On Tuesday, I traveled south to a small town at the end of a peninsula in Maryland called St. Mary's City. I was scheduled to stay with a friend and her family for a couple of nights, but pretty much had the entire day to explore the area.
I have finally started to find a good system for packing in and out of places I stay, significantly cutting don on the number of things misplaced. One bag of several days worth of clothing, my everyday/everywhere bag, and my backpack office. It seems to be working pretty well so far!
It was grey and a little rainy, so perfect driving weather. This part of Maryland is covered in soybeans and corn, or winter rye as a cover crop. Roads are small and winding, with historical markers randomly placed at the side of the road, though there's exactly no shoulder so that you can pull off and read them.
I made my way to the Battle Creek Cypress Swamp Sanctuary to check out the Bald Cypress grove. There is a short boardwalk out into the swamp that winds through the dripping trees. Bald Cypress are closely related to the Coastal Redwood and are the oldest trees on the Atlantic coast. One of the oldest trees in the Battle Creek grove is believed to be somewhere between 500 and 600 years old. The small nature center includes tanks of turtles, including a gigantic albino snapping turtle.
Since time was getting nearer for my friend to be home, I headed in the direction of St. Mary's City and found Point Lookout State Park. The lighthouse there has been out of commission since 1966 (after 136 years of service) and is now allegedly home to the ghost of a Confederate soldier. I learned that one of the first non-clerical government jobs offered to women included lighthouse-keeping, so there is a history of female keepers, some with fairly long tenures, at this particular lighthouse.
There were a lot of people fishing near the lighthouse, so I hopped back in the car and headed toward the pier back up the road. There's a small beach, which is initially a lot of small rocks and smooth oyster shells, but then turns to sand. I walked all the way to the end, admiring the boulders jumbled along the edge of the sand. Claire's Car actually made it out onto this beach - I really need to get in the habit of remembering to bring her on small adventures.
After wandering the sand for a while, I headed for my friend's house and a mug of tea.
After spending some time catching up we ended up at the local college for dinner, which turned out to be really good. I went to College of the Atlantic, which had and still has truly great food in the dining hall, but I also attended a larger university for a year that mostly offered steam tables of mystery meat. I ate a lot of vegetables and was very proud of myself. Adulting win!
After dinner we went to the college's waterfront to check out the boats.
There was a lot of hope that the weather would hold enough to take one of the larger sailboats out, but that didn't happen (see my next installment, which will be titled something like 'Driving in a Carwash').