Maryland Outdoor Club
Sun, Jun 22 2008 - Day Trip to Historic St. Mary's (View Original Event Details)

Event Organizer(s): Colin Babb
Participants:Colin Babb, Nicole Miklus, Glenn Peddicord, Ali Badii, Deb Andes, Patrick Haas, Nicki, Chris B., Walter Babb

Write Up:
Breaking with tradition, I'll begin with the ending of the trip. It really all came down to Tom. Tom was the rather silent, if watchful, waiter cum co-proprietor of our lunch establishment, Courtney's. (He also is the apparent personal fisherman for all the restaurant's fish as well.) Courtney's is what restaurant critics charitably call "charming." If a restaurant surrounded by rusting abandoned cars, old crab pots, and less-than-used fishing boats is your idea of charming, then this is your place.

We went there based on the recommendation of the cash register lady at the gift shop at Historic St. Mary's. Apparently, there are few eating establishments in this part of Maryland--unless you want to venture over to the naval base up the road. Courtney's consists of a cinderblock building painted white at some point in the previous century (presumably the 19th) whose most striking outside feature is the faded budweiser girl in the window extolling thirsty men to drink in Spanish. If you could get past that--and we did--the inside is somewhat--somewhat--more inviting. Plain tables with plain chairs fill a dining room adorned with the requisite potpourri of plastic fish, random beer advertisement kitsch, and photos of local heroes (and, for some reason, Chief Seattle’s famous speech that helped give us…Seattle). The menu is simple. Fish, fish, and burgers--all of which involves some sort of frying. Tom came over to us to take our orders, but simply waited for us to say something. Tom's a man of few words. He's got that been-out-on-the-boat-in-an-electrical-storm-once-too-often look about him. The kind of guy who starts getting antsy when he has to say more than four words at any one time. But we all ordered and he dutifully brought out everything (we had to pass everything out around the table since he seemed to be particularly partial to standing near the part of the table closest to the kitchen for some reason…was he constantly contemplating his exit strategy perhaps?).

But did I mention the pie?

The meal capper was the blackberry pie, with ice cream, that came in an old-fashioned ice cream glass. The pie was still steaming hot, and the ice cream was still cold. With the exception of Glenn (who apparently did not want anything but got his pie anyway, and then ate his ice cream first before picking at the pie), we all enjoyed the delicious concoction (perhaps handmade by Tom himself, a skill he picked up in his previous existence as a french pastry chef at Jean-George in the Trump Tower in New York, after a career as a spy and Navy SEAL, before deciding to become a fisherman/restauranteur/sea salt on the exotic St. Mary's County coast of Maryland?).

The rest of our trip was a fine, if stiflingly hot, time at St. Mary’s, a reconstruction of Maryland’s 17th-century capital built on the archaeological ruins of the original settlement. Thanks to a quirk in scheduling, we received our admission tickets for free, and we spent a nice four-hour tour visiting the various reconstructed building and the colorful folks in period costumes. A highlight was the witnessing of the firing of the cannon on board the reconstructed vessel—which made a much louder sound than we anticipated (but it hardly phased the Ospreys 50 yards away). Later, our trip turned into Glenn’s search for his personal past as we made a journey down Peddicord memory lane, driving by his old apartment and to the park he used to walk around when there was a hotel that has now either washed away or been torn down.

I hope everyone had a good time, and perhaps someday some of us may return to visit Tom and get some more pie. And maybe we’ll pass by that donkey farm as well…

--Colin Babb

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