With a fine day on the cards, we decided to hit the road and head on out of town after breakfast. However, we’ve not really discovered a great breakfast place within sight of the hotel yet and so we settled for Starbucks and hoped we’d find lunch en route.
Inspired by a leaflet we’d picked up in the museum yesterday, we decided to follow part of the Star Spangled Banner trail, across Chesapeake Bay and over to the Delmarva Peninsula.
We headed eastwards then, towards Chesapeake Bay and the Bay Bridge, which is somewhat of a landmark. Thankfully, the weather was fine and we drove across it without problem, though we did wonder if the old duck who was volunteering in the visitor centre was one of those who’d offer to drive the car over for those who were scared. Now, there’s an even scarier thought!
The bridge – or should i say, bridges – are quite long and rather high too. And having driven through the washing machine this summer we could well imagine how terrifying it could be to drive over these bridges in bad weather. So, we thanked our lucky stars and continued.
There wasn’t much traffic thank goodness and we were soon over the other side. No worries – except we needed to go back over the same way later!
Firstly, a little orientation at the Visitor Center. Here we were greeted warmly by the aforementioned elderly volunteer who explained her vagueness by citing a lack of caffeine this morning. Bless her – she did her best to answer our questions but thrusting a leaflet listing the charity shops in the area wasn’t really that helpful.
Whilst my hero maintained conversation, I explored the rooms of the visitor centre and made my acquaintance with the Atlantic Horseshoe Crab and Francois the turtle – or rather, the Diamondback Terrapin
Both were housed in tanks at the back of the centre and were examples of the rich variety of wildlife we might encounter on our journey. Thankfully, we encountered neither.
We were heading over Chesapeake Bay to a small town called Chestertown which we’d read about and rather like the sound of. We gathered maps and other useful leaflets and set off further east, heading for Centreville.
Centreville is in Queen Anne’s County and sure enough, there she was in front of the oldest continuously used courthouse in the USA. We ran the gauntlet of the Jehovah’s Witnesses who were waiting for unsuspecting visitors with whom to converse, took our photos and left.
We took the “byway” wherever possible, enjoying the drive along quiet country roads, through small towns and villages.
We were soon at Chestertown, where a quick conversation with a rather more helpful visitor centre docent set us out on a small walking tour. Reminiscent of Stars Hollow, the Fountain Square and surrounding community was very walkable and we thought, very attractive.
We stopped in the bakery for a bite to eat and a cup of coffee – free wifi is a bit of a draw as well, of course.
From there we moved on, admiring the beautiful homes which lie along the river, each one beautifully restored and very attractively presented. We stopped to chat to one of the owners, busily clearing leaves from his pathways and agreed that this must be a very pleasant place to live.
The view from his home must have taken in the old schooner moored in the harbour and the unspoiled Chester River. Maybe he too had a private dock for a small boat? That’s the life, for sure.
Time to get back in the car then and set off back over the bridge. Like the Severn Crossing, the toll is on just one direction, so the thrill was free of charge this time!
We’d set the satnav for Tysons Corner – well, where else does everyone head for on a November Sunday afternoon?
Sure enough, there they all were. In the food court, like a plague of starlings and making just as much noise! Oh my goodness. Had we really done the right thing?
Some might say “yes”.
There was certainly plenty of temptation.
But, however attractive the offering, somehow, it just didn’t work out for us. The crowds were horrendous and the noise overwhelming. We’d found Chico’s ok and I was hoping to find a new pair of black, straight leg jeans. But the assistant didn’t get off to a great start:
“That’s a cute vest (waistcoat) you’re wearing, Ma’am”
“Oh, thank you. It’s actually a Chico’s one”
“Really? I don’t recognise it. It must be very old”
The cheek!! I didn’t enlighten her; didn’t say that I’d bought it in LA just last Autumn and actually, the same one was hanging on the rail right beside her in a different colour and finish. Instead, I simply huffed and puffed and chose one or two things to try on, though by now, felt too tired and hot and sticky to be bothered.
So we beat a hasty retreat to the Galleria, where the higher end stores were situated, amongst them my favourite Eileen Fisher. No screaming children here. No crowds searching for 50% off. But neither was there anything to tempt me and anyway, by now I was past caring. Time to head back home.
An hour or two later, margarita in hand, perhaps it hadn’t been that bad?
Supper in our favourite Rosa Mexicana was delicious and somehow, I even remembered to leave room for the churros!
As we set off to walk back to the hotel, however, it began to rain. We made a quick decision to catch the Metro back and mindful of the House of Cards episode, stood well back from the edge of the platform
We were soon back at 15th Street NW and home. It’s been another fun day and exactly as forecast, somewhat milder than yesterday. The big question is, will it really be as warm as they tell us it will be tomorrow?
Watch this space!