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Articles by Sandra Olivetti Martin

How some of the world’s most famous art found safe refuge in early-America’s Annapolis

You’d want to know if you were neighbor to a secret treasure of masterpieces.
    So I’m telling you.
    Sixty-three paintings by great Northern European masters — Jan Breughel, Rubens and Van Dyck among them — lived quietly in Annapolis for two years, and Prince George’s County for 16 more years.
    “There was no collection of old master paintings remotely like it in this country,” says Arthur Wheelock curator of northern baroque paintings at the National Gallery of Art. “In fact, in both quality and quantity, no collection of Flemish art in this country would rival it until late in the 20th century.”


    They were here, and then they were gone.
    What were they doing here?
    Where are they now? That’s the mystery that obsesses Susan Pearl.

On the Run
    To unravel that mystery, return in time to 1794, when the newly independent United States of America was a safer haven than war-tossed Europe.
    As ripples from the French revolution threatened Antwerp, art collector Henri Stier fled.
    “He got the paintings and his family out,” recounts historian Pearl.
    By horse and carriage and by sailing ship, family and the art collected by Steir’s grandfather-in-law, Michel Peeters, traveled: 63 paintings protected in heavy wooden crates.
    At the core of the collection were, Wheelock says, “masterpieces by Flemish artists, although it also included paintings by, among others, Jacob van Ruysdael, Rembrandt, Titian and Tintoretto. The collection contained no fewer than 10 paintings by Rubens and six by Van Dyck.”
    The displaced Belgian family and their paintings took up residence for two years in Annapolis, renting the William Paca House.
    At the time “there was good society here, very fashionable, with lots of parties,” says Historic Annapolis curator of collections Pandora Hess. Henri Stier’s young daughter Rosalie and George Calvert met and married there.
    But the paintings remained a secret treasure.

Hidden in the New World
    Stier, an aristocrat who owned three homes in Belgium, had landed ambitions in the New World. He bought 800 acres in the Anacostia watershed, near the port town of Bladensburg. But before his house was finished, he was back in Belgium. In 1803, Riversdale became the home of Henri’s daughter Rosalie and her husband George Calvert, of Maryland’s founding family. The plantation gained renown, but not the paintings. They remained a family secret.
    From 1794 to 1816, the paintings stayed crated, lifted out only to be wiped clean of mold, shown to just a few artists. Only a few of the smaller paintings were hanging in one parlor and seen by visitors.
    Nobody saw them. Nobody enjoyed them.
    Then Napoleon met his Waterloo, and Europe was again safe.
    Send the paintings home, Henri wrote his daughter in December 1815. His letter traveled by ship. She received it in February. Ever dutiful, she planned their journey home.
    They’d have left unseen were it not for the pleas of American painters Rembrandt Peale and Gilbert Stuart. At Paca House and Riversdale to paint the family, they’d had peeks at the paintings. Peale wrote that Stier “had placed before me three excellent portraits, by Titian, Rubens and Van Dyck, as objects of inspiration for a young artist.”
    Convinced by these artists “that it would be a public wrong that such a collection of pictures — the like of which had never been in America — should pass out of the country entirely unenjoyed,” George and Rosalie Calvert opened their house. In the spring of 1816, Washington society mingled with artists and collectors at the first blockbuster art exhibit in this country.
    “Some of the finest paintings ever in America,” they were called by Sarah Gales Seaton, wife of the co-editor of the National Intelligencer.
    On June 2, 1816, the paintings were again crated to repeat their journey by horse-drawn carriage, then by ship from Baltimore to Antwerp.
    They crossed the Atlantic a second time aboard the sailing ship Oscar, subject to tempest, predation and shipwreck.
    They survived the crossing. What became of them then?
    Tracking the 63 keeps Pearl busy.

