Conference and Visitors Bureau of Montgomery County, 12900 Middlebrook Road, suite 1400, Germantown, (800) 925-0880.
Audubon Naturalist Society, 8940 Jones Mill Road, Chevy Chase, (301) 652-9188, www.audubonnaturalist.org. The Audubon Society has been inspiring people to love and respect nature for so long that it seems part of the landscape itself. Join the Audubon folks this summer and learn, experience, and get involved in the world of fauna and flora. The Audubon Bookstore alone is worth the trip.
Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton, (301) 949-8230, www.brooksidegardens.org, free. Brookside has more than just a 50-acre public garden and conservatories--there is a visitors center and a reference library too (the latter has more 3,000 volumes on plants and gardening). Plus a sculpture exhibit is on display to July 8, the Wings of Fancy live butterfly show runs until July 15, and an herb fair takes place June 9-10.
Dennis and Phillip Ratner Museum, 10001 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, (301) 897-1518, www.ratnermuseum.com. So much art says so little, but that's not true of the work here, which speaks of religion and spirituality. The Dennis and Phillip Ratner Museum displays art that visualizes the Hebrew Bible.
F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Burial Place, St. Mary's Church, Veirs Mill Road and Route 355, Rockville, (301) 428-9702. "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." Baltimore's famous crazy, decadent, and very metropolitan couple perhaps found the peace and quiet they lacked in life when they were buried at St. Mary's in Rockville, hopefully with a couple bottles of good bourbon.
Kunzang Palyul Choling Temple, 18400 River Road, Poolesville, (301) 428-8116. www.tara.org. Kunzang Palyul Choling is the study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism in the Nyingma tradition, and this temple sits on 72 serene acres with walking trails and 28 sacred monuments. The prayer room holds a continuous prayer for peace, as it has for 15 years. 10 a.m. Sunday meditation is followed by a buffet lunch.
Montgomery County Agricultural Fair, 8 a.m.-midnight Aug. 10-18, Montgomery County Agricultural Center, Gaithersburg, (301) 926-3100. This is the big daddy of county fairs--the biggest in Maryland. Enough said.
Silver Screen Under the Stars, dusk July 12-15, Georgia Avenue and Ellsworth Drive, Silver Spring, (301) 565-7300. The playlist seems to be confidential information, but the people putting on this outdoor film fest promise the best of classic and contemporary films. Bring a blanket and a picnic basket--for once you don't have to sneak food into the movies.
Strawberry Festival, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 2, Sandy Spring Museum, 17901 Bentley Road, Sandy Spring, (301) 774-0022, www.sandyspringmuseum.org. It's the 20th year for this annual celebration of the juicy red berries that welcome summer. Besides strawberries--as if they aren't enough--the festival offers family fun, food, games, and magicians. Tour the Sandy Spring Museum while you are there to get a glimpse of the area's earlier days.
Cherry Hill Park, 9800 Cherry Hill Road, College Park, (800) 801-6449, www.cherryhillpark.com. Pitch your tent or parking the RV and enjoy the pool, sauna, and hot tub. Looking for Maryland and D.C. souvenirs? The Cherry Hill Camp Store has more than postcards.
Reynolds of Derwood Bed and Breakfast, 16620 Bethayres Road, Derwood, (301) 963-2216, www.reynolds-bed-breakfast.com. If you spend a weekend at the Reynold's B&B, you might never set foot off the property. The place has a 25-foot waterfall, a sauna, and a putting green and driving range. Also, artist-in-residence Joan Reynolds gives lessons in her art studio.
SPORTS & RECREATION
Bohrer Park, Summit Hall Park, 506 S. Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg, (301) 258-6350. A water park, miniature golf course, and skate park all in one place.
Fantasy Flights, 1617 Glenallan Ave., Silver Spring, (301) 417-0000, www.airtravel.com/fantasy. Why not just do it? You know you want to go up in a big balloon strapped to a basket and propose, or kiss, or break up, or give the kids a dream come true.
G Street Fabrics, 11854 Rockville Pike, Rockville, (301) 231-8998, www.gstreetfabrics.com. This speciality shop has enough fabric, buttons, patterns, and other sewing needs to inspire you to learn how to use the Kenmore Deluxe you almost gave to your sister.
Old Town Kensington Antique Row, Kensington, (301) 933-3750. Just what it says: a row of antiques and specialty shops, 80 in all.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201