Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
I honestly thought I was in a movie. It was one of those incredible afternoons on the Eastern Shore, with a cool breeze, an azure sky and autumn leaves. I was at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels for the Concours d’Elegance.
Forty nine sleek classic automobiles all in a row. From the Bentleys to Lamborghinis, each was an award-winning motorcar from the golden age of motoring.
A handsome gentleman took my hand and led me into a ruby 1938 Bugatti coupe. He got into the driver’s seat and we headed off for the parade.
The classic cars slowly moved through the maritime museum, passing docks of classic wooden yachts and small craft. The museum’s floating fleet was touring the St. Michaels harbor, and people milled about the campus. The sounds of a band playing soft jazz filled the September air.
When we turned onto Talbot St., pedestrians stopped in their tracks. A kid got off his bike and stared as our cars slowly paraded through St. Michaels. A woman tossed a rosebud onto the car ahead of us and blew kisses.
I felt taller, thinner, in my little black dress. It’s funny how a car can shift your self-image. But then I realized. They weren’t looking at me. They were looking at the cars.
Back at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, we meandered to tents where a local chef was serving lunch.
In three hours time, I met people from Maine to California, got up close to a museum-quality collection of flawless vintage boats and cars, and rode in a Bugatti.
I felt as if I stepped back into a different time – one of prosperity, style, sophistication and grace.
And next year? Oh, I’ve already inked the Concours D’Elegance onto my calendar.
This year’s Concours d'Elegance will be held Sunday, September 30 from 10am-5pm at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM). General admission costs $35 for non-members and $30 CBMM members. For a complete schedule of the day's events, or to purchase tickets, visit www.smcde.org