The Wide World Over
    Pearl’s quest began in her office. She worked upstairs in the mansion before it was restored as Riversdale House Museum. Her job — researching historic structures for Maryland–National Capital Park and Planning Commission — bumped her into the secret treasure.
    Original letters and papers told her part of the story. The more she learned, the more she wanted to know.
    What had become of them? Where were they now?
    “Finally, I hit the gold mine,” she told me. A genealogist hired by Henri Stier’s fifth-generation descendants shared copies of the “masses of letters” back and forth across the Atlantic.
    With letters, a sketchy packing list — written as family hastened to escape French armies in 1794 — and a catalogue of sales, she set about tracing their post-American journeys.
    Art is long; life is short. The owners died, but the paintings thrived, increasing in value with age.
    Each owner’s death led to an auction that disbursed the paintings more widely. At their sale in 1817, Henri Stier bought his 20 favorites from the collection that had been at Riversdale. His death in 1821 returned one painting to Riversdale. George Calvert — widower of Rosalie, who died three months before her father — purchased Rubens’ Romulus and Remus. That painting crossed the Atlantic a third time.
    Cross-checking list after list with the original packing manifesto, Pearl has successfully traced 20 of the 63 paintings that had long ago found refuge in Chesapeake Country. They are the most prominent and valuable ones, mostly kept in the family.    
    “I find it amazing how much information about that collection one can pull together from the packing list, Rembrandt Peale’s account and descriptions of the works in subsequent sales,” Wheelock said.
    Romulus and Remus continued in the American Stiers’ family and is now in the keeping of the North Carolina Museum of Art.
    Two more are in America: Rubens’ painting of his brother Philippe in the Detroit Institute of Art and Jan Brueghel’s wonderful The Entry of the Animals into Noah’s Ark in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
    The Van Dyck portraits of Philippe LeRoy and his bride Marie de Raet hang in the Wallace Collection in London.
    At the outbreak of World War II, several paintings owned by the European branch of the family found sanctuary in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels, where they remain.
    Pearl has seen almost all 20.
    “Twenty out of 63 doesn’t sound like a lot,” Pearl says, “but it actually is, considering what you have to do to track them down.”
    As for the others, she says, “I’ll probably be working on it for the rest of my life.”

See for Yourself
    Here it is 2016, the bicentennial of Michel Peeters’ collection’s departure from America.
    And here they are, 16 of the found paintings of the original 63, on exhibit again at Riversdale.
    “Of course we couldn’t get the originals,” Pearl admits.
    Masterpieces are not loaned to county museums with neither security nor ideal air and lighting conditions. Instead the museum purchased high-resolution digital images that, printed and framed locally, now hang throughout the Riversdale House Museum.
    “The exhibit is a wonderful way to step back in time, envision the original paintings and feel the excitement visitors experienced when world-class Old Master paintings were publicly displayed in Riversdale Mansion in the spring of 1816,” said Carol Benson, director of Anne Arundel County’s Four Rivers Heritage Area.
    Docents lead tours, “electronically enhanced” with hand-held tablets that interpret and enlarge paintings for inspection of detail (though connections are temperamental).
    It’s a sight worth seeing, especially now that you know the story.


    Open Friday and Sunday 12:15-3:15pm thru Oct. 23. (On Sunday, Sept. 18, a University of Maryland quintet plays Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition): $5 w/age discounts: 301-864-0420; riversdale@pgparks.com.
    Copies of the Stier-Calvert correspondence are held in the Riversdale Historical Society archives.

I’m inspissated. How about you?

Too hot to move. Too hot to cook. Too hot to exercise (except water aerobics). Too hot to sleep.
    Just how hot is it?
    Hotter than it’s ever been — relatively speaking.
    “July 2016 was absolutely the hottest month since the instrumental records began,” the Baltimore Sun reminds me, sourcing NASA.
    July 2002 felt plenty miserable to then Bay Weekly contributor April Falcon Doss. Heat, she reminded us, is relative — and so is our experience of it.
    With this August leading in the same direction, it’s too hot to write.
    Return with me, then, to those sweltering words of yesteryear:

    “Thermodynamics textbooks neatly evade defining temperature,” smugly reported the writer’s husband, her foil in the story. “Instead of telling what temperature is, they define temperature in relative terms, or whether one material is hotter or colder than another. Really, it’s not that hot out. It’s just the differential you feel.”
    
