Our Harvest Host membership allows us overnight RV stops at member wineries, farms, and “other attractions.” We learned that one of the “other attractions” that is nearby is a recreated nineteenth-century village centered around a huge brick furnace that was used for smelting iron. We weren’t interested in staying overnight there, but the idea of visiting the place caught our curiosity. Especially since we found the day to be very cool and quite rainy. The furnace itself, along with the entire operation that was used to feed it, turned out to be incredible. The thought that so much human effort had to go into producing iron was just astounding to me. It shows how important iron was to the people of the early 19th century. To me the whole thing was a mechanical engineering and project management marvel.
Before we left, E asked if there were some local foods that we should be sure to sample before we leave the region. We knew about blue crabs, of course, but we learned about something called Smith Island Cake. This cake is made of very thin layers, and there are nine such layers used to make up the cake. We decided that if we were driving through a town we would look for a local diner so that we could sample some.
Well, the location of the “Farmer’s Wife” surprised me because it was on a divided highway and we shot past it at 55 MPH. But the sign clearly indicated that they had “great soups.” We figured it was a prime candidate for carrying seafood chowder or bisque and Smith Island Cake. I managed to make a U-turn and then a second one (divided highway) in order to return to the Farmer’s Wife. Yes- they had Smith Island Cakes, and yes, they had seafood chowder. We never do this at three in the afternoon, but we both enjoyed a bowl of chowder and a slice of cake. So now we are immersed in the local culture.
Our destination was Layton’s Chance Vineyards near Vienna, MD – another Harvest Host winery. When we arrived at about 4:00PM we found the place to be very busy. There seemed to be a group event going on, and there was also a lively crowd of what may be the normal weekend wine-tasting visitors. In any event, we did not get to meet and talk with the owners, so I was unable to get their picture or their personal story. The label on the wine bottles states, “After three generations in farming, the Layton family took their ‘chance’ on continuing that legacy by planting vines and opening a winery.” The farm was located in a very flat, very open location.
Since it was pouring down rain and the temperatures were falling fast, we closed ourselves into our RV for the evening and E dominated the Scrabble competition.
Here’s a note that may interest some of our fellow RV-ers. This was our sixth night of dry camping (no hookups). We have a single 100-watt solar panel. Up to now our battery has been able to keep up with our demand for electricity just fine. Each day has had enough sun to bring our battery to “full” and/or to “absorption” but not quite to “equalize” status on the solar controller panel. Today’s weather did not permit any real charging to take place, so we are down on our power supply. (Two-thirds to one-half charged, depending on which gauge you consult. I haven’t measured with my meter.) I brought along an extra deep cycle battery, fully charged, in case we need it. We have one more night, and there is supposed to be quite a bit of sun today, so perhaps we won’t need that spare battery.