Anne Arundel County
Amanda's B&B Reservation Service, (443) 535-0008, www.amandas-bbrs.com. Information on B&Bs, private homes, inns, yachts, and cottages in and around Annapolis.
Annapolis Accommodations, (410) 263-3262, www.StayAnnapolis.com.
Maryland Commission on African-American History and Culture, 84 Franklin St., Annapolis, (410) 216-6180.
Annapolis Maritime Museum, Second Street and Bayshore Drive, Annapolis, (410) 268-1802. A collection of historic and maritime artifacts and exhibits that offers a look into Eastport culture.
Banneker-Douglas Museum, 84 Franklin St., Annapolis, (410) 216-6180. The museum's stained-glass rose window and Gothic Revival facade are reminders of its origin as the Mount Moriah African Methodist Episcopal Church in the 1800s. Now the building houses a museum of African-American life and history, named for Benjamin Banneker, who re-created the plans for the new U.S. capital of Washington when the originals were lost, and for Frederick Douglas, the Maryland slave who lbecame an eloquent leader of the abolitionist movement. Free concerts are held on Thursday evenings in July.
Helen Avalynne Tawes Garden, Tawes State Office Building (that is, outside of it), Annapolis, (410) 260-8189. This 5-acre botanical affair has flowerbeds and ponds representing Maryland's three natural neighborhoods: the Western Maryland forest, the Eastern Shore peninsula, and the part in-between.
Kunta Kinte Plaque and Alex Haley Memorial, City Dock, Annapolis. A memorial to the importance of finding your roots, dedicated to the author of the book of that name and his African ancestor.
London Town and Gardens, 839 Londontown Road, Edgewater, (410) 222-1919. London Town's easy access to the Chesapeake Bay kept it busy until the late 18th century, when the tobacco trade began to decline. Fast forward to the 1820s, when the Anne Arundel County bought the town's one remaining mansion and turned it into an almshouse, which was restored again in 1965. Today London Town is still alive with tourism and archaeological exploration. An 8-acre woodland garden offers a glass pavilion, decks, and beautiful lawns that accommodate large parties for special events--call for information.
Maryland State Archives, Hall of Records, 350 Rowe Blvd., Annapolis, (410) 260-6400, www.mdsa.net. The State of Maryland's repository for permanent records might not sound like an exciting place to visit, but the collection includes original public and church records, newspapers, photographs, and maps. Plus you can research your family's history.
Maryland State House, State Circle, Annapolis, (410) 974-3400. Learn about Maryland's important role in U.S. history with a guided tour (daily 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.) of the oldest state capitol in continuous legislative use. See the Old Senate Chamber and committee rooms, archives, and even the exact spot where Gen. George Washington stood as he resigned his position as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.
Pine Tree Nudist Camp, Crownsville, (410) 841-6033, www.pinetreeclub.org. In the 1930s, a secret society of recreational nudists turned a farm into the Pine Tree Nudist Camp. Pine Tree's natural beauty, modern facilities, and family atmosphere are available for naked couples and families; clothes-less singles are admitted on a limited basis.
St. Mary's Church, 109 Duke of Gloucester St., Annapolis, (410) 263-2396. This Victorian-Gothic house of worship, consecrated in 1860, has a hand-carved altar screen and the rib-vaulting you heard about in art-history class. The tower's octagonal steeple was added in 1876.
U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, (410) 263-6933, www.navyonline.com. The Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center is a good place to get your foot in the door of the 338-acre Naval Academy campus by checking out the interactive exhibits or joining one of the guided tours. Once outside, visit the chapel known as the "Cathedral of the Navy," Bancroft Hall's dorm-room display, and the Naval Academy Museum.
William Paca House and Garden, 186 Prince George St., Annapolis, (410) 263-5553. Not only did William Paca sign the Declaration of Independence, he also served as Maryland's governor from 1782-'85. Before all of that, in the 1760s, he built this English Georgian-style mansion, surrounding it with a 2-acre walled garden with five terraces, a pond, and a wilderness garden. The home is now restored to all of its past glory and open for tours.
Annapolis Art Walk, 5-9 p.m. Aug. 9, downtown Annapolis, (410) 267-7077, www.mcbridegallery.com. The McBride, Main Street, and Annapolis Marine art galleries plus 17 others keep their doors open after dark for a cultured evening of art. Discuss the various mediums, styles, and subject matter with a glass of wine in your hand.
Annapolis Rotary Crab Feast, 5-8 p.m. Aug. 3, Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, (410) 841-2841, www.annapolisrotary.com. The all-you-can-eat-and-drink menu for this annual crab feast looks like this: jumbo No. 1 crabs, crab on the cob, pit crab, barbecue crab sandwiches, crab dogs, crab slaw, scrambled crab, crab pie, crab kebobs, crab shakes, crab du jour, and crab à la Wendy. Plus crab beer and crab soda.
