Maryland’s historic seaports blend history and luxury
Checking out of the Lincoln Inn in Easton, we are heading off today to two of Maryland’s historic seaports – St. Michael’s and Oxford, MD. Head north on 565 for a couple blocks and turn left (west) on Bay Street (Route 33) for about ten miles. We’re heading to The Inn at Perry Cabin (236 Perry Cabin Dr.; St. Michaels, MD 21663 (410) 745 2200). This would be an excellent spot for you to stay while enjoying the surrounding area.
St. Michael’s, MD
Pulling in to the Inn at Perry Cabin, you are immediately impressed with the beautiful architecture of this inn and spa alongside the Miles River. St. Michael’s has been a haven for boaters since its founding in 1677. Many of the famous boats of the Chesapeake were built right here, from the earliest canoe to the classic Baltimore Clipper.
The Inn at Perry Cabin was originally built in the early 1800’s by a friend and admirer of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. After the original family moved out, it became a riding academy and in 1980 it was purchased and remodeled by Belmond, operators of fabulous trains, river cruises and hotels worldwide.
This exquisite property features an expansive lawn along its marina. Gleaming white Adirondack chairs lining the lawn are an irresistible call to sit and relax, while tall white sailboats come and go from the marina. Or, stroll through the gardens and perhaps relax with a game of crochet.
A perfect destination for a wedding, white gazebos on the lawn can make for beautiful backdrops to any special occasion. Accommodations are beautifully appointed and are available in a multitude of rooms or suites with garden or waterfront views. From here, you can walk across the lawn to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (213 North Talbot Street, St Michaels, MD 21663; (410) 745-2916.)
A not-to-be-missed destination, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum has been educating the nation about maritime history since 1965. Nine exhibit buildings, 18 acres, a floating fleet of historic craft, and rotating special exhibits are set alongside the Miles River, where you can also take informational tour boat trips.
Looking for a seagull’s-eye-view of the museum and the harbor? Be sure to climb the stairs at the Hooper Strait Lighthouse. Insider’s tip: time your visit so you can watch the sunset from atop this great perch. The day we arrived, they were having a crab feast on the lawn – heaven on a plate!!! For this writer’s money, there’s no finer food in the world than fresh Chesapeake Bay crabs.
The interior of the museum does a wonderful job of displaying the historic watercraft that made this area famous, but also describes the value of the entire Chesapeake Bay area. There’s also an excellent gift shop. Inspired to ply the waters in your own boat? Kayaks, row boats and sailboats are available for rental.
We didn’t allow anywhere near enough time here on our whirlwind tour, so we’ll be coming back again for sure. We missed the War of 1812 exhibit area, the waterfowl building and its bird decoy exhibit. Need more reasons to visit? Here are the top ten reasons to visit in 2017 (PDF).
It’s time to head south to yet another historic seaport – Oxford, MD. The quickest way is back Rt. 33 and then south on 333, but we opted for the additional 20 minutes it would take so we could experience the historic small ferry from Bellevue to Oxford. To follow our route, head back east on 33 and then right (south) on Bellevue Road – Route 329, all the way to Bellevue Landing (27456 Oxford Road, Oxford, MD.)
The Oxford-Bellevue Ferry is reputedly the oldest privately operated ferry in the United States. Started in 1683, it transported crops and locals for years using sails and oars. It was converted to steam power in 1886.
Today, the 10-minute ride operates from April through October, seven-days-per-week and brings us into Oxford, Maryland – also chartered in 1683. Oxford and Anne Arundel were designated as the only two ports of entry for the then, young, state of Maryland. Until the revolutionary war, Oxford thrived as an international shipping port serving the surrounding tobacco plantations.
Our destination today is the Robert Morris Inn (314 North Morris Street; Oxford, MD (410) 226-5111) where we’ll be taking a cooking class with Master Chef Mark Salter. The inn used to be the home of Robert Morris Jr. – “Financier of the Revolution” and he often hosted his close friend George Washington. A variety of rooms are available; but due to the historic nature of the property, if you are mobility challenged, you may wish to inquire ahead before booking.
Our cooking class featured our favorite food, and how to create the perfect Chesapeake Crab Cake. Watching a chef in action, it all looks so easy. Now if I could only get fresh bay crabs in Cleveland.
More scenes from historic Oxford, MD.
Continue reading as we continue our Eastern Shores of Maryland road trip to Salisbury.
Did you miss any of these Maryland Eastern Shore articles?
Also published on Medium.