The builder E-mailed me yesterday morning to tell me they would pour the foundation walls, with a picture of the crew setting up the forms. This morning he sent a full set that also showed the cement trucks on the lot pouring the concrete. This is really exciting! I can’t wait to get out there and see the completed foundation.
Chestertown is also home to Washington College, a small liberal-arts college that boasts of being one of the oldest colleges in the country. According to their web site: “Founded in 1782 under the patronage of George Washington, Washington College was the first college chartered in the new nation.”
The college is, in fact, the reason that we found Chestertown to begin with. Our second daughter applied and was accepted there, and we visited the campus in Spring 2005. Although she did not attend the college, I did get a good look at the town that day. Even then I observed that it was charming, in a sort of Hollywood-movie-ideal-small-town kind of way. Before then we had never spent any time on the upper Eastern Shore, except to take Rte. 301 as an alternative to 95 on our way to or from New Jersey.
I brought my wife out to see Chestertown sometime later that year. We actually did not spend a lot of time in the town that day, as we were also heading farther north to see Crystal Beach and Chesapeake City, other upper Chesapeake Bay places I had read about. We returned in early December, to participate in a holiday historic house tour. We also had dinner for the first time at the Blue Heron, a small but very epicurean restaurant and still our favorite place to dine in town.
I could go on about the appeals of Chestertown and Kent County, but I think the point is made — we were smitten.
One of our good friends proposed a visit to and celebration at the lot. My wife was not feeling well, so it was just the two of us. We left right after work. Traffic came to a standstill at the bay bridge toll; there was an accident at the other end of the bridge that had traffic stopped. We waited maybe a half-hour to start moving again. Hopefully this was not a preview of our daily commute.
We got subs and a six-pack to take to the lot. There was not a lot of progress since last week. There were a couple of long steel beams sitting in the front yard, and blue lines on the footers that indicate where the foundation walls will sit. My friend was thrilled to see the construction underway, and I explained the layout of the house using the footers. We toasted with a couple of beers, and stayed until dark.
Chestertown, Maryland is a small town on the Eastern Shore, in Kent County, one of Maryland’s least populous counties. It sits on the Chester River, which winds inland from the Chesapeake Bay starting just north of Kent Island, and separates Kent and Queen Anne counties. (Kent Island is actually part of Queen Anne County.) Like most Eastern Shore rivers, the Chester is really just an extension of the Bay, placid and tidal.
Chestertown is reached by heading north on Rte. 301 at the 301-50 split in Queenstown. This distinguishes it from the rapidly developing communities along Rte 50, like Kent Island, Easton, and Cambridge, and from the mass of traffic that heads through these places to Ocean City, MD every summer weekend.
Kent County has a few other towns, most notably Rock Hall on the Bay, but is mostly rural. The county comprehensive plan is intended to maintain that, and emphasizes new development around existing population centers. This is in contrast to Queen Anne County, where developments appear to be springing up in cornfields everywhere.
Chestertown was once a major port of call on the Chesapeake. It has a large number of well-preserved or restored old homes and other buildings, along and close to the waterfront, and a downtown area with a number of eclectic shops and small restaurants.
We had tickets for a Friday evening folk music performance at the Avalon Theatre in Easton, MD. One of the performers was a college classmate that we have not seen since then. We planned to drop by the lot and inspect the progress on our way.
We left work a bit early and caught the Rte. 50 traffic on WTOP: slow across the Severn River Bridge but moving well after that. We avoided the Severn bridge by driving across Annapolis; this was not entirely painless as many other drivers had the same idea. Once on Rte. 50, traffic moved well.
It was a pleasant Summer evening, and Chestertown was lively with people out and about. Something to look forward to when we are moved out there.
The excavation and footers were all done as expected. I took lots of pictures (of course!) and exclaimed as I note the locations of the rooms. My wife was not as excited, but pleased with the progress. We only had a few minutes to spend before heading to Easton.
The performance at the Avalon was delightful. The musicians came out to the lobby afterward. The college classmate remembered my wife’s name; she was amazed.