Pandemic Journal, Day 782

I posted Thursday’s blog entry very early because I expected limited connectivity and time after we sailed away from St. Michaels. So I didn’t write about the dinnertime announcement from the Captain:

Some passengers and crew have tested positive for Covid; they are being isolated, and close contacts have been notified.

We’d been wearing N95 masks whenever we were in a bus or small museum (and we were usually the only ones doing so), so I wasn’t too concerned.

Friday, Diane was hoarse and drippy and was very uncomfortable on the flights home; we wore masks the whole way, except, of course, when eating or drinking.

Out of an abundance of caution, we did antigen tests after we got home and hers was positive; we went to Minute Clinic this afternoon and they confirmed the diagnosis of a mild case of Covid.

Diane’s feeling better than she did yesterday, and hasn’t had a fever; I’m feeling OK and also haven’t had a fever.

I’m going to take another self-test tomorrow and I’ve got a professional test scheduled for Monday.

In the meantime, she’s isolating as much as possible and we’re wearing masks when we’re near each other.

On a brighter note, I took a walk this morning and our neighbor still had a couple of nice tulips in her yard!

Nearly home!

We awoke this morning to the sight of the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse outside our room.

We had breakfast, finished packing, and braved the rain to get to the bus to the airport that ACL had arranged. We had nearly four hours to kill at BWI; I took advantage of the speedy airport wifi to finish syncing the Apple Photos library with the cloud.

The flights home were uneventful; meeting the limo driver at SFO was stressful because of all the crazy drivers blocking the curb!

I’m looking forward to having cereal and fruit for breakfast tomorrow, which means I have to go get it tonight. And after that, it’ll be time for bed!

St. Michaels, Maryland

The original itinerary for our cruise had us docking here in St. Michaels last night, but things changed. Another American Cruise Line ship got priority for the dock, so we had to moor and tender into town. But the weather last night was predicted to be bad, so instead of sailing here from Annapolis, we sailed to Cambridge so we could dock. That meant that we didn’t get to St. Michaels until late this morning and the first tender didn’t operate until 12:45pm.

We took that tender so we could be on the walking tour, seeing all of the old houses and learning about the history of the town. Our guide was the President of the town museum; he had a deep knowledge of every house we passed, including battles with the Preservation Board, and he shared quite a bit of it with us.

There were a few interesting buildings along the way, like the “Dr. Dobson House” – originally built in 1799, and added onto in 1872 to accommodate a growing family; you can see the change in the brickwork. That same house is also known as “Reconciliation House”, where Frederick Douglass met his former enslaver, Thomas Auld, in 1877.

Not all of the interesting buildings were big enough to live in; I really enjoyed seeing this Little Free Library.

Of course there were flowers to enjoy along our way.

St. Michaels is on the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail; it is “the town that fooled the British” by hanging lanterns in the trees so the British would overshoot the town with their cannons. That’s the story, though it may not match reality.

Our tour ended at the St. Michaels Museum; it was closed, but having the President as our guide gave us special access. :-)

After the tour, we wandered through the town for a while; it’s quiet except for the main drag, Talbot Street, where we shopped and dodged traffic.

If we’d been on our original schedule, we would almost certainly have visited the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, but we didn’t want to take any chance of missing the last tender and the boat.

Tonight, we have our final dinner and sail to Baltimore to disembark far too early tomorrow morning. I am going to post now while I have reasonable connectivity – it’s likely to go away when we sail.


Our first excursion today was a guided walk through Annapolis. Annapolis has many striking buildings and homes; the Hammond-Harmon and Chase-Lloyd Houses are wonderful Georgian homes which face each other across a fairly narrow street.

The Maryland State House was only a five-minute walk away; it was the US capitol for a short time at the end of the Revolutionary War and is where the Continental Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris. We were told the dome is magnificent – but it’s under construction, so all we could see was scaffolding.

After the end of the Revolutionary War, George Washington wanted to return to private life; he formally resigned his commission here. They have reconstructed the moment of the resignation in the Old Senate Chamber and there’s a painting by Edwin White depicting the moment in one of the staircases.

The Old House Chamber has been restored to its 19th Century appearance; there are statues of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass and exhibits focused on the expansion of rights in Maryland to more and more people. I liked the way the shade behind the speaker’s desk is pleated.

The current House and Senate Chambers were less distinctive than the old ones, but seemed pleasant enough. We weren’t able to go in (or even into the gallery), but the hallway doors were open.

