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Maryland State Parks:
Maryland State Parks – Maryland is a Mid-Atlantic state that is defined by its abundant waterways and coastlines on the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. Its largest city, Baltimore, has a long history as a major seaport. Fort McHenry, birthplace of the U.S. national anthem, sits at the mouth of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, home to the National Aquarium and Maryland Science Center. The capital is Annapolis. Maryland boasts of 37 State Parks, 5 State Forests, and 6 State Wildlife Management Areas. Let’s see what they have to offer.
Susquehanna State Park: Come to hike the scenic Mason-Dixon trail along the Susquehanna River. The first 3.5 miles are flat, parallel to the river. Starting at the railroad bridge, the first mile is a well-traveled wooded path followed by a much wider rail/bike trail to the dam, and is moderately used. At the dam, the trail starts heading into the woods and becomes sparsely used. You can walk a pleasant 7+ miles which is good for kids and adults of all ages. The scenery is great with lots of birds, water and flowers. And you are rewarded with walking by a Maryland Trophy Tree. It’s a few miles off I-95-S so it’s easy to get to and located a couple miles from delicious seafood and wonderful local ice cream in the town of Havre de Grace.
Janes Island State Park: Nearly surrounded by Chesapeake Bay and its inlets, this park offers campsites, hiking trails, flat water canoeing and kayaking along miles of isolated shoreline and marshland. We recommend renting a kayak then ask them to drop it off at the island. You can kayak out to a little beach, then around the island. Quiet area, not too many boats on the water – plenty of wildlife, crabs, birds, turtles etc. Right on the water sits the campground with waterfront sites. There is lots to do from kayaking, boating, fishing, canoeing, hiking, etc. The observation tower offers a gorgeous view of the campground and the water. The park is uncrowded and just beautiful and is located near Crisfield.
Catoctin Mountain Park: You can’t visit the Presidential retreat of Camp David, but you can take advantage of the park’s 25 miles of scenic hiking trails and many outdoor activities like camping, picnicking, and fishing. A favorite trail for many is Wolf Rock. This trail is right next to the park visitors center building. It’s a steady ascent for 1.5 miles all the way. The signage at the trailhead shows two trails, right for Wolf Rock and left for Chimney Rock. To do a loop, first Wolf Rock and back via Chimney Rock, which is a total of just under 4 miles. Wolf Rock is fun with a long stretch of rocks for arbitrary scrambling, and the namesake rock does look like a wolf. No scenic overlook here, for that you must go to Chimney Rock with lots of flat top rocks to sit on and enjoy the view. You will find this park in Thurmont.
Assateague State Park: The Horses are always a favorite every time people visit Assateague. They are so rambunctious and comical! Be aware of odors and fragrances, never eat in the tent, never leave food or trash lying about, clean up immediately after cooking and eating, and store all food and coolers in a locked vehicle. If you are eating on the beach, finish your meal completely and securely stow all trash. If you strictly follow all these rules, you will avoid a campsite or beach blanket raid by the horses. You can simply sit back and enjoy them as they saunter on past. The state of Maryland is doing an excellent job with maintaining and caring for this lovely state park. The bathhouses are clean and modern, with hot showers. The campsites are also clean, and free of horse manure (a big problem on the Federal side). TravelKatz highly recommends this place. To see the wild horses, go to the town of Berlin.
Rocky Gap State Park: This park a great place for camping. The bathrooms and the grounds are clean and well kept. There is a small beach area with a lifeguard. A nice playground with basketball hoop, and volleyball net. In addition, there is kayaking, walking trails, and fishing, as well as the casino. As you can see, there is lots of activities to stay busy. Only one camp loop has electric, all others are primitive. The workers are doing a great job to keep this park nice for the whole family. Nice views at this great park in Cumberland.
TravelKatz is looking forward to helping you put together a special vacation in Maryland just for you. Call us at 352-277-7300 or visit www.travelkatz.com to chat.
Maryland Museums: This state is defined by its abundant waterways and coastlines on the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. Its largest city, Baltimore, has a long history as a major historic seaport. Fort McHenry, birthplace of the U.S. national anthem, sits at the mouth of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, home to the National Aquarium and Science Center.
The Walters Art Museum: This Art Museum is a cultural hub in the heart of Baltimore. Located in the city’s Mount Vernon neighborhood, it is free for all. The museum’s collection spans from 5,000 BC to the 21st century and encompasses 36,000 objects from around the world. Walking through the museum’s historic buildings, visitors encounter a stunning panorama of thousands of years of art, from romantic 19th-century images of French gardens to mesmerizing Ethiopian icons, richly illuminated Qur’ans and Gospel books, ancient Roman sarcophagi. The Walters’ mission has been to bring art and people together and to create a place where people of every background can be touched by art, and unique examples of old antiquities and Modern art. Eclectic, but fun – admission to the museum and special exhibitions is free. Be sure to enjoy the Cafe and order the Powerhouse! You will find this museum in the heart of Baltimore.
