On to Oxford

Saturday 17 September

Our third day of sailing kicked off with a rude awakening in St. Michaels.  We had docked for the evening and decided to stay there overnight, and by three o’clock in the morning it was pretty clear that we would have no respite from the boat banging against the dock.  All.  Night.  Long.  Susannah proclaimed it the second-worst night of sleep she’s ever had on a boat!  Nonetheless, we got up in the morning and, with the aid of our trusty French press and some Kill Devil Coffee, were soon in good spirits again.

We pulled into the St. Michaels Marina and docked for a pump-out and a quick trip to the grocery store for trash bags and butter.  Townes was really excited to see the Titanic moored at the end of the dock:

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Wondering about all the British flags?  We were, too.  St. Michaels’ nickname is “The Town that Fooled the British.”  During the War of 1812, the British army was sailing in to attack the town, but the people of St. Michaels got wind of this ahead of time and formulated a plan.  They turned off all the lamps in their houses and hoisted lanterns into the trees, so when the British ships arrived and opened fire, they completely overshot the town.  Only one house in all of St. Michaels was hit, and it’s now known as The Cannonball House.  Our informative brochure says that it was hit while Mrs. Merchant was carrying her infant daughter down the stairs… and it doesn’t tell us what happened next, which makes us slightly concerned for poor Mama and Baby Merchant.  But they’re now immortalized in a marina brochure, so cool consolation prize, right?  There’s your history lesson for the day.

Anyway, Captain Paul stayed behind with the boat, as all good captains do, and supervised the goings-on at the dock.  After the rest of us picked up the necessary supplies in town, we walked back along the waterfront and ran into a group of volunteers from the St. Michaels Art League, who were giving free painting lessons en plein air!  With only a little coaxing, our first mate was up for the challenge:

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Un petit artiste, non?  Check out the tongue in the first picture – true Manning concentration.  After a couple calls from the captain threatening to send out a military search party for us, we booked it back to La Mia Stella and set sail.

Our destination for the day was the port of Oxford, Maryland.  If you look at a map, it’s pretty close to St. Michaels as the crow flies – but a solid day’s trek as La Mia Stella sails.  Most of the day was absolutely perfect weather for sailing.  A little overcast and cool, but great wind.  We went through Knapps Narrows and Townes got to signal the dockmen to open the drawbridge for us!

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The afternoon after Knapps Narrows was a little rockier, but still fun sailing.  We even had lunch up on deck and Susannah read aloud from The Lunatic Express: Discovering the World via its Most Dangerous Buses, Boats, Trains, and Planes , which is the perfect story to get you excited about adventuring.

And then the sky started looking like this:

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So the first mate made the call to fire up the Iron Jenny and we motored in to Oxford harbor.  We went ashore for dinner and dessert on the excellent recommendations of our favorite local – Mikaela!  It turns out that in terms of land transportation, Oxford is even closer to where she lives than St. Michaels, so she came to join us again for crabcakes at Schooner’s Landing and some incredible ice cream at the Scottish Highland Creamery – a bit of an upgrade from our former favorite meal to enjoy together, which consists of Hell Pizza and Cadbury bars.  I feel so lucky that we got to get together again, and we realized it was the first time we’d seen each other two days in a row since New Zealand!  Talk about awesome.

After we parted ways with Mikaela, the crew of La Mia Stella cast off from the dock (taking bits of the pilings with us… um, as souvenirs) and anchored out in the harbor for a good night’s sleep.  It was so overcast that we don’t have a good sunset photo for you from the day, but we’ll substitute it with a dining suggestion: if you’re ever in Oxford, Maryland, be sure to check out the Scottish Highland Creamery – it’s a cool little hole-in-the-wall (literally), everyone who works there is actually from Scotland and they have awesome homemade ice cream.  Do NOT miss out on the Nutter Butter flavor!

TR Quote of the Day:

While forcefully pushing Susannah out of the nav station…

“I’m in control of this!”

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