Our first day on the water out of Annapolis was warm and sunny, the memories of the drizzling, chilly days of last year’s delivery long gone. As we made our way toward St. Michaels, we were treated to a parade of navy ships. The president was scheduled to visit Annapolis the following day, and knowing what a presidential visit can do to traffic and security, I was glad to be heading in the opposite direction.
The winds kicked up along the way, and soon we were getting pushed around pretty good. The Cruisers handled the seas well, although an hour or so later I was battling 20-mph winds trying to get her in her slip. The American and British flags lining the dock were standing straight, like a midshipman at attention. By the time we were tied, we were ready for that cold beer.
I knew St. Michaels was nicknamed The Town that Fooled the British (during the War of 1812, residents hung lanterns in the treetops to make the British think the town was further away than it was) and that some Bush cabinet members have vacation homes here, but I wanted to learn more about this quaint town. Fortunately I had a copy of a walking tour and rental bicycles were nearby. St. Michaels may be small—it took only about ten minutes to bike from one end of town to the other—but it has its fair share of stories to tell, like the house on Mulberry Street that was hit by a cannonball during the War of 1812. After penetrating the roof, it rolled down the stairs and gave the woman of the house, who was carrying her infant child, the scare of her life. Or Hell’s Crossing, the intersection at Locust and Carpenter Streets where watermen used to get into fistfights, not surprisingly located halfway between the water and the local tavern.
Once the amusement of our mock reenactment at Hell’s Crossing died down, we returned to our bicycle tour and were quickly distracted by the warm and inviting porch at Bistro St. Michaels. It was a restaurant I’d wanted to try on previous trips to the area, but never had the chance to do so, always breezing in and out of town with very little time to stop and smell the roses. That night I savored the creations of chef David Stein, who was trained at Baltimore’s School of Culinary Arts. A few thousand calories later, I collapsed in contentment.
This article originally appeared in the December 2006 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.