As you get a bit older, bucket lists seem to take on a bit more urgency. Some items may be unrealistic dreams unless you win the lottery, but others just require the right timing and perhaps a little investigation.
So it was with our trip to the Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels, Md., just as spring gave way to summer on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. I’d attended events there, but we’d never stayed at the luxurious property on the Miles River.
More formally known as the Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond (formerly Orient Express), the property has a long history in the area. The original manor house was built in 1815 by Samuel Hambleton, who had served as aide-de-camp to Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry at the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. He designed the north wing of the manor house to resemble Perry’s cabin on his flagship Niagara.
Since that time, the estate has been a plantation, equestrian center, country inn, and a luxury hotel. Just outside the town of St. Michaels and around the point from the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, the inn offers a beautiful riverfront location, broad lawns with Adirondack chairs and swings for lazy river-watching, fire pits for evening snuggling, beautiful gardens, the Linden Spa, and a pool and poolside bar.
The restaurant offers great water views and the main bar is cozy, with wonderful bartenders and a great food menu as well.
Boaters can dock at the inn at no charge if they are overnight guests or are dining. The inn’s guest services staff can arrange boat trips on a variety of craft for guests.
Pets are welcome in first-floor rooms on the property.
We enjoyed afternoon tea in the dining room with traditional savory and sweet treats and mornings relaxing on the porch outside our room.
Insider tip: We accepted a bartender’s recommendation for a seasonal blueberry lemonade that became an instant favorite.
There is a list of daily activities ranging from paddleboard lessons to discussions to a mixology class. We joined three other couples for the mixology offering and brought home recipes and tips, as well as memories from a fun experience.
The inn offers a number of special packages, including a “Skip the Bridge” offer that lets you leave your car in Edgewater, Md., on Friday and travel to the inn aboard a beautiful 55-foot Hinckley yacht, enjoy champagne on board with VIP check-in for a two-night stay, and return on Sunday. The package is good weekends through Oct. 29. Look at the inn’s website for specials that may surprise you. ()
Explore St. Michaels
Take your car or a bike from the inn to explore St. Michaels.
The biggest attraction is the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, where you can explore the 1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse, learn about the bay’s shift from primarily a place of work to a major recreation site, and delve into the history of the Chesapeake Bay with plenty of exhibits. The exhibition of 80 of Robert de Gast’s black and white photographs of bay life is a reminder of how special the estuary is to so many people.
There’s a working boatyard to visit, as well. The museum’s Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival brings hundreds of skiffs, kayaks, and canoes to race along the waterfront. The annual OysterFest is Oct. 28, with live music, plenty of oysters, retriever demonstrations, and lots of other activities.
There are plenty of restaurants along the harbor and scattered through town, many with outdoor seating, and shops of all kinds to explore. And, clustered near the entrance to town in the Old Mill District are the St. Michaels Winery, Eastern Shore Brewing, and Lyon Distilling.
St. Michaels Winery opens daily at 11:00am and offers tastings for $1 per wine sampled. Eastern Shore Brewing opens for tastings daily at noon. The distillery, which produces rum and whiskey, also opens daily at noon.
It’s a relaxing, fun way to check one off the bucket list!
There’s a never-ending supply of water bottles, but the Brits have invented a “Lifesaver” bottle to filter viruses, parasites, and bacteria from water. It’s a bit heavy (it comes with a strap) and there are significant steps to follow, but it could be a lifesaver in the right circumstances.
Coming next month
Ghosts of Franklin County
A foodie’s Gettysburg