To which she irritably replied, “Objection: relevance.”
I find myself appallingly intolerant in extreme heat. We step under some trees. “Oh,” I gasp with relief. “It’s so much cooler in the shade.”
“Not really,” my husband badgers. “The air temperature is actually the same in the shade or out. It’s just that here in the shade you’re shielded from the force and effect of solar radiation.”
    These distinctions are absurd, at least as applied to my experience of being hot. I defy anyone to diminish my experience of heat.

Thermal Death Point
    The amount of heat capable of destroying a given species of bacteria in a given time. Three factors are involved — namely, the time, material and temperature.
    Sounds like the risk faced by my husband if he tells me once more that these fiery temperatures are merely ­relative. My encyclopedia defines heat as energy that is transferred from one body to another because they are at different temperatures. Energy transferal? Then how to explain this lassitude I feel, this utter enervation? How to explain the way that beads of sweat quiver on my lip, my chest, my brow on those long summer days?
    According to my source book, “The effect of this transfer of energy usually, but not always, is an increase in the temperature of the colder body and a decrease in the temperature of the hotter body.”
    No kidding. How else to respond to the observation that 100-degree afternoons heighten my own thermal setting?
    The only way to absorb energy without getting hotter is to change form: by melting or boiling or by changing from a solid into a vapor through the process called sublimation.

Lipolysis
    Fat splitting.
    People are known — even hereabouts where opportunities to sweat come plentiful and cheap — to pay considerable money for the opportunity to sit in a steam room, breathing sharp, wet heat while stinging beads of sweat burst through their pores and glisten in a lake on their skin. This is homage to lypolysis, to the presumed fat-splitting properties of steam. Here in Maryland, it comes free.


    Doss found a word for it: Inspissation: the distillation of our own tissues and being in heat.
    That’s what to call it when you’re too darned hot.
    I’m inspissated. How about you?

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

And what our cats see in us

What could she see in him?    
    I’ve often wondered that about my friends’ husbands. Even more often, about their dogs.
    Husbands are more ambiguous. Dogs are absolute.
    Love me, love my dog, my grandmother taught me, was the rule of friendship with a dog fancier — which my grandmother was not. Not, love me, love my husband.
    Other people’s husbands may be more attractive than your own; often must be, as they’re so often switched. But nobody’s dog is more beautiful, suitable or satisfying than your own. Rarely do people divorce their dogs. When they do, in come the rescuers — about whom you’ll read in this week’s paper. Apparently, we do better at choosing our dogs than our husbands. Or perhaps our dogs are better company than our husbands.
    My husband and recent dogs — Labrador retrievers Max and Moe, short for my family name, Massimo — are nearly perfect: Especially the dogs, as their slight imperfections died with them.
    (My success in choosing partners has not come without trial and error. What I saw in Slip Mahoney — a dog you can meet at www.bayweekly.com/node/18404 — nobody outside my household understood. If Slip hadn’t bitten them, he’d chewed up their shoes or through their screen door. Then there was my early husband. Now I claim those errors as proof of the wisdom I’ve gained through experience.)
    Still, my friends’ significant others — dog and human — often call to mind another piece of my grandmother’s advice: There’s no accounting for taste, she told me. That’s what the lady said when she kissed the cow.
    What you see in your husband is a question one dare not ask. (Or do I? How about for our next Valentine’s Day issue?)
    About what you see in your dog — you, me and everybody else waxes eloquent. You’ll read those testimonials in this week’s annual Pet Tales, our Dog Days of August special issue.
    Readers joined contributors in sharing their stories — and pictures — of animal companionship. The stories are wonderful; they bring tears to my eyes and laughter to my heart and lips. For, as Sporting Life columnist Dennis Doyle reminds us, mirth is among the gifts we get from our dogs.
    About our cats, the tales are different. Cats are superior beings; just ask them. The question with them isn’t what people see in their cats. It’s what their cats see in them.
    Read on to learn what we see in our dogs and cats. You’ll find stories of love between species exemplified in intuitions of mood and will; shared spaces; improvisations comic, sad or dramatic; gleeful welcomes; improbable alliances; and partnerships that help us be ourselves and go beyond ourselves.
    You’ll also find insight into caring for your animal companions from Bay Weekly’s nine Sponsoring Pet Partners for this issue. I’ve learned, and I expect you will too, something of the scope of veterinary and boarding options and how our pets’ wellbeing depends on the food we buy.
    I hope you enjoy this issue as much as I have.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

