Celebrating St. Patrick’s DayPosted: March 22, 2007
Thirty-one years ago, when M and I were still in the shiny new stages of dating (and having a mostly long-distance relationship via snail mail and the rare telephone calls because there was no email or text messaging in those days), M was on spring break from college and decided to spend part of it with me. I made big plans for us to go to the shore for the day, to have what I hoped would be a (romantic) picnic on the beach.
Well, it was St. Patrick’s Day and winter had decided to have one last hurrah. It snowed on our non-picnic on the beach. It was the first time either of us had experienced snowfall while sitting on the sand and watching the waves roll in. You all know, or should by now, how I feel about snow. I love it. I thought it was a wondrous thing. It certainly made for a novel, and romantic, day. Although we did bring the picnic lunch with us, if I remember correctly we ditched it in favor of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in a local retaurant/pub. As much as I enjoy snow, it’s not ideal for a picnic lunch. Too much cold and shivering going on.
On St. Patrick’s Day 2007, M and I were once more at the shore (or beach, as they call it in Maryland) and guess what? It snowed.
We left Sabbaticalville just in time last Friday morning. It had been raining pretty heavily throughout the night. The rain changed over to sleet and ice just before we left, quickly making the road conditions very slippery. About 15-30 minutes outside of Sabbaticalville we managed to get ahead of the sleet and ice, but the rain stayed with us the entire way. “Rain” is putting it mildly. It was a torrential downpour most of the time.
(Somewhere on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.)
It looked like this pretty much the entire trip to the Annapolis area where we were visiting friends and attending a high school jazz concert (the daughter of said friends is in the high school jazz band). We stopped for lunch at an Irish pub/restaurant along the way. I had some excellent corned beef. It came with sauerkraut on rye bread (a Reuben), but it was the closest thing they had to corned beef and cabbage. The sleet/ice line caught up with us while we were at lunch. The slowest service in the universe probably had something to do with that. It didn’t take long to get ahead of it again.
The rain was amazing. Torrential downpour almost seems like an understatement. The convertible (our car) likes to hydroplane, something we did a lot of since there was so much water ponding on the roadways. When we got to the Bay Bridge, we had to deal with both the rain and a heavy fog. Lovely.
I’m sure the bay was out there somewhere, but I couldn’t see it.
We arrived at our hotel, safe and sound, around 3:30pm. The drive should have taken about 2½ hours, but took 4 because of weather and road conditions (and slow service at lunch).
After checking in we headed over to the home of our friends so we could ride over to the high school with them. I have to admit that I wasn’t thrilled at the idea of attending a high school concert. After all, my children are grown and I thought I was pretty much finished with school concerts (at least until my granddaughter is old enough to be participating in such things). But M had told K (the daughter of our friends) that he would attend one of her concerts. K is a senior in high school and this was his last chance to keep his word (and M is always a man of his word, something I very much admire about him).
I am surprised to have to also admit that I had a good time. It was a dinner and jazz event. The spaghetti dinner was actually pretty decent and the jazz band was quite good.
By the time the concert/dinner was over (8:00pm), the ice, sleet and snow had not only caught up with us, but apparently had been falling for most of the time we were in the school. It wasn’t slick yet. It was slushy. But a drop of temperature just a few degrees was going to create one big ice rink. Being the worry wart that I am, I nagged M about getting back to the hotel so we didn’t stay out too late. We hung out with our friends until about 10:30pm (at their house). The roads were a mess, but M is a good driver so we made it back to the hotel without any problems.
Saturday morning we set out for Ocean City, Maryland. The weather was greatly improved in terms of no snow, no ice, no sleet, and no rain. Our trip over the Bay Bridge was much better this time around. We stopped at a park before going over the bridge where we were buffeted by the wind while we were admiring the bay and bridge. The wind was pretty gusty all weekend and I came home with a chapped face to prove it. It was also fairly cold (temps in the upper 30’s, lower 40’s).
(The Bay Bridge)
As you can see, it was still cloudy, but at least the sun was making an appearance once in a while, peeking out from behind the clouds.
The Eastern Shore of Maryland is very flat with lots of farmland. It’s a pretty drive, but after a while it starts to lull you to sleep. I entertained myself by taking lots of photos, most of which you’ll be spared because taking photos from a moving vehicle isn’t easy and I generally end up with some pretty crappy pictures. Every once in a while, though, I get a good one (or at least one that is a good representation of the area).
See how flat and straight it is?
Somewhere along the way, since we were making good time, we decided to go to Assateague Island National Seashore before heading to Ocean City. We had planned to go to Assateague and do some hiking on Sunday. A quick and early trip on Saturday gave us a chance to stop by the Visitor’s Center, pick up a map, and get our bearings.
Assateague is an incredible place. I wish we could’ve spent more time there. We did fit in a couple of hours on Saturday and on Sunday, but it just wasn’t enough time. I think it would be great fun to pack up a tent and a backpack and camp on the island.
I’ll be back soon with photos from Assateague, including some of the ponies that run wild on the island.