Anne Arundel County
Anne Arundel Citizen Information Center, www.co.anne-arundel.md.us.
Anne Arundel Premier Area Guide, www.annearundelcounty.com.
Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors Bureau, 26 West St., Annapolis, (410) 280-0445, www.goannapolis.org/.
Annapolis Opera, Maryland Hall for the Arts, 801 Chase St., Annapolis, (410) 267-8135, www.annapolisopera.org. For 31 years this self-described "artistic gem" has brought the art of opera to Anne Arundel County residents, and the fat lady hasn't stopped singing yet. The opera house is also a starting place for young Marylanders with a passion for opera.
Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre, 143 Compromise St., Annapolis, (410) 268-9212, www.summergarden.com. 300 years ago, this historic landmark operated as a blacksmith shop. Now it's home to 15 summer weeks of open-air theatre.
Banneker-Douglass Museum, 84 Franklin St., Annapolis, (410) 216-6180, www.marylandhistoricaltrust.net/bdm.html. Take a tour of Maryland's African-American history at the museum named for native Mary-landers Benjamin Banneker and Frederick Douglass. Peruse the collections of artifacts, photographs, art, and rare books or make an appointment to take a closer look at historical documents in the museum's library.
Hammond-Harwood House, 19 Maryland Ave., Annapolis, (410) 263-4683, www.hammondharwoodhouse.org. This pre-Revolu-tionary structure was home to generations of wealthy Annapolitan families after tobacco magnate Matthias Hammond began building it in 1774. It now holds extensive collections of paintings by Charles Willson Peale and furniture by John Shaw.
Kunta Kinte Plaque and Alex Haley Memorial, City Dock, Annapolis, www.kuntakinte.com/memorial.html. Visitors to Annapolis may only see bronze statues of a man reading to a group of children, but this memorial marks Annapolis as "a symbolic Ellis Island for African Americans." It commemorates the U.S. arrival of Kunta Kinte, a slave made famous in descendant Alex Haley's book, Roots.
London Town and Gardens, 839 Londontown Road, Edgewater, (410) 222-1919, www.historiclondontown.com. Within the confines of this 23-acre park lies the late 17th and early 18th century town of London. As archaeologists from the Lost Towns Project chip away at the colonial past, visit the museum at the William Brown House and a variety of gardens.
Maryland Federation of Art Circle Gallery, 18 State Circle, Annapolis, (410) 268-4566, www.mdfedart.org/glry_circle.html. Since the '60s, hundreds of MFA member artists have found a home at the Circle Gallery and more recently at its predecessor, the City Gallery in Baltimore's Mount Vernon. This summer look forward to exhibitions of oil paintings, mixed media, and figurative works
McBride Gallery, 215 Main St., Annapolis, (410) 267-7077, www.mcbridegallery.com. With seven rooms of original art from some 60 artists and new pieces arriving daily, this gallery near the City Dock fails to disappoint art lovers. Its long history and Georgian-style structure should please the history buffs as well.
Three Centuries Tours of Annapolis, 48 Maryland Ave., Annapolis, (410) 263-1901, www.annapolis-tours.com. Let a guide in colonial costume show you a more historic side of Annapolis. From the State House to the U.S. Naval Academy, learn as you walk your way through the state capital.
William Paca House and Garden, 186 Prince George St., Annapolis, (410) 263-5553, www.annapolis.org. This restored 18th-century mansion and garden once was home to William Paca, signer of the Declaration of Independence and former governor of Maryland. While the house and its colonial décor are enough to delight, the garden is not to be missed. It is the only landscape in Annapolis resembling its original design.
U.S. Naval Academy, Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center, 52 King George St., Annapolis, (410) 263-6933, www.navyonline.com. After taking a walking tour of the academy, find out the history behind the uniform that Tom Cruise made famous. Find out all about it at the exhibit Uniform Traditions at the U.S. Naval Academy. There is also a display of flags used by the navy from the Revolutionary War to present day.
Annapolis Art Walk, 5-9 p.m. Aug. 19, 215 Main St., Annapolis, (410) 267-7077, www.artinannapolis.com/artwalk. You keep telling yourself to visit an art gallery. How about 18 in one night? If the art isn't enough, there are also refreshments, music, and entertainment. Pick up a free parking pass at any of the participating galleries.
ArtWorks Annapolis Festival, June 3-6, various locations around Annapolis, www.artsannapolis.com/artworks.html. A celebration of all culture takes over the historic capital for four days. Rely on your feet or public transportation (your ticket stub doubles as a bus pass) to travel between over 100 events, including exhibitions, poetry slams, food, and literary readings.
Chesapeake Bluegrass Festival, noon-11 p.m., June 19, Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, 1450 General's Highway, Crownsville, (410) 923-3400, www.aacountyfair.org/. For the second year, music enthusiasts can not only listen to live bluegrass but attend workshops about how to play bluegrass instruments and even write songs. While there is no alcohol being served, there is plenty of food to enjoy while checking out the crafts and listening to the tunes from the lawn.
Fourth of July Celebrations in Annapolis, 1 p.m. July 4, Historic Annapolis, (410) 280-0445, ext. 10, www.visit-annapolis.org. Grab a blanket, or hell, a boat for that matter, and watch the fireworks explode over the Chesapeake. There is really no bad place to watch in this picturesque town.
Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival, Aug. 14-15, Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, Rte. 178, Crownsville, (410) 349-0338, www.kuntakinte.com. For the past 15 years, more than 100,000 people have headed to Crownsville to spend a summer day or two learning about African culture. Find out what you've been missing at this celebration of the music, dance, history, food, and crafts of Africans, African-Americans, and African-Caribbeans.
Maryland Renaissance Festival, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. weekends Aug. 28-Oct. 24, 1821 Crownsville Road, Crownsville, (410) 266-7304, www.rennfest.com/mrf. Before the metrosexual there was the Renaissance man. Whether he is chomping on an oversized turkey leg or knocking his nemesis off a horse in a jousting match, he can be found at this festival, undoubtedly next to a few medieval wenches throwing back some spirits or selling wares.
Wine Festival, noon-5 p.m. June 12, Wine Cellars of Annapolis, 410 Forest Drive, Annapolis, (410) 216-9080. Sample wine from around the world while feasting on local edibles. The proceeds benefit the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.
SPORTS AND RECREATION
Amphibious Horizons Kayaking, 600 Quiet Waters Park Road, Annapolis, (410) 267-8742, www.amphibioushorizons.com. Can you hip snap? Eskimo rescue? No? Then it's time to take some kayaking lessons. All summer long you can beat the heat by hitting the water, or at least the surface of it, while picking up a new sport amphibian style.
Annapolis Sailing School, 601 Sixth St., Annapolis, (410) 267-8742, www.annapolissailing.com. This school doesn't want you to agonize over homework. The teachers here just want you to enjoy the ride, with a little help from the wind. Pick up sailing at your own pace and enjoy the summer breeze in style.
Balloons O'er the Bay, 1700 Wickham Way, Crofton, (410) 721-8539. The hot-air balloon in downtown Baltimore certainly offers a view but it certainly doesn't beat flying above the Chesapeake Bay, no strings attached.
Lake Waterford Park, 830 Pasadena Road, Pasadena, (410) 222-6248, web.aacpl.net/- rp/parks/lwp. Within the 108 acres of park land there is a 12-acre lake ready to be fished, picnic areas with a "boundless" playground, and nature trails.
Patuxent Research Refuge, 10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop, Laurel, (301) 497-5761, patuxent.fws.gov. Bird watchers can delight in more than 200 species of birds on the only refuge in the country dedicated to wildlife research. If you want to do more than look at the birds, stop by the National Wildlife Visitor Center and learn about their migratory habits, as well as environmental issues affecting all wildlife.
Presidential Pet Museum, 1102 Wrighton Road, Lothian, (410) 741-0899, www.presidentialpetmuseum.com. Behind every great man is a great dog. So you may not think the president or the ones before him were exactly great, but that doesn't mean you can't appreciate his best friend--even a stuffed version from the gift shop.
Renditions Golf Course, 1380 W. Central Ave., Davidsonville, (410) 798-9798, www.renditionsgolf.com. A daily-fee golf course featuring replicas of holes played at one or more of golf's four major championships. Look out, Tiger.
Sandy Point State Park, 1100 E. College Parkway, Annapolis, (410) 974-2149, www.dnr.state.md.us. Watch your beach-bound peers suffer through Bay Bridge traffic from the gridlock-free beaches and picnic areas of this 786-acre park on the Eastern Shore. Stop by on June 13 to watch the annual Chesapeake Bay Swim from the park to Kent Island.
Watermark Cruises, Annapolis city dock, (410) 268-7601, www.watermarkcruises.com. Hop on board for a public tour or charter one of six yachts for a private affair. Watermark offers a variety of 40- or 90-minute narrated tours through Annapolis' waterways.
A. L. Goodies General Store, 112 Main St., Annapolis, (410) 269-0071, www.algoodies.com. The summer means spending more time outside, so why not make your outside as snappy as your inside? From wind chimes to weather vanes, this store has them, especially the "good-old fashioned kind."
Annapolis Country Store, 53 Maryland Ave., Annapolis, (410) 269-6773, www.annapoliscountrystore.com. If you can't get enough of Raggedy Ann and Andy, go to this place. It has the largest collection of the redheaded siblings in the state, alongside fabled friends Winnie the Pooh and Curious George. A great store to find a unique gift or just have fun browsing.
Arundel Mills, 7000 Arundel Mills Circle, Hanover, (410) 540-5110, www.arundelmillsmall.com. With more than 400 stores at your disposal, this may be the best bet for a summer shopping spree. And before you drop, stop by one of the restaurants, see a movie, or play games at Jillian's adult arcade.
Before and After, 50 Maryland Ave., Annapolis, (410) 263-7075, www.beforeandafterannapolis.com. Looking for a birdbath? An embroidered pillow? A cover plate for your doorbell? It's all here and pretty much anything else you can think of for your home or apartment.
Mudbug Pottery, 113 Brewer Ave., Annapolis, (443) 822-8676, www.toadhouse.com. Just when you thought that toad in your backyard had everything, the sculptors at Mudbug offer you the "toad house," available in Victorian and classic styles. After you take care of Mr. Toad, consider some people pottery as well.
Paws Pet Boutique, 64 State Circle, Annapolis, (410) 263-8683, www.pawsannapolis.com/. Make your pet even prettier with a wide array of outfits and accessories. If Fido isn't the type to dress up, spoil him with a hand-painted bowl, placemat, or some gourmet treats.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201