I had the opportunity to be a guest at the Victorian-era Atlantic Hotel in downtown Berlin, Maryland last weekend. I've been familiar with the hotel for years and lunched there several times. It's the kind of building that causes you to slow down and look ... to turn your head. Yes it was featured in the Runaway Bride and yes Julia Roberts had a memorable scene here. But I don't care much about that drama. The magnificently restored building in the center of one of Maryland's most picturesque historic towns has a drama all its own - unique unto itself. One could spend hours here - or days. The turn-of-the-century ambiance is palpable. And that's enhanced by some turn-of-the-century spirits that may still linger here.
My plan was to attend the Maryland Life Magazine's launch party highlighting their newly released November / December 2010 issue. My book review of by Whitey Schmidt appeared in this issue. I wanted to show my support for the magazine and for the Eastern Shore localities that were featured in this issue. I saw a room rate special for that night only - too good to pass up. I booked a room and had Dan Burgoyne meet me at the party. Afterward we had a fabulous dinner in the hotel restaurant, and dined to live piano music seated at a table for two by a large window on the glassed in porch that overlooked the historic main street decked out for Christmas with Victorian decorations.
Talk about holiday eye candy!
Some of the best food on the Shore.
I'm no food expert, but I could rave all day about the Prince Edward Island steamed muscles and the broiled lamb chops. Dan had fried calamari and a New York strip steak and both of us had dessert (though we didn't need it). Our server started us out with a "fine wine by the glass" list. I told her to suggest something - as I'm not a wine connoisseur. Boone's Farm tastes good to me.(hee hee, my husband hates when I say this). She suggested a Cabernet and the wine flowed throughout our dinner in a setting that would rival any Currier and Ives print (save the snow). The ambiance was perfect for setting our dreams in motion about destinations in our future. Then we moved to reflections, memories - happy and sad - of Christmases past.
After dinner we ascended the first of two staircases and retired for the evening in Room 23. I checked in before Dan arrived, and made a mad dash to the room to change and freshen up. When I came into the room, I had bags in both hands. I remember letting the door slam behind me. When I was ready to go downstairs. I noticed the security bar (the one found on the guest side of the hotel room door that you flip over as a security lock) had been moved to the "locked" position. I found this odd because I knew I didn't lock my door, in fact I couldn't have because my hands were full. There was no one else in the room but me. How could it have gotten locked?
Even though the room was small (still a deal for $50 a night), all the significant extras were included - flat screen television, cut glass water goblets, soaps, lotions, hair care products, bathrobe, lots of fluffy towels, and high thread count sheets. The iron bed was very comfortable. but for no good reason, neither of us could sleep all night. As soon as we'd fall asleep, we'd wake up. Neither of us got more than one consecutive hour of sleep. Strange.
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