Friday, August 5, 2016

Something for Everyone in Maryland

As a native of the Washington, DC area, I spent my formative years growing up right outside the District in the Maryland suburbs. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized how much this small states has to offer and how diverse the landscape is. Host to big cities, quaint towns, a space center, professional sports teams, hiking trails, islands, beaches, and grottoes, Maryland has something for everyone. 
The History Lover - 
As one of the original 13 colonies, Maryland is chock full of American history. A “free state” during the Civil War and birthplace of Harriet Tubman, follow the underground railroad all throughout the state. 

Antietam Battle Field, home of the bloodiest single-day battle in the Civil War, is located in Sharpsburg and has several sites appealing to Civil War buffs including a small Civil War museum, a field hospital museum, and Antietam National Cemetery, the final resting place of Civil War Union Soldiers, several Korean War veterans, a local Congressman, and USN Fireman Patrick Howard Roy, a local navyman killed during the 2000 attack on the USS Cole. 

War of 1812 more your style? Visit Ft. McHenry at the Baltimore Harbor, where Francis Scott Key sat on a boat and watched the battle rage until dawn when the tattered cotton of a revolutionary flag hung flapping in the morning breeze inspiring him to write the Star Spangled Banner. You can visit the house where Mary Young Pickersgill and several helpers sewed the flag that hung over Ft. McHenry the morning after the battle to keep the city from the British and inspired Francis Scott Key to pen our national anthem. 

The City Slicker - 
Speaking of Baltimore, if you love crabs, baseball, museums, and water, Baltimore is a great city to visit. Home of the Baltimore Orioles, fans can spend the day at The Inner Harbor before heading over to beautiful Camden Yards. If you run out of things to do at the Inner Harbor, head out to one of these other key spots:  the former residence- turned-museum of Edgar Allen Poe, The National Aquarium, or the B&O Railroad Museum. 

One of my favorite places in Maryland is Annapolis. The former nation’s capital, the site of the signing of the Treaty of Paris ending the War of 1812 (at the Maryland State House), and the home the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis is a city you don’t want to miss. About mid-way up the Chesapeake Bay, it’s also a great place to be on the water - from private sailing lessons to cruising yachts, being on the waterway is a fun way to spend the day. 

If you’re looking for a small town feel, check out Frederick, Havre de Grace, and St. Michael’s. 

The Tree hugger  - 
For the nature lover, Maryland has vast expanses of wildlife, caves, and state and national parks offering many opportunities for hiking, camping, and getting off the beaten path. Within 90 minutes of the Washington, D.C., lake lovers can swim at Greenbriar Lake in Washington County or Cunningham Falls Lake in Frederick County. Both are known for their beautiful waters and scenic vistas. Cunningham Falls, nestled in the Catoctin Mountains, is also home to great hiking trails, water falls, and the Catoctin Zoo. 

If you head to the western part of the state, Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County offers water sports in the summer and skiing in the winter. Rent a house with 15 of your closest friends for a wonderful weekend away from the city. 

Few states can boast sending people to space and sending them into the innermost parts of the earth. However in Maryland, you can visit Goddard National Space Center, a location of NASA, in Silver Spring. For a look at stalactites and stalagmites, visit Crystal Grottoes Caverns in Boonsboro (check out Antietam Battlefield and Beaver Creek Antique Market while in the area.) 

For the hiker looking for organized trails, link up with Appalachian Trail for 40 miles through Maryland’s South Mountain. Rated as “easy” by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, it’s a great way for novice and experienced hikers to get their fix. (This rating comes from expert hikers so be prepared for some steep hikes and make sure to wear proper footwear.) 

The Fish out of water - 
Maryland offers several destinations for ocean access including the Chesapeake Bay area, Ocean City, and Assateague State Park.   While Annapolis and Baltimore both sit on the Chesapeake Bay, driving south you come to the quaint coastal towns of Harve de Grace, St. Michael’s, and Cambridge. This area of the Chesapeake Bay is to Maryland what Martha’s Vineyard is to Massachusetts. Browse through antique shops, eat at local restaurants, and watch beautiful sunsets on the water. 

If you’re looking for a beach town vibe complete with boardwalk and fries, Ocean City is more your style. Boasting 10 miles of free beaches and a three-mile long boardwalk, Ocean City is the weekend destination of many city dwellers. Make sure to have some Thrasher Fries and try some Maryland Blue Crab in the form of crab cakes, Maryland crab soup, or pulled straight from the shell in an all-you-can-eat feast.  

Assateague Island is famous for wild horses and picturesque beaches. Located between Ocean City, MD and Chincoteague Island, VA, it’s a great place to spend a relaxing vacation. Half of the island is home to a state park complete with overnight camping spots sure to please the most avid outdoorsman (or woman). 

Whatever you choose to do in Maryland, rest assured you’ll never be bored, never go hungry, and never run out of things to do…. I’ve only scratched the surface on all there is to see. Let me know if you’re ever in the area and what site made your favorites list. 

About the Author
Leighann Marquiss is an author and life coach passionate about helping others get from where they are to where they want to be. She specializes in helping others see the value in difficulty and embrace the hard things of life. Click here to find out how good you are at #embracinghard. 

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