Progress in the Bay … Opportunity in the Cook-off

It takes a long time — two to three years — for an ­oyster to grow up.
    It takes even longer for science to puzzle out how to make the best environment for healthy oysters.
    Just out is the first five-year report on how oysters are faring since Maryland decided to give our native oysters the best chance for survival. The best chance scientists and fishery managers could imagine, that is.
    In the Bay and rivers, sanctuaries were established and furnished to suit oysters, with beds made from lots of old oyster shell where baby spat could settle and grow, safe from harvesting. The bet was that oysters would flourish in sanctuaries, supporting the species, filtering the Bay and making reefs beloved by all sorts of aquatic life. That was the environmental part of the plan.
    Of course oysters are more to the Chesapeake than good environmental citizens. Over our state’s history, they’ve supported an economy, a culture and an enormous national appetite.
    To maintain our oyster economy and appetite, Maryland’s 2010 Oyster Plan made more of aquaculture than ever before. Oyster farming is now a thriving part of our maritime economy. Aquaculturists are making money, and all of us who like to eat oysters enjoy new abundance and variety.
    But the Chesapeake’s oyster culture rises from our oystermen, and they are hunters, not farmers. For their sake, much of the Bay remains open to wild harvest.
    Oysters in wild harvest territory have not fared so well. They’ve declined by 30 percent on average between 2013 and 2015, presumably due to harvesting.
    Protected oysters, on the other hand, increased two and one half times in number and size since 2010, when sanctuary management went into effect.
    You can see what that means.
    But the whole story is more complicated, as watermen strive to protect their livelihood and Gov. Larry Hogan follows up on his promise to promote Maryland business.
    How to resolve competing, contrary interests?
    It’s only possible if all sides feel they’ve gotten their fair share. Mediation makes that kind of resolution happen, we’re told by our Bay Weekly neighbor Martin Kranitz, who runs Mediation Services of Annapolis.
    Oyster wars have a long history in the Chesapeake. As we begin to understand what oysters need to be healthy, making oyster peace among humans seems a good part of the plan.

Opportunity in the Cook-off
    In this age of relative oyster abundance, it’s time for some oyster culinary invention.
    Can you create an oyster recipe worth $1,300?
    Suit the taste of this year’s judges of the 37th Annual National Oyster Cook-off, and that grand prize will be yours.
    I challenge you to imagine how you — and Maryland oysters — can wow us.
    Yes, I’m one of the judges, along with John Shields, PBS cooking show host, cookbook author and chef-owner of Gertrude’s in Baltimore and Rob Kasper, former Baltimore Sun syndicated food columnist, author and blogger. So I’m invested in your invention. The better you create, the better our tasting experience. We’ve eaten some delectable — and imaginative — dishes over the years; this year, we want to taste yours.
    Submit recipes for any or all of three categories: Hors d’oeuvres, Soups & Stews and Main Dish. Recipes are accepted through August 31.
    If one of your recipes is named a finalist by the National Oyster Cook-off committee, you’ll prepare your recipe to present to the judges and share with spectators on October 15 during the 50th Anniversary St. Mary’s County Oyster Festival in Leonardtown.
     First, second, and third place prizes in each category earn $300, $200 or $150. The grand prize adds an additional $1,000. Awards also recognize Best Presentation and People’s Choice. All contestants plus a guest will be invited to a welcome reception and lodged in a local hotel.
    Judging of the recipes is based on predominance of oysters, oyster flavor, overall taste of the dish, originality and presentation. Judges look for dishes that highlight the taste of the oyster. One judge commented that when you take a bite and close your eyes, you should be able to taste the ­delicacy of the oyster.
    Submit recipes to lisa.ledman@stmarysmd.com. Find official rules and more information at http://usoysterfest.com/page/6433524:Page:611.
    Contest is sponsored by the Rotary Club of St. Mary’s County, St. Mary’s County Department of Economic & Community Development and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

