So, as you know, we’re performing in Maryland this weekend. Yes Mom, I made it here safely.

The only bad thing I have to say about Maryland is that you have to drive through Pennsylvania to get here. Specifically through the mountains. I like mountains. The drive through the mountains is quite pretty when you’re a passenger. It’s a hell of a drive, however, when you’re alone, and driving a little Korean car that clearly wasn’t designed for mountain climbing. The trip worked out to about 11 hours with a brief stop in DC, and another half hour lost, in Southwest DC, trying to find my way back to the beltway. Eventually a gang of very nice Egyptian guys looked at my map and actually LED me back to the highway. I’ve heard horror stories about the people in this area, and while a little intimidating at first, were so kind, and generous with their time that I was blown away.

Still, by the time I got here I was exhausted. Like arms shaking, and not even sure I would be able to walk up the stairs to the bedroom my host has so graciously offered. All night long, every time I closed my eyes, all I could see was road.

Today, however, was worth the trip. After three visits here, I’ve finally gotten a chance to see the area surrounding the Renaissance Festival here, as opposed to just the road in between the house and the faire.

Annapolis has to be one of the loveliest cities ANYWHERE. Much of it was built in the late 1600’s and many of the original buildings are still standing. There are narrow cobblestoned streets, and, in spite of being the state capitol, it really doesn’t feel like a major urban center. You could point your camera in any direction, and the resulting shot would be postcard beautiful. Today the sun is out and the breeze is off the bay, so it was a perfect afternoon for a little exploring. Annapolis is officially “dog friendly” and there are water dishes and little doggy hitches all through the downtown. The other thing I’ve noticed is that the people here are as much a part of the local flavour as the buildings themselves, right down to the one eyed waitress at Chick and Ruth’s “delly”. This is a shabby orange plastic restaurant jammed into one of the narrow downtown storefronts. The place is not much to look at, but it’s a local favourite with literally every food you can imagine on the menu somewhere. For the record, they make a “super colossal Rueben that’s bigger than my head. No kidding. The high point of the day was the afternoon harbour cruise. It was a perfect day for sailing, and there’s a very interesting history to the area, and the cruise on the bay offers a unique vantage point of the city and the Naval Academey, as well as the surrounding harbour. I’ll post pictures when I get home. If you’re a history buff, this town was meant for you. Bring walking shoes though, as parking is scarce, and the driving can be hairy. Plan to spend the afternoon if you can, and come hungry. From fine dining to dingy little dives serving fresh crab cake sandwiches, to fudge shops and a little stand that sells hot, fresh made doughnuts that you can dip in just about any substance you can imagine, you could spend a month just eating your way around the waterfront without repeating. I’ve already sampled crab dip TWICE and it’s been two very different versions of the same dish. Must remember to track down a can of the Old Bay spice rub to bring home. It’s too bad the sulfasalazine I’m on now makes me so nauseous that I can’t eat much. I suppose, as weight loss programs go, it’s a good one, but it seems like such a waste… Sulfasalazine is like having a terrible hangover all the time, without the fun of drinking first.  The afternoon wrapped, after browsing the downtown shops for a souvenir for Hurricane Owen, with frozen dutch ice (think fresh squeezed lemonade slushy) and a trip to the site to pick up camping passes for the rest of the group arriving tomorrow.

It’s sunny and warm and the company is great. I’m staying with a dear friend that I’ve missed terribly since our faire closed, and his wonderfully outgoing and incredibly knowledgable wife. He works for the company that runs the themed harbour cruises, and she provides costumed, interactive historical performances, so I’m feeling incredibly spoiled having my own personal tour guides! 

I’m having a wonderful time, and we still have another day before the actual Festival, which will be something else entirely.  I’ve wanted to perform here since I first saw it in 1996, so I’m very excited, and a little nervous, as we are booked onto the same stages with some of our Rennfest HEROES.  It’s an honour to be here and I’m psyched.

Now a little much needed down time, as the drive and the activity thus far have reminded me just how much stamina I’ve lost being sick the last couple of years. A little frustrating, because there’s so much to see.

Overall, Having a wonderful time, wish you were here,

G O’Malley 

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