Annapolis Wine, Jazz, and Arts Festival, June 22-24, St. John's College, Annapolis, (410) 268-8828. Annapolis puts together three of its biggest events this year for one fabulous festival featuring wines from Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, local and national jazz performers, and art galore. It's like the Wal-Mart of festivals: Everything you need and want in one place.
Daylily Festival, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 23-24, Homestead Gardens, 743 W. Central Ave., Davidsonville, (800) 300-5631, www.homesteadgardens.com. Celebrate the daylily by admiring thousands of them, and by attending seminars and viewing exhibits.
Fourth-of-July Celebration, July 4, 160 Duke of Gloucester St., Annapolis, (410) 263-1183. First an old-fashioned parade with enough red, white, and blue to stir your patriotic soul, then a concert by the U.S. Naval Academy Band, and finally a fireworks display on the Annapolis waterfront.
Kunta Kinte Celebration, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Aug. 11, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 12, St. John's College, Annapolis, (410) 349-0338, www.kuntakinte.org. This yearly summer festival, started in 1989, celebrates the heritage, culture, history, music, and cuisine of Africans, African-Americans, and African-Caribbeans. Special areas are set up for family education, children's activities, and arts and crafts.
Maryland Renaissance Festival, 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. weekends Aug. 25-Oct. 21, Crownsville, (410) 266-7304, www.rennfest.com. A 22-acre English village called Revel Grove hosts two months of frivolity with five pubs, eight stages, a jousting area, and crafts. You can even get hitched at the Thistledew Theatre and treat your beloved to a giant turkey leg afterward--call (800) 296-7304. It's all brought to you by International Renaissance Festivals Ltd., and it's either really fun or really scary, depending on your point of view.
Riverboat Jazz and Wine-Tasting Cruise, 8-11 p.m. July 6 and Aug. 3, Watermark Cruises, Annapolis City Dock, (410) 269-6776, www.watermarktours.com. The Unified Jazz Ensemble plays music "from jazz to swing, big band to fusion" while you sample local wines and nosh appetizers as the Harbor Queen cruises along the Severn.
Strawberry Festival, 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. June 16, Benson-Hammond House, Aviation Boulevard and Andover Road, Linthicum, (410) 768-9518. Fresh warm strawberries straight from the field taste like summer, so what better way to welcome the start of summer (just five days away) than a strawberry festival? This one, which takes place in an early-19th-century farmhouse, also offers strawberry wine for the adults and activities for the kids.
Barn on Howard's Cove, 500 Wilson Road, Annapolis, (410) 266-6840. This restored 1850s horse barn just outside of Annapolis sits on 6.5 waterfront acres and includes a dock and canoes. A real breakfast is served in the morning.
Capital KOA Campground, 768 Cecil Ave., Millersville, (410) 923-2771. Besides complete camping facilities, KOA offers a pavilion, tiled bathrooms with showers, entertainment, and a free shuttle to Washington.
Here's a short but exciting list of Annapolis bed-and-breakfast inns. If you'd rather stay in some unimaginative chain motel or hotel, make your own list..
Ark and Dove, 149 Prince George St., (410) 268-6277.
Blue Heron, 172 Green St., (410) 263-9171.
Charles Inn, 74 Charles St., (410) 268-1451, www.charlesinn.com.
Chez Amis, 85 East St., (888) 224-6455, www.chezamis.com.
College House Suites, 1 College Ave., (410) 263-6124.
Corner Cupboard, 30 Randall St., (410) 263-4970.
Doll's House, 161 Green St., (410) 626-2028.
55 East Bed and Breakfast, 55 East St., (410) 295-0202.
Flag House Inn, 24 Randall St., (800) 437-4825, www.flaghouseinn.com.
Jonas Green House, 124 Charles St., (877) 892-4845, www.jonasgreenhouse.com.
Prince George Inn, 232 Prince George St., (410) 263-6418, www.princegeorgeinn.com.
William Page Inn, 8 Martin St., (800) 364-4160, www.williampageinn.com.
SPORTS & RECREATION
Annapolis City Marina, 410 Severn Ave., (410) 268-0660. Like a deluxe gas station for boats, this marina includes a minimart plus a laundromat and picnic area.
Annapolis Sailing School, 601 Sixth St., (800) 638-9192, www.annapolissailing.com. Learn to sail the "Annapolis Way." And the KidShip Sailing School pulls the little ones into this expensive sport.
Balloons O'er the Bay, 1700 Wickham Way, Crofton, (410) 721-8539. Fulfill a childhood desire by taking a ride in a basket.