Turn on a light to observe National Moth Week

In the midst of National Moth Week, turn on your porch light any summer night and see who you see.
    Summer because moths get their wings in warm weather. Over winter, they are caterpillars. In spring they pupate, emerging winged from their cocoons to create new generations of moths.
    Night because drawn to light in perhaps some moonstruck phenomenon, most moths are nocturnal.
    Like butterflies, moths are members of the Lepidoptera family, with between 150,000 and 500,000 species, according to National Moth Week founders David Moskowitz and Liti Haramaty. In the United States, there are upward of 11,000 moth species, 15 times more than butterflies.
    As caterpillars, moths are familiar nuisances: in our fields, cutworms and cornworms; in forests, gypsy moths, webworms and tent caterpillars; in our closets, clothing moths; and in pantries, the Indian meal moth, Plodia interpunctella. Yet the hairy-bodied creatures are great pollinators, especially for night-blooming and white flowers.
    Moths come in big and small, from the size of small flies to as wide as large songbirds. They are dull, striking and extraordinarily beautiful.
    Beautiful like the pink, green and purple Pandora sphinx that flew into my still-lighted bedroom late on the night of June 29, 2014, lingering for photographs and drawings.
    Striking like the yellow Clymene haploa moth perched aside my front door on the evening of June 28, 2016. Was its yellow lemon, or butter or butterscotch? I couldn’t tell, and as the light faded, I tried all three, in colored pencil, watercolor pencil and watercolors. The color of its distinctive centered marking, something like an elongated fleur de lis, was clearly black.
    “The Clymene haploa moth looks like a Star Trek communicator badge as it boldly goes everywhere both day and night,” reports insectidentification.org, where I identified this visitor.
    Perhaps National Moth Week will bring a beautiful translucent green luna moth.


Join National Moth Week observers from 8pm Sa July 30 to 9am Su July 31 at Glendening Nature Preserve, free, rsvp (ages 18+): 410-741-9330.

Vegetables from A to Z — plus a little free protein at the K

As July rolls into August, locavores are in high corn. Literally, for in the fields around us corn is reaching to the sky. Figuratively, because we can eat our fill of Maryland-grown sweet well-kernelled ears — along with all the complementary fruits of the season, from beans to zucchini, with plenty of tomatoes along the way. Mid-summer’s harvest supplies a fruit or vegetable for every letter of the alphabet, except maybe X.
    The morning after the Governor’s Annual Eat Local Cookout, husband Bill Lambrecht and I toured our home garden. With the heat wave moving in, the valiant kale — the plant on which so many cool weather meals were built — was doomed. I harvested it for one last stand. The plants were too old for salad or to be crisped with olive oil in a slow oven, as a friend suggests. But they weren’t too old for that down-home favorite, a mess of greens.
    My recipe offers a distinct variation on that old theme. Or perhaps it doesn’t.
    Harvesting the kale, I pulled the plants up by their roots, clipping off the freshest stems and discarding the rest, including a thriving community of Colorado potato beetles, pretty striped bugs that had been feasting on the leaves. I could tell the bugs were healthy, for they made short work of climbing out of the four-foot-tall paper yard waste recycling bag in which I stuffed them. Eventually, I had to catch them one by one and consign them to, I hoped, death by suffocation in a plastic bag. Easier to manage were the caterpillars, lots of small, thin, striped ones, the cabbage moth larvae, and a few softly fat pale green ones, the cabbage loopers.
    I was pretty successful in corralling the beetles, I saw, as I stripped the leaves from the stems. For that job I have a nice tool, a flat plastic half disc perforated with four holes of ascending size. Choosing a hole, I pulled each stem through, collecting the leaves in a bowl. Discarded along with the stems were lots more caterpillars.
    Garden kale takes ample washing, indeed triple washing, in bowls of water, sinks of water and under streams of water. Each washing turned up plenty more caterpillars, drowned or holding tenaciously to the curly kale leaves. When I’d surely gotten them all out, I filled a large, low pot with deep green leaves of kale.
    In the pot on the stove, I sprinkled the kale with dried mustard and a nice pinch of chilies dried from earlier years’ garden crops, plus grindings of fresh pepper. “You know when it’s enough,” my mother said, and I’ve always followed that measure — except in baking, which my mother seldom did and perhaps her motto explains why.
    I cook a mess of kale with only two more ingredients: a jigger of cider vinegar and about six times as much apple cider. This time of year, when apples are still to be harvested and pressed, a child’s juice pack is just about the right amount. Cook slow and long. When the greens are cooked, I add two or three cloves of garlic — ours is just harvested — crushed and sautéed in olive oil. That’s all it takes for a fine mess of local greens.
    Except, as the kale wilted, I saw that this mess of greens had another ingredient.
    “What local dish are we having tonight?” my husband asked that evening.
    “Organic kale with fresh garlic and small striped caterpillars,” I said.
    “Free protein,” says Bay Gardener, Dr. Frank Gouin.
    
