On Site: Eastern Shore, MD; Water, and Colors at Inn at Perry Cabin

SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS May 2007 Before I went to sleep at the Inn at Perry Cabin along Maryland’s Eastern Shore (something that was greatly facilitated by EastCoast Flight Services, which brought me by private, eight-seat jet from Teterboro, NJ, to Easton, MD, in less than an hour), everyone encouraged me to be up early to catch the beautiful sunrise.

Although the 81-room Inn at Perry Cabin, a luxury property with conference facilities for up to 114, seems like a best-kept secret, millions of movie-goers may recall it as the location for the big wedding scene in Wedding Crashers. It has been around for nearly two centuries (its original owner was trying to recreate Commodore Perry’s cabin on the U.S.S. Niagara), benefiting from a famous Laura Ashley makeover in the ’90s (when she and her husband, Sir Bernard Ashley, owned the place) and, most recently by current owner Orient-Express, which added 40 additional lavish suites and, opening in June, a stand-alone destination spa.

Within walking distance is the town of St. Michaels, with upscale boutiques and Big Al’s Seafood Market—as well as the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Available for events and educational programs, the museum comprises a number of buildings, including a lighthouse that is available for overnights, as well as a signature teambuilding activity: the opportunity to build a real boat with the museum’s expert carpenters. You can also get lessons in oyster-tonging—in case you ever wondered, “How hard can it really be?”

So as I sat down the next morning in Sherman’s Landing (the Inn’s fine-dining restaurant, presided over by Chef Mark Salter, who can offer groups cooking lessons in his portable Viking demonstration kitchen), my eyes were scanning the horizon, where the sun was turning the Miles River into a flash of silver, while pinkening the skyline just above it. Above that: a low-lying blanket of clouds, through which square panes of sunlight punched as if they had been made with a die. “I wish I had a camera,” said one of the diners to my right. “You’d never do it justice,” said her companion. “Things like that can never be captured.”