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One of the people Sean works closely with is retiring at the end of this month.  He’s really appreciative of the opportunity he’s had to work with her for the last seven years, and coming up with a gift idea that represents that the right way is tough.  It’s hard to know the right (perfect, really) way to thank someone for having an impact on your career that you know will help carry you to success in the future.  That’s kind of a big deal.  During our date night when we decided to master rice in 2014, we also chatted about what to get as this retirement gift.  Sean went over a list of things he knew about his colleague.  One thing lead to another and we got the idea that something Chesapeake Bay related, like a platter with blue crabs, might be the perfect thing.  We’d seen one at a friend’s house in May.  The platter was unmarked but she knew she’d received it from a relative who’d picked it up in Annapolis.  This weekend, we made the trip to Annapolis to see if we could find the perfect platter.

Annapolis is like any old town.  There’s a historic core, and on the East Coast this often includes water, with lots of little shops and restaurants.  Being the capitol of Maryland, Annapolis also has state and government buildings.  It’s a neat place.  Before we got to the historic core for our shopping we stopped at Miss Shirley’s Cafe for a really delicious brunch.  photo 1 photo 2Only in Maryland will you find Old Bay as a standard in a condiment basket.  I heard about a Marylander that loves Old Bay so much they put it on their ice cream! photo 3Ever since Sean re-discovered deviled eggs he’s all about them!  He snuck an order in to start at the last minute.  They looked so good that the person next to us ended up ordering them too.  They tasted good, 4 photo 5Shrimp and grits for Sean, the winning dish of the day, and a fried greet tomato, avocado, egg, and bacon sandwich for me.  It was a pretty happy start to our outing.

photo 8It was chilly, but a very pretty day in Annapolis.  See that Maryland flag?  I think it’s hard to deny that Maryland has the coolest flag.  Maryland is Little America, did you know?  It’s really called that, I’m not making it up.  Mountains to the west, city in the middle, ocean to the east.  Even though I’m a Virginian now, I still really love 10Our initial approach was to just walk around and see what we could see.  We knew there was a pottery store somewhere and knew we’d want to go there, but maybe there were other options.  The other options were slim.  At least we got to enjoy Annapolis and take in the scenes.  The picture above is of the Maryland Inn but I love all the little doggies waiting outside of Starbucks on the watch for their 7We walked up the street of the pottery store only to find that it hadn’t opened yet.  Winter hours so it didn’t open at 10:00 like usual.  We had 40 minutes to kill.  We walked around some more.

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We came across these bizarre toasting flutes.  I mean, I think painting a bride on the flute is bizarre in and off itself.  To make it anatomically correct…  And then I loved the way they handled the leftover stump on this tree.  How friendly.  Do you think the city made that decision or a random citizen?

With just another 20 minutes left before the pottery store opened, I suggested walking towards the water.  I wanted to snap a picture for the blog of the water and boats.  It’s Annapolis!  You have to have a picture of water and boats!  But we were stopped in our tracks when we came across a wood map store (that’s the best way I can describe it).photo 14This store carves maps of various places (usually places involving bodies of water) into wooden trays, clocks, and wall hangings.  The Chesapeake Bay was one such place!  The gallery was closed but had a website.  We looked in the windows and we looked online.  We loved the tray.  It is THE perfect gift.  We were disappointed the store wasn’t open, but by purchasing our gift online we were able to pick the color water we wanted and tray finish.  We were bursting with happiness.  It was just so exciting to come across something so perfect so unexpectedly.  So beautiful and unique!  I’m sure a crab platter would have been nice, but this is just so much better.

I told my mom this story.  She told me this is why it’s nice to get out and go shopping.  Yes the internet is vast but it doesn’t have everything.  Sometimes it’s better to see what there is to see in person.  I rely heavily on the internet for my shopping, for both myself and for others.  Other than a few gifts I got in person from Junior League’s Holiday Shops, I bought all our Christmas presents online.  I think maybe next year I’ll see if I can’t get out and go shopping instead.  See what there is to see and maybe come across a few of the most perfect gifts completely unexpectedly.

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