    Find recipes without caterpillars, created by top Maryland chefs for the Governor’s Annual Eat Local Cookout, in the 2016 Maryland Buy Local Cookbook: http://mda.maryland.gov/Documents/cookbook16.pdf

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

Caught live and dressed for you this and every week in Bay Weekly

What do you love to do?    
    Discovering what that is and making the time to do it is a key to a happy life.
    I learned that lesson from Joe Akers, who when I met him had stepped back from the stage of world affairs to take over a small-town Illinois newspaper.
    “When I worked for the oil companies,” Akers told me the evening of the June afternoon I walked into his newsroom, “I’d leave and never know when I’d be back. Three weeks, that’ll be all, my boss said on sending me to South America.
    “By then I was wise to him. All right, I said, but I want one condition. I want to come home once a month.
    “Fine,” he said.
    “That stay lasted 11 months and took me to nearly every county in South America. But he kept his promise. I came home 11 times.”
    Back then, I’d bumped into what I loved to do, and I was making time for it. Discovering people like Joe Akers kept photographer partner Sue Eslinger and me on the road for two years.
    Two years have stretched into a lifetime. After leaving Illinois, and Illinois Times, I joined with my family in creating Bay Weekly so I could keep telling the stories of people whose work and play made this their equivalent of Akers’ “the best life I’ve ever lived — that I can remember.”
    Most everybody who’s ever written a story for Bay Weekly has shared my sustained delight in discovering, first-hand, the dynamism of people doing work they love.
    That’s why you have the pleasure this week of reading The Original Social Network.
    Writer Karen Holmes was dancing at the Davidsonville Recreation Center when she chanced on the Anne Arundel Radio Club reaching out to the world by Morse code, voice and digital over the 24 hours of this year’s nationwide Ham Radio Field Day.
    Find a bunch of people erecting electronic Maypoles, and you take notice. If, that is, you’re like Holmes, whose association with Bay Weekly has turned her into the version of a journalistic hunting dog we call a newshound.
    Like Sue and me in those early years, Bay Weekly reporters catch their stories where they find them.
    Proudly, they bring their catch back to me, and we dress them for your reading pleasure. Just as Karen Holmes has done in this fascinating story about people — our neighbors in Calvert and Anne Arundel counties — whose passion is connecting.
    In the inner sanctums of journalism, there’s a lot of talk nowadays about “rekindling the passion for print” — in other words, how to get people to do what you’re doing, reading a newspaper.
    Of my prescription for keeping print alive and well, you’re living proof: Find writers and reporters who love their work, and send them out to bring back stories of people making the world tick. These are stories people will read.
    We’ve got stories of that sort for you again this week, thanks to writers like Victoria Clarkson, first appearing in Bay Weekly this week; Kathy Knotts, a journalist for 15 years, the last for Bay Weekly; and intern Robyn Bell, our St. John’s College grad who’s discovering what thrills us all in this business: finding good stories and bringing them back to you.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