Queenstown Harbor Golf Links, 310 Links Lane, Queenstown, (800) 827-5257. Golf Digest voted Queenstown Harbor the best public golf course in Maryland. Check out its 36 holes beside the Chester River and see if you agree.
Sandy Point State Park, 1100 E. College Parkway, Annapolis, (410) 974-2149, www.dnr.state.md.us. A 786-acre park on the Chesapeake Bay, Sandy Point is just made for swimming, fishing, boating, crabbing, and windsurfing. The marina has 22 ramps and small-boat rentals, while the park's wildlife and bird population entertain those content out of the water.
South River Boat Rental, Edgewater. (410) 956-9729, www.southriverboatrentals.com. Boats for hourly, daily, overnight, or weekly rentals on the Chesapeake Bay.
Womanship, 137 Conduit St., Annapolis, (800) 342-9295, www.womanship.com. "Nobody Yells!" at this sailing school for women. Instead, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed instructors of the female persuasion challenge would-be sailors to create "joyful, confident competence onboard."
AAA Antiques Mall, 2659 Annapolis Road, Hanover, (410) 551-4101. Unlike that splashy new mall nearby, this one sells old stuff.
League of Maryland Craftsmen, 216 Main St., Annapolis, (410) 626-1277. The arts and crafts displayed in this unique store--baskets, boat models, glass objects, handcrafted wooden items, jewelry, pottery--sound nongender-specific, so perhaps the league includes craftswomen too.
Vicualling Warehouse, Historic Annapolis Foundation Museum Store, 77 Main St., Annapolis, (410) 268-5576. This building started out as a warehouse, then it was seized during the Revolutionary War and used to store military rations. Later it burned down, and was rebuilt in 1911. Today it's a place to buy books, gifts, and tour guides relating to Annapolis' maritime history.
Calvert County Department of Economic Development, Courthouse, Prince Frederick, (800) 331-9771, www.co.cal.md.us/cced.
Annmarie Garden on St. John, Solomons, (410) 326-4640, free. Commune with nature, appreciate contemporary sculpture, reflect on peace, and relieve yourself in the county's most artistic rest rooms when you visit this public garden and art gallery on St. John Creek.
Battle Creek Cypress Swamp Sanctuary, Prince Frederick, (410) 535-5327, free. In case you didn't know, this is the northernmost naturally occurring stand of bald cypress in America. Seriously. Allow the elevated boardwalk to take you through the pretty trees to the nature center's live animals and exhibits.
Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, 1650 Calvert Cliffs Parkway, Lusby, (410) 495-4673, free. Here are two reasons to visit this nuclear-power plant: the visitors center with its hands-on exhibits and the lookout with a view of the nuclear beast that supplies much of Baltimore's electrical power. Here's one reason not to: Dick Cheney wants you to get good and comfy with nuclear power. Back on the plus side, on a clear day you can also see across the Chesapeake Bay to the Eastern Shore.
Calvert Cliffs State Park, Lusby, (301) 872-5688, $3. A 2-mile hike through this 1,460-acre wooded park gets you right to the beach for picnicking, fishing, grilling, and--the big attraction here--fossil hunting. The 15-million-year-old Calvert Cliffs are off-limits for landslide reasons, but you can roam the open beach for one of what must be bazillions of fossils.
Calvert Marine Museum, 14200 Solomons Island Road, Solomons, (410) 326-2042, $2-$5. The maritime histories of the Patuxent River and the Chesapeake Bay come flooding back to life with this museum's collection of traditional work boats, Calvert Cliffs fossils, paintings, and wood carvings. Outdoor exhibits include a re-created salt marsh and a river-otter habitat. You can also hop aboard the 100-year-old Wm. B. Tennison or visit the restored Drum Point Lighthouse.
Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum, 4155 Mears Ave., Chesapeake Beach, (410) 257-3892, free. In the early 1900s, weekend crowds rode the Chesapeake Beach Railway to the Monte Carlo-style Chesapeake Beach resort and amusement park. See proof of the place's heyday in the photos and artifacts housed in the railway's only remaining station house.
Christ Episcopal Church, 3100 Broomes Island Road, Port Republic, (410) 586-0565, (410) 586-0482, free. What began as a log house of worship in 1672 was rebuilt with brick in 1772 and still stands today. Next to the church is a preserved one-room schoolhouse that is more than 100 years old.
Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum, 10515 Mackall Road, St. Leonard, (410) 586-8500, free. Stay outside and enjoy the 544-acre park's trails, picnic areas, and a covered pavilion, or go indoors for the 12,000 Years in the Chesapeake exhibit or the farm display.
