Friday, January 30, 2009

In it for the Long Haul...

Yes, we're supposed to be weather-hardened New Englanders, but when we woke up to 50-degree temperatures on Long Haul Creek this morning, there was unanimous consensus that things were seriously nippy.

John here.

How nippy was it? Nippy enough that Colleen did her morning fishing in jeans, a sweatshirt and gloves. Yes, they were the gloves she uses for handling the lines on the boat, but more than a fashion statement, it was weather-motivated.

It's hard to convey the beauty of this anchorage. The water is as still as a pond.
We're anchored just 20 or 30 yards from some beautiful homes with lush landscaping and the creek itself -- remember, it's pronounced "crick" down here -- is like a nature preserve. We're serenaded all day by honking swans, ducks and geese, while hawks and great blue herons soar above us.
The only place that seems to be lacking in wildlife is the water. Other than tiny jumping fish and scores of jellyfish that are the approximate size of a man's fist, we haven't had any evidence of life underwater. Still, Colleen remains unwavering and undeterred, casting with her spinning rod to beat the band.

Once Doug and I finished our morning labors, we deployed the dinghy and set out to explore the village of St. Michael's, known in these parts as "The town that fooled the British."
Seems that on the morning of Aug. 10, 1813, the locals discovered that the British were planning an attack. In an effort to thwart that attack, the locals imposed a blackout on the homes at ground level. They then hoisted lanterns to the tops of trees and the tops of the masts of the ships in the harbor. Thus, when the Brits began their nighttime cannon fusillade, the cannon balls sailed harmlessly over the homes of the canny townsfolk. Only one home - now known as the "Cannonball House" - was struck, but the 12-pound ball penetrated the roof and simply rolled down the stairs.

The town itself is charming beyond belief. We explored the main drag -- Talbot Street, for the record -- and were soon parched. We hit the bar at a place called "Characters," then had a drink and appetizers at another spot on the water called "The Crab and Steakhouse," but the real fun began when we stumbled upon the St. Michael's Winery.

We sampled some of their finest wares -- mostly the flight of their red wines -- and the undisputed winner was a sipping dessert wine called chocolate zinfandel, which was, as it sounds, a melding of red zinfandel wine and chocolate extract.
How good was it? Well, it was too expensive for us to purchase at $25 a bottle, but it was good enough to inspire innovation. As soon as we left the winery, Tammy went into a gourmet shop and bought a bottle of chocolate essence for seven bucks. Colleen has already added a healthy dose to some of our formerly-boxed-now-merely-bladdered red wine, which shall serve as a proper close to our dinner tonight.

Tomorrow, we set out for Annapolis, where we will hook up with Manchester friends, Tom and Diane Lombardo and soak up the sights in one of America's great port towns.

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