Spin dreams and refresh fond memories with Bay Weekly’s first-ever Wedding Guide

Does it take an advanced degree to plan a wedding?    
    Our longtime contributing writer Emily Myron claims equivalent credit to a master’s in strategic planning for organizing her upcoming October wedding. She’s been working on it since April 2015, when her guy dropped to one knee at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. It didn’t take much longer to earn her first master’s degree, in environmental management, at Duke University.
    Obsessive Type A personality that she confesses to be, Emily has turned her well-documented planning into a how-to that will guide couples through the complex geography of getting married.
    If that’s not you, don’t feel left out. We get the fun of peeking into her story.
    On the how-to side, she sets up seven categories — Where to Marry, Caterer, The Dress, Photography, Flowers, Music plus Hair and Makeup — and tells you how she and her fiancé (replaced by her mother for dress shopping) researched and decided in each.
    In most of those categories, we readers will have to wait until after her big day to find out what her choices were and how they worked out. Location the couple know well, as they courted in that garden back in their days at Duke. Dress is bought, but despite my editorial blandishments, she refused to send photos before her wedding day, lest Bay Weekly readers know more than her groom. Everything else is pretty much a gamble. You make your study, pay your money and hope for the best.
    That’s where Bay Weekly’s advertising partners take over.
    In this issue, 30-some local businesses with special wedding qualifications step in to describe how they can help you. Thus you’ll learn that family-owned Willow Oak Flower and Herb Farm is a close parallel to the North Carolina, mother-daughter cottage garden business that is growing and designing Emily’s wedding flowers.
    Emily’s wedding venue is the Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham. Where is yours? Chesapeake Country is so rich with wonderful options that I’m glad this choice is yours and not mine. In these pages you’ll read about the outdoor settings of Annmarie Garden, Darnall’s Chance House Museum, Friday’s Creek Winery, Historic Sotterley Plantation, Maria’s Love Point Bed and Breakfast, Running Hare Winery, the Town of North Beach and Two Rivers-Maryland Yacht Club. Each offers unique, spectacular settings.
    You’ll also learn about favorite Chesapeake Country places with special ambiance and good food both casual and upscale: Babes Boys Tavern; Brick Wood Fired Bistro; Pirates Cove; The Old Stein Inn; Two Rivers Steak & Fish House, The Reserve, Catering, & Bakery.
    Of course you may have your own dream spot. A half dozen more of our wedding partners describe how they’ll set the stage for a party or wedding in a garden, on the beach or a favorite back yard.
    Other partners, including DJ Dave and Last Call Entertainment, will satisfy your musical tastes. Diamonds and dresses are here too, to set your imagination spinning.
    We’d like to help you eat your cake, too, for Cakes and Confections and Kirsten’s Cakery have set our sweet teeth longing, while Kilwins Chocolates has us dreaming of sugarplum favors.
    If you can’t fit us on your guest list, do send photos — or, better still, your wedding painted on the scene by live-event painter Amy Moreno. (Without reading about it here, who would have thought of a painting of your wedding, done on the spot?)
    You’ll also find framing and preserving helpers in these pages.
    Send us your wedding photos, like the 26 readers whose wedding memories start on page 18 in “I Do”, and we’ll include you in next year’s Wedding Guide.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

From Honor Flights … to Rocking the Dock … to Shark Week, Bay Weekly puts you in the know

Have your travels taken you to BWI, National or Dulles airports as a plane full of old veterans made their slow way through the concourse? If so, you’ll know the eruptions of appreciation described by writer Selene San Felice in this week’s feature story, The Men Who Saved the World: Honoring the Greatest Generation of Veterans Starts at BWI.
    I’ve seen that scene, as the planned Honor Flight welcome is amplified by the spontaneous gawking, applause, photo snapping, even singing of travelers whose ordinary passage through the airport has pulled them into history.
    Massed together as they were in their fighting companies, for perhaps the last time, the veterans come so full of memories that passers-by can’t help but feel the weight they carry and imagine its import.
    More powerful still, as San Felice documents, is to share the sacred space at one of our great national memorials like the World War II, Korean or Vietnam with a gathering of veterans who lived those wars.
    As well as Honor Flights, other organizations bring their veterans to our nation’s memorials.
    It was on a pilgrimage organized by the Laborers International Union of North America that I felt the power still vital in these old men.
    They saw the war, I wrote in this space in May 2010. You cannot imagine what they saw. But you know from their shell-shocked look that they are seeing it again.
    They are awed and daunted, and their hearts are overflowing.
    That May day was the last visit of many of the ­veterans I joined.
    Two I knew well are no longer with us: Paul Penn, a World War II veteran, and his son David Penn, a Vietnam veteran. Together we had traced the story of America’s wars in 24 bas-relief panels sculpted in brass on the ceremonial entrance walls to the World War II Memorial. One of the panels depicts trucks and jeeps on their way to England through the Lend Lease program.
    “That’s what I did. I was a driver,” said Paul, reading the images with his fingers and memory as if they were Braille.
    I was there, he said, and made the story real.
    Great as the power of art and architecture are, human witness is more powerful still. To understand the weight of history, we need the first person present. That’s what we get when we share the company of veterans — at our airports, our memorials and this week in Selene San Felice’s story.
    Selene, just turning 21 as you read her story, will remind you of the power of empathy — and take her ­veterans’ memories far into the future.

