Author: Mariah G.
Date of Trip: April 2008
WILD SWAN and the CHESAPEAKE
Just a few weeks ago, my daughter and I embarked on a special birthday trip to the eastern shore of Maryland to experience an empowering experience in movement arts training. In search of personal growth, we sought training in a body-mind-spirit education at a studio on an estate, Wild Swan, on a creek off of the Tred Avon River. We stayed in one our favorite villages on the Eastern shore, Oxford,a historic, charming and picturesque village, home to several restaurants, a yacht club and a boat yard.
We were fortunate to know of a wonderful guest house, the Ruffled Duck Inn on Morris Street in the historic district of Oxford owned by Libby and Doug Cole. The inn had a whimsical, enchanting feeling as soon as we walked into the brightly painted foyer. Our room was charming and felt just the way a we wanted it to feel, warm and relaxing. It was spacious yet cozy and more than comfortable. In the mornings, we had a gourmet breakfast and time for coffee in the garden. We especially loved the library full of books, and then we discovered the art studio fitted out with historical charts!
One evening, friends invited us for a cookout on their beach, one of their private family, Maryland recipes that was delicious, and novel — poached fish, cornbread and applesauce cooked in an iron skillet on the shore! What a treat! We had a short ride, and then turned down a beautiful tree-lined road to find our dance studio near the shore. We entered the studio and we knew our relationship to our body and our life was about to change forever. We found what we had wanted for a long time. A teacher and a discipline that would empower us to create a practice that would take our lives to the next level!
The training was fashioned after the martial arts and middle eastern dance. We began with all of us being given white scarves to tie around our hips. No matter what our skill level, everyone in the training began at the same level. If we would choose to progress, we would earn subsequent hip scarves that included, blue, purple and finally black. We found that we had entered a seven day mindful study of somatic principles. Each day was divided into highly intensive, interactive sessions where we learned to move and practice the art and science of this sensual, powerful bodywork. Over the next days, we were immersed in cognitive and experiential learning in movement dynamics, body, mind choreography and imaging that was intensified with a deep appreciation of music and nature. By the end of the week, we felt deeply humble as we had experienced the power of the techniques in practice. In our family, we live by the tenant, “Make it Last”!
So, exhausted, yet refreshed we did have dinner one night at the Robert Morris Inn, and had their famous crab cakes. James Michener wrote his book, “Chesapeake” on the porch of this historic inn. It was easy to see how he could almost see and feel the characters and stories from the past come alive in this heavenly place. At times, we would hear the chimes from a church steeple somewhere nearby, playing “Amazing Grace.” The Oxford ferry is still in use and leaves from a dock across from the Robert Morris Inn porch. We took the ferry over to the other shore and back one night. The ride made us feel like we could solve every problem of the world.
Our friends had made arrangements for us to charter and sail a boat out of the Oxford Boat Yard. We went out for a two hour early evening sail. The evening was warm, but there was a slight breeze and after docking, we stayed on the boat, enjoying the crystal clear stars sparkling over the river. We were certain that we had never been in a spot from which to watch moon as gorgeous as the one we saw that night. It was a wonderful way to see the creeks of the Tred Avon River and the surrounding Chesapeake homes on the water. When we got back to the inn, we devoured the library to learn about the history of the area we had seen while under sail. We highly recommend sailing out of Oxford!
We also enjoyed late afternoon browsing through the downtown galleries and shops in St Michaels and Easton, many of which offered artwork, crafts, furniture, jewelry and clothing. For a fun, casual atmosphere and fresh seafood, we recommend the Crab Claw. The famous waterfront restaurant in St Michaels, alongside the Chesapeake Maritime Museum. They are famous for their seafood and for being able to dock right outside the lower deck with your boat.
The Chesapeake Maritime Museum in St Michaels is a must see. It is full of history and stories of the Chesapeake Bay. We enjoyed stopping into the old Christ Church near the museum. It was a nice respite and peaceful. We cannot say enough about the culture and feeling of this place. It is truly meaningful and fun. Many movies were filmed there, “Clara’s Heart”, “Wedding Crashers” and others. It is easy to see why. We can honestly say this is an experience that everyone would want to include in their lives as some point in the journey.
We cannot say enough good things about our experience on the Eastern Shore, but we did promise ourselves that we would return again. Thank you, thank all of you!