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Old photo of Inn at Perry Cabin

History of Perry Cabin

The original manor house which became Inn at Perry Cabin was built by Samuel Hambleton in the early 1800’s (approximately 1815). Mr. Hambleton was born in 1777. During the War of 1812 he entered the Navy and became the purser, aide de camp to Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry at the Battle of Lake Erie. Hambleton retired to St. Michaels in 1816 and designed the north wing (approximate location of the Morning Room) of the manor house to resemble Commodore Perry’s cabin on his flagship “Niagara”. Hence, the reference in the name, “Inn at Perry Cabin”. The history of the property spans nearly two and one-half centuries. During colonial times the English Crown endowed a land grant on the property which was originally called “Davenport.” It later became famous as the family home of the Hambleton’s and through various owners the estate has been a plantation, riding academy, a small country inn, and most recently with addition of the award winning restaurant and lodgings expansion it has become a 5 Star Hotel/Inn. In approximately 1926, Charles Fogg, a coal baron owned Perry Cabin and drastically renovated the Manor house to the then fashionable Federal and Greek revival architectural styling including the columned portico on the front entrance facing the harbor. The Watkins family created a riding academy here in approximately 1952. The property included several hundred acres, the original Manor house and stables and a few out-buildings and wharf.

The Meyerhoff’s of Baltimore (owners of the Kentucky Derby winning thoroughbred “Spectacular Bid”) purchased the estate in 1980. They transformed the country home into a 6 bedroom inn and restaurant which became widely known in the area for hospitality and local entertaining. English industrialist, Sir Bernard Ashley purchased the Inn in 1989 and began a series of transformations. They totally renovated the original Manor house and the north wing, added the restaurant and the south wing near the Pub; establishing the reputation for fine dining in the restaurant. They included an indoor pool in what is now the large banquet hall, The Commodore’s Room. The Ashley’s transformations increased the inn to 41 rooms. In 1999 Orient Express purchased the Inn and made improvements and additions which include the enlarged dining room, The Purser’s Pub, the garden pool, new banquet and meeting rooms and the “Crescent,” the 3 buildings on the south lawn which contain Studio rooms and Master suites.

The addition of the Crescent brings the total of rooms to 82. Construction on the spa and fitness center was completed in early 2007. The historic village of St. Michaels is just a stroll away. The quaint town boasts as “The town that fooled the British!” This is a reference to a bombardment of the town during the War of 1812 that may or may not have occurred. Legend informs us that the local residents eluded direct hits by hoisting lanterns into the treetops and onto tall poles. The gun crew aimed for the lights and overshot the town – hence the town that fooled the British! Numerous houses in the town have historic significance and date to the early 1600’s. St. Michaels served as an early port and shipbuilding center along with the town of Oxford, MD. Safe harbor was readily found in the sheltered waters of the Miles River a tributary to the Chesapeake Bay.

Inn at Perry Cabin in 1908
The Inn in 1908 from the water side