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Welcome to Bay Weekly’s annual Dining Guide, a tour of good eats and good eating.
In this ­special, you’ll visit the many restaurants, delis, groceries and seafood markets whose advertising in our pages brings you Bay Weekly 52 weeks of each year. Most are locally owned, and all are in our neighborhoods.
      Each is unique in its offerings — from fin- and shellfish fresh from the Bay to fine beef to satisfying preparations and presentations whether homestyle or exotics to regionally famous wines and beers to inventive cocktails.
       Read, explore, enjoy — and as you taste your way to new knowledge, please say  I read about you in Bay Weekly.

Angelina’s Italian Kitchen

Angelina’s Italian Kitchen, located on Route 214 in Edgewater, is a small, quaint carryout with four tables should you choose to dine in. Named after the owner’s great-grandmother, Angelina Canestra, who found so much joy in cooking for family and friends, the restaurant prides itself in serving all homemade Italian food daily.   
    Pizza dough, lasagna, meatballs and marinara are all freshly made for you. Delicious desserts, including fresh cannoli, are also homemade.
    Very affordable prices and traditional New York-style pizzas make Angelina’s a great place to order out or the bring the family to eat in.
    This family-owned and -operated small business moved to Edgewater after 15 years in Bowie and was promptly voted Best Pizzeria out of 25 establishments in the Edgewater and Davidsonville area on Patch.com and Yelp.com.
 
Angelina’s Italian Kitchen
827 Central Ave. E., Edgewater; 410-798-0700; 
facebook.com/AngelinasItalianKitchen
Lunch and dinner Wed.-Sun.

Annapolis ­Restaurant Week
Foodies of many different tastes are readying their palates for a week of deals and savory dishes during the last week of February.
    With more than 40 establishments in Annapolis participating in the event each year, it’s the perfect opportunity to try that little-known restaurant you’ve been meaning to sample or indulge in local favorites. Fixed-price menus make for an enjoyable tasting of some of the area’s most popular restaurants, without consuming your wallet in the process.
   This year’s Annapolis Restaurant Week (now in its 10th year) is Sunday through Saturday, February 25 to March 3. Forty restaurants in both downtown Annapolis and the greater Annapolis area will be offering two- and three-course fixed-price meal selections. Annapolis has become a dining destination over the years, and this event highlights some of the area’s most popular destinations. 
    For those looking for new experiences, Annapolis has several new restaurants that have opened over the past year, including Flamant and the Light House Bistro. You can also pick restaurants that offer shows or live music after your meal, vegetarian options, waterfront views or that are located in historic buildings. There is something for everyone to enjoy.
    Two-course lunches are $15.95 and three-course dinners $34.95 at all participating restaurants, with restaurants that regularly serve breakfast offering two-course breakfasts for $12.95.
    Participating restaurants: Annapolis Smokehouse, Buddy’s Crabs, Café Normandie, Chevy’s, Fado Irish Pub, Federal House, Flamant, Galway Bay, Gordon Biersch, The Light House Bistro, Luna Blu, The Melting Pot, Middleton Tavern, Miss Shirley’s Café, O’Briens, O’Learys, Paladar, Paul’s Homewood Café, Preserve, Reynolds Tavern, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Sam’s on the Waterfront, Severn Inn, Yellowfin. Full details and more restaurants online: www.downtownannapolispartnership.org/restaurant-week.
 
Annapolis Restaurant Week
www.downtownannapolispartnership.org/
restaurant-week
Feb. 25-March 3

Anne Arundel ­County Farmers Market

You’ll find top-quality produce and products at Anne Arundel County Farmers Market, all sold by friendly farmers and producers glad to share their knowledge and answer your questions. Today many of the original farm families are among the 100+ vendors selling all year at the market.
    The Farmers Market was first organized in 1981 by the County Office of Planning and Zoning and sponsored by the Anne Arundel County Farm Preservation Board, Farm Bureau, Co-operative Extension Service and the Department of Agriculture.
    Many things have changed in the 30-plus years since the first market season. One thing that has never changed is our desire to bring all customers the freshest and best that Anne Arundel County and Maryland has to offer. We do this with great pride!
 
Anne Arundel County Farmers Market
Riva Rd. at Harry Truman Pkwy., Annapolis; ­www.aacofarmersmarket.com
Sun. 10am-1pm (year-round)
Tues. 7am-noon (May-Sept.)
Sat. 7am-noon (April-Dec.)

