By Steven Hicks
My wife, Dina, and I moved to Florida from Delaware about eight years ago. We were married 10 years ago at a little inn at the top of the Chesapeake Bay. The Bayard House in Chesapeake City, Maryland, was built by Samuel Bayard around 1780. It served under many names and for other purposes before becoming the inn it is today. We lived in Middletown, Delaware, and Chesapeake City was only a few miles away. It is a quaint, historic town on the water in a region famous for its seafood. While I’d love to say we went to the Bayard House frequently, we went mostly for the Tap Room across the street.
The Tap Room is a small local seafood restaurant. More like a bar with picnic tables inside. The kind of place famous in the area for covering your table with brown craft paper, dumping a bushel of Old Bay-seasoned crabs in front of you, handing you a wooden mallet and asking what beer you’d like. My kind of place. We’ve spent many a summer night there talking and planning, cracking crabs while our sons played with the crab claws.
I found this place by chance with a couple of close friends on the way home after a Jeep trail ride in Carbon County, Pennsylvania. I took Dina there right after, and we began going frequently. We’d walk around town a bit after, enjoying the old shops and the summer nighttime ambiance of a little town on the water. When we talked about getting married, the Bayard House seemed like a natural fit. We repeated our vows there, outside on the grass on the edge of the Chesapeake Bay, on a hot August night. The party after became legendary and probably not well-suited for this publication.
Ten years on, we’re a happily married local Florida couple. We live in Viera and our boys are fixtures at Viera Charter and Viera High. Both sons play travel lacrosse, and in signing up our oldest for a major lacrosse showcase in Columbia, Maryland, I noticed we were not too far from Chesapeake City one week before our tenth anniversary. We had to make the 90-minute drive there to celebrate.
I can tell you that neither my wife nor I have looked at tequila the same way since our wedding day, but we went to the Bayard House for one shot as an homage to our wedding day and to the future. Then it was off to the Tap Room across the street. You can get blue crabs in Florida, but there is nothing like sitting on the edge of the Chesapeake Bay on a summer night with a mallet, some Old Bay and a beer… and the love of your life, then and now. ◆