There is just something special about a stay by the water. No matter the weather, temperature or time of year, it’s calming, restorative and grounding--something that many of us could use right now.
Whether you want to get out of Dodge this week and escape the Inauguration craziness, are planning a romantic couples’ retreat around Valentine’s Day, or are musing about a spring break or summer getaway, The Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michael’s, Maryland offers up a wave of tranquility. And yes, it does happen to be where Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn were the life of the party mingling with guests at the main wedding reception in Wedding Crashers.
The Inn at Perry Cabin boasts 30 suites and 48 guest rooms; all accommodations are undergoing a refresh right now that will be completed by April, 2017. My family stayed in two adjoining one-bedroom suites on the second level (rooms 47 and 48), which each offered a separate living room with gas fireplace, ensuite bathroom with separate shower and oversized bathtub, and private connecting patios overlooking the Bay and docks. They had undergone that decor refresh, which left it with a neutral palette of soft white, blue and sand, wainscoting throughout and sketches of sailboats, the semaphore alphabet, seashells and other nautically-themed artwork and touches.
If you just can’t bear to leave your furry friend at home, know that your dogs are welcome here! The Inn is very accommodating to your four-legged companions, which can stay in your room for a $100 surcharge for the first pet and $50 for the second, including complimentary use of a dog bed and water and snacks on the property.
Stars is the only four-star restaurant on the Eastern Shore, open for à la carte breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea. Reserve a table waterside (perfect for breakfast or lunch, or dinner in the warmer months when the sun sets later), or, as we did, fireside, which is a cozier option for the winter.
The menu changes seasonally; standout starter options during our stay include the lump crabmeat-filled filled creamy chowder, fresh, icy cold local Choptank oysters, and beef tartare. The latter is made with beef from Kansas, and features a tray of accompaniments served on wooden spoons, including preserved Meyer lemon peel, shallots, chives, Dijon mustard, cornichons and sea salt. On the entree section of the menu, crab cakes are broiled, as they should be, and filled with sweet lump crabmeat, while seared snapper is served with risotto and micro greens.
For a more casual option, grab a bar stool or leather-backed chair by the fire at Purser’s Pub. Open noon to midnight on the weekends, and 3 p.m. to midnight on weekday, it’s a favorite spot for grub like beer-braised mussels with garlic, shallots and cilantro, local blue crab and spinach dip, or fish and chips with caper remoulade sauce. In season, High Tide offers small plates, salads and sandwiches by the outdoor pool. And if you want to treat yourself anytime of year, opt for breakfast in bed--I loved the fluffy omelet filled with (what else?) lump crabmeat and served with roasted purple potatoes and greens.
Stars and Purser’s Pub share a cocktail menu, which now has seasonal sips including a Figtini with Stoli Vanilla Vodka, lemon, St. Germaine, cranberry juice and fresh figs; the Perry Spiced Mule with Angostura spiced rum, amaro, ginger beer, fresh ginger and lime; and a brandy-based Hot Toddy. The wine list is international in focus; if you are an oenophile, ask to dine in Chance’s section if possible. Friendly and affable, he’s also very knowledgeable about Stars’ wine list, and able to deftly offer suggestions for any dish, sometimes unexpected pairings like an off-dry, pepper-tinged Gewurztraminer with that aforementioned beef tartare. The list also includes a selection of Port and Madeira; grab a glass after dinner and sink into a sofa in one of the comfortable sitting rooms adjacent to the lobby (or, during milder weather, on an Adirondack chair next to the dock.)
Linden Spa offers a range of treatments, from a Peppermint Coffee Body Scrub and a Radiant Facial, to massages--including those designed for couples--and manis / pedis. I booked a fifty-minute Deep Tissue Massage, and after being escorted to the locker room, spent a few minutes in the indoor relaxation room, where the walls are adorned with framed dried and pressed flowers and herbs--a testament to the spa’s commitment to using their fresh counterparts in treatments.
While seated in a leather-covered, zero-gravity lounge chair overlooking an outdoor relaxation room, an attendant placed a heated rice and lavender-filled wrap on my back. Before starting my massage, my therapist presented me with a photo of six different kinds of flowers, and asked me to select one, not based on how I think it smelled, but on which flower was most aesthetically appealing to me. I found the whole process to be an interesting departure from the typical “do you prefer lavender or eucalyptus?” question generally posed.
See and Do
Admittedly, there is more to do at the Inn at Perry Cabin during the spring, summer and fall months, between sailing, kayaking, swimming, biking or lounging by the pool, and walking around town (the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is right next door to the resort, too.) However, staff does its best to keep guests busy when the mercury drops.
Upon check-in, we were given a list of activities for the weekend, including a Port tasting and demonstration. Held in the afternoon by the fire in Stars, the demo showed how to open and decant a bottle of vintage the classic way, using tongs heated by the fire, and a feather, which removes the neck of the bottle (and a potentially crumbling, cracking cork.) While watching and listening to Chance (a big Port fan who’s been offering this demo for several years now), we noshed on a selection of crackers, dried fruit and local and international cheeses, along with sipping Ruby Port.
Other cold weather fun includes a mixology demo, cornhole challenge and trivia. Fitness buffs can attend yoga classes at The Studio, for which transportation is included. And if you want to just hole up in your room with a fire and a glass of wine, the front desk has a selection of DVDs and board games to borrow.
Rooms at The Inn at Perry Cabin start at $260 per night, not including taxes and fees. To book a room, call 410 745 2200 or visit their site.