Bread and Butter Kitchen

You go to Bread and Butter Kitchen, chef-owner Monica Alvarado’s new breakfast and lunch café overlooking Spa Creek at the end of Second Avenue, for inspired eating with a view and a relaxed, friendly neighborhood atmosphere. 
    You’ll find a welcome relief from the same-old same-old. On the menu are a variety of classic items, as well as creative and unique dishes, from biscuits and gravy to a Vietnamese inspired Banh Mi turkey burger. Homemade soups and specials rotate throughout the week.
    “We feel honored to work with and use locally sourced ingredients from the farmers and vendors at the Anne Arundel County Farmers Market,” Alvarado says. “These ingredients are featured throughout the menu, from bread made locally at Great Harvest Bakery to the milk and yogurt from Nice Farms Creamery.”
    Choose from a variety of meals and snacks, including kid-friendly, vegetarian and gluten free.
    For breakfast, it’s hard to resist a fresh scone made from scratch that morning. Our signature breakfast sandwich is the BBK, which features two fried eggs, red onion, avocado, bacon and garlic aioli on toast from Great Harvest Bakery.
    For lunch, try a Banh Mi burger or perhaps chicken on a biscuit, a fried chicken breast drizzled with sriracha honey on our from-scratch biscuits.
    A reformed corporate rock star, Alvarado left her 22-year career in technology in 2016 to start Bread and Butter Kitchen with the vision of sharing my passion for making amazing food that celebrates local ingredients. I began by creating a weekly menu of prepared to-go meals and selling them at the Anne Arundel County Farmers Market.
    “In May of 2017, I opened the cafe and have been smiling ever since,” she says. “There is no doubt in my mind that this is what I was meant to do.”
    Bread and Butter Kitchen feels like home, and when you share a meal there, you join the family.
    We have seating for 10 both inside and out, with plenty of parking available. Furry friends are welcome outdoor customers.
 
Bread and Butter Kitchen
303 Second St., Eastport; 410-202-8680; www.breadandbutterkitchen.com
Daily 7:30am-3pm 

Cakes and ­Confections Bakery Café

We are a full-service bakery with a café serving breakfast and lunch.
    On the bakery side, we specialize in fresh-baked pastries, pies and desserts plus custom-designed cakes for all occasions. Our most popular sweets are our chocolate-coconut macaroons, our key lime pie and fruit medley pie (strawberries, rhubarb, apples, raspberries and blackberries) and our wonderful gluten-free Chocolate Decadence Cake. 
    Sit down among those good smells (or carry out) for breakfast, served all day, and lunch. As well as omelets, breakfast and lunch sandwiches and our popular steak, egg and cheese wrap, we serve grilled paninis, delicious soups and homemade quiche in two varieties, bacon cheddar or our loaded vegetable. Take home a whole quiche with any number of savory ingredients with 24 hours notice. Coffee is brewed fresh all day.
    Pastry chef and co-owner Michael Brown found his career while working in a bake shop in Washington, D.C. “I really enjoyed creating all types of pastries and desserts,” he says, so “I decided to go back to school and get my pastry chef degree at L’Academie de Cuisine.” He worked at several caterers and bakeries before Cakes and Confections, which he bought from its previous owner.
    Michael and Julianne Brown have owned Cakes and Confections for over 15 years creating wonderful cakes, pastries and desserts for customers from all over the area. The business moved to Severna Park from Annapolis in 2013 to add breakfast and lunch.
    Our custom-designed cakes and many types of wonderful confections are known far and wide.
    Our cakes have included a wedding cake modeled on the U.S. Capital, many USNA cake “covers” and a platter of sushi cakes. Challenge us to design a specialty cake for your special occasion! 
 
