Thursday, June 01, 2017

St. Michaels Revisted

I had to look back through my blog posts to jog my memory, I could not remember the last time we visited St. Michaels. The typical visit is in December for their Christmas Parade, always a fun time. I really had to go back, December 2009 was our last visit into St. Michaels, we have since made stops for breakfast at Easton Airport (KESN), just nine miles outside of town. Looking back and rereading my posts brings back good memories of flying with friends and family.

2006 2007 2008

In all our visits I never took the time to provide some history on this historic town, today I'll fill in the blanks.

The town of St Michaels dates back to the mid-1600s when it served as a trading post for area tobacco farmers and trappers. In 1677 the Christ Episcopal Church of St Michael Archangel parish was founded in present day St. Michaels. In 1778 a British land agent, James Braddock, purchased 20 acres and deeded 58 lots. This created St. Mary's Square, the historic center of St. Michaels. To this day, this charming seaside resort town reflects its colonial past, as many of the area's homes date from the late 1700s to the late 1800s.

During the War of 1812, St. Michaels gained its name as "the town that fooled the British". The residents of St. Michaels, having been forewarned that British barges were positioned on the waters to attack with cannon fire, hoisted lanterns into the trees above the city. This first successful "blackout" fooled the British into overshooting the town's houses and shipyards. Only one house, forever since known as Cannonball House, was struck.

Throughout the 1800s and early 1900s, St. Michaels was a Chesapeake Bay economy focused primarily around the shipbuilding and seafood processing and packing industries. Only in the last 30 years has the economy of St. Michaels shifted to a tourism concentration. 
St. Michaels is a treasure on Maryland's fabled Eastern Shore, about halfway between the Susquehanna source and the Atlantic mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. This vintage harbor port, whose origins date from the birth of the colonies, is nestled on the beautiful Miles River.

Mary and I headed to the airport with our Ziva girl, she was going with us today. 08Romeo was ready to work, I only wish I had a distant final destination for her. Instead, it will be 54 miles to Easton, just a short hop.

Ziva climbed up on the wing and I gave her the final boost. Our baby girl has no problem getting settled, but, I think she wanted me to speed up the process and get the fan turning. Mary and I climbed aboard and I read through my checklist. Not my normal routine but I still don't feel back on my A game and think that safety beats ego.
With the fan turning and the door cracked open Ziva finally got comfy. The breeze felt great as we taxied for departure runway three-two. I completed my run up and then held short for the crazy people who jump out of airplanes, for Gods sake, WHY? Once the meat bombs were safely on the ground and clear of the runway we were holding for Op's who hustled a turtle off the centerline that the last plane landing called out. Op's cleared the turtle and let me know the runway was clear, I confirmed departing and thanked John for taking care of the critter so my Bride didn't feel compelled to jump out and save it. Trust me, she has bailed out of my SUV while rolling to a stop to help other critters.
The ride today was bumpy and we pounded into a twenty knot headwind, it pretty much sucked. I did notice in cruise that my number one EGT reading was jumping up and down, one hundred degrees off the remaining three cylinders. The CHT's looked fine, so I continued on. I made my call to the Easton tower once I had the ATIS noted, we will be landing on runway three-one. I was number two following a Cessna and I had a Baron following me in. I made an ok landing with just a note of stall horn...pretty much flat.
Nanticoke River
I had called in advance for a courtesy car/van and they didn't mind us having Ziva. When we walked in the terminal the van was given out just ahead of us so we decided to rent for the day. Sixty-five dollars lighter in the pocket and we were off in a new ford Excursion, what a beast. Three rows of seats and I would have needed a step ladder to get in the back, yes, Ziva really needed a boost. Once she was secure I opened the drivers door and the running boards extended, I was waiting for someone to help boost me in.
We were finally headed into town. Neither Mary or I remembered all the buildings, businesses and store fronts that now populated each side of the roadway. As we got closer to town the surroundings became more familiar, at least on the outside. Inside, there were new stores, new owners and new restaurants. Times have changed this sleepy little town.

watching for mom in the shop across the street.
We found the parking lot and after an additional back up and realign the grey beast was parked. We strolled through town enjoying the breeze and noting all the new names on the signs. Mary made her way through the shops while Ziva and I found shade to hang out on the street and people watch. One couple walked by and said "so handsome". I acknowledged with a thanks and my baby girl here is pretty cute too, yes? They laughed and said she is beautiful.

We headed down one side of the street and up the other checking everything out. I think we'll head back again, sans the pup, and enjoy a nice afternoon lunch at one of the new dining establishments. For now we decided to head back to the beast and then go find the lighthouse in the air conditioning. Oh, FYI, no cane today just the repaired foot in a Nike shoe, it's feeling better each day.
The Hooper Strait Lighthouse, has not always resided in its current location. In 1965 it had been condemned by the United States government and was slated to be demolished. The Museum purchased it from the demolition contractor for $1,000 and through the generosity of the Arundel Corporation, barged it sixty miles north to its new home on Navy Point in 1966.
I made my way through town driving the beast, that drives like a bus, and found Mill Street. With a right turn we were headed to the marina and found the lighthouse. I didn't take a picture but provide a file photo and some history for your pleasure.
We finished up at the Marina and headed back to the airport. I decided that the GPS was taking us on some back road I didn't know so I went off on my own. Big mistake! When I got to the familiar big road it was backed up for miles, road construction. Thankfully two nice folks let me merge in and cross both lanes for the turning lane, now everyone's u-turning lane. I doubled back towards the airport, stopping to top of the beast (1.28 gallons) and made it to the terminal parking lot. I paid for the ten gallons of fuel for 08Romeo and then opened up the plane. Mary sat in the terminal where it was nice and cool. When I was ready I waved to her to come out and my Bride and the pup headed for the ramp. A Cessna started up right next to us while I was pulling the sun shades and they just sat there, leaving just ahead of us rolling away from the tie downs. Ziva could care less as she walked up and boarded 08Romeo, she settled right in, planes just don't bother her.
The ride home was just as bumpy! However, I had that twenty knot, now a tailwind. Ziva fell asleep and Mary and I chatted about all the changes in town. We see the same things happening here in Ocean City. I made my call at ten and five miles out, falling in number two for the field. I was looking for the traffic, a Stearman. Once I had the traffic I announced that I had that pretty yellow plane and would follow him in, now entering the left down wind for three-two.
This is a Boeing-Stearman 75 (Internet picture)
I pulled the power since I was getting pushed pretty good with the tail wind and set up for landing. Once turning final and getting below five hundred feet I was dancing on the pedals and adjusting power. As the Stearman cleared I was coming over the numbers and got 08Romeo settled in, making a decent landing. Op's came on and said nice job Gary, I acknowledged I had my dancing shoes on. The Stearman pilot said he was rockin' pretty good too.
Not much fly time today but plenty of fun. I hope to get up again this weekend.

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