Saturday, August 30, 2014

Peak Experiences Around the Chesapeake

August 21, 2014

Our first goal for the day was to enjoy a leisurely ride along the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail, an  abandoned  railroad line that has been paved and turned into a scenic multi-use trail, much like the much longer Great Appalachian Passage we will be riding in a few days.   It turned out we got way more riding than we bargained for, since the ride from the hotel to the trailhead turned out to be four mostly uphill miles, and by uphill, we mean a far steeper grade than the 2% maximum grade that is the norm for rail beds.   This unforeseen challenge came with some positive attributes--great scenic views from the top of the tall Naval Academy Bridge spanning  the Severn River and a scenic overlook of Annapolis two thirds of the way up the steep road we climbed to get to the trail. 

We were also delighted to find that almost all the roads we traversed to get to the trail had very wide clearly marked bike lanes and signs reminding cars to yield to bikes when turning.  Even more awe-inspiring was the behavior of motorists, who gave us the right of way every time we reached an intersection, even when we had a stop sign and they did not. 

The trail was wonderful, passing through woods and wildflower meadows, suburban backyards and beside a few lightly traveled streets.  There were historic markers to read along the way, and places we could have stopped for a bite or beverage.  We would have loved to ride the whole length of the trail, but we had to get back to the hotel, clean up and check out, because we still had two more goals to achieve.

Our second goal to visit Chesapeake Light Craft, purveyor of fine kayak plans and kits.  Dick has been studying artful kayaks for ten years, and this is the year he has resolved to start bringing those kayak dreams to fruition.  He wanted to get a detailed look at the kayaks in the showroom of Chesapeake Light Craft and to talk technicalities with the staff before deciding how to proceed with his kayak project.  The CEO was there, and graciously toured Dick around, answered his questions, made sage suggestions and raised issues that changed Dick’s preconceptions about how he would construct his kayak.  After over an hour, we were on our way out the door when Dick came up with one last question he wanted to go back and ask.  I went to the car to wait, and about forty minutes later decided to go check on him.  I found him at the cash register.  His kayak materials will be delivered this Fall. 

We were on our way to the Tidewater Inn in Easton--a gracious beauty built in 1947.  Our corner room was bright and airy with a windows facing onto the main intersection of downtown Easton.  One of the windows featured an elaborate ornamental wrought iron balcony and the flagpole proudly flying the Maryland state flag.  It is too bad we hardly spent any time there.
Our last goal for the day was crab picking at our favorite crab house from cruising days in St. Michaels.   Dick not only made a reservation for a waterside table, he also reserved the crabs, and it is a good thing he did, because although they were out of large crabs when we got there, they had saved aside our dozen for us. 

Crab Picking--Before

Large crabs are going for $87 a dozen here.  Is this a sign of scarcity of crabs or of the plenitude of money in St. Michaels?
Crab Picking--After

So, to recap, our dozen crabs piled on a paper covered picnic table washed down with one beer in a plastic cup and one lemonade cost us nearly as much as last night’s elegant dinner that included an appetizer, a salad, two main courses, a dessert with two cappuccinos, a martini and a glass of wine.  We wouldn’t change a thing!

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