Cakes and Confections Bakery Café
342 Ritchie Hwy., Severna Park; 410-757-7100; www.cakesandconfections.com
Mon.-Fri. 7am-6pm, Sat. 8am-4pm

Chesapeake Grille & Deli

In all three of its locations, Chesapeake Grille & Deli is the kind of place you can’t do without. It sustains the modern lifestyle. You can rush in off the road, choose a good meal and carry it out or eat it in. It’s all cooked to order, but service is fast and friendly. So how much time you want to spend is up to you. 
    Food is fast, fresh and satisfying.
    You get what you expect: burgers, barbecue, crab cakes and flatbreads, soups, salads and sandwiches, gyros, reubens and Rachels, melts, wraps and hoagies. 
    You can get what you hope for: meatloaf, chicken potpie (with the addition of a touch of the Bay) and real Smith Island cake for dessert.
    You can get way more than you expect: grilled fresh fish, beer-battered rockfish, seafood skewers with grilled veggies and new potatoes, crabby mac and cheese.
    “Everything we serve has been carefully created, thoughtfully prepared and given the attention and fresh ingredients it deserves,” says manager Chad Wagaman.
    Chesapeake Grille, Deli and Market, across from Herrington Harbour South in Rose Haven, adds the convenience of breakfast and a market where you can pick up quick supplies, including wine, beer and liquor. 
 
• 10092 Southern Maryland Blvd., Dunkirk; 410-286-5939
Lunch and dinner daily
 
• 6786 Race Track Rd., Bowie; 301-262-4441
Lunch and dinner daily
 
• 7150 Lake Shore Dr., North Beach; 410-257-7757
Breakfast, lunch and dinner all day everyday
 
www.eatchesapeake.com

Chesapeake Seafood

Chesapeake Seafood is central Anne Arundel County’s place to go for seafood, though its freshness draws seafood lovers from much farther. 
    Walk in and you’ll see the glass display case filled with seafood, from blue crabs all year long to sushi-grade fish. Some of what you’ll see is so local that Chesapeake Seafood watermen caught it and brought it. Choose your favorite and take it home to cook for dinner.
    You don’t have to wait that long to enjoy Chesapeake Seafood. Much of what’s there can be cooked to order for take-out. Blue crabs are steamed to order whenever you want them. Everything on the extensive carryout menu — including key lime pie — is fresh, homemade and delicious.
 
Chesapeake Seafood
135 Mayo Rd., Edgewater; 410-957-8956; www.chesapeakeseafoodinc.com
Carryout daily 11am-8pm 

Donut Shack

For over 33 years, hand-cut donuts baked on the premises have been our specialty. We are home to the Chopsuey, a mix of apple, cinnamon and coconut with raisins or without, all blended in a yeast-raised dough. We also make other fresh pastries. You’ll find home-made soup, too, along with hot beverages, including fresh coffee, and cold bottled drinks.
    As well as making donuts, we love working with people. “As our customer, you make our business, so we make it our business to take care of you,” says owner Bill Prevezanos.
    We pride ourselves on courtesy, prompt service, cleanliness and fresh products. 
    We are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, here for you whenever you want a donut.
    Eat in or carry out by the donut, sack or box.
 
Donut Shack
497 Ritchie Hwy., Severna Park; 410-544-0278
Open 24/7

En-Tice-Ment Farm-Raised Meats 

Hearty stews and roasts are especially satisfying in winter, and buying from En-tice-ment Farm means you know the pedigree of the meat you’re eating. En-tice-ment Farm is central Chesapeake Country’s No. 1 source for farm-raised meat. That’s beef, pork and lamb plus chicken and eggs, all raised by the Tice family of fourth- and fifth-generation farmers.
    All animals are well cared for on the Tice’s Harwood farm. For their wellbeing and yours, they are grass-fed in a free-range environment with no hormones or steroids. The meat is butchered into convenient cuts, sealed and immediately frozen at family-run USDA-inspected processing facilities.  
    “Customer demand for naturally raised local products started our business,” says Deana Tice. “Now we’ve added a new farm store, a smaller version of a grocery store selling all locally sourced foods.”
    En-tice-ment offers every cut you could want, plus some you may not have tried, as well as weekly meat packages posted on Facebook for ordering ahead. Shop or pick up at our new farm store with longer hours for your convenience or at Anne Arundel County Farmers Market.
    Unsure how to cook these delicious cuts? Ask the Tice family, who has long experience and recipes to tantalize your taste buds. 
Find all En-tice-ment products online and at Facebook.
 
En-Tice-Ment Farm-Raised Meats
231 Polling House Rd., Harwood; 443-336-8492; 
www.enticementfarmraisedmeats.com
En-Tice-Ment Farm store Tues.-Fri. 3-6pm; Sat. 8am-noon. 
AACo. Farmers Market: Sun. winters 10am-1pm.

