Casting your votes for this year's Southern Living Readers' Choice awards, you kept Maryland near to your hearts--and we don't blame you. From the bounty of crabs seasoned generously with Old Bay and the whiffs of salt air to hiking trails that wind deep into the mountains, what's not to love?
The Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels, Maryland, a lush 80-room Norman Rockwell-esque retreat on the banks of the Miles River, continues to draw you to its doors. With a touch of romance, culinary treasures from the Chesapeake Bay area (try the "Bloody Bay Bloody Mary," made from vine ripe local tomatoes and Old Bay seasoning), and a new airy white-clapboard spa, the inn is all about pampering and relaxation. Reader Mark McMullen of Baltimore puts it best when he says, "The inn has a down-home atmosphere, but with all the amenities of a five-star resort. Everyone on staff works to make you feel as if you are staying in their home as opposed to a hotel."
In the Navy
Annapolis, which captures your votes for a favorite Southern city, is a delightful stop where "the combination of the old and the new is really fascinating," says Rosemary Warren of Crownsville. "The homes built in the 1700s are still lived in; they aren't just museums." Cecilee Goldberg from Bryans Road adds, "There is simply nothing more relaxing than a stroll along City Dock on a sunny day, watching the gulls eye the fish along the water's edge, and seeing a few young, handsome Naval cadets on leave whooping it up."
A Green Thumb
When Harvey S. Ladew chose Maryland for his magical topiary gardens, residents of the state got a real treat. Baltimore's Darnelle Street reveals, "There are so few places that appeal to my senses the way gardens do, and Ladew's large variety of flowers and topiary is awe-inspiring." Eva Fentress from Silver Spring is partial to the inviting atmosphere, "On Sundays in the summer, musical groups--from jazz to swing--play in the gardens so you can dance the night away under the stars."
A Breath of Fresh Air
Your votes came in loud and clear for western Maryland's Deep Creek Lake. Pam and Wayne Witzke from Hebron take a break from their six children each fall at Deep Creek to "slow down from the normal frantic pace."
Thanks for your votes. And be sure to enter again; visit southernliving.com/readerschoice. Here's to 2008.