The plan was to stay at Oxford, MD before stopping at St. Michaels, however there was no slips in Oxford as one of the marinas had recently gone bankrupt so all their current slip- holders relocated to the other marinas in that bay making no vacancy’s. The plan changed to continuing on to St. Michaels and renting a car to visit Oxford and Easton, MD. This was a good plan, except when we called Easton to arrange the car rental, there were no cars to rent. Apparently, CoVID caused issues with rental agencies getting new cars due to automotive chips manufacturing being way behind for automakers.
We arrived at St. Michaels around 5PM on Thursday, May 20th. This is an exceedingly small harbor, but one of the most popular stops on the Chesapeake Bay. It was an extremely hot day, so after getting tied up we ventured into the on-site restaurant called Foxy’s for happy hour snacks and drinks.
After cooling off, the evening was spent walking to learn our way around St. Michaels, visit a few quaint shops and identify where the church is for Saturday night. We found a nature trail, some free libraries and ended up at the Eastern Shore Brewery. There was a winery, but not open for wine-tasting.
Most interesting story about St. Michaels was the towns trickery around the War of 1812 when the British Fleet was heading north on the Chesapeake Bay and decided they would bombard St. Michaels as they passed by. Somehow the town found out about their plan, enforced a blackout in town and hung lanterns in the trees outside of town. In the early morning of August 10th, 1813, the British shelled the lanterns in the trees, overshooting the town. Only one home was struck, and it is still known as the cannonball house today.
The next day, we decided to visit the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and Hooper Straight Lighthouse. This was an outdoor museum with several buildings (each with themed exhibits) and a lighthouse = a lot to see!!
Exhibits included the Bay’s history of oyster harvesting and crabbing.
There were several things to look at in the Maryland Crab meat company which showcased the crabbing industry in Maryland. Automatic crab picker pictured here didn’t work very well. More common was the humans who were very fast at crab picking.
Fishing Shanties were used by watermen when they followed the shad and haddock as these fish made their spring run up the bay – the watermen would tow a floating house behind them and set it up on shore as they fished and moved far from home fishing for a week or so. The origins of a “Shanty Town”.
The Hooper Straight lighthouse was just like the Drum Point lighthouse we saw at Solomon’s the day before. One interesting bottle in the medicine cabinet on this one had a quote from William Greenwich – assistant Keeper of Hooper Straight lighthouse “Even two miles offshore, the mosquitos ate you up”. They had malaria medicine and a tonic for repelling mosquitos. Another notable quote from the Keeper of the Holland Island Light, 1950: “Every morning we were required to ascend the spiral staircase to the Fresnel tower to pull down the opaque shades. This prevented the magnifying properties of the lenses from causing a fire and burning the wooden structure. The shades were raised at dusk before the lamp was lit” –
We spent several hours at the maritime museum and it was a warm great day to do this. We did some more walking around town. Mary found the Farmers Market in St Michaels and we got some fresh eggs and tomatoes. This was also a great day for crab cake sandwich at the Carpenter Street Saloon and the pool at St. Michael’s Marina.
Our last night in St. Michaels, we went to the Crab Claw for dinner just across from our boat and and tried the Smith Island 9 layer cake.
We got up the next morning for a 3 mile run on the nature trail before setting sail for Annapolis.