Evelyn’s

Evelyn’s, a breakfast, brunch and lunch café focused on local and sustainable ingredients, is rounding out its first year in West Annapolis.
    The welcoming, open-kitchen café is a turn in a new direction for owner Brandon Stalker, who was drawn from commercial real estate by “the joy that a great meal can bring.”
    Localism theme runs through every aspect of the business, from ingredients to location — a livable, walkable neighborhood with a thriving commercial strip that exerts a strong pull on visitors — to naming, after the Stalker’s daughter. 
    All Evelyn’s food is prepared from scratch, in-house, and always in small batches to ensure that every day food is clean, wholesome and fresh.
    “We believe that a plant-to-plate mentality allows us to control our recipes to a greater degree than simply buying a finished product from a vendor,” Stalker says. 
    That’s true of meat as well as plant, he adds. “We make our corned beef ourselves. It is moist and flavorful instead of just being put onto a meat slicer out of a bag; you can taste the difference,” he says.
    Thus, Evelyn’s two most popular dishes are corned beef reubens and corned beef hash.
    As well as a taste of quality, local is a philosophy for Stalker. “Locally sourced not only provides our customers with the freshest ingredients but also keeps the money they spend in the pockets of local Maryland businesses,” he says. 
    Evelyn’s has seasonal outdoor, pet-friendly dining (with bacon available for your pooch).
 
Evelyn’s
26 Annapolis St., Annapolis; 410-263-4794; ­www.evelynsannapolis.com
Open 7 days a week, 7:30am-3:30pm

Happy Harbor

Happy Harbor is a comfort center for locals and sightseers from far and wide.
    Come for comfort food, fresh seafood, a good strong Crush or Bloody Mary or a cold beer and a front-row waterfront view. 
    Come to relax. At Happy Harbor, you don’t have to dress up. Come to hang out with the gang. To eat the best burger around, especially at Monday’s $5 special price. Come to watch sports on 14 TVs. April thru September, come for live music on the dock every Friday Saturday and Sunday and local DJs on the second and last Saturday of each month. 
    Come to Happy Harbor to get happy. And in summer, you can do it all outdoors, with your dogs.
 
Happy Harbor
533 Deale Rd., Deale; 410-867-0949; ­www.happyharbordeale.com
Lunch and dinner daily, breakfast Sat. & Sun. during winter

Hook & Vine Kitchen & Bar

Hook & Vine is a hunger you can’t yet satisfy.
    “We’re half a season from opening,” says co-owner Monica Phillips, who has been in the restaurant industry for decades. 
    “I love creating a memorable experience through food, drink and service. We both enjoy trying different food and talking to people,” says Monica, whose first job was in an ice cream shop. “I then served and bartended through college.”
    “We have a love for food and people,” says husband Kevin, who moved into hospitality after working in technology and sales management. After working for several large casual dining organizations, holding positions from manager to director of operations overseeing multi-state regions, he decided, he says, “to take the leap.”
    The North Beach location was just the place they’d been looking for. 
    “We have always been a supporter of the small and local business and love the area,” Monica says. “The community needed more dining options and we jumped in and went for it.”
    Hook & Vine promises Southern Coastal cuisine relying on locally sourced ingredients. Dishes — classics with a twist — will be infused with the flavors of bacon, bourbon and wine. 
    Planned signature items include deviled eggs, bourbon glazed pork chops, lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, plus a variety of bourbons and wine to quench your thirst.
    The significance of the name? Hook is for fresh fish and seafood, with a coastal flair; vine is for wine and seasonal ingredients. 
    Also promised are family friendly service and Bay views from the deck.
    “We want you to come for the food but get hooked on the Southern hospitality, the atmosphere and family environment,” Monica says.
    With its planned spring opening, Hook & Vine is one more reason to look forward to that season.
 
Hook & Vine
4114 7th St., North Beach; 443-964-5488; ­www.HookandVine.com
Opening Spring 2018, 11am-10pm

