Friday, 29 June 2012

Weekend on the Eastern Shore

Last weekend, my penultimate in the USA (for now at least), N's boss (let's call him R) invited us to spend the weekend on the Eastern Shore with him. Otherwise known as the Delmarva peninsula, this is an area just across the Chesapeake Bay from Baltimore, with great wildlife and some lovely beaches. So on Friday afternoon we headed over the bridge:

Making a pit-stop at the visitor centre in Cambridge:

Before heading over to the Blackwater Nature Reserve. We saw loads of cool stuff here, including great egrets:

Lots of nesting osprey with their young (N took this photo, it's awesome):

And racoons! Put me in mind of a pretty great cartoon, other 90s kids, you're with me right?

I also saw my first eagles which were soooo amazing! They're massive!

Other notable occurrences included purple martins which are like huge swallows, and being bombarded by swallows when I got too close to their nest! And once again just missing out on seeing a hummingbird.

After Blackwater we headed over to Salisbury (no prizes for guessing which nation colonised this particular area!) to our motel! It was so American! I should have taken some photos. Mind you, if you're going to stay in a motel, one with complementary breakfast, free wifi and a pool is a good one to choose.

For dinner we found a BBQ place, my first taste of proper Southern food, and it was sooo tasty.

The boys enjoyed a massive rack of ribs and chicken wings.

While I thought I was being healthy by ordering a salad, but it was also massive! And of course so tasty that I ate every last bit. Note the cornbread muffin, incredible.

Saturday saw us head out to Assateague Island, which is another amazing area of nature reserves consisting of a long strip of land along the Atlantic.

The beach was beautiful, and we saw loads of pelicans and crabs (the crabs were so much fun), and even some dolphins out to sea (by the way, if you're interested in all the birds we saw you should check out R's blog here. He got a nice picture of the dolphins too)

We also saw some interesting bits and pieces washed up on the shore, including a horseshoe crab which was amazing:

And a Royal Walnut moth, which is the largest moth in North America apparently:

When we'd had as much sun as we could handle (I didn't mention did I, it was HOT!!!) we headed over to Ocean City in search of food and rest. For lunch, our first experience of Maryland crabs:

After lunch R went off to do some more birdwatching, so N and I headed off in search of the boardwalk and massive ice creams. This photo gives you a general gist:

And this one gives away our impression of the place:

Later on we met up with R and went to play crazy golf! Brought back some memories, and I think some people will be happy to hear that I remembered all their advice from over the years, and rocked the first few holes! (We won't talk about what happened after that...)

On our final day we headed back over to Assateague in the morning for more walking and birding.

After which R and I jumped in the sea. My word, it was incredible! I'd forgotten how great it feels to swim in the sea after the summers we've had in the UK the last few years.

Meanwhile, N made friends with this fellow:


Of course the boys had to find a bar in which to watch Italy thrash England (actually even I got quite into it by the time the penalties came around) and we stumbled across this lovely gastropub in Cambridge. Best fries I've ever tasted, hands down!

I went off for a walk during the second half, thinking it might be over by the time I returned. I found a pretty house which caught me eye, maybe because the shutters were the same colour as my flip-flops!

And lots of boats:

On returning to find that the football had gone into extra time I decided that it was time for tea and cake to get me through. However what I was not expecting was this monster! Incredibly tasty, but also very rich, so even with help I didn't manage to finish it :(

And then it was all over, and we headed home, tired and bloated, but also happy and a shade darker...

Have a great weekend!

PS. I took loads of photos, so if this isn't enough for you and you're unlucky enough to be my friend, you can check more out on Facebook :)

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