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We were not feeling the least bit adventurous last Sunday; it was cloudy and very cold. I wasn’t in the mood for the mall—couldn’t think of dragging myself there to shop for Christmas presents. So instead we drove to St. Michaels, saying that the drive and the change of scenery would do us good. (Even on a wintery day when only the barges are out on the water, it is almost impossible not to feel a sense of calm as you cross the Chesapeake Bay by way of the majestic Chesapeake Bay Bridge—as the view shifts to vistas of water and boats and docks and wild sea grass, so does the mind.)

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We went straight to Ava’s Pizzeria for lunch as we always do (never mind the fact that we vow each time to try something new). After lunch we shopped at a few of our favorite stores, like The Chesapeake Trading Company (preppy chic clothes, housewares and books) and Take Me Home (a vintage, fairyland kind of shop). Before heading home, we went to The Inn at Perry Cabin for a drink in Purser’s Pub (we have learned how to sneak in the back way and act as if we belong). We had missed the crowd, the bartender told us as she lit the fire, and so we had the warm room to ourselves.

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On the way out, down the long driveway of The Inn, we passed the deserted croquet and bocce ball lawn, and the quiet greenhouse full of wintering plants, bulbs, and succulents. There was a handwritten note on a bench from the head gardener to an assistant apologizing for the cold, and giving instructions for the chores that needed to be done in the boxwood and cutting gardens.

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