Saturday, June 12, 2010

Weekend Getaway

I thought crossing the Bay Bridge on the Sunday before Memorial Day would be a synch. Everyone's already wherever they're going, relaxing in the sun before a rare Sunday night out on the town, right? Apparently not, as Nik and I discovered... my plan to leave midday was not the greatest, as it seems there is a nearly perpetual backup getting onto the bridge, but we eventually got to our destination. And for once, the destination was not the beach. I've recently discovered a path of about 10 vineyards that make their way down Maryland's Eastern Shore - the Chesapeake Wine Trail. And this was my birthday suprise for Niklas.

The first winery we visited was in St. Michael's. I love this cute little town, but the winery was tiny and crowded - and all we wanted to do was sit outside on such a gorgeous day. So we left, hot and sweaty, without consuming a single drop.

Our next stop was this beautiful vineyard, Layton's Chance, which had just opened the week before. The owner, Joe Layton's family has been farming here for over 80 years. He gave us the grand tour, explaining to the most minute detail how to make wine... we were interested in the how but were really holding out for the taste. It was worth the wait. Five varieties later we found ourselves plopped into two of the most comfortable rocking chairs, glass of wine in hand, overlooking the vineyards in the late afternoon sunshine... bliss.

The final stop of our Eastern Shore tour was Cambridge, more precisely the Lodgecliff B&B. The B&B is owned by a friendly couple from Wisconson who did all they could to make us feel at home. The old farmhouse was actually the first B&B in Dorchester County, and sits on what used to be its own 150 acres of property right on the Choptank River. We watched the sunset and then explored what there is to see of Cambridge's downtown. There's not much at this point, and I don't think we were missing anything either. We talked to a few locals - our cab driver (the only legit one in town), our waiter (we befriended him, as we were his last table... and the restaurant's last table.... and the last people eating out in all of Cambridge, I believe, seated 1 minute before the 9pm cut-off), and the cop who sat with us for most of our dinner because there just didn't seem to be much happening that Saturday night. The town is cute, but with only one bar open past 10pm - Jimmie & Sooks - occupied by about 7 people (us included), there's not too much going on... this was exactly what we wanted, though, and it turned out to be an amazing weekend. Next time I'll just have to add more wineries to the trip

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Leading the Way in Green

The beautiful leafy riverside neighborhood of Olde Severna Park outside Annapolis is taking the green movement seriously. They've just planted a rain garden to stop pesticide-rich water from flowing straight into the Severn, and they've got much more planned where that came from. They're also beginning to use wind to power their houses, one family at a time. Read more in my article, published in Bay Weekly this week