The road was 224 and the place we got off to hike was Purse State Park. It was a gorgeous day and a great place for the dogs, with a few open fields and some spooky ruins of the kind we love.
But the best part was when we found, with the help of Florian's excellent sense of direction, a trail that led directly to the Potomac.
This part of the river is extremely wide, and as we descended the trail to the sandy beach at its bank we heard the cries of birds that sounded just like seagulls.
The beach was narrow, as the water was high.
The river drains into the Chesapeake Bay not far from where we were, so in this spot it has many of the characteristics of the ocean.
We certainly felt like we were a lot farther than a 45 minute drive from our familiar existence in the suburbs of our nation's capital.
Vast open water, silence but for the slight lapping of waves and the mysterious call of aquatic birds, bright sunlight in the stillness of late afternoon.