The Irish Restaurants

The experience at all three of The Irish Restaurants — Galway Bay in Annapolis, Killarney House in Davidsonville and Brian Boru Irish Pub in Severna Park — is flavored with genuine welcome. That natural, comfortable, person-to-person ambi­ance sets us apart. As soon as you enter, you are sure to have a great time.
    Our traditional food and drink menus reflect the hospitality and flavors of Ireland. Bar staff in all three of our Irish pubs are trained to pour a great pint of Guinness. Our traditional Galway Bay eggnog, made in Ireland from our own recipe with fresh Irish Cream and Irish whiskey, is imported each year and available in our restaurants.
    Our food is based on some of Ireland’s best recipes, recreated with local ingredients as we proudly support local farmers and oystermen when possible. These are complimented by imported Irish products like KerryGold Cheese and butter, custards, flour, relishes and sauces to get as close to the true Irish dining experience as possible.
    Killarney House is introducing new menu items to represent Maryland’s seasons, including fresh shucked oysters, which are also available in the pub Wednesday nights (5:30-8:30pm). Try oysters with a Guinness and see why people in Ireland have enjoyed this tradition for centuries. Or our oven-baked Norwegian salmon, finished with an Irish butter mustard sauce. How about a house-seasoned cold corned beef sandwich with Dubliner cheese on a rustic roll with tarragon and black pepper mayo, with tomato-onion chutney? We also feature cold smoked salmon with pickled red onions and Irish bread. To help stave off the cold weather, we offer beef or lamb stew, shepherd’s pies or delicious pot roast, to name but a few. Maybe an Irish coffee to finish off a great evening: made with Demerara augar, Irish whiskey and fresh homemade whipped cream. Who cares about the weather after that!
    To complement its long-established food menu and dining experience, Galway Bay has developed an excellent offering of nearly 50 Irish whiskeys to address the renewed interest in Irish whiskeys in the U.S. and around the world. Under the superb management of Sean Lynch and Gary Brown, the selection of Irish whiskeys and beer is a great representation of what is available in Ireland’s best pubs. 
    With the demand for Irish whiskey on the rise, plans are on the drawing board for a separate whiskey bar in the front dining room, coming this summer. Our patrons will enjoy the authentic environment conducive to sipping what Irish folklore has called “the Water of Life.”
    On offer with the Irish beers, local beer has strong representation. Galway Bay has a special relationship with RAR Brewing in Cambridge, which contract-brews our Naptown Brown Ale. They also use Galway Bay for their first releases, as well as seasonal rotating taps. “We designed Naptown Brown, our core beer, with a light finish and low ABV to pair with everything,” says assistant manager Gary Brown.
    Also on tap now is RAR’s hoppy Nanticoke Nectar that wants a bold-flavored food like corned beef and cabbage … and D.C. Brau, a nitro-Porter with a nice creamy finish, which pairs well with shepherd’s pie. 
    At Brian Boru in Severna Park, we also feature authentic Irish recipes prepared with produce and proteins from local farmers and fish suppliers. Our home-cooked corned beef is always one of our best, slow-cooked for six hours and served with fresh local cabbage and red potatoes. Fresh shucked oysters are also on the menu, and on Thursday nights Irish singers add atmosphere to the Guinness and fresh shucked oyster night. If you like a great reuben sandwich, our home-cooked corned beef and sauerkraut on rye bread is our best seller. Homemade potato cakes or fried oysters are great choices to start off the dining experience. Shepherd’s pie, chicken pot pie and fish and chips are customer favorites and our all-day breakfast featuring Irish bacon, sausages, black and white puddings with tomato and eggs is the way to go.
    Always striving to be part of the community, Brian Boru has had a marvelous role in helping raise money for local charities with its fundraising dinners: three-course menu for $25 per person. Of that amount $10 per person is donated back to the evening’s charity. Heather Saffield, Brian Boru’s general manager, has greatly contributed to the growth of this community giveback. Under her stewardship, we have helped lots of wonderful local people.
    With St Patrick’s day fast approaching, please check our websites for history dinners, concerts and entertainment schedules.
 
Galway Bay Irish Restaurant
63 Maryland Ave., Annapolis; 410-263-8333; www.galwaybaymd.com
Lunch and dinner daily plus Sun. brunch
 
Brian Boru Irish Pub
489 Ritchie Hwy., Severna Park; 410-975-2678; www.brianborupub.com
Lunch and dinner daily plus Sun. brunch
 
Killarney House Irish Restaurant
584 W. Central Ave., Davidsonville; 
410-798-8700; www.killarneyhousepub.com
Lunch and dinner daily plus Sun. brunch

