Escaping to the Eastern Shore to beat the heat is a D.C. rite of passage, and Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond has your ticket.
The Eastern Shore of Maryland is always a trendy respite for humidity-weary Washingtonians. In just over an hour (or three, if you try to cross the Bay Bridge during rush hour) you can surround yourself with verdant pastoral land and charming maritime aesthetics. Those in the know stay at the Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond (308 Watkins Lane, St. Michaels, Md., innatperrycabin.com). The intimate waterfront resort nestled along the Miles River began as a farm after the War of 1812, and has seen numerous upgrades—including in 2017, when New York-based designer Alexandra Champalimaud renovated all 78 guest rooms and public spaces. You might recognize the main house from the film Wedding Crashers.
The main attraction here is the water, so after checking into a spacious one-bedroom suite with water views ($819 per night), I’m off with my wife and 5-year-old son for a sailing excursion. Among the seven elegant sailboats and yachts from which to choose is the fleet’s headliner, Five Stars, a luxury Hinckley yacht. On this sunny and blustery day, however, we’re on a speckless 38-foot Alerion express sailboat ($300, one hour). Our captain is a veteran at navigating the meandering waterways and provides a wealth of anecdotes. The waters are calm but periodic gusts of wind cause Starbright to heel, providing pops of exhilaration. My son loves it but is equally smitten by the homemade chocolate chip cookies in the wicker picnic baskets we ordered for lunch. For a more hands-on experience, the on-site Sailing Academy offers classes from the basics to multiday sailing certification courses.
Afterward, we trade nautical for natural and explore the 26 acres of gardens, orchards, wild flowers and lawns. I enjoy the hydrangeas while my son is a fan of the bocce ball and croquet courts. A guided tour with the resort’s horticulturist is also possible. Before dinner, my wife and I share a toast by a fire pit and ease into the evening while our young one roasts s’mores—not the most ideal appetizer, but we’re on vacation. There are two dining options, the casual Purser’s Pub (try the crab soup) and upscale Stars Restaurant, where executive chef Gregory Wiener’s menu leans heavily on seasonal and local specialties. I recommend the day’s catch—rockfish, flounder, crab and/or oysters, depending on the season—and pairing it with locally sourced vegetables.
The next day, after a late breakfast over river views at Stars Restaurant, I bring my son to play golf at the Links Perry Cabin while my wife unwinds with a signature treatment at the spa. Located a short drive from the resort, the Pete Dye-designed golf course is nestled on a peninsula where farms and forests meet the shore, and represents the culmination of the legendary course designer’s work. The pro shop has eight indoor golf simulators. The course is scenic and challenging, especially along the signature 16th, 17th and 18th holes. Known collectively as “the goodnight kiss,” they replicate the iconic 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. Alas, even when you are on the green here, you are surrounded by water views.