles River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. St. Michaels is easy to get to anywhere in the Northeast – I do not need to take a plane – just a train and then by car over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to St. Michaels (the inn arranged for a driver to meet me at the train).
This is not just any driver. Monte is an opera singer, so I insist that he sing me an aria. At first he’s embarrassed – no one has ever asked him to sing in a car – but I’m a pretty determined person, and then he wears his mask and sings to me in a rich deep baritone voice. He also sings in the church choir, so we sing gospel songs together and then switch to Harry Belafonte, as the music takes us all the way to the resort.
My suite in this beautifully renovated historic inn with 78 rooms has living room sofas and chairs you can sink into, a desk facing the water, an espresso machine with unlimited bellows and a large flat screen wall mounted TV. The bedroom has another flat screen TV and one of the most comfortable beds I have ever picked on. The bathroom is complete with bath, glass shower, fluffy towels and fluffy bathrobes and slippers.
Incredibly, the toilet paper is shaped into a white rose.
With its balcony overlooking the river, this is the type of accommodation you will never leave; but it’s almost two bells Navy time, time to gather at the flagpole with a free glass of bubbly.
Kl. 17 we stand near the flagpole and toast the flag, “Do not give up the ship,“The American Navy’s Battle War during the war of 1812. The inn was originally built as a property for Samuel Hambleton, who served with Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry (and later became his friend) at the Battle of Lake Erie. After the war, Hambleton hoisted a flag on his flagpole with the motto “Do not give up the ship.”
After the Hambleton family sold the estate, it became a plantation, then a milk production and then an equestrian farm. Designer Laura Ashley took over and later sold it to the founders of Orient Express. Today, The Inn at Perry Cabin is owned by a NYC-based investment company, which also creates a nearby sister property with all the water-facing rooms and villas, The Lodge at Perry Cabin (to be completed in 2023).
After toasting, I sip my champagne in an Adirondack chair facing the river (there are dozens and dozens of these comfortable chairs at the inn) and watch the boats float by during the sunset. St. Michaels began as a shipyard, and from here I can see the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, which was once the site of shellfish packing houses, docks and work boats. Gentry arrived and built homes while the less fortunate lived near the swamps and became the Chesapeake Bay Watermen, which maintained the fishing, crabbing and oyster industry.
The thought of seafood drives me to the inn’s “Purser’s Pub”, where I sit outside by a firebox and try “Taste of the Eastern Shore Seafood platter” with salmon, oysters, crab claws, stone fish and snake fish. But this is Maryland, and I’ve been looking for more crab, so I order the most delicious crispy soft-shelled crab (with honey mustard) I’ve ever tasted, a perfect way to end my first night.
Just as well, when I return to my suite, I see the freshly made chocolate chip cookies they have left on my bedside table.
The following morning I think of everything I could try: the gym, morning yoga, outdoor spin class under the trees, Chi Gung, toning or stretch class or laps in the beautiful pool; but this is holiday, so instead I go straight to breakfast and put my mask in the envelope on the table: FOR YOUR FACE MASK. Classic.
What should I order? Banana blueberry buttermilk pancakes? Maryland crab Benedict? Cheese and charcuterie plate? I choose Chesapeake Smokehouse Salmon Toast on multi-grain bread with smooth sail cheese, hardened eggs, radish and arugula.
If I were a golfer now, I would go to the Inn’s Pete Dye, which was last designed, built and played with all his signature elements and a clubhouse with an HD simulator, but I save golf for old age. It’s time to explore St. Michaels. The guard adjusts my cruiser bike and I set off for the three-block long village that is so close to the inn that I could have walked. Colorful shops are located along the streets: bakeries, gift shops, coffee shops, art galleries and ice cream shops. I search nautical clothing and St. Michael’s themed t-shirts, but nothing interferes with me, and it’s almost dinner.
The bike returned, I walk five minutes to the local Crab Claw Restaurant with a deck right on the water. I plan to devour myself on Chesapeake Bay blue crabs and notice that on most tables there is a full bucket of bright red-cooked crabs. It costs $ 88.00 for all the crabs you can eat. Animals. “How few crabs can you get?” I ask my waitress. “One,” she says. I sit on half a dozen. After a good half hour wait, she finally returns with my order. “How do you eat them?” I’m asking. “The directions are on placemat,” she clicks and walks away. I know the restaurant is busy, but everyone else in St., Michaels has been so warm and friendly. This waitress is downright rude.
I read the instructions on the doily. It’s like trying to assemble an Ikea piece. Finally, I turn to the couple sitting at the table next to me and they explain: take off the claws, pull the apron back with the knife and pull out the crab. The little wooden hammer must break its claws. The crabs are easy to eat when I know how to open them and they are delicious. I’ve had all kinds of seafood everywhere, but I’ve never had blue crabs in Maryland before.
It’s time to work lunch, I return to the inn and think about paddle boarding, but do not want to work so hard, so I choose kayaking. The Inn at Perry Cabin has a built-in kayak dock with a bar to hold on to as you enter the boat so there is no chance of tipping over. Pure luxury. I paddle around the back of the inn with Adirondack chairs on the lawn near the flagpole.
An hour later I am on my way to the inn for “Links Massage” to ease my tight muscles. It has nothing to do with golf and everything to do with pure relaxation. Ahhh. Better instead of requiring you to wear a mask when lying on your back, they cover your face in a thin fragrant cloth and you inhale the fresh scent of lavender and other important herbs. Then I go to the pool, do in the sun and swim a few laps.
It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time to head to the dock for Wednesday’s summer sailing Regatta. The inn owns three sailboats, a French canal boat, a 55-foot motorboat and a zodiac sign. I choose Zodiac to watch the Regatta because it reminds me of my panga rides from ships in the Antarctic, Arctic and Amazon, and I love speed.
I’m not a sailor, but it’s exciting to be on the river before sunset and watch dozens of sailboats maneuver around the buoys, especially while sipping a bottomless glass of champagne. On the way back, the skipper points out an Osprey’s nest. The male Osprey sits on top of the nest and the mother’s head can just be seen inside the nest below, feeding its three chickens.
I can not believe it’s already time for my last dinner at “Stars”, Perry Cabin’s fine dining room. The night is beautiful and I choose to sit outside on an upholstered chair and enjoy the Chef Tasting Menu which includes two appetizers, appetizers of Maryland crab soup and crispy Wittmare Shard soft shell crab (as good as last night). For my main course, I decide on Maryland crab cake with homemade pasta, I have never had such delicious pasta or tasty crab cakes – they look like inflated clouds and are excellent.
It’s still not over. Baked on Smith Island and along the Maryland coast is the famous “Smith Island” cake, made of many thin, pancake-like layers of yellow cake separated by decadent fudge icing. The Inn at Perry Cabin calls their version “Cabin Fever” and deviates from the classic recipe, depending on what is in season, such as peach or apricot.
Here at the Inn at Perry Cabin, they bend backwards to make your stay ideal. At the moment I’m thinking of asking them to make a wheelbarrow and roll me back to my room. But instead, I go back under a universe of stars. Unfortunately, I leave tomorrow after breakfast because I have so much work to do. But this two-night stay has been exactly what I needed – I want to be relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to take on (with much less stress) home, no matter what comes my way.