Aug. 14th, 2005

The Unswept )

Saturday we had to check out by 10 a.m., so after packing up and getting everything into the van, we drove away from the shore to the zoo at Salisbury -- an excellent free zoo and public park at the edge of a town that has clearly seen better days, as its large mall is sitting empty with grass growing in the enormous parking lot. (A new highway was built several years ago and we suspect that cars that used to pass through Salisbury and stop for lunch now bypass it on the new roads, hurting its tourist commerce.) The center of the zoo is a large artificial lake filled with a wide variety of waterfowl -- geese, ducks, swans, herons, a couple of cranes -- as well as South American rheas and llamas, inspiring younger son to sing the llama song repeatedly. There are also bears, otters, monkeys, iguanas, a jaguar, a bobcat, an ocelot...many of the usual smaller suspects, though none of the larger African animals like the National Zoo has.

After lunch we drove to St. Michael's, a historic city famous for tricking the British during the War of 1812 by putting lights in trees and on ship masts so that the British bombarded the wrong location, situated where the Potomac River joins the Chesapeake Bay. It's now home to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, where there is an 1879 lighthouse, a boat yard and restoration shed, the buyboat Thor which is now on land for kids to explore, a waterman's wharf where kids can pull up traps full of blue crabs and eel, an indoor oyster dredgeboat and big exhibit on Bay oyster fishing, collections on steamboats and the transformation of the Bay from working fishery to tourist attraction, and collections on Bay naval and historical history. It's a spectacular museum, a bit like Mystic Seaport without the historical reenactors wandering through, but it was nearly 100 degrees and we spent far more time in the indoor exhibits than the hands-on ship and fishing demonstrations outside.

We had dinner at the Crab Claw, a seafood restaurant on the premises (had to have one last meal of crab soup, crab dip, etc.) and drove home in the evening over a traffic-free Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Unpacking was enlivened by the terrible Redskins game and nearly-as-terrible Ravens game. It's going to be a long football season. Since I am behind on posting trip photos, you get Lewes, Delaware tonight; I will get to the Salisbury and St. Michaels photos later in the week!


The First City in the First State )

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