American Visionary Art Museum: Be prepared for the unusual and imaginative at this museum housing works by non-mainstream artists, including the “whirligig”, a 55-foot wind-powered sculpture, a 10-foot model of the Lusitania made entirely out of match sticks and a mobile that spans three floors! The label for the work inside the museum is “Outsider Art.” Some of the artists are blissfully unaware of contemporary art and others are at the fringe. The innovation and dedication of the artists is evident and wonderful – also located in Baltimore.
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park: Opened in March 2017, the Visitor Center invites you to experience Tubman’s world through exhibits that are informative and emotive. You’ll have the opportunity to understand Tubman’s early years spent in the Choptank River region of Maryland along with the resistance movement of the Underground Railroad. This is a fairly new addition to the National Park system. It is also a Maryland State Park. Being new it is quite modern. The parking area has solar lighting and an electrical charging station for hybrid electric vehicles. There is little to see outside of the visitor center with its movie and exhibits but the movie and exhibits are well done and interesting. Both the movie and exhibits tell the story of Harriet Tubman from her birth to an elderly woman. Naturally of main focus is her escape from slavery and her returns to Eastern Shore Maryland to lead to freedom family members and other slaves. The visitor center also has a gift shop. There is a short trail outside that goes around the visitor center. Be sure to wonder around this museum in Church Creek.
Ward Museum of Wildfowl: The Ward Museum has amazing world class art and an excellent staff! In some cases, you are going to think some of the carvings in the museum are taxidermy, but all the works of art in the museum are carved from wood. This is world class museum with carvings that are amazing. The museum is currently undergoing an unprecedented $28 million renovation to provide visitors with a more welcoming environment and more imaginative and inspiring encounters with art. Two beautifully landscaped gardens display an array of 20th-century sculpture that is an oasis in the city. The museum’s 100th anniversary was celebrated in November 2014. This is a museum worth a visit in Baltimore.
TravelKatz is waiting for you to “chat” or contact us at www.travelkatz.com or at vacationnationradio.com or give us a call at 352-277-7300 and we will put together a special vacation for you and your family or friends.
Festivals in Maryland often revolves around seafood; after all it is one of the nation’s seafood capitals! Let’s see what else we can find in the way of festivals in Maryland…
Mount Airy Beer, Wine and Seafood Festival: This Festival will be held on June 15. It’ll feature live music, artisan craft vendors, delicious wines and beers, seafood and much more. Hours: 11am-6pm in Mount Airy.
Sykesville Strawberry Festival: This Festival is also on June 15. There will be entertainment, hay wagon rides, pony rides, crafters and vendors, strawberry shortcake, fresh strawberries and more. In Sykesville from 9am-4pm.
Dundalk Heritage Fair: This three-day Fair is held on June 28-30. It’ll feature music, kid’s activities, amusement/carnival rides and games, a petting zoo, pig races, commercial vendors, arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, and much more. In Dundalk the hours are on Fri 4pm-10pm; Sat-Sun 12noon-10pm. Enjoy!
Boonsboro Independence Day Celebration: The annual Independence Day Celebration will be held on July 3. There will be live music, kid’s fun activities, delicious food, Spectacular Fireworks display and much more. Hours: 5pm-Dusk.
Maryland Food Truck Festival at Kinder Farm Park: Join us for the best food trucks around! Featuring dozens of trucks and an area just for the kids. Choose from more than 20 amazing food trucks offering a wide variety of cuisine. There is Greek, Italian, BBQ, Seafood, Pizza, Mexican, Korean, Caribbean, Soul Food, and Creole to choose from or eat all of them! Jul 21, 11 AM – 8 PM
Moonrise Festival: A Music Festival for all ages with music of many styles such as heavy-hitting bass, hip hop, live electronic acts and more. Plus there are art installations, a vendor village, and amazing food options. This festival is in Baltimore at the Pimlico Race Course on Aug. 10 & 11.
World Heritage Festival: Taste delicious ethnic food from Nigeria, Jamaica, Thailand, Greece and get refreshed with a scoop of ice cream, shaved ice or even a fresh smoothie!! Enjoy a cultural performance show with folk dances from Bolivia, Brazil, Egypt, Turkey and much more! There’s an array of vendors to choose from with more than 60 artists displaying everything from fine art to jewelry, ceramics to crafts, and every creative item in between. Other vendors include area nonprofit organizations, entrepreneurs, and local businesses. The kids zone has activities and games throughout the day. Rain or Shine – Free to Everyone on June 24th from 2pm – 8pm in Silver Springs.
