The average February temperature in Maryland is 36°F, with 22 of the 28 days registering temperatures at or below freezing. After months on end of this weather, I'm done. I need to feel the sun on my skin and the warmth in my bones. We got close to sand and sunshine with a weekend escape to the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay, a golf resort, spa, and marina located in Cambridge, Maryland.
On Saturday afternoon, we drove across the Bay Bridge with our swimsuits and slippers in tow. It was an easy, pleasant 90-minute drive down Highway 50, which included passing through Maryland's first European settlement on Kent Island.
We arrived at the resort around civil twilight, and checked into our room just in time to catch the sunset. Our room overlooked the grounds of the resort, which emanated the barren beauty that only comes with a prolonged winter.
Fun and Frivolity
As our primary goal was to swim and have cocktails, we immediately changed into our suits and headed to the indoor pool area. This was also the location of the evening's movie entertainment; every night, the resort screens films on a large sail suspended across floor-to-ceiling windows that showcase the Choptank River.
A frozen Choptank River near Cambridge, MD. A photo posted by Lynn (@lynndaue) on
Our walk to the pool area revealed the deep chill of the winter: the Choptank River, on which the resort is located, was completely frozen over. Ice settled between the docks at the marina, and snow covered the small strip of sand that serves as the resort's beach.
Soon, the children were neck-deep in Marco Polo and swimming races, and my husband and I were reclining on lounge chairs with cocktails in hand and eyes on the games. Lifeguards watched the activities—which included the afternoon shift of Camp Hyatt, the resort-hosted kids' club—and attendants hovered on the edges of the pool with towels at the ready.
Dinner and Dessert
We dined at the Water's Edge Grill, the family-friendly restaurant on the ground floor of the resort. Our first choice, Blue Point Provision, was closed for the season, so we made due with the grill's Pecan Crusted Scottish Salmon, Center Cut Filet Mignon, and water views.
One of our favorite features of the resort is the outdoor fireplace that graces the patio. At 6pm, resort staff members light a fire and patrons gather to roast marshmallows. We only stayed for one marshmallow each; gusts of wind stirred up embers and ash and drove us back inside.
To Sleep, Perchance to Dream
We didn't make it through much of the evening's movie—after our afternoon of swimming and our delicious meal, we were exhausted. Instead, we cut our evening short and headed back to our room.
The kids got a kick out of the bunkbeds, one of the many concessions the resort makes for families. We, on the other hand, snuggled into our king-sized bed and sipped on Frangelico accompanied by hazelnut milk chocolates, a pairing we discovered at the Maryland Science Center's Cocoa-ology lecture earlier in the month.
A Fresh New Morning
The sun was bright the next morning, so we strolled the grounds before our departure. The river was still frozen over, and snow drifts covered the dock leading to the Breakwater Pavilion. If we squinted our eyes and tilted our heads, we easily could have been on a tropical island instead of a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.
Would we go back? Absolutely. In the warmer months, the resort boasts mini-golf and beach volleyball for the children, as well as a shell-lined walking path along the water and, of course, an 18-hole course at the River Marsh Golf Club.
We might do things a bit differently—schedule massages at the spa, reserve places in Camp Hyatt for the children, have a drink at Michener's Library—but we would absolutely submit ourselves to the Hyatt's relaxation and luxury again.