Tuesday, July 29: The heat and humidity certainly indicate that summer is here in northern Virginia, but as we don’t live near the water, it doesn’t seem like summer. I grew up in southern Virginia, near Wormley Creek off the York River and not too far from Virginia Beach. We used to spend our summer days either crabbing from a dock, swimming in the creek, river or ocean, motor-boating, sailing, water-skiing, or lying on the beach slathered in coconut oil. Everything revolved around the water. Here in northern Virginia, summers are simply an annoyance. I hate the heat and humidity when there are no sea breezes and no water activities nearby.
I’ve been wanting to visit Solomons and Calvert Cliffs in southern Maryland, less than a 2 hour drive from my house, but I’ve not been able to find the time to go for an overnight. I’ve also been hesitant to fight the traffic headed to the beach every weekend. So today, a Tuesday in the middle of my work week (I teach Monday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings), I decide on a whim to hop in the car and go to Solomons for the day.
Solomons was actually an island until about 1868, according to Moon Handbooks: Maryland & Delaware. Isaac Solomon, who developed oyster canning in Baltimore, purchased “Sandy Island” and built a processing plant at the northern end. The channel that separated the mainland from the island was gradually filled in with oyster shells until only a ditch remained.
I get a late start since I decided to take this trip at the last minute. By the time I arrive, I’m just in time for lunch at Solomons Pier.
My lunch is wonderfully pleasant. The weather is superb today, in the high 70s. A cool breeze blows off the Patuxent River. I haven’t had such a pleasant moment all summer. I want to sit here all day and bask in the sun and the breeze and the sight of the sun reflecting off the water. But alas, there are sights to be seen, so off I go for a walk along Patuxent Avenue.
I come across this charming little Episcopal church, St. Peter’s.
Beside the church are some pretty irises.
I walk south of the pier and see the view of Solomons Pier and the Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge, which crosses the Patuxent River to St. Mary’s City.
Along the south shore, piers jut into the water and boats bob in the waves.
I find this cute little shop, with these two polished old-fashioned bicycles out front.
As I walk further south into a quaint neighborhood of weathered houses, I see more piers and boats.
I veer left down Charles Street where I find a marina full of boats but not a human in sight. I find these gauzy curtains dancing in the strong breeze. They seem ghostlike in this deserted place.
There are plenty of boats waiting patiently for their owners.
As I walk among the boats at this marina, not a soul is in sight. The wind is gusting and the boats seem to be conversing in a language of their own, groaning, clanking, whining. They seem a little lonely today.
Leaving the marina, I pass by this cozy Victorian bed and breakfast, Solomons Victorian Inn.
Walking back down Charles Street, I come across this funky Tiki Bar. There’s only one client in the open air bar in this early part of the afternoon.
I walk around the back where colorful Adirondack chairs, tables and giant heads are scattered about in the sand.
Finally, I head back to my car, and I take a parting shot of this old corrugated iron building with kayaks neatly stacked behind little boats filled with grass.
It’s such a pleasant time at Solomons on this breezy day. Luckily I discover that it really doesn’t require an overnight stay, as there’s really not much to do unless you have a boat.
I have a mind to hike to Calvert Cliffs next, so I head north about 5 miles and enter Calvert Cliffs State Park, where I’m told it’s a 1.8 mile hike each way to get to the cliffs. I need my exercise after those blackened shrimp tacos, so off I go.