Friday, September 21, 2012

Eastern Shore of Maryland

There is plenty yet for us to discover both in Washington D.C. and Baltimore, but when John suggested a drive to the eastern shore, I readily agreed.  I think that both of us had enough of the craziness and hectic pace of large cities!  Wednesday was going to be perhaps our only free day of the week, so that seemed to be a good choice.  From Baltimore we crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and soon we were driving through farm land and forests, which pretty much characterizes the nature of the northern section of the eastern shore.  We followed signs to the scenic by-way SR 213 which, according to our tour books, claimed to offer easiest access to scenic and historic attractions.  In the town of Wye Mills we found the Old Wye Mill, which produced flour for George Washington's troops at Valley Forge.  Near the mill is Wye Church, a restored Colonial building with a flying pulpit and box pews.  As you can see in the picture below, next to the pulpit are two lecterns, they are located in the middle of the church, not at the chancel.  On the walls are candle holders, the church is still being lit only with candles.  Also hanging from the balcony is the coat of arms of King George I (Queen Victoria, 1837).  The Vestry House, built in 1763, is near the church.
We found a lady in the church office who gave us written information of the history of the church and its physical features.  According to that information William of Orange was the King of England in the 1600s (William and Mary) and he sent a new governor to make the Church of England the official church of the Colony of Mary Land.  At St.Luke's,Wye the earliest religious services were held as early as 1658.  The church was built in 1721 and once in its history served as a stable.  We were also encouraged by the church secretary to check out Orell's Maryland Beaten Biscuit Company, located next door to the church.  We would never had known that the company was there because the place next door is a 100 year-old farmhouse!  It was fortunate they were open the day we were there, as they are only open for visitors on Wednesdays.  We got a tour of the factory and samples of the hard biscuits.  The company has flavored varieties, of which honey was the only kind left for us to taste.  They are quite good, unfortunately the secret ingredient which makes them so tasty is lard!   While we were there several ladies were sitting at a kitchen table preparing the rolls for the oven.  Prior to this stage it is necessary for them to be beaten in some manner, it use to be with a hammer or mallet, now it is a rolling machine.  Watching them at work we soon realized that there is a skill required in forming the biscuits.  The older woman has been working on them for 48 years,  for another lady it was her first day.  They turn out an average of 160 dozen biscuits (1,920) a day and have a very large mail order business. 
Our last stop for the day was at the town of Oxford.  It lies on the tip of a peninsula between the Tred Avon and Choptank Rivers.  While we were standing at the harbor the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry came in, it is believed to be oldest privately operated  ferry service in the United States.  It has been operating since 1836.
A local policeman stopped to talk to us at the harbor.  He encouraged us to check out the painted picket fences which are located at various places through out the town.  That was a good ending to our day.

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