Dear Mathews County,
I have a crush on you. It's big.
I visited you recently, under cover of anonymity. You didn't know you were being watched. I admit it: I am your stalker.
You are beautiful beyond compare, and this from a woman who lives in a state known for its beauty. Yeah, California has its vistas, its great expanses, but coastal Virginia, and Mathews in particular? It's a whole other beautiful. Intimate. Secluded. You have to stalk it to discover it. And I did.
Without you knowing it, I walked your beaches and skirted your marshlands. I breathed in the electric air of vibrant downtown Mathews during a thunder shower (in California our original downtowns are few and growing fewer, and our thunderstorms are even more rare). I heard the beep-beeps of passing cars and knew they were friendly honks of recognition of passing neighbors, not angry motorists. I smiled.
Thank you for the wonderful food I tried for the first time! At Chef Todd's I had a crab cake sandwich. Being a Come-Here I wanted to try local food, and I'm pretty sure this was it. YUM. Thanks to the kind staff at Chef Todd's for a wonderful lunch and for not falling over when the question "How many for lunch today?" was answered, "Oh, maybe 20? 16 for sure."
At the visitor's center in the historic Sibley's General Store building we knocked a few of your citizens out of their socks, I'm afraid. I hope we didn't frighten anyone too badly, when we just kept pouring through the door, announcing the many and far-flung places from which we had come: metro D.C., Texas, Maine, Connecticut, Manhattan, Seattle, and even Vancouver, Canada. And, of course, many from within a stone's throw of Mathews County as well. I was smitten by the local talent on display and for sale in that charming old store that has a good start on its second century of life.
(Original photo stolen from the lovely and talented Daryl)
In Hallieford I fell in love with the Sandpiper Reef restaurant because of the Heavenly Grouper which, I'm only slightly ashamed to say, I completely devoured, and thought about licking the plate but didn't at the last minute. FANTASTIC!
(Original photo stolen from their web site)
And how such a spacious room could feel cozy is beyond me, but it did. Maybe it was the great company, food and the locals, who not only didn't point and stare at we Come-Here's, but actually joined us at the table and gave us a pre-prepared quiz about the region. I failed miserably but thoroughly enjoyed the process. Thanks to Mark -- I think I have the name right? -- for going above and beyond to make sure we were somewhat edumahcated.
And of course there was Nature. Nature is especially fond of Mathews County, I can tell: Her light is just a little stronger, Her shadows more nuanced, Her greens a shade richer than in other parts of the world.
And Her denizens are as relaxed as we Come-Heres were.
I hope to do more Mathews stalking, spurred on by the talented local blogger Chesapeake Bay Woman whose blog "Life In Mathews" lured so many of us to your fine county. Because of CBW, Mathews has at least a dozen more stalkers, and counting.
You have been warned, Mathews, but we'll be gentle.
Thank you to the fine people of Mathews County Virginia for three days of heaven!