Jalapeños

Change your state of mind in Jalapeños, where décor and service lead you to believe you’ve just stepped out of the zocalo into a cool, timeless restaurant. You could be in Spain or in Mexico, and Jalapeños’ dishes will satisfy either taste.
    Both styles are authentic to Jalapeños. Owner Gonzalo Fernandez comes from Spain, and owner Alberto Serrano comes from the Mexican state of Oaxaca, the source of many of Mexico’s richest moles. Chef Obed Serrano, also from Oaxaca, studied his art in Spain.
    Create your meal to your taste by ordering from the menu of tapas, the original small plates. Four-dozen choices include fish — calamari, mussels, salmon, scallop and shrimp — meat and vegetable.
    Gonzalo’s favorite is Gambas al Ajillo: large shrimp sautéed in olive oil, garlic, herbs and tomato finished with dry sherry. It is also served as one of two-dozen large plates, many accompanied with beans and rice. 
    Made-to-order guacamole and a margarita or sangria are good starters as you browse the menu that includes, as you’d expect, wide choices of burritos, enchiladas, fajitas and tacos. 
    Bimonthly Flamenco dinners with live dancers, a singer and guitarist are so popular that shows sell out. Watch Jalapeños’ ads for the dates and reserve early.
 
Jalapeños
85 Forest Plaza, Annapolis; 410-266-7580; www.jalapenosonline.com
Lunch Mon.-Sat., nightly dinner and happy hour in the bar starting at 4pm

Jerry’s Place

If you’ve been to Jerry’s, south of Prince Frederick, you know why its shopping strip parking lot is full: fresh and delicious seafood with friendly service. 
    If you haven’t, you’ll want to find out. 
    “We buy only the freshest crabmeat and seafood, says owner Jerry Gainey, a seafood lover with a passion for feeding folks and 48 years in the business. “We prepare our food with simple recipes. Our fresh jumbo lump crabcakes with zero fillers are famous far and wide.”
    Casual and friendly, Jerry’s is so local that community neighbors surround you in the café’s 54 seats and from murals covering the walls. Jerry and Jerry Jr. are there too, with friendly conversation, warm hospitality and often a tasty treat.
 
Jerry’s Place
1541 Solomons Island Rd., Prince Frederick; 410-535-3242; www.Jerrys-Place.com
Thurs.-Sat. Noon-8pm, Sun. 1-7pm

La Bella Italia

Some children know what they want to be when they grow up and never stray from their earliest career plans. This is true of Luca Assante, owner of La Bella Italia in Friendship. 
    Assante studied at a culinary school in his native Naples, Italy before moving to the United States to be near family. Here, he lives his passion by cooking and serving authentic Italian cuisine. One taste of his signature Seafood Linguine and you will understand why it has been featured as a special for years.
    This cozy cafe offers quick and friendly dine-in and take-out service, from individual pizza slices to complete family dinners that include pasta, salad and bread for six. 
    La Bella Italia lives up to its name. When Assante thinks of the name, it reminds him of the good food from his homeland. Stop in and taste for yourself and you will be transported to Beautiful Italy, too.
 
La Bella Italia
• 11 West Friendship Rd., Friendship; 410-257-1062
• 1460 Ritchie Hwy., Arnold; 410-757-3373
• 609-B Taylor Ave., Annapolis; 410-216-6061
• Piazza Italia, 7710 Ritchie Hwy., Glen Burnie; 410-590-4990
Lunch and dinner daily

Luna Blu Ristorante Italiano

Walk or drive on Inner West Street in Annapolis and you can’t miss Luna Blu, with its bright Mediterranean blue and sunshine yellow facade. 
    “I’m very excited to be entering our 17th year of business,” says owner Erin Dryden. “Inner West Street’s continued growth over the years with First Sunday Art Festivals, Dining Under the Stars and The Chocolate Binge Festival has been amazing. I’m proud to be a part of such a great community of local businesses and supportive patrons.” 
    Pulled in by the good vibrations of bright color, you discover a neighborhood place to retreat when you don’t feel like cooking. Yet it’s also a place to celebrate special occasions … or to gather a like-minded group for a wine-pairing dinner to benefit a favorite charity.
    Whatever your reason for coming, whoever you are, Luna Blu welcomes you.
    “I make all dishes to order, so they are fresh and customizable. Whatever your special diet — from gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan or lower in calories — we can accommodate you,” Dryden says.
    Also made in-house are all sauces and desserts plus fresh-baked bread. 
    The range of authentic southern Italian dishes is enormous. You have to try and try again to discover your favorites.
    Luna Blu makes that easy with regular specials. Nightly, choose your antipasto, entre and dessert, served with house salad for $38.
    Monday and Wednesday, bottles of wine are half-price.
    Thursday evenings, try a special pairing of personal pizzas with half bottles of wine.
    Appetizers — the menu runs to a dozen — are half-price Sunday to Wednesday 5-6pm and Thursdays 5-9:30pm.
 
