Today, though, interior colors are cool and creamy. The staff is now friendly and unstuffy. Children, couples and corporate retreaters alike all reside respectably-together. The dress code is relaxed and laid-back. Laughter can be heard in the hallways. The treatment received is spe- cial - no matter if you’re monied or living pay- check to paycheck. Indeed, at the Inn at Perry Cabin you will be considered a captain or a magnate, even if you’re not one.

This past July we returned to St. Michaels.

The Linden trees lining the red bricked lane and the colorful blooms of daffodils, roses, crape myrtles are even grander than I remembered. The venue itself - once a series of thirty-two original guest rooms - has grown to seventy- eight, with ten different room categories (and no two alike).

What had once been a retreat along the Chesapeake’s tributary system is now a full- service destination complete with a renowned spa, four classic sailboats (plus, a 50-foot yacht - more on that later!); an on-site sailing acade- my, tennis courts, fine and casual dining alike, gardens and activities galore, and - brand new to Perry Cabin - a stunning 18-hole Pete Dye- designed links course.

Before I begin with the particulars from my stay, I first need to preface how utterly enjoyable the trip down from the Philly area was for me; a nice jaunt through flat, verdant farmlands and into quaint, welcoming villages like Chestertown with its dreamy Victorian-style buildings, and Cambridge, which is nestled by the Choptank River and replete with cheery red bricked store- fronts. Near Cambridge’s heart is the popular Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay - also a fine resort to visit another time soon.

The trip down took me less than three hours, and other than a quick stretch along I-95 toward the beginning, it was smooth and scenic two-lane country backroads for most of the rest of the way.

My wife, Dana, and I arrived early on that hot July afternoon. As we waited for our room to be ready we realized that we were mighty hungry, so we ventured into Stars, which is the Cabin’s AAA four diamond-rated restaurant where Executive Chef Ken MacDonald fashions a menu that incorporates both the aquatic bounty before him, as well as snips of greens from the green- house nursery of his kitchen and cutting gar- dens. My wife’s burger was a simple, juicy indulgence. My crabcakes had literally been clawing across the bay floor only hours before.

8­ 8 September z October­2018

As we sat in resplendence on the brick lined back patio, my wife and I noted how the grounds here are so well-manicured, and there are now more pockets of places in which to relax - cozy fire pits and smatterings of Adirondack chairs - all with stellar views of the inn’s marina and its flotilla of impressive ves- sels.

As we dined comfortably and casually, I took a gander at the list of the property’s activities, which had been provided by the amiable desk clerk at check-in. On it was a leisure paradise- worth of options, most of them offered compli- mentary: kayaking, paddle boards, birdwatching, cornhole, badminton, croquet, bocce, fitness and yoga classes, bingo, whiskey and wine tast- ings, biking (free bicycles are at-the-ready by the entranceway), s’mores, beach glass work- shops, baby eagle hunting…

Okay, there’s no baby eagle hunting allowed - I was just making sure you’re still paying atten- tion!

After lunch, we checked in to our room

located in one of the newer outbuildings. It was simply - “Wow!”

The ample, comfy interior was in perfect condi- tion and spotless, and the views from the lounge chairs along our second-floor patio showcased the satin-y river beyond as well as a regal egret perched by his nest along the water’s edge.

As Dana took advantage of the services offered at the 5,400-square foot oasis of the Linden Spa - a serene retreat for the mind, body and soul - I jaunted in to St. Michaels to explore the tidy little town and its plethora of shops and cafes. The main street hasn’t changed all that much in the last twenty-four years, with the exception of some newer enticements, such as Eastern Shore Brewing, the adjacent St. Michaels Winery and, just behind it, the Lyon Distilling Company.

These three spirited venues have become the hub of the town, each providing notable spaces in which to enjoy victuals while learning about them in the process.

At Eastern Shore Brewing, Jay Hudson (the title on his business card reads “GM/Eye Candy”) poured me a pleasing IPA while regaling me with stories of the brewery’s own past.

At 4:00 p.m. Dana and I were scheduled to take a sailing cruise, but with each passing moment the skies grew purplish and angry-looking. Ten

minutes before the hour we received a phone call from Captain Jason Pinter, the inn’s Waterfront Director, who informed us that our excursion had been pushed back by a day to ensure a smoother sail since the tomorrow’s forecast called for crystal clear skies.

What else to do then, but order a couple cans of local ginger beer, a couple airplane bottles of Lyon Distillery’s fine dark rum, a few wedges of lime from room service, and then make a cou- ple of tall Dark ‘N Stormy cocktails while the world beyond our window got all dark and stormy, as well.

Around six o’clock the skies began clearing, so we took a short walk into St. Michaels. We were decidedly surprised at how closed-up the town seemed to be on a Tuesday night in summer- time, but we found a fun and tasty place called Ava’s in which to dine on handcrafted pizzas.

The next day, a satisfying lunch would be had a couple blocks down at Gina’s Café, a friendly indoor/outdoor cantina serving yummy tacos and terrific guacamole with house baked chips. Of course, we had to stop at one of the two ice cream parlors in town, Justine’s - rated #1 in St. Michaels by Yelp - where we laughed upon hearing that the ice cream isn’t made locally; rather, it’s from Jack & Jill brand out of our neck of the Philly woods.

The next morning, after enjoying a hearty break- fast at Stars, we finally got in that sail. In actu- ality - a full-bore cruise upon The Hinkley, which is Perry Cabin’s Five Star, $4-million, 50-foot yacht. Dana and I mounted the upper deck with drinks in hand as Captain Jason throttled us along the river at around 28 or so knots.

It was a thrilling sojourn - one that’s well worth the tariff of renting such an exclusive vessel - and one that saved me a cool $4-million pur- chase of a yacht of my own, just like this one (yeah, right!).

The inn’s sales manager, Joann Jacobs, was kind to tour me throughout the property, show- ing me her group event facilities like the Commodore Room, which seats up to 80 guests and features a cavernous wood burning fire- place along one end of the high-ceiling space. Nearby, the Fireside Room also retains a live fireplace emitting heat and cheer, especially on the coldest of evenings.

I loved finding cozy little sitting areas within and throughout the cabin; a volumes-filed library beckoned as did a cheery morning room.

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