We called the charming gentleman who maintains the Robertson Cemetery for us and told him we would meet him there. We could hear the doubt in his voice as he told us that he would have his cell phone with him – in case we got lost.
Well, we didn’t get lost – but the way there dipped and wove past more fields of young corn (no soybeans that we could see) and crossing the Wicomico River on a historic cable ferry.
The Whitehaven Ferry across the Wicomico River
These Maryland country roads – isolated and rural as they are – are amazingly well-marked. Much better than most streets in New England. And we followed Dad’s directions – down Capitola to Clara Road.
It was then that we realized the cemetery would not be marked. But as we drove down Clara, Mattie – riding in the back seat – said “That looks like a cemetery.” And lo and behold, off in the fields was a small, shaded oasis of trees and what looked like gravestones. We turned down the unmarked dirt driveway and there was our guide in his red pickup truck waiting to drive us down the soggy lane that led to the Robertson cemetery. And we were there.
A really nice day, getting onto the hot and humid side. New England winters notwithstanding, we all appreciate not living in this weather.
Across several more bridges including the still spectacular Chesapeake Bay Bridge – a expanse of truss and suspension bridge that goes from near Annapolis to the eastern shore.
Chesapeake Bay Bridge
Photo by Ben Schumin
We arrived at our hotel – The Hampton Inn – only to find that there were two of them and we were at the wrong one. Reverse – back down Route 30 – to a southern version of the same Hampton Inn we first arrived at.
The folks here are very friendly and helpful. Gave us a detailed map of Wicomico County and recommendations for lunch.
— and Into Crab Country
We found our dinner site on Yelp – and what a dinner place it was. The Old Mill Crab House (!) was a typical southern crab house – where they dump the crabs (blue or snow) in the middle of your table and you go at them with a mallet. We didn’t order the “all you can eat” crab (although many around us had) – but 2 “steamed dinners” which included crab, lobster, shrimp, clams, potatoes, and corn on the cob. In a quest to be responsible tourists and try all the specialties of the house we also had the hush puppies (served covered with powdered sugar–I would have preferred Parmesan, to keep it savory) and funnel cake fries – deep fried strips of funnel cake served with raspberry and vanilla icing dipping sauces.
OMG. You could have rolled us out. But it was an experience – a truly Maryland experience – and quite wonderful.
Of course, on the way there we missed our turn-off twice and wound up riding up and down the same country road surrounded by fields of young, growing corn and rye. Echoes of our childhood, except this time we blamed Google maps — a different one on Yelp and the I-Phone. Thanks to the I-phone we made it.
So our first stop was with our cousin — dad’s sister’s daughter. Although our families visited each other regularly when we were growing up, we hadn’t seen her for many years. She and her three dogs (a German shepherd, a lab, and a beagle) welcomed us in.
She is a wealth of information on family history. We helped her fill in some blanks on her family tree, and she gave us a huge printout of Robertson descendants going back to 1700 — our great-great-great-great-great (?) grandfather, Robert Robertson.
She also gave us a Robertson family bible, quite a few really old photographs, and showed us on a map where the Robertson and the Hearn-Catlin cemeteries were in Wicomico County.
It was wonderful to see her.
So first we had to drop off my car at the dealership. Someone had rear-ended me in April and this way I don’t have to deal with finding a rental.
We spent a hectic 20 minutes packing up the car — you’d think we were trekking across Antarctica — with the “help” of 4-and-a-half-year-old Morgan (who actually carried things for us) and 1-and-a-half-year-old Rian (who helped push suitcases along). Said “bye” many times – threw many kisses.
And then we hit the road. Over the Newport and Jamestown bridges and onto the mainland. Pick up I-95 through Conn., NY, and onto the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey, appropriately enough, the Garden State, then onto the Jersey Turnpike. Although we had been warned about traffic in NJ and Delaware, the major traffic problems we hit were in CT.
Morgan measures trips by how many bridges are crossed. (Eg., to travel off Aquidneck Island, she has to cross 2 bridges. That’s a long trip.) So we decided to takes pictures of and count all the bridges we crossed on our way south.
Here are the rivers we crossed: Thames, Connecticut, Housatonic, Hudson, Delaware, Susquehanna. And, OK, speeding over them at 65mph isn’t conducive to great photography, but here some of them are.
Claiborne Pell-Newport Bridge, RI
Tappan Zee Bridge, NY
Delaware Memorial Bridge, DE
Photo by Crispy1995 at the wikipedia project
Welcome to Maryland!