Thanks to Captain John Smith and Pocahontas for exploring the magnificent Chesapeake Bay. It’s a favorite of mine, especially the charming town of St. Michaels on the shores of the Miles River, a tributary of the bay.
Lucky for Washingtonians this coastal treasure is only a 90 minute drive, making it a perfect weekend getaway. If you love water views, history, cute shops, yummy crabs and oysters done every way, as I do, you’ll fall in love with St. Michaels.
What to Do
The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum occupies prime real estate, directly on the water. A highlight is the working boatyard where you can watch craftspeople building ships using traditional methods. For a fee, you can even be an apprentice for a day and help with the construction. Don't forget to check out “At Play on the Bay” where you can explore the recreational use of the bay including yacht clubs, fishing, and a look back at summer family fun on the water. Do climb the 1800’s lighthouse’s steps to see how a caretaker would have lived.
Stroll Talbot Street, the town’s main street, where there’s not a chain store to be found. Shop boutiques such as Silva*Wear which offers handmade jewelry, and Come by Chance for beachy home décor. Browse A.M. Gravely Gallery (opens April 8th) located in a restored Victorian home built in 1860 and on the Maryland Historic Register. After a day of shopping, stop by the St. Michaels Winery for a wine tasting. And for tasting brews made with ingredients from around the globe and brewed right on premises, it’s Eastern Shore Brewing.
Want to get on the water? April 1 is opening day for Patriot Cruises, a fun hour and a half narrated tour full of informative historical facts, tidbits about the local area, and of course it’s a great way to get a look at the gorgeous mansions. You may even get into the wheelhouse to pilot the ship. Feel free to bring your four-legged friends onboard because the cruises are dog friendly.
Shore Pedal & Paddle rents bikes starting April 1 and kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, starting mid-April. To sail aboard a historic skipjack go to Skipjack H.M. Krentz and learn about life on the bay in an informative and entertaining way (starting end of April early May). Just 16 miles away is Tilghman Island for more skipjack sailing some with the added bonus of crabbing.
Winefest in St. Michaels is April 29-30 and features more than 300 wines from around the world.
Where to Stay
If you want luxury, with knockout water views, there’s no place like the Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond. But if you’re looking for a choice with a lower price tag that also has those water views and includes continental breakfast (made to order omelet, cereals, juice/coffee, bagels, and fruit) book a room at St. Michaels Harbour Inn, Marina & Spa. It’s walking distance to everything and there’s a complimentary shuttle and bikes. If you prefer a Bed & Breakfast and like being smack in the middle of town, stay at the Old Brick Inn.