Chester River is a lovely run and, last week, I enjoyed it with two friends, ballet dancers who were experiencing their first mini-cruise. An unfamiliar turn off, however, led to a hysterical moment for all of us.
We discovered a beautiful sand beach and anchored off it around 3pm. The location was noteworthy because sand beaches are not part of the Chesapeake. There were no signs prohibiting landing, and we assumed it was a closed-for-the-season beach club. We thought it the perfect place for an afternoon walk. As we pulled up to the pier I noticed there were no “Do Not Trespass” signs or any kind of warning. After sitting in the dinghy for about 5 minutes and not seeing any form
of human life we quickly walked up the steps leading from the pier to the lawn’s edge and just stood there,
waiting for some security personal with to come running out of the house which never happened.
Eventually, we passed children on a playground. We said “Hello,” but their joyful shouting just stopped and they gave us no response. Further along the road, we passed other adults, none of whom issued a response to our greetings, which I found weird for the Eastern shore of Maryland.
Suddenly, we heard loud voices from a tennis court—voices shouting in RUSSIAN. Oh MY, it turns out we had landed at a retreat compound for the Russian Embassy! Well, I soberly thought, no need to create a mini-international incident. Best to retreat. Originally this estate was built by John Jakob Raskob, who among other things was the chief financier/promoter/developer of the Empire State Building.
Had this occurred twenty years ago, it surely would have been an unpleasant moment! In this case, however, we had some laughs, a quick retreat to the dinghy and this story to share.