In May we met up with family members from Chile for a long weekend in Annapolis, Maryland. This was their first trip to the Chesapeake Bay area. At first I was disappointed that our weekend coincided with “Commissioning Week” at the United States Naval Academy as all I could think about was how crowded it was going to be blah blah blah. I once again learned the lesson of keeping your mind and heart open to the universe because it turned out to be the PERFECT time to be there. Yes there were more people, however everyone was there for a time of joyful celebration so the mood was one of energy, accomplishment and the pride that comes with it. The cadets, all wearing their starchy white and I must say, fabulously tailored uniforms, were so happy with the anticipation of the upcoming festivities. So our week was filled with glorious food, history and nature and joy. We were happy to be a part of the celebration. First stop, Middleton Tavern, a fixture on the waterfront since the days of the American Revolution. Oysters and crab cakes were pretty good too! The Blue Angels, part of the Naval Academy’s graduation celebration did not disappoint. We had a waterside view for a performance that lasted about 45 minutes and it was breathtaking! For me it is always interesting to see the USA through the eyes of foreign visitors and to mark their observations. Our family was in awe of the natural beauty of the area, the professionalism of the young cadets, the organization of the weeklong events and the skills, courage and daring of those amazing pilots.
I originally balked at going to the Antietam National Battlefield, not for lack of curiosity, but seeing how I am usually landlocked in North Texas I just wanted to stay near the coast enjoying the Chesapeake in all its glory! I was, however, so glad I went as this place is a must see for so many reasons. Antietam is the site of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War where 23,000 Americans were killed in one day on a beautiful stretch of Maryland farmland. It was so hard to imagine all of that blood being shed in such a pastoral, peaceful and beautiful space. The National Park is 3200 acres of sad history and immense natural beauty. We were fortunate to arrive in time for a 20 minute lecture on the history of the battle and then spent hours walking thru the park, especially at the Burnside Bridge and around the cornfields, the sites of the most horrific battles. It was nice to learn that the government leases the land to farmers so it remains as it was at the time of the Civil War.
The Civil War Medical Museum brought us through the lovely and lively town of Frederick, Maryland. Considering our group consisted of 2 doctors, a nurse and a medical device professional this was a great place for us…we were in awe of the collection of antique medical instruments, civil war memorabilia and history of conditions for medical care during the Civil War. The streets in Frederick were chock full of quaint antique shops housed in old buildings… I was in heaven! But fair warning, get there before 5 as everything was closing which is what usual happens when you jam packed your day with fun adventures. We topped off our day trip with dinner at Firestone’s Restaurant which was randomly chosen by the menu choices and the number of people inside, but we lucked out as the food, and the ambience, which was high energy and modern, still had the feel of a cozy neighborhood tavern! http://firestonesrestaurant.com/2012/
Hard to go wrong with crab cakes and oysters anywhere in the Chesapeake, at least that was our experience. Heading home via Ronald Reagan Airport we passed Arlington National Cemetery, very fitting as it was Memorial Day Weekend. Thank you Maryland… we had a blast!