Luna Blu Ristorante Italiano
36 West St., Annapolis; 410-267-9950; ­lunabluofannapolis.com
Lunch and dinner daily

Mamma Lucia

Mamma Lucia is Little Italy for Calvert County. In 1997, Sal and Maria Lubrano pioneered real Italian cuisine when they opened in Dunkirk. In 2007, their second restaurant opened in Prince Frederick and on August 21, 2017, Chesapeake Beach welcomed the opening of their third restaurant: Mamma Lucia by the Bay.
    Bay Weekly readers have repeatedly voted Mamma Lucia the Best Italian Restaurant, and 2017 brought more awards: Best New Bar, Best New Restaurant and Best New Business to Mamma Lucia By The Bay. 
    Bay Weekly readers are not the only ones to recognize Mamma Lucia’s authentic Italian cuisine. In 2016, Sal and Maria traveled to New York City where they became part of an elite group of Italian Restaurant owners who received Ospitalita Italian, an award presented by the Italian Chamber of Commerce to restaurants that distinguish themselves as true Italian food.
    Ambiance is part of the Mamma Lucia recipe for success. The Chesapeake Beach location offers seasonal roof-top and patio dining, a tiki bar and the same exceptional service and exquisite cuisine that you have become accustomed to at the other two locations. If you want Wood Brick Oven Pizza made with authentic Italian ingredients in the Old World Italian tradition, you will have to visit the Chesapeake Beach location. 
    The menu at all three locations offers truly authentic Italian cuisine: antipasti, delize dal mare, polo, vitelli and an extensive wine list. Don’t forget — because Italians love sweets — dolci and espresso to complete your dining experience and put you in a bellavita mood. 
    You’ll find a romantic spot for two and big tables for tutta la famiglia. Mamma Lucia is also the region’s favorite Italian caterer. 
    Find special events including music and wine-tasting dinners on Facebook.
 
Mamma Lucia 
• 862 Costley Way, Prince Frederick; 443-486-4701
• 10136 Southern Maryland Blvd., Dunkirk; 301-812-1240
• 8323 Bayside Rd., Chesapeake Beach; 410-257-7700
www.mammaluciarestaurant.com

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot offers the unique experience of fondues, both savory and sweet, made tableside. 
    The unique, interactive experience we provide gives families and friends the opportunity to unplug and interact with each other in a special way.
    The Melting Pot cheese fondue comes from award-winning cheese makers in Wisconsin and is made especially for us. 
    A popular new addition is pretzel bread among our cheese fondue dipper selections. We have added a Cuban Cheese fondue and, for winter, brought back our popular Apple Cider Alpine Cheese Fondue.
    The Melting Pot main course fondues feature premium ingredients such as hormone and antibiotic-free chicken, Certified Black Angus Beef®, all-natural pork tenderloin, fish such as ahi tuna, vegetables and even potstickers for you to cook in broth or oil.
    Our chocolate dessert fondue, served with breads and cakes for dipping, is our most popular item.
    We also serve farm-fresh salads.
    Order separately or in such combinations as our Four-Course Experience.
    We also offer over 50 wines to choose from, as well as an excellent selection of local beers to pair with your cheese fondue. 
    In addition to the classic favorites, seasonal cheese fondues, salads and chocolate fondues provide more variety from visit to visit. 
    Girls’ Night Out on the first and third Monday of each month is one of our more popular events. In addition to drink specials, we offer a four-course dinner for just $30.
    Owners Kevin and Julie Mason, who first worked at The Melting Pot in Arlington, Virginia, are excited to be starting our 16th year serving Anne Arundel County and to be participating in Annapolis Restaurant Week.
    Annapolis Restaurant Week, from February 25-March 3, is a great way to try out what we do while knowing what you will spend.
 
