Noah and I enjoyed my business trip to Maryland. A good, solid 80% of the trip, at least.
Word to the wise. Whenever Noah says, "Here, have my last bite of rocky road ice cream," what he REALLY means is, "Here, let me pour a spoonful of chocolate soup on your blouse in downtown Annapolis, when we still have several places yet to get to."
The weekend was jam-packed — Baltimore, Annapolis, and National Harbor in a matter of three days. Beyond the rigors of the schedule, I was a little stressed out because I’d never taken such a trip for a job before. Crack a champagne bottle over my head; I’m officially a travel journalist.
We were both a little on edge the first evening and day. I thought it was because Noah forgot to pack dress pants — oh, and UNDERWEAR — but he conveniently, yet astutely, noticed that it was probably more because we were functioning on low-level starvation mode the whole time we were in Baltimore. Because at the Inner Harbor, a bowl of cereal costs about $8.
Even though my meals were covered, there’s no way I could justify to my employers, or myself for that matter, a hundred-dollar meal for one. So my fancy dinner in Charm City consisted of a salad, a single not-quite-the-size-of-my-palm crab cake (which was tantalizingly, cruelly AMAZING) and a slice of cheesecake. For the bargain price of $52. Oh, and did I mention we shared?
Yep, so while I was pacing around Edgar Allen Poe’s grave, Camden Yards, and the Science Center like a crazed lioness, I was thinking that Noah’s dirty underwear was my problem. Go figure.
Aside from a few such low points, we had a great time. We’ve decided that once we purchase our sailboat (we did a little browsing during our two harbor cruises), Maryland will be a frequent destination for us.
It's difficult to be in a place with so much of our country's history and not feel proud, at least of what it is we're intending to be. The U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis was something to behold.
I felt a swell of respect for the institution and the midshipmen (a title that includes women, incidentally). A small part of me wished I had been gutsy enough — can anyone say G.I. Jane? — to try and attend the U.S. Naval Academy. Plus, their education is free and they're given quite a nice monthly stipend. Although I felt a bit like a chump thinking of all my student loans, this sign at a local candy shop reminded me that any benefits midshipmen receive don't compare to what they and their families are sacrificing.
In case you can't quite read that sign, it says "Just dropped off your baby? Ask about our care packages." Because the fudge, it will distract you from the fact that your child ... your baby ... is now entering harm's way in the name of education and service. Because the fudge is just that good.
Aside from the academy's general historic grandeur, we especially enjoyed seeing the tomb of John Paul Jones. Noah has a special place in his heart for J.P., since he portrayed the naval hero in a dramatic monologue in high school. Unabashedly, and in full colonial gear, including tricorn hat and knickers. That, too, was surely a sight to behold.
On our way home, we got stuck in inexplicable traffic a number of times, and in the weirdest places. Like Henderson, N.C. You could stand on the border of Virginia and North Carolina, and a hearty sneeze would hit Henderson. We drove full on 30 minutes before even seeing a sign for the flippin' town. Somehow Mr. Lawful Lawrence didn't seem to understand why I nearly kicked a hole in our windshield when he refused to drive more than five over the speed limit when we finally hit open road.
Our reunion with Ethan was a sweet one. The child smiled and laughed and patted our faces and refused to go to bed until after 11, he was just that darn excited we were home.
But you know what? So was I.