Embracing Maryland’s seafood bounty
If you’ve ever visited the sleepy town of St. Michaels on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, you’ll know that the entire city takes less than a day to traverse on foot — it’s simply not a destination where one would typically expect to find fine dining. But inside The Inn at Perry Cabin, you’ll discover Stars, a seafood-heavy dining destination that serves as the inn’s main restaurant. On any given night, you’ll see resort guests, locals and boldfaced names alike devouring dishes like cream of crab soup and seared diver scallops while gazing at the clear blue waters of the Miles River and Chesapeake Bay beyond.
The inn, transformed into a luxury hotel by the family behind the Laura Ashley fabric and decorating fortune, was designed to resemble a private waterfront retreat. The dining room at Stars is deceptively simple — the big open space, with its blue carpets, white tablecloths, murals of the local Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse and simple wooden chairs seems ordinary. But the restaurant rightly lets the real wow factor here shine through — the floor-to-ceiling windows that surround the space let you take in more than 180-degree views of the inn’s sloping green lawns and the water beyond. On warm days, doors can be thrown open so that you can enjoy the water’s breeze or even take meals alfresco on the terrace.
The inn may only have one main restaurant, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a last resort for hungry guests. The home-style fare is a reason that guests return time and again. (Just a note: Stars is frequently utilized for buyout affairs as the resort plays host to many weddings and corporate events, so be sure to inquire at booking or make reservations in advance.)
As one might expect from a waterfront restaurant in prime Maryland blue crab country, Stars offers three menus daily that are heavy on the crustacean treat. From the melt-in-your-mouth Miles River omelet (stuffed with crab, spinach and tomato) at breakfast to cream of crab soup at lunch and a fried green tomato and crab salad on dinner’s tasting menu, you’ll certainly get your fill. Opt for à la carte items at dinner or a five-course chef’s tasting menu that highlights local and seasonal ingredients. The options tend toward meat and fish dishes with traditional sides like vegetables and mashed potatoes, but the ingredients are quality and the flavors beautifully on point.
Daily afternoon tea service, featuring sterling tea sets and three-tiered trays piled high with sandwiches, pastries and preserves, complete the idea that you’re in an elegant residential space rather than a luxury hotel. This ritual delicacy is served in the Morning Room with views of the surrounding gardens and water beyond. It’s adjacent to reception area and packed with perfectly cozy armchairs and loungers for maximum relaxation at any time of year.
And any hotel worth its nautical stripes should pay homage to the great seafaring pubs of yore. The Inn at Perry Cabin’s does it with an upscale twist — take a seat at the massive wood bar, relax in small tables by the fireplace and enjoy a game of chess, or sit in the shaded brick patio garden courtyard and order up small bites and hand-crafted cocktails that even a diehard single-spirit aficionado could enjoy. We love the Manhattan made with local Catoctin Creek Rye, as well as the signature blueberry lemonade, an adults-only twist on a classic afternoon favorite. Small plates and bites don’t disappoint; try the blue crab and spinach dip, a well-executed version of a local favorite.