Sunday, September 30, 2012

A weekend in Annapolis

We are just back from a long weekend trip to Annapolis, Maryland. It's an easy flight from Boston (thanks, Jet Blue!) - and despite forecasts that called for lots of rainy weather, we couldn't have asked for a sunnier, beautiful autumn weekend. Peter's sister and brother-in-law (Bridie and Dan) picked us up at the Baltimore airport on their drive in from their home in New Jersey. And just a short 18 mile drive separated us from our good friend's home that we borrowed for our visit. Her home sits on a quiet, sloping street that dead-ends into Spa Creek. We understand that there are actually a couple of kayaks under the home's front porch that we could have borrowed, but between relaxing in the gorgeous backyard, walking into town, or planning our next meal, we ran out of time. We will plan on hitting the water next time!

On Friday afternoon, we took in all of the fun shops along Main Street, a ten minute walk from our home.

My new kicks. You like?

We ended up a Chick & Ruth's Delly for a late lunch. This place is on everyone's "must see" Annapolis destinations - it's a classic, family-run establishment that features huge portions of really delicious options. They start by putting out a deep plastic container of sliced half-sour pickles in the middle of the table ("Finish those up and I'll bring you more," promised our waitress, Nancy.)

After paging through the dozens of choices in the menu, both Peter and I settled on the crab cake sandwiches; they were awesome -- filled with sweet crab meat and none of those nasty fillers. And if your appetite is huge, Chick & Ruth's offers up several "Great Challenge" menu items, including their "Super Colossal Sandwich", which features three pounds of meat, their "Super Duper Colossal Burger", which includes three pounds of hamburger and cheese, or their "Colossal Milk Shake" which contains six pounds of ice cream.

Dan and the pickles.

Greenery around Church Circle.

On Friday evening, Bridie and Dan's son, Peter, joined us, after driving from Richmond, VA. He arrived in time for a late dinner, but had missed our backyard cocktail hour, a cut-throat game of Password (where we decided that cheating was OK if it made everyone laugh), a dinner of steaks on the grill and baked potatoes, followed by Bridie's amazingly dense carrot cake with cream cheese icing.

Everyone slept in on Saturday morning, and after a hearty breakfast of ham and eggs (thanks, Peter) and a few slices of homemade Irish brown bread (thanks, Bridie), we awaiting the arrival of my dear friend Laurie. I met Laurie during the first few days of my freshman year at college (State University of New York at Geneseo) and we were fast friends. After graduation, she lived for a few years in Hawaii, where I was lucky enough to visit her twice. She met her husband-to-be in Hawaii and then started traveling and moving to so many different cities that I lost count. About six years ago, Laurie and her family, which now includes a daughter and a son, ended up in Annapolis. So I was thrilled to reconnect with Laurie and we made plans to get-together for a walk around the nearby U.S. Naval Academy.

My friend Laurie joined us for the afternoon.

It was wonderful to see Laurie -- and even after all those years apart, she hasn't changed a bit. We spent a few hours at the Academy, touring the chapel, the underground crypt that houses the remains of John Paul ("I have not yet begun to fight!") Jones. and the museum, which houses an amazing collection of model ships, including one gallery of ships made of bones and ivory.

After a lovely outdoor lunch at the Reynolds Tavern on Church Circle, Laurie drove us back home, but we persuaded her to "sit a spell" in the backyard so we could catch up.

On Saturday night, we ended up at Cantler's Riverside Inn, a recommendation from our hostess, for an outdoor crab feast. It was a perfect last night in Annapolis - and we did that "when in Rome" thing, ordering up a dozen large Maryland Blue crabs sprinkled in Old Bay seasons, spreading them out on brown paper, and whacking them with a wooden mallet to get at the sweet meat inside. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun and definitely worth the sticky fingers.

Peter, Bridie and Dan at Cantler's Riverside Inn, a beautiful setting for a blue crab dinner.


  1. ah blue crabs and a beer--you take me back. And you seem to eat a lot of cake, or at least write about eating a lot of cake. Not that I'm judging, I just wish I had some. I cannot remember any of the spots we haunted in Annapolis as I'm pretty bad with names but we were almost always in the State House area and down the hill near the Maryland Way Cookbook house--whatever it's called. Glad you had a good time.

  2. Everyone's wearing shorts! I can't believe it, especially since the air is starting to feel so chilly in Paris.

    I'm glad that you went to Cantler's. Stephane and I always make a point of going there whenever we visit Annapolis. There's nothing that says "Maryland" like picking crabs and drinking beer next to the creek.

    Otis must have been overjoyed to see you when you got back to Boston!

  3. Joseph -- you nabbed me. Yes cake does seem to be a common thread running through many of my posts! I seem to have developed an affinity for butter, flours, eggs, sugar, and all of the other components lately. Hmmm...what's next?

    Mary Kay -- yes, shorts! In fact, Friday was up to 80 degrees. It was a lovely weekend. Peter and I were just discussing how happy we are that we ventured out to Cantler's. The road taking you there looks like you're going to end up being an extra in Deliverance, but my oh my, were those crabs good!

  4. I don't see myself in this post anywhere. I'm bored.

  5. Hahahahahaha - that's why you have your own blog. Remember?



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