52nd Annual Maryland Seafood Festival: This festival is what you’ve been waiting for! and a tasty one at that; with all the entertaining traditions; music, great food, exhibits, arts and crafts, and featuring the 29th annual Crab Soup Cook-off. This family fun and feasting event draws 20,000+ visitors from across the mid-Atlantic region. With chef demonstrations, delicious seafood, creative craft booths, and interactive kid zone, it is guaranteed fun had by all! Sat & Sun, Sept 7-8 from 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM. in Annapolis.
6th Annual Chesapeake Crab, Wine and Beer Festival: This Maryland Festival is an all-you-care-to-taste extravaganza complete with over 30,000 crabs, lots of beer, arts & crafts, live music, family fun and so much more. Find out what over 35,000 people have come to enjoy every year. In Baltimore on Jun. 22 – 23, from 11am-9pm. There is a cost but it’s all-you-care-to-eat so it’s well worth it!
PLACE OF INTEREST
Baltimore is a major city in Maryland with a long history as an important seaport. Fort McHenry, birthplace of the U.S. national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” sits at the mouth of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Today, this harbor area offers shops, upscale crab shacks and attractions like the Civil War–era warship the USS Constellation and the National Aquarium, showcasing thousands of marine creatures.
Fort McHenry National Monument: When in Baltimore, do NOT let the opportunity to see “America’s National Monument and Historic Shrine” pass you by. The National Park Service does a fabulous job of telling the story of our national anthem’s inception and its surrounding history. Full access to the fort is $20/p but you can see the film and see many exhibits without paying anything. We strongly suggest taking the whole tour because the many guides are all extremely helpful in answering every question you may have. The pass also lets you see the flagpole up close (interesting stories there!) and lets you see buildings and displays you wouldn’t get to see if you just did the free parts. Allow about 2 hours to read the signs, watch the 10-minute film, and walk around the grounds of the star fort. The Fort looks out toward the Chesapeake Bay and was where Francis Scott Key penned his poem that eventually became The Star-Spangled Banner.
There is a visitor center as well as a video historical re-enactment. There is also a ranger led tour up to the actual fort which is worthwhile. This is a must see if for no other reason than the historical significance. There is a short movie to see. Arrive in time for the 10 a.m. changing of the flag. It is easy to reach it by tour boat or by car. Even if you are not a history buff, seeing the fort and learning of its’ importance in keeping the British at bay is informative. The guide inside the fort was a wealth of information. You will never sing the national anthem at a ballgame the same way after visiting Fort McHenry.
Fells Point Food Tour: This 3.5-hour tour explores parts of Baltimore’s best preserved historic district; Fell’s Point is a spirited waterfront community founded nearly 280 years ago. Enjoy Fell’s point amazing atmosphere and historic roots while tasting a little of what makes Fells point the place to be in Baltimore. This tour explores parts of Baltimore’s best preserved historic district, Fell’s Point, an area founded nearly 280 years ago. On this guided, narrated walking tour, you will experience and learn about the significance of the small town once separated from Baltimore. During the tour, you will stop to sample specially made dishes at unique family owned restaurants. After finishing, you will be able to truly appreciate the heritage, history, and local food of the area. Your culinary adventure may include the following specialties: Authentic Polish and Eastern European cuisine Traditional Baltimore style pit beef Local seafood specialties Spanish Tapas The neighborhood’s best dessert and cocktail combination Experience Baltimore’s storied past!
American Visionary Art Museum: Be prepared for the unusual and imaginative at this museum housing works by non-mainstream artists, including the “whirligig”, a 55-foot wind-powered sculpture, a 10-foot model of the Lusitania made entirely out of match sticks and a mobile that spans three floors. Very different from any art museum you have ever visited! It does cost to experience it but totally worth it. Art and collections by everyday people. There is a nice gift shop; don’t forget to see the second building, it’s part of the museum.
Babe Ruth’s Birthplace and Museum: This is a small museum but its packed full of interesting things, and it’s only a few blocks from the stadium. Lots of Babe Ruth, baseball and local history in one place. It’s nice this little homage to a local born hero, even though he made his name somewhere else. Well worth the trip and the cost of admission. There are a few original rooms. Most of it is about the baseball history of Ruth. There is plenty of video presentation along with lots of photos and relics. It is 2 story and has an elevator, something most pre-1900 homes would not have had. There is a souvenir store with lots of Orioles stuff, DVDs, and other items. This is a must see for any baseball fan.
It’s best to fly into Washington D.C. rent a car and head to Baltimore which is close by. Give Travelkatz a call at 352-277-7300 and we will be happy to make your vacation to Baltimore great family affair.