And, that’s just one of the benefits you get from reading this issue of Bay Weekly.
    Read about how Chesapeake Beach Resort Rocks the Dock almost every night of summer … Shark Week at Calvert Marine Museum, with living sharks and fantastic fossils … how to catch rockfish … what to do for entertainment and education through July 14 — plus, who’s doing what all around Chesapeake Country.
    In our advertisements, you’ll find just what you need — as well as what you didn’t know you needed until you saw it here.
    As always, Bay Weekly puts you in the know.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com

On the Fourth of July, we celebrate reason and high ideals

There are places that seem to be magic. Who knows what forces might be at work? Perhaps magnetic fields? Certainly I’m not claiming any science here. Yet over history, places like England’s Stonehenge have drawn human creatures ­hither, often for sacred rites.
    Another of those forces seems to me to rise along the Mississippi River between Fort de Chartres and Fort Kaskaskia, the first capital of Illinois. Nearby in the cliffs of the river, humans sheltered as long ago as 10,000 years at the Modoc Rock Shelter.
    You can feel the vibrations there. At least I did when I visited with Irwin Peithmann, the local archaeologist who discovered those long-ago people’s telltale leavings.
    Places on the calendar can have that same kind of resonance. Right now, we’re in one of those times: the solstice days leading up to the Fourth of July.
    Can you feel the magic of the solstice? Indoor lives buffer us from the sense of the sun, but it still pulls on us. That force is one of the reasons people choose to spend their lives out of doors, often, here in Chesapeake Country, on the water.
    Our calendars, including Stonehenge, mark the solstice as the first day of summer here in the Northern Hemisphere. Chesapeake Country artist and naturalist John Taylor goes contrary to tradition, calling the summer solstice the first day of Chesapeake autumn, as it’s the pivot point for shortening daylight hours.
    As you’ll read in The Bay Gardener this week, plants grow by the length of daylight hours, and knowledge of their affinity for light helps gardeners to success.
    Solstice is universal language that we’ve Americanized in very special ways.
    I’m not thinking just of fiscal years, which as in Maryland often end on June 30.
    Our magic day of the season is the Fourth of July. Though we could be celebrating the Second of July, when the Continental Congress voted for independence, as you’ll read in Chesapeake Curiosities this week.
    What we’re celebrating — with fireworks, parades, concerts, picnics, barbecues and naturalization ceremonies — is our Declaration of Independence. Written over June of 1776 by five authors —Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, John Adams and Robert R. Livingston — it was presented to the Continental Congress on July 1, debated, revised and adopted July 4.
    War had already broken out, and George Washington had been commissioned commander in chief of the armies fighting for independence from Great Britain. So fervor was high.  
    Consider America’s political passions this summer 240 years later, and you’ll get a sense of those roiling times. Back then, however, the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, including four Marylanders, were deadly serious, were willing to kill and to be killed, for their cause.
    One of the wonders of that time is that these men and their compatriots could summon the cool force of reason to think — newly for their age — in terms of moral ideals. They could not only think great thoughts but also express their claim in words that set the standard for political wisdom.
    That’s a feat worth celebrating. Worth emulating in these unsettled times of ours.
    If you’re feeling that reason and higher ideals are scarce in today’s political debate, you might need a reminder of what they sound like.
    How long has it been since you’ve read the Declaration of Independence?
    Refresh your memory (below) and enjoy your Fourth!

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com