A few weeks ago, I traveled out to St. Michaels, Maryland to visit a college friend who had a summer house in the area. St. Michaels is known, according to the sign upon entrance, as the town which fooled the British. Understandably, I was a little puzzled as to the meaning of this slogan for a small town on the coast of Maryland. After asking about it, I was told the story by a friend, which runs as such:
During the Revolutionary War, the town of St. Michaels lay in the war path of the British armada. Knowing this, the residents of the town shut off (or blew out) all of the lights in the town, and lit lanterns in the nearby woods. The British, thinking this was the town, fired at the lanterns. They missed the town, but thought they had destroyed it, and moved on. Thus, the town got its slogan as ‘The Town Which Fooled the British’.
Update: Pictures have been sacrificed to the internet gods, and will no longer be available for public viewing. In their place, text and ay publicity photos I can dig up will suffice.
Our travel route took us through Northern Virginia and up into Maryland, across the bay bridge,
Keep in mind, when I say small town, I really mean small town. 2 stop lights, one strip of businesses, the rest are quaint seaside cottages. It reminded me of places I grew up in.
We started off our day in this warm suburban escape by meeting one of my old college friends at C-street (the local nickname), a dive bar and restaurant. I have to say, they know how to make a decent drink. The vodka soda I had was well portioned, and – if you are a bloody mary fan – they make an exceptionally good bloody mary, complete with the Maryland staple – old bay seasoning.
After a few refreshing cocktails and some time to catch up on the exploits of the past year, we walked over to the town’s newest (?) feature – a short pedestrian nature trail, connecting both sides of the town.
A short backstory here: I met the friend I was visiting in my sophomore year of college. Shortly after I met her, her father died. Instead of asking for donations of flowers at the funeral, her family asked for donations to the foundation which was building this nature trail, seeking to create a tribute to the man which had acted as a pillar of St. Michaels. The donation goal was achieved, and the trail was completed, the crown jewel being a covered bridge across a bay inlet, all in the name of Mr. Shook.
The nature trail was short, but very enjoyable, offering a walk through the woods (hat tip to a Mr. Bill Bryson for the turn of phrase), views of the bay, water, and finally terminating at a small park, much as I played in as a child. Sensing an opportunity to be immature, I ran over to the tire swing and proceeded to have the time of my life. After about five minutes, I gave up. Funny how I never remembered playing on a tire swing at the age of five being as tiring as it was to me on that day. After the tire swing, I went over to the traditional swings and played on those as well.
When we had decided that we had toured the town for long enough, we trekked the 1/3 mile to Ava’s Pizza a small pizza and wine restaurant which was fairly new at the time. I ordered a phenomenal white wine (light, crisp, citrusy; I just wish I could remember the name), and a prosciutto and arugula pizza. The meal was absolutely delicious. We also had an arugula, fennel, and goat cheese salad.
A short car drive later and we were at my friend’s house. A wondrous piece of property on the bay. The property featured a newly remodeled guest house, complete with hippy toilet (a toilet which recycles all of the waste into compost for gardening), a boat launch ramp, dock, boat lift, in-ground pool and hot-tub, and a house which was not too large, too small, or too ostentatious. We spent some time there relaxing in the warm night air and having a swim.
I left later that night after having enjoyed a thoroughly relaxing day and headed back home to DC. St. Michaels certainly provides a slower and more relaxed way of life for those seeking to unwind.