Sparkle's down by the bay

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Cruising easily along a picturesque street, Sparkle transforms from a happy-go-lucky pup to a confident guide dog in the making.

The gorgeous spring weather was beckoning us on Sunday, so after lunch we set off for the grand old seafaring town of St. Michaels, Md., on the Chesapeake Bay.

With light out-of-season traffic, we made it there in just over two hours and breezed into a parking lot right down by the water. Betsy then took Sparkle on a brisk tour around town, starting at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum . We didn't go inside, but strolled around outside, then headed past the docks into the charming downtown.

Sparkle was moving superbly. She's calmed down a lot in the last few weeks and is reliably obedient on the leash. She made numerous street crossings and investigated some things (like a stuffed giraffe) that she hadn't seen before. 

After stopping in to visit a sailor friend who retired from The Inquirer a few years ago, we headed back downtown to find dinner. We were directed to Ava's Pizzeria & Wine Bar, which had an outdoor patio that was perfect for us. It was starting to get a little chilly after the sun went down, but our patio had a fireplace and an overhead heater. While I kicked back with two Dogfish Head drafts and a fried-oyster sandwich, Sparkle happily lapped water from a bowl the waitress had brought (without asking, thanks!) and then napped till we were done. I'd already fed her dinner after our town walkabout. 

We've gotten the news that Sparkle will be headed back to the Seeing Eye for training on April 3. So we have a little more time for spring touring!