Maryland State Capital: Annapolis
Dubbed “Providence” by the Puritans, Annapolis was renamed in 1694 to honor Princess Anne, heir to the English throne, and later Queen of England. To this day, Queen Anne’s royal badge, with a crown hovering above entwined thistle and rose (symbols of Scotland and England), appears on the Annapolis flag.
U.S. Naval Academy: Words can’t describe the sense of awe one feels when visiting. Do the walking tour with a guide and you will get so much more out of it. This Academy is one of the cradles of leadership training in the US. Countless thousands of midshipman have graduated from this institution and gone on to lead many others in battle defending the US and all it stands for. These men and women have also gone to be great civilian leaders as well. This campus is architecturally awesome and the sense of history is palpable everywhere you go. Don’t forget to grab lunch at the “Alley”. You can watch the Brigade of Midshipman parade, walk through the Chapel, and explore the history of the Academy museum. Make sure to enjoy a walk along the Severn River and top it off with a short trip outside the gate for Crab cakes. A good experience to see how young officers are trained. The chapel has some fantastic stained glass windows not to miss. the entrance hall to the mess hall and cadets accommodations have beautiful wood floors. Be sure to visit the museum. The upper floor was given over to the second largest collection of models ships in the world. Many were used to determine the lines of warships dating back to the 1650s. The downstairs told the story of the USA from its earliest beginnings during the Revolution until present day. The reenactments of many of the most important naval engagement so are extremely well done.
Maryland State House: This historic state house is perched on high ground in Annapolis, and it overlooks the city and the harbor as well. The grounds have a number of interesting monuments, including the ship’s bell from the battleship USS Maryland (BB-46). The grounds have what is probably the oldest English cannon recovered from any of the English colonies from St. Marys. This is a beautiful building to visit that is the working state capitol of Maryland. There are state senate and house chambers as well as the Old Senate Chamber where George Washington famously resigned his commission as commander-in-chief. They have a nice exhibit for this. It was also the Capitol of the United States for a brief period 1783-1784. It is free to visit. You enter on the north side of the building and go through metal detectors and security. There is no parking but there is public parking at garages nearby. It was quite a feeling to stand in the same room as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and many other great figures in history. The self-guided tour map and signage are great. one room features some interactive displays and they have the transcript from General Washington’s resignation speech on display.
Quiet Waters Park: Quiet Waters is a beautiful park open year round with paved and unpaved trails for walking, running and biking. In the summer there are kayak and paddle board rentals available for the beautiful South River. Or ice skating in the winter! Dogs love the park! They have their own fenced area to run and play! Many pavilions available for rental for picnics and parties.
St. Mary’s Church: When you are strolling through Annapolis and are down near the docks, take a few steps up Duke of Gloucester Street to historic St. Mary’s Church and walk in for a peek. It is a stunning Catholic Church. Make sure to look up at the star-painted ceiling. Stunning. Very historic area. The Carroll House is behind the church area along with the Carroll Gardens with much history.
Carroll House: Charles Carroll House is located across from the Eastport Bridge. With a beautiful view of the Severn River at hand explore the grounds and house where the famous Charles Carroll lived. The main house is located behind the Church. The family grounds were deeded to the Church as well. Stroll along the river, take in the view and imagine what it was like to live as gentry in the days of yore. This piece of history is located in downtown Annapolis and within walking distance to Main Street. It is a destination not to be missed. Charles Carroll was the longest living signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Maryland World War II Memorial: There is a small parking space just behind the monument. It was almost empty when we reached there in the afternoon. There is a viewpoint just above the monument and there are two pathways around the monument that take you inside it. The views from the monument are also very nice. the Maryland WW2 Memorial will remind you of the many veterans who sacrificed for our freedom. Of course, Annapolis is a Navy town, so the reminders of ALL the services who participated is a good thing. This is a 10-20 minute visit – worth the stop.
Ego Alley: At the foot of Old Annapolis lies Ego Alley, a small “canal” that comes from the harbor right into waterfront Annapolis. All around are great restaurants and pubs, along with shops. A great place to spend an hour…or a day…or many days. Ego Alley is the center of Historic Annapolis. It is a narrow water way, where boats go up and down. Interesting to see some private yachts, but it is more the place to go to see the stores. If the weather is good, it is a great place to go to just be there.
The best way to get to Annapolis is to fly into one of the Washington, DC airports and rent a car for the trip to Annapolis. There is much to see here as well as Washington, DC. So, you can combined both for a great Vacation. Just give us a call and we will make this a memorable Maryland Vacation Package; 352-277-7300
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MARYLAND: Assateague Island
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