After Friday night's Maryland Monsoon, I peeked out the window of my hotel room with no small amount of trepidation upon awaking Saturday morning. Hmm, no water falling from the sky...yet...but puffy, blackish, "don't even think about taunting me, I could let loose at any moment" clouds hovered overhead. I had an agenda, though, and could not be thwarted. At least, not until after I took advantage of one of the very best perks of staying away from home--that's right, two little words: Free. Breakfast. Having accomplished fueling my body and caffeinating my brain, I headed toward St. Michaels for Day 2 of Operation Eastern Shore Exploration.
My handy-dandy guidebook informed me that St. Michaels earned the nickname "The Town That Fooled the British" during the War of 1812. According to the lore, residents doused all of the ground lights during one attack and suspended lanterns in the trees, causing the Redcoats to aim their guns too high and completely miss the village itself. Plucky, resourceful colonial spirit--L-O-V-E it! Nowadays St. Michaels functions as a center for farming and fishing...oh, and tourism, of course. When I pulled into my (free, no time-limit, yaaayyy) parking spot at about 9:45 a.m., the atmosphere seemed sleepy and slow-moving. That would change by about noon, however, as the streets and sidewalks filled up and overflowed with visitors. Clearly the place thrives on this kind of attention, as the main thoroughfare consists of the following: specialty clothing boutique...cafe...quirky knick-knack store....restaurant...unique gift emporium...pub, etc. The city is built for commerce, but not in an overtly-commercial, crass kind of way; it retains its charm with brick sidewalks, old-fashioned wooden buildings, and bright, colorfully-painted facades. Adding to the nostalgic character, you couldn't walk more than three feet without passing either A) someone walking a dog; B) a biker pedaling the strip on a rented, throwback-type Schwinn cruiser; or C) small children eating ice-cream on a stick. Yeah, the "cute factor" was kind of off the charts, I gotta say.
And of course, the biggest draw for me: the WATER. I don't know what it is, exactly, but being near a natural body of water--lake, pond, river, ocean, bay, anything bigger than a puddle, really--makes me very, very happy. The extra special bonus in this case was the presence of boats. I don't generally feel a craving to be ON a water-going vessel, but there's just something about watching sailboats gliding smoothly along that brings me a sense of peace and contentment. It's like...my own form of hydrotherapy....or something.... So I spent a large chunk of time on the docks, gazing out upon the rippling surface of the Chesapeake, observing the billowing sails, admiring the gorgeous clouds--which had effected a 180-degree attitude change and were now pristinely white, marshmallowy balls of goodness on the horizon...ahhhhhh.
Thus thoroughly satisfied with my excursion, I took my leave of St. Michaels to return to my own 'burb. These little run-away-from-home incidents--(I mean "educational and creatively-stimulating solo photographic trips")--just short breaks from my everyday life and responsibilities, really, nevertheless are crucial to my well-being. I find that they act to restore and refresh me, mentally and emotionally more than anything. Then I am able to face the laundry and grocery shopping and...all the other stuff on my To Do List...with a clear head and vastly-improved outlook. But first, maybe a little bit of baseball on TV...it can't be healthy to just rush right back into things too quickly, right? Now if someone could just pass me a nice iced tea...after all, my dirty clothes aren't going anywhere!