To the Ward Museum . . . and Back

e left early last Thursday, on our 21st Wedding anniversary, for Salisbury, MD, to participate in the Gallery of Artists show at the beautiful Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art. Usually our anniversary is spent going on a wonderful hike for the day and then eating supper at Pizza Hut, so this year was, well shall we say, a bit different. After a very long day on the road, we arrived at our artist friends, Paul and Carolyn’s weekend home, where we were graciously invited to stay,along with a couple of other artist friends, during the show. Friday morning found us awaking early, so we took a nice drive through a lovely marsh area and ended up at Elliot Island, not too far from where we were staying. We saw a variety of bird species as we drove along and enjoyed seeing some lovely older homes once on the island itself. A stately, beautiful old Methodist Church was one of my favorites, and the strong architecture stood out quite nicely with the sun just beginning to peak out above, through the various cloud formations gathered in the early morning sky.

Leaving there, we enjoyed driving the winding road leading through the marsh, stopping a couple of times for me to take photographs of different birds and landscapes. A favorite place was where about forty ducks were together for the morning social gathering, and they didn’t mind at all my quiet approach to watch and photograph them. Driving along a bit further, Wes noticed something move in the grass alongside the road, with closer inspection we realized it was a beautiful little Red Fox, and he was wondrous to watch, as he stayed hunched down in the grass while also curiously observing us.

An early morning social gathering.

The precious little Red Fox hiding among the grass.

We then went to the Ward Museum and set up our display of miniature paintings, twenty-seven of them, being displayed  along with the other eight GOA artists’ works. After grabbing a Subway sandwich, we drove to nearby Assateague Island National Seashore, to spend the afternoon. It was a pretty day, although quite warm as we began driving and exploring the Island. It was only minutes before we saw the first wild horses, and I was in my element! Most of the small horses are Paints which are one of my favorite breeds, and it was most interesting to watch them walking by the salt water and eating the tall, reed-like grass. They weren’t shy at all, making for a nice photo-op!

Arriving at the end of the road, we decided to walk the sand dune trail to see if we could spot more of the horses. No horses were there, and no wonder!! Trudging along in the deep sandy path, each step felt like ten steps, and after hearing Wes fuss at the mosquitoes, I looked down and realized that my legs were also covered with them! So I started smacking them all over my legs, and tried, without much success, to walk faster. Needless to say, by the time we got back to the trailhead, it felt as if it were about 120 degrees or more!! However, I did get a nice photo of a lovely little singing sparrow along the way, which certainly helped make the experience worth it. When the ocean is close by, I can never resist at least wading in it. As I walked down, I wondered why most people were on the shore instead of in the water. Unsuspectingly, I stepped in, and quickly stepped out, while letting out a “shew” quietly to myself! It was very cold, causing me to understand why most of the visitors weren’t enjoying the refreshing ocean water as the waves crested and slid on shore. It was then that I laughed at myself for bringing our swimsuits to enjoy a swim, if we had the chance!  No chance of that happening . . . not in that cold water anyway!

Me about to step into the very cold water!

That evening was the opening reception of our exhibit at the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, and it began with a lovely, ribbon cutting ceremony. It was well attended and everyone enjoyed seeing the beautiful art displayed for sale and eating the delicious appetizers that were beautifully arranged. Afterwards, all of the attending artists and their spouses enjoyed a late dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. The show began the next morning and lectures and demonstrations by the artists were given throughout the day, as well as during the next. Saturday evening Wes and I, along with artist friend Melanie Fain, were invited to enjoy dinner with four of our dear collector friends. We drove to nearby Berlin, where we met them at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, which is located on the grounds of the beautiful GlenRiddle Golf Club. The building that houses the restaurant was formerly the main stable building of the famous Riddle Farm which produced such race horses as Man O’ War, War Admiral and Seabiscuit. The stable building is once again beautiful after the renovation, and we greatly enjoyed looking at the museum hall that houses photos and newspaper articles concerning the various famous horses, and before and after photos of the buildings. The atmosphere was wonderful and the food delicious, as the seven of us enjoyed hours of great conversation and many hearty laughs while sharing a variety of funny stories among other tall tales!

Wes and I in front of our wall of miniatures at the Ward Museum.

Perry, Mel, Joe, Greg, Liz, myself and Wes enjoying dinner at GlenRiddle.

Sunday, I enjoyed taking a walk down the path following alongside a lovely, small lake on the museum grounds. A nice group of Canada Geese call it home, and I enjoyed watching them as they swam back and forth in front of me while I was sitting on a small dock. Most were younger ones in the group with a few adults taking care of the flock. They were also usually joined by several very pretty Mallards, and occasionally by precious baby bunnies, when out walking about in the grass.

Me photographing some of the resident Geese.

Wes walking along the lovely path by the small lake.

We left for home that evening, and drove almost two hours to Steven’s Point, where we were to stay the night with dear collector friends Sharon and Stuart. They have a beautiful home on the Bay, with a very nice view of the Bay Bridge. They are currently commissioning me to paint miniature portrait of their adorable little Miniature Pincher, named Sampson. So needless to say, I greatly enjoyed playing tug of war and spending time with Sampson to get to know him, while mainly Wes, and I sometimes, took photos of him. We also enjoyed playing with their beautiful English Lab, Wendy. Sharon made delicious lump crab cakes for dinner, and we enjoyed lots of wonderful conversation and laughter, as the four of us sat in their lovely dining room overlooking a gorgeous view of the Bay!! Later that evening, Wes, Sharon and I enjoyed sitting out on their patio area, surrounded by a variety of flower gardens, while enjoying a bit of dessert.

The beautiful sunset from Sharon and Stuart’s patio area.

Afterward, Sharon let me choose from several beautiful bedrooms for the night, and I choose the Canvasback Room, with its stately, high, four poster bed and lovely view of the water in the Bay below. We slept like babies and awoke the next morning where Wes and I enjoyed a delicious breakfast of crab cakes with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce over a crispy wheat English muffin half, along with fresh, sweet Maryland cantaloupe, on their beautiful porch. What a delightful treat it all was, and Sharon spoiled us royally, sending home with us,  some coffee, peppermint infused water (that I dearly loved) and a small bag of one of my favorites, Lindt dark chocolates!! What a great ending to a nice weekend in Maryland!  We felt so very blessed!

Me enjoying our delicious breakfast on the lovely patio.

Me photographing Sampson, in the midst of also playing with them both.

It was a fairly pleasant day driving home Monday, and toward the end, we decided to take a more scenic route home instead of the usual drive through Pigeon Forge. It was a lovely drive which wound its way through wooded areas and pretty countryside, passing by several beautiful old barns, farm houses and silos. Also passed were many lovely cow pastures filled with a variety of cows, and in one area a beautiful small pond, where the cows were all in the water cooling off at one end. We wound our way around a couple more curves and then I said “stop” when I noticed movement on the side of the very narrow road. It was wild Turkeys, and after the last one had finally made their way across the road, I figured there were two moms and eighteen young ones! What a treat to be able to see! Before long we were happily home. Today was spent trying to catch up with everything and then meeting our dear friends, Gary and Ellen, at our local Pizza Hut, to have supper with them and their family while they were here on vacation.

Until next time ~ Rachelle  🙂

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