Solomons Island is a small village in Maryland where the Patuxent River meets the Chesapeake Bay. Two gal pals and I drove over to enjoy the Patuxent River Appreciation Day (also called PRAD), squeezing the most out of a beautiful weekend day and forgetting about adult things like work, keeping house, paying bills, etc. We participated in everything short of sand art and face painting. For me, it felt like the years rolled back: my sisters and I were just kids, and our parents were taking us to a fall festival at the local garden center/nursery.
I watched my friends paint pottery (I couldn’t commit to a single object and I promised myself I would avoid bringing more things into my new home until the boxes are all unpacked). They were designing a Mexican sugar skull for a Día de los Muertos look and a jack-o’-lantern that could hold a tealight, and more than ever I felt ready for Halloween. We don’t have decorations up this year, but I’m so happy to see my neighbors getting into the spirit of the season.
While the paint dried, we found our way over to a small area with baby animals. We had to pull ourselves away from the baby goats or we wouldn’t have seen any more of PRAD!
A gentle greyhound from a local rescue group kept watch over the baby animals.
Bluegrass bands played in a small pavilion that overlooked rows of tents that offered food, crafts, jewelry, handmade soaps, and art. I had to pinch myself: it felt like I had walked into the downtown autumn festival from The Mornings, which I wrote well before coming to PRAD. Okay, so it didn’t have a Ferris wheel, we were by the water, and I guess most small town festivals are similar…but it still felt magical.
Make your own toy boat? Don’t mind if we do!
I was impressed with our handiwork. You can’t even tell a difference between our boats and the real deal, right?
Another (rescued) friend greeted us on our way to the Calvert Marine Museum.
I love museums, and this one was especially cool because there were fossils from around the world as well as from local areas, such as Calvert Cliffs State Park. Paleontologists were giving demos and people could take home free shell fossils if they pleased.
There was marine life on display as well, and while I enjoyed looking in all the tanks, the mesmerizing jellyfish were my favorite.
After our museum tour, we wandered over to the wine tents, commenced with tastings, and then relaxed at a picnic table with some drinks while another local band started playing.
Relaxed from the booze and the sunshine, we climbed up the stairs of Drum Point Lighthouse to have a look. I was fascinated by the thought of people living there in such a small space.
We ended our day with a stroll along the water, dinner at a local restaurant, and another evening stroll back to the car. Everything was beautiful: the sun, the water, the clouds, the sunset. We saw several wedding parties being photographed against the backdrop of the island and remarked what luck they’d had in securing such a gorgeous day for their special one.
Despite the heat and humidity for October, dusk felt so much like the perfect autumn evening. The leaves on the trees had begun to change colors and were falling lazily from branches growing a little more naked. The light hit the water just right and the breeze from the river and the bay chilled the night air. Stars started dotting the sky and before long we could see whole constellations and the Milky Way gleaming from up above.
I was nervous my pictures wouldn’t turn out well, because on the drive home I realized my camera had been in panoramic mode the entire day. Darn! But most of my photos were decent, and I think part of it was the magic of Solomons Island. It was a long and wonderful day well spent with friends, and I can’t wait to go again.