Crashing for the weekend at St. Michaels
The view of the back side of the Inn at Perry Cabin / Photo by Joe Newman
After spending the weekend in St. Michaels, Maryland, it’s easy to see why visitors flock here in the spring and summer months. It’s quaint, charming, rustic and all those other adjectives that describe small American towns that have been around since colonial days. Sitting just an hour and a half outside of Washington, D.C., it’s an easy day trip or romantic weekend away from the city.
If small towns with nice dining options, boutique galleries and mom-and-pop antique stores are your thing, you’ll enjoy St. Michaels. But might I suggest you visit when the weather isn’t in the 30s?
We wanted to get out of town after Thanksgiving and St. Michaels on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay was a place we’ve wanted to check out. My girlfriend, Lamia, booked us a room at the Inn at Perry Cabin, which you might recognize from the lavish reception scenes in the Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn film Wedding Crashers.
A portion of the Inn has been around since the early 1800s but the property, which has seen major renovations and expansion, has only been in use as an inn since the 1980s. From Wikipedia:
The original Inn, built in 1816, (now the north wing of the manor house) was designed and built by Purser Samuel Hambleton, a War of 1812 Navy veteran and aide-de-camp to Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. The Inn, named after the renowned Perry who is famous for his declaration, “We have met the enemy, and they are ours,” was built to resemble the Commodore’s cabin (‘Perry Cabin’) on the flagship U.S.S. Niagara.
Today, it’s been expanded into an 80-room resort. And it’s not cheap. Our room ran us $350 a night and it was the most affordable of the lot. You can expect to pay even higher prices in the summer.
Was it worth it? That certainly depends on your pocketbook. There are cheaper options in town, or 15 minutes up the road in Easton. There’s even rooms for less than $50 a night within a half hour. But if you’re high-end traveler, then the Inn at Perry Cabin is your choice. The Inn has the charm of a bed and breakfast, if a bed and breakfast had a full-service spa, fitness center, “four-star” restaurant and 5,000 square feet of meeting space.
On the weekend we were there, the town was mostly deserted. We went into a handful of shops and a couple galleries but weren’t all that impressed by anything we saw. I’m sure I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it had been warmer.
We did have a wonderful dinner at the Bartlett Pear Inn in nearby Easton. We also ate lunch at Out of the Fire in Easton on our way in. The brick-oven pizzas were delicious. In fact, Easton actually seemed like it might be a more interesting place to visit than St. Michaels. The one thing Easton lacks, of course, is the water.
St. Michaels is on the Eastern Bay and has thrived throughout its history; first as a ship-building center, later as an oyster fisherman’s town, and now as a tourist destination. Today, you can enjoy harbor tours, sailing excursions and a burgeoning art scene.
But do yourself a favor and plan your visit in the summer.
Photos by Joe Newman.