Monday was another beautiful day for cruising, but we departed D.C. with a little sadness. We agree that three weeks would have been perfect, allowing us to see more sights, while not hitting it quite so hard. We hope to come back when the capitol building is open to visitors again, to see the National Museum of the African American, which had no openings for the whole month of October, to get to Georgetown…
Our destination was Colonial Beach, midway down the Potomac, where the options were slim for side-by-side accommodations appropriate for a 35-foot RV and a 40-foot trawler—sort of a meeting of a fish and a squirrel—in order to meet up with Wishart and Mary Bell. As luck would have it, the accommodations were not ideal for either of us, and our expectation of being able to dinghy back and forth two minutes across the little bay was tricky, there being no good place to tie up on their side. That did not deter us—Wishart and his truck, Gustav, are just about unstoppable! 😉 They hosted for dinner, we made s’mores camper-style, and enjoyed a good visit around the fire.
Tuesday we drove across the Potomac to St. Mary’s City, a colonial town that was Maryland’s first European settlement and capital. It is now a state-run historic area, which includes reconstruction of the original colonial settlement and a living history and museum complex. Settled by the Roman Catholic Calvert family (of the Lord Baltimore ilk) for religious freedom, they lived amicably enough with a majority of Protestants in this small town. As we entered the historic area we met Thomas, a young man on staff in some capacity, who found in us an opportunity to enthusiastically regale us with facts and dates, theories and conjectures, causing us to feel like, as Wishart said, we were “drinking-water-from-a-fire-hose.” Apologies to Thomas: a scholar without an appropriately appreciate audience… (Steve adds that we were appreciative for a while.) Still an active archeological site and training ground for archeologists, the reconstructed living history area includes a church, a barn with a few original timbers, an inn, a tavern, a store, and a ship. Tobacco was not only the cash crop; it was also the currency: a night’s stay at the local inn would have cost 7 pounds of tobacco. Of course, only the brawn of enslaved workers made this labor-intense crop possible, although at this early point in American history, some of the enslaved were indentured workers, who eventually regained their freedom. We went aboard the re-created Maryland Dove, a 76-foot cargo ship, crewed by 9 men with 40 tons of stores and supplies lade up below. The docent helped us visualize the hard-knock life of crew aboard a 17th-c. ship. Before leaving the area, we ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant where we were the only gringos and the Margaritas were great. Back on Red Pearl we resurrected our memory of Pinochle, having enjoyed it together on our Glacier vacation—albeit with some rules askew!
Our final day with the Bells included nuts and bolts of life on the move—provisioning, food preparation, and a black water pump out. Having had lunch on the boat, we had dinner at their place again, campfire-grilled steak and boat-baked apple crisp, and a second evening of Pinochle. We look forward to trying to rendezvous again in the spring and are always grateful for time with dear friends—at home, but especially on these memory-making, away-from-home adventures.