by M.L. Faunce
After Famine, We Feast
Crab days of summer are here
With crabs, its feast or famine. Just in the nick of time, its feasting time, as the season of crab feasts commences in Chesapeake Country. As you read this, your crab columnist and thousands of other crab lovers will have just cracked crabs at the 29th annual J. Millard Tawes Crab and Clam Bake.
July ends with Crab Days at Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels on the Eastern Shore in Talbot County on Saturday and Sunday, July 30 and 31. After eating your fill of steamed crabs, crab cakes, crab soup and more (priced separately), try your hand at pulling up crab pots, chicken necking, and trotlining ($11 gives you run of the museum and grounds).
Crab Days gives you a second good reason to visit the new exhibit at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. At Play on the Bay tells the story of Chesapeake Bays changes over the last 100 years from a place of work to a place we play.
The exhibit spans the years with an early 20th century canoe campsite, a 30-foot Owens cruiser you can climb onboard, a 1950s tackle shop and a yacht club yes, the whole thing. Youll learn about organized sailboat racing on the Chesapeake, and you can design your own burgee, the small flags yacht clubs fly to distinguish themselves. I especially enjoyed home-movies made over the years by families at play.
The shift from a place of work to a region attracting people to play has not been seamless. Exhibit curators call the Bay contested terrain in its use by so many different people and in the ongoing conflicts in transitioning from a seafood-harvesting economy to tourism. Its a change theyve seen firsthand. The museums location at Navy Point in St. Michaels was once occupied by seafood-packing houses, docks and workboats; its original, permanent exhibits chronicle traditional maritime trades. Theres still a working boatyard where museum shipwrights and apprentices have restored skipjacks and preserve and maintain a fleet of Bay boats, all within view of the visitors and their questions.
At Play on the Bay, 10 years in the planning, brings us a larger view of the Chesapeake, including how the roles we play as tourists, sail and power boaters, fishermen, kayakers, day trippers, crab and oyster consumers, fuel the economic engine of the Chesapeakes 21st century.
Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum: 410-745-2916; www.cbmm.org: $10 w/age discounts.
This weeks crab sources
Joes Seafood, Severna Park: (local and Louisiana; carry-out prices)
- Extra Large: $58 the dozen
- Large: $40 the dozen
- Medium: $30 the dozen
- Regular: $18 the dozen
Chesapeake Seafood, Edgewater (all local; carry-out prices)
- Jumbo: $60 the dozen
- Extra Large: $45 the dozen
- No. 1 males: $35 the dozen
- No. 2 males: $25 the dozen
Bob Evans Seafood, West River (all local)
- No. 1 males: $39 for two dozen, Tu-Th
- No. 2 males: $39 for four dozen, Tu-Th