American Revolution on the Bay: Living History Weekend, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. June 9-10, Calvert Marine Museum, 14200 Solomons Island Road, Solomons, (410) 326-2042. Calling all Revolutionary War buffs: Don't miss your chance to see this encampment presented by the Living History Portrayers. 1776 never looked so good.
Calvert County Farm Tour and Produce Sale, 1-5 p.m. July 15, various locations. If the word "farmland" makes you think of the Midwest, you need to see more of your own state. Southern Maryland farms turn out produce, herbs, and baked and canned goods fresher than the freshest at Fresh Fields, and this weekend you can tour working farms down there, watch agricultural demonstrations, poke farm animals, take a hay ride, and listen to the strains of country music.
1812 Tavern Night, 7-10 p.m. June 23, Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum Pavilion, St. Leonard, (410) 586-8500. Hours of 19th-century fun without the animal dung and body odor. Revel in the music, food, and drink that made taverns the center of American towns in the 1800s.
Sharkfest, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. July 21, Calvert Marine Museum, 14200 Solomons Island Road, Solomons, (410) 326-2042. Take the kids for this day of activities about sharks. Then rent Jaws on the way home for yourself.
Solomons Fourth of July Celebration, Solomons waterfront, (410) 326-1950, (888) 580-3856. Just once, leave the Inner Harbor ritual miles away and watch the fireworks reflected on different waters.
Bowen's Inn, 14630 Solomons Island Road South, Solomons, (410) 326-9880/6790. This hotel, bar, restaurant, and dock promises the best crab cakes in town. But don't they all?
Breezy Point Beach and Campground, Chesapeake Beach, (410) 535-0259. On a summer day, you'll hope this campground delivers on the promise of its name.
Breezy Point Cabins, 5230 Breezy Point Road, Chesapeake Beach, (410) 535-4356, (301) 855-9894. The six rental beach cottages here offer bay views and beach access.
You want a Southern Maryland B&B? Try one of these:
Adina's Guest House, 14236 S. Solomons Island Road, Solomons, (410) 326-4895.
By-the-Bay Bed and Breakfast, 14374 Calvert St., Solomons, (410) 326-3428.
Tidewater Treasures Bed and Breakfast, 7315 Bayside Road, Chesapeake Beach, (410) 257-0785. Show up either with or without children, but definitely without smokes.
SPORTS & RECREATION
Bunky's Charter Boats, 14448 Solomons Island Road South, Solomons, (410) 326-3241. Fish, crab, or just cruise the Patuxent River on one of Bunky's 16-foot Carolina skiffs available for hourly or day-long rentals.
Chesapeake Beach Water Park, 4079 Gordon Stinnett Ave., Chesapeake Beach, (410) 257-1404, (301) 855-3803, $4.50-$13.50. Spend the day testing the thrill levels of all eight water slides, playing water volleyball, wrestling with a large floating alligator, or just lounging on the beach.
Island Creek Outfitters, 9250 Broomes Island Road, Broomes Island, (410) 286-0950. Located at the mouth of Island Creek on the lower Patuxent River, ICO can sell or rent you fishing, kayaking, and paddle-sport equipment, then tell you how to use it.
Rod-N-Reel Charter Captains, Chesapeake Beach, (800) 233-2080. The Captains have more than 25 charter boats that will take you angling for blues, drum, flounder, rock, and trout.
Twin Shields Golf Club, 2425 Roarty Road, Dunkirk, (301) 855-8228, (410) 257-7800. Challenge your skills on this 18-hole, par-70 course that also offers a pro shop, driving range, and, yes, a snack bar.
A-1 Antiques and Collectibles, 3736 Chesapeake Beach Road, Chesapeake Beach, (301) 855-4500. A-1 boasts 20 rooms full of old bedroom, dining-room, and living-room sets. Hey, U.S. coin collectors: Prepare to spend time in the currency department.
Barb's Attic, Lazy Moon Book and Antiques Center, Solomons Island, (410) 326-3720. There is no place like an attic to find a relic, rarity, curio, trinket, or out-of-print book.
Bowens Garage Antiques Center, Huntingtown, (410) 257-3105. There is no place like a garage to find old junk. Bowens houses several shops, including Timeless Treasures and Old Fashioned Ways.
Calvert County Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays July-September, Prince Frederick, (410) 535-4583. This open-air market has a distinguishing feature: Next-door is a restaurant, in case shopping for fresh produce leaves you too pooped to prepare it.
Memorial Day Outdoor Antiques Market, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 26, Southern Maryland Antiques Center, Huntingtown, (410) 257-1677, (301) 855-6865. Browse the kind of treasures you wish were still in your grandmother's attic.
Nice and Fleazy Antiques Center, North Beach, (410) 257-3044, (301) 855-5066. With enough antiques stores in the world to choke the proverbial horse, you may as well go to one with a cool name.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201