On Harmony Road

“Take a right on Compromise Street,” Waze instructed when we arrived in Annapolis, Maryland. For some reason, this cracked me up.

“That’s the story of every marriage,” I said to Zeke, who was driving, as I navigated.

“Maybe if Bill had compromised more, you’d still be married,” he said.

Who knows?

My first marriage wasn’t as much a Democracy as a Dictatorship (and not a benevolent one) with my husband in charge. After 17 long years, I defected. I will be married to Zeke 17 years next year (God willing) and, so far, so good. At 60, I’ve now been married more than half my life.

Compromise and negotiations are essential in every marriage, which can sometimes make it seem more like a business deal than a merging of two hearts, but these are necessary skills for any successful relationship; I would argue that marriage is the most important relationship in life and finding the right partner is essential. You’ve got to find your groove, however, and sometimes, it take time.

Take vacation, for example.

In normal (non-Pandemic) times, I like to wake up around 8, take my time getting up, stretch, drink my coffee in bed and write in my journal. Zeke wakes up earlier (like 6), goes to the gym and works out, comes back and showers. Sometimes he brings me coffee from the lobby or his walk. On this trip, however, most of the hotel gyms were closed and some of the places we stayed at weren’t safe to walk around, so Zeke would wake up early, then pace around our room like a caged tiger on steroids. It was rather stressful to have someone awake, fully dressed and ready to go, as I lay in bed, still in my nightgown and trying to wake up. Plus, I need “alone” time to do my own thing; consequently I hardly got any writing done.

We arrived in Annapolis at lunchtime, after spending a day and night in Baltimore, Maryland. I’d heard Baltimore was a fun city, with a great Foodie scene, lots of history and great architecture. It’s also home to Fort McHenry, where Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner, baseball compound Camden Yards and master of Macabre Edgar Allen Poe’s hometown and final resting place.

We’d stopped first at Faidley’s, world renowned as the place to get the best Crab Cakes in the World. They were awesome, but the neighborhood where Faidley’s was located left something to be desired. I flat-out refused to walk back around the block we’d walked to get there, so we found a back entrance to the parking garage and left. As we were driving to our hotel, we drove through more questionable neighborhoods, which prompted me to ask the Front Desk lady at our pretty B & B, the Carrolton Inn.

“Is this neighborhood safe?”

“When you walk out the front door, just go right,” she answered.

So we went right, to Little Italy, Fell’s Point and the Inner Harbor. We walked around for a couple hours, had raw oysters and a cold drink at the Thames Oyster Bar, then came home and changed for dinner at Gia’s in Little Italy. We had a lovely breakfast in the courtyard of the Carrollton Inn, our B & B, checked out and drove to Federal Hill to visit the park before we left. It was a perfect spot, high up above on a hill, where we could see all of Downtown Maryland. Our last stop was to Edgar Allen Poe’s Grave at Westminister Presbyterian Church and then we were on our way to Annapolis.

Unfortunately, as was the case in Harper’s Ferry, the Visitor’s Center in Annapolis was closed, which is how we found ourselves Wazing it to The Boatyard, recommended on Yelp as a good place for lunch. On our many Road Trips, Zeke is the driver and I am the navigator. The Boatyard, normally an inside bar/restaurant, got creative and turned their parking lot into a dining area. They laid down a ton of pebbles, put plastic tables and chairs out and decorated it with potted palms, under a big tent, with fans. Instead of “paving Paradise and putting up a parking lot”, they did the opposite.

We had an excellent lunch, with local fresh oysters (our favorites of the trip) and local beer. Zeke LOVED his crab cake sandwich and said the crab cake was comparable to Faidley’s, which is high praise. Since we had time to kill, we checked out St. John’s College, which was of course, closed but we walked around the campus. We then attempted to visit the U.S. Naval Academy, but got stopped at the guard gate by a no-nonsense military man demanding Zeke’s driver’s license and eyeing our rented minivan suspiciously. After he checked out our license plate (with an armed guard watching us), he dismissed us, telling us to come again “when this is all over.”

Our dinner at Preserve on the main street was very good. I got crab cakes served on a bed of sautéed corn, basil, basil oil and cherrby tomatoes, Zeke got a burger and we split a bottle of wine. As we walked across the bridge to check out the boats and marina in Annapolis, we attempted to walk around a swaggering, maskless guy on the street.

“You think I’ve got COVID?” he screamed at us. “Yeah, I’ve got COVID up my ass.”

We kept walking, avoiding a confrontation. I think alcohol may have been a factor in this guy’s extreme reaction. It was interesting to see how the different states handled the COVID situation. Most restaurants and hotels were very good about mask-wearing and social distancing, but out on the streets, it was every man for him/her selves, with about half of the people wearing masks and a lot of them not wearing them correctly. A mask on the hand is not worth two in the bush.

We had a great breakfast at The Iron Rooster in Annapolis and hit the road for St. Micheal’s, a city a friend had told me was a charming little Chesapeake Bay town where her brother had worked at a resort. As we made our way to St. Micheal’s, Waze directed us to: “Make a slight left on Harmony Road.” With my coffee in my drink holder and my notebook paper in my lap to write, it felt like we’d hit our vacation groove and Harmony Road.

“I listen to the wind, to the wind of my soul. Where I’ll end up, I think God really knows.”

Cat Stevens

Up Next: Hamburger Pizza

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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