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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The End of an Era

Reading the Washington Post yesterday, my sister stumbled upon something that I feel deserves a moment of reflection; Vera’s White Sands has changed ownership. For those of you who don’t know, Vera’s White Sands is simply the best restaurant, probably in the world, definitely in Southern Maryland. Although I spent every summer of my childhood in Calvert County, I didn’t actually make it to Vera’s until one night in college when we couldn’t find anything else to do. The first time we ventured in for dinner we were so creeped out by the place that we thought it must be some sort of ghost restaurant, or a portal to another dimension. There was LIVE music (a man playing Barry Manilow on a freestanding keyboard), there was diverse clientele (a man in a Shirley Temple wig and a sailor dress sipping martinis at the bar), and there was food (I hesitate to say delicious…I had the Chicken Satay…at Vera’s, that meant boiled chicken topped with baked peanut butter). We quickly learned to always eat BEFORE you go, and always order the Mystery Drink (which it turns out is just a Sex on the Beach). For a couple of college kids living the life in Southern Maryland, Vera’s meant a break from the ordinary, something that was uniquely Southern Maryland and uniquely our own.

In the years since, I have grown to love Vera’s White Sands. I remember the time we went to Vera’s and Vera herself was acting as hostess. We asked for a table for 5 and she scanned the completely empty restaurant and asked “Do you have a reservation?” When we told her no, she scanned again, looked dismayed and said she might be able to fit us at the 4-top in the front. I realized then that she looks at her restaurant and sees it as it was in its prime. I began to look at it the same way. I’m sad to see Vera’s change hands, but I am glad that Vera is happy with what her legacy has become (and that the place wasn’t bulldozed altogether). Today I will listen to “Copacabana” and remember all the good times I had there, back when you couldn’t eat the food. I encourage you all to read the stellar article in the Post or if you would like to know more about the fantastic life of Vera Freeman, I have a signed copy of her biography. No, I’m not kidding. Please feel free to post your favorite memories of Vera's in the "comments" section.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The end of an era indeed. The first time we attemped to 'experience' Vera's, we were foiled by the wrong season. We were then informed at the fall-back location that Vera's is where all of the 'sisters' go in Calvert County. It is safe to assume the waiter was not referring to soul sistas. No, it was the gay hangout for Southern Maryland. I hope Vera is enjoying the easy life of retirement in her mock-Taj Mahal next door with a young, hot piano boy playing to her every whim. Cheers to you Vera.

1:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am truly sad to hear that Vera's is no longer Vera's. Things change, I know they have to, but I really hope Vera's doesn't change much. -Amanda

1:39 PM


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