ON THE FRIDAY I drive over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, the sky is a bitter
lemon-gray and the waters are shrouded
in mist. By the time I arrive at the inn,
it’s pouring rain, so I make a beeline for
the check-in counter.
“Your friend hasn’t arrived yet, but
you’re just in time for our cava cocktail tasting,” says the receptionist, referring to one of the daily events listed on a
“Resort Activities” sheet given to guests
for the duration of their stay.
It all sounds a bit Club Med to me,
but I wander into the book-lined library
anyway and join a group of guests clustered on plump armchairs and sofas.
All eyes and ears are on server Chance
Miller hands me an Orange Blossom cocktail of cava (a sparkling Spanish wine) effervescing over a sugar cube,
balanced by a dash of Bitters and topped
with fragrant St-Germain liquor crafted
from elderflowers. An expertly applied
orange twist garnishes the rim.
Miller shares the history of Sabrage,
the Napoleonic art of slicing open a
champagne bottle with a sharp saber.
“Usually, I’d invite you onto the lawn,
but today, for obvious reasons, I’ll demonstrate the technique under the awning
and you can watch from the window,”
he says. Seconds later, Miller swipes
straight through the glass bottleneck
with a sharp blade. The guests “ooh” and
“aah.” Not a drop of bubbly was wasted.
SITTING IN MY HOME office on
a cold day last January, I couldn’t stop
staring at the silver maple tree outside
my window. Just looking at its parched
branches had me reaching for my misshapen tube of hand cream for the umpteenth time that day.
I definitely had a case of the winter
Looking for a bit of commiseration,
I called my childhood friend, Ladan,
who lives in Philadelphia with her husband and three kids. Before long we were
perusing online pictures of the Inn at
Perry Cabin by Belmond in St. Michaels,
Md., fantasizing about getting away.
The images were idyllic: sun-washed
waters lapping the edge of a lush lawn
and hydrangea bushes hugging the
Ionic-columned historic mansion. “I
hear it’s got a fantastic spa,” Ladan said
of the luxury resort, which lies equidistant between us.
Though we both knew the Inn at
Perry Cabin wouldn’t look much like
those summery pictures at this time of
year, the chance to spend some time
together was appealing. We seldom get
the opportunity to see each other these
days because our lives are so consumed
with work and family. And an all-girls
spa getaway sounded like the perfect way
to recover from the holiday madness.
“Let’s do it,” I said, hitting the reservations button and tossing the tube of hand
cream into the trash can.
OUR FIRST MORNING begins with a
handwritten note on our breakfast tray,
reminding us of our spa treatments
and times. Sheets of rain continue to
come down, but the inn’s oversize navy
umbrellas amply cover us as we make
our way to the outbuilding that houses
the Linden Spa—named for the allée of
linden trees leading up to the original
Spa concierge Kari Olson ushers us
from the gloom into a softly lit reception area. A small adjacent boutique sells
the products used in the spa, as well as
locally produced linden honey from the
Olson gives us a quick tour of the spa,
which has eight treatment rooms and a CO
A treatment room at the Linden Spa
at the Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond
A guest takes a soak.