07/15/2014 06:33 pm ET Updated Sep 14, 2014

Summer in St. Michaels at the Harbour Inn

Andrea Poe

Sunrise glided over the harbor and from my bed I watched masts sway in the breeze below in the harbor. By the time I padded outside to my deck, the sun was scrubbing the last of the pink from the sky.

When it comes to waterfront vacations, it's no cliché to say that location is everything. The Harbour Inn, Marina & Spa in St. Michaels puts you in the heart of a tranquil harbor right off the Chesapeake Bay. This is an unhurried spot, where fishing skiffs are as present as mega yachts.

The resort, with 52 slips, is prized by boaters because of its amenities like dedicated shower room, pool, and its restaurant that delivers dockside. The kitchen at the Harbourside Grill turns out Southern classics, like fried green tomatoes and flash-fried catfish, along with Chesapeake Bay offerings like oysters and cream of crab soup laced with sherry.

As ideal as this property is for boaters, it may even be better for people like me, non-boaters. This is one of the few hotels where we can be a part of a working marina, ogling beautiful boats, like the vintage Trumpy that was docked right outside my room.

Rooms here are spacious. And suites are downright cavernous with sitting rooms outfitted with comfy leather sofas and nautical accessories (think : duck pillows), but the star of this property is the view. Most rooms have private decks, balconies and porches that overlook the active harbor.

There's a small, serene spa on the top floor of the hotel that specializes in wellness, with offerings like cupping and the occasional guided yoga class. The spa taps French products that are a hybrid of lab science and botanicals plucked from Provence, along with locally made, plant-infused lotions for facials and massages. A multi-jet steam shower just about guarantees you will spend some serious time here. (Note: Since there is only one shower, there can be a wait on weekends. Visit during the week and there's a good chance you'll have the steam shower to yourself for as long as you'd like.)

Late in the afternoon, I angled down to the harbor side pool with good intentions of finishing the book I was reading. Instead, I was lulled by the view. A few boats were getting hosed down after a day on the bay; some were pulling out for a sunset sail; others swayed idly awaiting the return of their captains. A tall blue heron stood statue-still on the dock, his eyes trained on the fish below.

I had a cold drink in hand and was bobbing in the pool by the time sunset ushered in night. On Fridays the pool is home to a lively happy hour with $5 Orange Crushes, live music and corn hole tossing, but during the week on a hot summer night, this is a tranquil place from which to watch as boat lights twinkle like fireflies in the darkness.

I finally pried myself from the pool and returned to my room, only to be drawn back outdoors to my deck, where I watched the last of the boats power down in the marina as the sky and water merged in darkness.