Rekindling romance and sparking adventure on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay.
It was a last-minute decision to book a room. The line rang over Bluetooth as I sped over Memorial Bridge on my way home from a long week. It was all I could do to catch Amanda with Reservations and ensure that we would be there "sometime in the afternoon" the next day. It was time for a break.
On Saturday morning we hastily packed bags with stuffs enough for a night. I almost forgot toothpaste. From the moment we hit the open road, a sense of relief washed was tangible. Sandwiched within the next day, there was adventure, curiosity, whimsy, and a little bit of unknown waiting for us at Belmond's Inn at Perry Cabin.
The Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels, Maryland has a history that spans nearly two-and-a-half centuries, but you may know it as the house where the Cleary wedding was shot in the hilarious 2005 RomCom, Wedding Crashers. Before Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson ever set foot on the property, the Inn was the family home of the purser to Commodore Perry, a plantation, a riding academy, and a small country inn. The north wing of the manor house was designed to resemble Commodore Perry's cabin on the flagship, "Niagara."
Upon arrival in St. Michaels, we passed by quaint storefronts and small-town streets. Stores selling candy, leisure-wear, and homemade ice cream boasted elegant front porches. One store unabashedly marketed Christmas ornaments and faux trees despite the month being May. Weekend drivers in vintage cars rolled through slowly, stopping foot traffic and cyclists. I felt a world away from Washington.
Beyond the last shop, seafood restaurant, and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, the Inn at Perry Cabin rests away from the road on a stunning piece of property with the most beautiful gardens I've seen. Driving beneath an awning of Linden trees towards the front of the old manor, I felt like we had arrived at the home of a grand friend.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by a warm staff and guided through the entry hall to check-in. The Inn curates a special range of events each day and luckily, we had arrived just minutes for the weekly "Judgement of St. Michaels" wine tasting. We joined a very intimate group overlooking the Chesapeake and enjoyed a tasting based on the 1976 Judgement of Paris. By the end of the session, I felt like we had made a room full of new friends.
Returning to our room, we unpacked and wandered into town, stopping into small shops and picking up knick-knacks along the way. We stopped when we heard music and were ushered into the town's local craft brewery. Taxidermied fish and a white-tail deer spruced up the decor while a band played to a packed audience. We bumped into our server from lunch at the pizza place down the road and made friends with another couple from D.C. The IPA tasted delicious. Before we knew it, it was time for dinner.
Morning came and a dozen unique birdsongs tinkled through the wooden slatted windows of our second-floor suite. The air was crisp. Every so often, a breath of wind would send the soft aroma of fresh gardenia to the balcony overlooking the bay. A small stream ran through the front lawn and adirondack chairs on the riverside glowed in the morning light. It felt like heaven.
We enjoyed a lazy morning exploring the gardens surrounding the Inn. Before lunch, we rode bikes to the Maritime Museum, returning just in time to get a few minutes of sunshine by the pool.
It doesn't take much to organize an escape. Less than two hours away from Washington, D.C., the Inn at Perry Cabin awaits. Steeped in nautical charm and sophisticated elegance, the Inn at Perry Cabin brings the fabled history of Maryland's Eastern Shore to life. Simple nods to the building's colonial history and its role in independence, the importance of the seafood in the Chesapeake Bay, and of course the nautical heritage of St. Michaels lend the property a sophisticated sense of place.
When to go: The best time to visit St. Michaels is during the shoulder seasons, during the early spring and late summers. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge can be busy in the high summer season. For those looking to get away in the summertime, The Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond offers a summer Skip the Bridge package. Running Fridays and Sundays, guests park in Edgewater, MD and enjoy champagne and canapés on board a luxury yacht as they sail into the weekend.
Where to stay: St. Michael's boasts a number of inns and small hotels. My favorite is the Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond. A historical landmark and elegant escape, you feel as though you are stepping into the home of a genteel neighbor of times long gone. A member of Virtuoso, when booking through Canterbury Journeys, guests receive special amenities including: Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability; Daily Continental breakfast served in the restaurant for up to 2 in-room guests; $100 USD equivalent Hotel & Resort credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full); Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability; Complimentary Wi-Fi.
What to do: The Inn at Perry Cabin provides guests an excellent menu of daily activities, including cooking demonstrations; lectures focused on history of the region; guided tours through the property's impressive 200-year-old garden; and fishing and crabbing excursions. For those more keen on staying active, borrow one of the Inn's many bicycles or take a kayak out for a spin on the bay. In the afternoon, grab a drink from the Inn's Purser's Pub and play a game of croquet or bocce ball on dedicated courts in the front lawn. Before you go, don't forget to spend some time at the Linden Spa, which offers a full range of services focused on pampering, rejuvenation, and wellness.
Where to eat: For breakfast, grab a bite at the Inn's Stars Restaurant before heading out for the day. Ride bikes to the old Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and shipyard. For seafood, have lunch at the Crab Claw next door to the museum. We enjoyed Ava's Italian food on the main street, where the pizzas are phenomenal. Wander through the old town and don't forget to stop at Eastern Shore Brewing, where you can enjoy live music anytime of the day and are sure to make new friends.