Tuesday, August 11, 2009

a summer weekend away

last summer, mitchell and i took a road trip to the eastern shore of maryland for the wedding of close friends. we were in free, giddy moods off for a long weekend, and the route we were traveling brought us on windy roads through sleepy towns we had never before seen. we felt like we were seeing a piece of americana that our normal experience in maryland never exposed us to - i guess it's not surprising since that mainly consisted of blowing through the state while traveling on 95 between new york and washington.

it was amazing how many different types of vehicles we rode alongside working our way east, and we marveled at how the area seemed to move at its own pace with its own traffic patterns and sense of rhythm. living in our own area which is so metropolitan to new york city, every road and train we travel is a part of the same central nervous system as the city's, and is informed by that fact in many ways. it was interesting to be in a place that functioned so differently, and is influenced by such different things - trucking routes, shipping deliveries, even tide schedules since the area is very reliant on, and known for fishing.

our route was mainly a rural one, with pockets of industrial and sometimes desolate areas. in most cases, the towns were obviously connected to the agriculture and the businesses in each area we passed through - for better or worse. in some cases, there were early signs of the recession that had not yet been named, while other areas we passed through seemed blissfully self-sufficient.

the fields were as big as any i've ever seen and i loved the feeling that i could see further than my eyes are used to seeing - it was a surprisingly unusual feeling to be able to see so far in front of me - it's amazing how you get used to being surrounded by buildings or houses that interrupt your field of vision. seeing fields and expanses so large made me feel breathless at the same time as it made me feel like i could breathe more deeply than usual.

when we arrived in our destination town of chestertown, we were charmed by the pretty town square and the surprisingly southern feel of the local culture, despite not being that far south (though it is below the mason dixon line).

our friends' wedding festivities were perfectly in keeping with the eastern shore identity we were getting to know - the weekend kicked off with a crab feast on friday night and saturday's wedding was stream-side at the home of the groom's mother. the wedding meal was served family style at long banquet tables adorned with urns overflowing with summer wildflowers. everyone danced tirelessly and a sweet golden retriever made his way around the wedding tent, literally sweeping the bride off her feet at one point. i loved the wedding because, aside from loving the bride and groom and their happiness, all the choices they made were in perfect step with the season and the surroundings, which is something i really appreciate and went to great lengths to do with my own wedding.

when we weren't busy with wedding activities, we explored the area and happened upon a big green market in the town square with local produce, beautiful plants and flowers and kittens from a local farm for adoption.

we bought handpainted crab salt and pepper shakers from a local artist as a souvenir from our weekend in maryland, and they really do serve to remind me of the weekend every time i look at them.

after all the weekend's events, we got back on the road and drove back through the fields and farms and windy roads we rode through only days before with the weekend ahead of us. it was just as pretty, and even more poignant since we had spent a weekend in one of the places those roads lead and we had a better understanding of a part of the country we had never been. it's a nice feeling to make someplace into a place you've been when it was once only a point on a map or words on a road sign.

my heart sank a little when we came to an intersection with signage that foretold a change on the horizon.

when i see things like that, i try to remind myself that positive changes can also come from that type of development, but it's hard not to think of all the lives that will be forever changed. it was a strong reminder to support small, local business and agriculture, and it was a reminder i still think about even more than a year later.


Liza Ehrlich Bower said...

"all the choices they made were in perfect step with the season and the surroundings, which is something i really appreciate and went to great lengths to do with my own wedding."... Where did you think I got my inspiration from????!!! Thank you for making my wedding, and the eastern shore, sound so beautiful and special. Your words and pictures make me realize I accomplished my goal, especially if you remember it so clearly over a year later!! Xo.

honey living said...


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