Saturday, May 23, 2015
St. Mary’s City, MD
On our way back down the Potomac from Alexandria, we visited St. Mary’s City located on the St. Mary River which is on the Maryland side of the Potomac River. St. Mary’s City was Maryland’s first colonial settlement with the arrival of the passengers in two vessels, The Ark and The Dove in 1633. It was also the first capital of Maryland and remained so for 50 years until the capital was moved to Annapolis in 1695. The original buildings are no longer here but it is now the center of extensive archeological research and essentially a living history museum. It is well worth a stop for a number of reasons.
It is the home of St. Mary’s College, an honors college within the Maryland public university system. The college is situated on a beautiful bay adjacent to the historic town. The setting is out of this world! We pulled up at the college’s docks and the dock director and an enthusiastic student oriented us to what the school and the town had to offer. St. Mary’s College has an extensive collection of sailboats and rowing vessels. In fact, this year they hosted the annual collegiate sailing championship for which this is a perfect location!
We took our bikes out to cruise the grounds of the college and the historic area. Although the original dwellings from the 1600’s do not remain, partial and full reproductions of many of them have been created in the spaces that they think the originals stood. Guides in period costume regaled us with stories about life in colonial times. Meandering through open fields, meadows and winding waterside trails was like stepping back to a more peaceful time (though the American Revolution was anything but peaceful)! The most beautiful spot was the very old cemetery behind the church that looked out over the bay in which we anchored that evening.
There was a reconstructed replica of the Dove, as mentioned above. Lynn was particularly interested to see the Dove because it was a type of boat called a pinnace – a smaller vessel that often was used to transport goods in colonial times. She has been reading the Outlander series and this is one of the boats that is featured in the third book of the series.
Later in the afternoon, we left the college dock and anchored out in this beautiful serene setting.