Saturday, 12 November 2016

the perfect weekend getaway

t h e   i n n  a t  p e r r y  c a b i n  b y  b e l m o n d

It's very difficult to wake up in surroundings like these and not feel an overwhelming sense of serenity and gratitude. We had just left DC behind us and crossed the bridge to Chesapeake Bay the evening before and now that I think about it, this is probably the best way to discover a new place, arriving when night has already fallen, tired from a long week, quickly unpacking in the light of a fire roaring away in the fireplace of your room, slipping into a warm bath and then in the arms of Morpheus, having seen nothing yet of the Eastern Shore of Maryland except for a starlit sky. And then this.

I woke up early, got dressed randomly (read: put back on yesterday's clothes) and went outside. The Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond is facing the Miles river and that makes it a perfect sunrise spot. That morning it was just me, a few birds and the calming sound of boats rubbing against the berth while the sun slowly came out announcing an extraordinarily warm November day, a complete change of scenery from DC even though it's less than 2 hours away.

Travelling with teenagers has taught me it isn't a very good idea to run into their room and wake them up this early while enthusiastically flailing your arms and screaming "look, look" no matter how beautiful the sunrise is, so we let them sleep while enjoying the quietness, the first rays of sunlight on our terrace, drinking coffee and reading the newspaper. Did you know that if you don't drink coffee you get to eat all the scones? Mild remorse once we got to the breakfast table.

There have been a lot of stress factors in our lives these past few months. Moving from Paris to DC is a big thing. It's a long process full of goodbyes, drastic changes, paperwork frustration and a lot of unknown. Deep down it's about being sure you're making the right choice and moments of doubt will sneak up on you from time to time. It's also a balancing act when there are several people in your household and you don't all go through the same phases simultaneously. In other words a break away from all of that was well needed, a chance to slow down time and spend it together. Too much stress will make you forget what's important in life and why you're here at all. This weekend and the serene surroundings allowed us to do just that.

A couple of hours with the wind in your hair under a blue, blue sky will certainly help putting your worries behind you. Our captain Jason took us to remote, unspoiled reaches of the Myles River and Chesapeake Bay while telling us more about the area, the Canadian geese flying above us, crab fishing, the town of St Michaels, its famous Maritime Museum.

The hotel has several boats you can rent for a cruise, a few hours, half a day, a sunset trip, whatever suits your needs. There are both sailing boats and yachts and there's even a sailing academy where you can sign up for classes. We had a cheese platter prepared by the hotel that we enjoyed while at sea and our daughter got a private lesson or at least got to pretend she was the captain for part of the trip. An unforgettable moment and a perfect introduction to the Eastern Shore for our first time here, a lot of beautiful islands, shores and houses that one can only dream about.

If you're not a sailing person there are plenty of other activities such as the incredible Maritime Museum I already mentioned and the cute town of St Michael's right next to the Inn at Perry Cabin. During our two day-visit we went there on the hotel's complimentary bicycles for ice cream, took a stroll through its main street, visited the local Lyon Distillery and did some whiskey tasting. We also took the car for a little trip to nearby Easton, we went kayaking (the hotel has both kayaks and paddle boards for you, you just need to sign up) and also practised some less ambitious but no less pleasant activities such as taking a nap in the afternoon sun and enjoying a glass of wine in front of the outdoor fireplaces facing the river while the sun set. 

And if you think we weren't already completely relaxed by now we also indulged in one of the Linden Spa's treatments. It's one of the top spas of Maryland and we went for the in-room couples deep tissue massage. They set up everything in our room and I have to admit the toughest part was realising our two masseuses Sarah and Natalie didn't fit into my suitcase. 

If you're going, don't miss out on the hotel's Stars restaurant. We had a delicious dinner here, tasting local specialities such as crab cakes and rock fish, some delicious desserts (the wine card is great too, we tried our first Pinot Noir from Oregon) and finished the evening with S'mores by the outdoor fireplace roasting homemade marshmallows and telling stories in front of the fire.

One last cup of coffee, one last cookie and it's time to head back to DC. Driving over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge it feels all right to be on our way home. You know how sometimes it's much too soon and the weekend flew right by without you barely noticing it? This Sunday evening doesn't feel like that. We had time, together, we unwound, there where precious slow moments amidst all these great activities. I think it's the place, the serenity of it that somehow rubs off on you. I'm sure we'll be back, maybe in spring for the hydrangeas.

You can read more about the Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond right here 

Condé Nast Readers Choice Awards just named it one of the Top Hotels in New York State and the Mid Atlantic.

Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond
308 Watkins Lane, St Michaels, MD 21663, USA
Tel: 1 410 745 2200

[Fun fact: A large part of the movie "Wedding Crashers" with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn was filmed here.]

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