Maryland's Hidden Gem: Inn at Perry Cabin
By: Gabriella Lobue
CDT Marketing's Gabriella Lobue recounts her visit to Inn at Perry Cabin, an intimate, seasonal resort in St. Michaels, Maryland.
The Eastern Shoreline is an undiscovered secret filled with charm, history, and hospitality. Inn at Perry Cabin, located in St. Michaels, Maryland is no exception. Dating back to the 1800s, Inn at Perry Cabin sits on what used to be a tobacco farm of two dozen acres and has now been transformed into an estate of 30 suites and 48 guests rooms overlooking the Miles River.
Initially only having six rooms (I was lucky enough to stay in one of these original rooms during my stay), the resort quickly grew in size once Sir Bernard Ashely acquired the site nearly a decade later. From then on, Inn at Perry Cabin would become a resort destination known all over the world.
Now as a member of Historic Hotels of America and Preferred Hotels and Resorts, Inn at Perry Cabin continues to be one of the top-rated historic venues in the Mid-Atlantic Region, and even served as the backdrop for the 2005 rom-com Wedding Crashers! From the “story book setting” of beautifully kept grounds, amenities including daily activities for guests, world-class racquet sports instruction by Cliff Drysdale Tennis, golfing, biking, a luxurious spa, a 24-hour fitness center, and an unforgettable dining experience for all meals, a visit to Inn at Perry Cabin is an absolute must!
During my stay, Inn at Perry Cabin and Parasol Marketing put together an itinerary so I could experience the resort and St. Michaels. The main event, Return of the Fleet was unfortunately cancelled due to the weather, but this event has been one of the highlighted events for the resort every season. Not only does Return of the Fleet kick off the beginning of the boating season but it signals an awakening.
Captain Jason Pinter, Inn at Perry Cabin’s Water Director, described the event as a “time for us to take off our winter coats and put our spring coats on. Inn at Perry Cabin begins to come alive in the spring and Return of the Fleet only helps to usher in the season.”
As a guest, you can have one of the fleet chartered for you privately or with a group. Guests can arrange a private tour of Miles River complete with lunch, a fully stocked bar, sunset cocktails and dinner. The sunset charters are a particular favorite among most guests. The fleet includes two sailboats, two motorboats and a 40-foot yacht! In addition to private charters, Inn at Perry Cabin also hosts a Sailing Academy that offers everything from basic through multi-day sailing certification courses with the seasoned sailing instructors.
In many ways, Inn at Perry Cabin is regarded as something out of a fairytale, making it an excellent wedding venue. The wedding couple can book the Inn for themselves and the wedding party for an entire weekend. Vows can be exchanged in the grand ballroom, by the water’s edge, in the garden surrounded by fresh flowers or at sea aboard the 55’ Hinckley yacht. This is a year-round offering and the Inn is happy to accommodate the newlyweds with the perfect venue based on the season.
Other amenities include the Links Golf Course, infamously designed by Pete Dye as his final masterpiece. Snaking along a wooded property line, Links is designed for players of all levels to enjoy a challenging round within the Eastern Shore’s scenic landscape. Director of Links, John Mlynarsky, likened the course to Pete Dye’s mantra: “Keep it fun, keep it moving, and keep it beautiful.”
While the course is open year-round, summer is of course the most popular season. From amateurs to professionals it has been described as a “golfer’s dream.” The entire course promises a memorable experience, but the last three holes are known as the “Goodnight Kiss.”
“Believing that the end of any course should be the most memorable, akin to a goodnight kiss on a first date, Pete designed the final greens to remain in the golfer’s mind long after the round is over – each exciting, challenging, and fun in their own way,” shared Mlynarsky.
In addition to the course, Links now features eight advanced Golf Simulators, perfect for rainy days or a little technical practice. During the summer, Links also hosts a food truck on-site with fresh offerings courtesy of the Inn’s chefs.
Speaking of food, the dining experience at Inn at Perry Cabin is unlike anything you will ever have. Each meal is prepared by award-winning Chef Gregory James, who was recently named Chef of the Year in Maryland. In keeping with Chef Gregory’s mission to source only the best and freshest offerings, the dinner menu changes on daily basis and includes only local ingredients harvested within a 25-mile radius.
You can begin your day with a delicious breakfast in the main dining room, Stars Restaurant, with the beautiful water views. There is a wide variety of dishes to choose from for breakfast, such as buttermilk waffles, cinnamon streusel French toast, crab omelet, avocado toast, fresh berries and so much more. Lunch can be casual or formal in Stars or Purser’s Pub. The Purser’s Pub menu features small bites such as their charcuterie board with cheeses made by the chef and staff or a blue crab dip served warm with whole pieces of crab and warm salty pretzel buns. The Pub also features takes on classics like a crispy chicken sandwich or a juicy burger, along with craft cocktails created by Chef Greg utilizing fresh herbs from Inn at Perry Cabin’s garden, as well as a collection of rare whiskeys and bourbons.
During the cocktail reception and dinner tasting arranged by IPC and Parasol Marketing, I asked Chef Gregory how he comes up with the menus and how he gets his inspiration for a menu that changes on a daily basis.
“I could come up with a menu the day before and not have those ingredients available for the next day. So, when I have my ingredients for the day in front of me, my staff and I brainstorm menu ideas for dinner right then and there. If we have leftover pork, we’ll make broth or ribs for the bar. If we can’t get something then you won’t find it on the menu,” Chef Gregory explained. He continued, “A lot of credit goes to CLEO, a local farmer that grows a lot of the fresh produce you will find on the menu.”
Every course was unique in its own way. From the amuse-bouche, Brussel-Sprout Imperial, to the appetizer North Carolina Shrimp with grilled Leeks, Sabayon, and Rye-Crumble, to the Maryland Jumbo Lump Crab Cake Entree served with sunburst squash, carrots and brown butter, Baked Oyster, Nutella Lava Cake, all the way to a Flourless Chocolate Mousse Cake with fresh raspberry sauce and raspberries to garnish it, the dinner was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. My dinner companions could not get enough of the different courses either and you know the food (and drinks) are amazing when no one is talking.
The other amenities in the resort’s repertoire echo the world-class standard, including a comprehensive racquet program by Cliff Drysdale Tennis. This season, England native Matt Kirkham has been named Director of Racquets in St. Michaels. A seasoned instructor with experience in both resort and private club venues, Kirkham has tailored a calendar of mixers, round robins and socials for guests and members of all levels to enjoy.
The racquet facility features three Har Tru clay courts lighted for night play and are open to member and resort guest use on a seasonal basis.
St. Michaels, a short 5-minute bike ride from the resort, also has a lot to offer from wide variety of top-rated restaurants and different shops. While it is a seasonal destination, St. Michaels offers a nice quiet getaway during the off-season and an upbeat, exciting summer season. During the summers, the Chesapeake Bay will be filled with sailboats and motorboats and the night life is bound to be lively too!
If you’re looking for a fresh retreat that includes choice tennis instruction, incredible food, luxurious accommodations and pristine amenities, the Inn at Perry Cabin promises an unforgettable getaway. Book your stay today to experience the award-winning, premier resort on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.