Monday, May 14, 2018

Eastern Shore Journal: St. Michaels

Restoration of Edna E. Lockwood (photograph by Hallie Cohen)
You have undoubtedly heard of the Slow Food Movement with its unconscionably long meals and its insistence on the savoring of every bite. But there’s a global form of this impulse that may be more palatable to those who still have a nostalgia for fast food iconography. If you journey to the town of St. Michaels on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, time seems to have come to a complete and utter halt. Visit the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum overlooking the harbor where on a weekend afternoon in May, a classic wedding will be taking place, with a bride in a long gown attended by her maids. But you will also see the vestiges of a world gone by. The Edna E. Lockwood a Bugeye Oyster dredger built on Tilghman Island out of logs rather than planks in 1889 has been in the process of restoration since l975. Words like “gunwale” and “breast hook” are still employed by the shipbuilders who continue to ply their ancient trade. And then there's the lighthouse. Back in l892 two cottage style lighthouses were built with fog signals and bells. And where else can you learn that a typical watch on a boat lasted four hours with the bell being rung every 30 minutes. There are the antique bazaars in which whole lifetimes seem to be on display. It’s not the “A Stop at Willougby” episode of the Twilight Zone. Life hasn’t come to an end in St. Michael’s. In fact it’s flourishing, albeit at an exponentially slower pace. 

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