03 November 2009 | Baltimore, MD
Beth / sweater weather
We arrived in Baltimore safe and sound on Monday afternoon - all flights connecting smoothly and luggage on time. We took the light rail ($1.60 each) downtown and then walked from the conference centre stop to our hotel. Our base in Baltimore was the Brookshire Suites Hotel on East Lombard St - just a block back from the beautiful, walkable waterfront. An evening reception with a free drink per person and an assortment of hors d'oeuvres and breakfast with hot and cold offerings were both included in the price. We'd recommend this hotel to anyone making a Baltimore visit.
On Tuesday morning, Jim and I went round to the US Customs building on Gaye St to get our new cruising permit. Last time Joyce Gray got us out our permit-less state, and this year, Bettye Toone assisted us. There were no problems whatsoever. We have our permit - for a year - and were told that when we leave the country, we can turn it in and get a new one when we arrive "from foreign". This is our favourite Customs office bar none. Miss Toone even told us that if we have any questions or problems wherever we are, to just call her and she will straighten us out! Nice to have our own personal US Customs officer looking out for us.
A 15 minute walk from the waterfront brought us to Faidley's Seafood stand in the Lexington Market where we devoured the most wonderful crabcakes. Oh my.... I asked one of the fellows there what the difference was between the regular crabcake and the lump crab one. His answer was, "... the difference between hamburg and filet mignon, and both quality and quantity improve with the price." Oh my - that lump crab one was about the best crabcake I have ever eaten - big chunks of crab held together with a wee bit of something else - mayo and crackers perhaps? and something that added a bit of a bite - dijon? - then popped in the fryer for just long enough to crisp up the outside. Delectable.
While we browsed through the displays at Barnes and Noble Bookstore back on the waterfront, my cell phone rang and the Sealand truck driver said "I bet you want to know where your boat is!" We had been wondering that very thing and were happy to hear that he was in Harrisburg Pennsylvania and planned to arrive in Solomon's Island on Wednesday morning at 10 am.
Solomon's Island is a mighty hard place to get to except by boat or car so we rented a car and headed out. Most of the leaves are finished but there was still enough colour to make it a pretty 2 hour drive. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as dropping off a car at another location, even for a price, so we'll figure out how to return it later.
One of the happy results of our first cruise was the lasting friendships we made, and we arrived at the home of Carole and Richard (Kilissa) in Lusby, MD in time for happy hour. Joe (Gemini) and Pete (now landbound) arrived and we had a typically energetic cruisers dinner - conversation interspersed with mouthfuls of delicious food - almond chicken, rice and crisp green beans.