We decided to stay in Annapolis for lunch rather than tendering back to the ship. We had been planning to have a Reuben sandwich on board, so we did the next best thing and walked to Reuben’s Deli about a mile away; it’s a bodega/lunch counter and made a fine Reuben. On our way, we enjoyed some of Annapolis’s public art, including the Kunta Kinte/Alex Haley Memorial (which we weren’t able to look at this morning because the tide was in and the memorial was partially submerged), some bike racks, and a bird I can’t quite identify.

We walked back to City Dock to meet our afternoon tour; on the way, we discovered that the Maryland State Medical Association has only grudgingly accepted the modern era.

I wanted something sweet after the Reuben; we stopped at the Annapolis Ice Cream Company. I almost had their lemon chocolate chip ice cream – it was good, but there wasn’t enough chocolate so I went with chocolate chocolate chip. Yum! I didn’t get a photo of the ice cream, but I though their choice of flooring in the rest room was interesting.

Our afternoon tour was a walk through the United States Naval Academy. The Barry Gate (Gate 3) was less than five minutes from the dock.

We watched the orientation film – it talked about the midshipman experience much more than it did about the Academy’s buildings and grounds. If I’d been in high school, it might have gotten me to apply for admission.

After the film, we met our guide. Our first stop was Captains’ Row – they want to preserve the quiet there.

The houses on Captains’ Row were quite impressive, but they were nothing compared to the Superintendent’s quarters, which is next to the Chapel.

This chapel is used for Christian services; there is a Jewish chapel, too, but we didn’t visit it, and our guide said that there were facilities for other religions on the Yard, too. The stained glass windows lining the new part of the chapel all depicted Biblical scenes involving the water – one side from the New Testament and one from the Old Testament. I liked the window showing Jonah.

Our guide said that the pipe organ had over 5,000 pipes spread throughout the chapel. They do Handel’s Messiah in December – he said it’s loud. And of course, they put ships in the middle of the pipes.

We went downstairs to John Paul Jones’s crypt.

Our next stop was Bancroft Hall, the largest dormitory in the country; it houses Memorial Hall, which is dedicated to the memory of Naval Academy graduates who died in service.

The bell from the USS Enterprise is outside Bancroft Hall; our guide said that they ring it every time Navy beats Army.

All of the Naval Academy graduates at Midway survived the battle, but not all made it through the war. Their monument tells the story (with diagrams) of the battle.

There was much more to see, but we had to get back so we could tender out to the ship before dinner.

While we were waiting for dinner, we saw the midshipmen practicing their sailing skills.

We had another nice sunset, too.

Our entertainers Robert and Stephanie had to leave us tonight to attend his uncle’s funeral; they gave us a going-away concert before leaving. I hope we can sail with them again!

Cambridge, Maryland

We sailed from Washington to Cambridge, Maryland overnight; Cambridge is an Eastern Shore town with a long history. We docked at the Long Wharf on the Choptank River; the town welcomed us by sending the Town Crier to visit us at breakfast.

There had been a lighthouse on the Choptank River for a very long time; it’s no longer in use, but it’s been restored as a tourist attraction, just a two-minute walk from our ship.

They’ve done a lot of work on the lighthouse, including adding a compass rose on the main floor. It was a nice visit; if there had been a volunteer there, I might have bought a souvenir.

Our ship took advantage of being in Cambridge; we saw one of the deckhands taking out the used glass bottles to the recycling depot. It was an impressive load, but I didn’t take a photo. They delivered a lot of food, too, as well as refueling us.

We walked up High Street to the center of town. We visited Christ Episcopal Church on our way; the current building dates to 1883, but the adjacent graveyard has burials going back to the 18th Century.

I considered having lunch at the Provident State Bank (now Fat Ricky’s), but we decided on Salmon Tikka Kebab at Bombay Social; it was good, and a change from the cuisine on the ship.

After lunch, we went back to the ship to regroup and prepare for our afternoon excursion to the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park.

Our guide, Susan Meredith, had deep roots in this area; she and her husband have restored the Bucktown Village Store where Harriet Tubman first fought against slavery by defying an order from an overseer who wanted to recapture an escaping slave.

Susan and her family live in a 1790 house next to the Bucktown Store. The bricked-in area is where they have two fireplaces to heat the house.

After dinner, we were treated to a performance by the Eastport Oyster Boys, singing and playing local music on guitar, banjo, hammered dulcimer, and fiddle – not bad for only two guys!