The Melting Pot
2348 Solomons Island Rd., Annapolis; 410-266-8004; www.meltingpot.com/Annapolis
Dinner nightly 5-10pm

Mi Pueblo II

At Mi Pueblo, we say mi casa es tu casa. We are a family-run, independent restaurant offering the most delicious and authentic Mexican dishes in the area with stunning traditional décor and a contemporary atmosphere.
    We offer a great place to meet, eat and socialize for lunch or dinner. You will appreciate all the handmade art and details that make our restaurant a beautiful piece of Mexico in Severna Park.
    Enjoy drinks with mangos and papayas plus many favorites of Mexican cuisine. Try the nachos supreme, fresh guacamole or queso dip, fajitas, grilled shrimp and veggies, quesadillas, pollo poblano, chile Coloardo, and finish off your meal with dessert of tres leches or flan.
    Or come in for margaritas and mixed drinks with appetizers.
    We hope to see you soon, amigos!
 
Mi Pueblo II
554-A Ritchie Hwy., Severna Park; 410-544-4101; www.mipueblo2.com
Lunch and dinner daily

Old Stein Inn

A destination since 1982, the new Old Stein Inn draws lovers of Gemütlichkeit from far and wide to the Mayo peninsula. You don’t have to be able to pronounce Gemütlichkeit to love its components: good beer and wine, good food in the German style, good fellowship and good times. But if you can’t, Mike Selinger — son of founders Karl and Ursula — will teach you how to say the word that’s at the root of all you enjoy at The Old Stein.
    Renovated in 2011 after a New Year’s Eve fire, the new Old Stein is a contemporary American fusion of a German lodge and bierstube. Inside, you feel cozy camaraderie. Outside, the Biergarten Bier Bär — heated and covered — brings excitement in winter and rustic charm in summer.
    Friday and Saturday, musicians add to the sense you’ve come someplace special. Some nights feature locals; others traditional German musicians, instruments and flair. 
    Food is, of course, the main attraction. You’ll be eating German cuisine in classic and modern variations, including The Old Stein’s legendary German take on crab soup. A variety of wursts, schnitzels and named specialties including Sauerbraten, Kassler Rippchen or smoked pork chops and Münchner Schweinhaxe, an ample pork shank. Wild game — duck, elk, quail and rabbit — is featured on the winter menu. Many dishes are served as either small or large plates.
    Vegetarians fare surprisingly well in this modern German inn, with salads, potato pancakes and spätzle, braised red cabbage and specialty dishes such as gemüse spätzle with steamed fresh vegetables. Fish is also on this menu. 
    Kids love lots at The Old Stein, including German pretzels, fries and pickles, dill or fried. 
    Drink is part of The Old Stein experience, with 10 craft beers on tap and a library of bottled beers. German wine deserves the reputation it has earned among oenophiles. 
    For weekend live entertainment and the latest news, check The Old Stein Facebook page and website.
 
Old Stein Inn
1143 Central Ave., Edgewater; 410-798-6807; ­www.oldstein-inn.com
Dinner Wed.-Sun. plus Sun. lunch

Petie Greens

”Petie’s strives to be the local place customers can count on for high-end ingredients and consistent quality,” says owner and executive chef Justin Chaney. “We only source local when in season and order higher quality meats for a better tasting dish, including USDA prime beef. We specialize in craft beers which you can’t find in other local spots and a small selection of gorgeous wines.” 
    “We have kept our menu small so that we can focus on fresh and in-season seafood and specialty dishes. I am particularly proud of the variety of dishes with favorites including homemade rockfish bites, succulent turkey legs and fresh roasted chickens, bacon-wrapped scallops, BBQ fried oysters and Boom Boom shrimp,” Chaney says.
    Specials change daily and are featured on the locally famous Daily Specials board.
    Chaney has been in the restaurant industry for 20 years. He started out as a busboy at a locally popular seafood restaurant, Stoney’s, and eventually found his way into managing the kitchen as head chef. He then pursued his passion for business, graduating from Salisbury University with a Business Administration degree.
    Now Chaney uses his experience and love of high quality food and meticulous ingredients to delight you at his own restaurant.
    Petie Greens’ slogan is All’s Good, and the mission is to provide an enjoyable, relaxing atmosphere for local residents to savor consistent, high-quality food that is local to the region.
    “We’re a staple in the community, supporting local talent, residents and all age groups, with a focus on the local area and regulars who live and work in the community.”
    Satisfied customers responded with Best of the Bay awards for New Bar and Best Bang for Your Buck.
    Petie Greens features daily specials, live music weekly, full bar with happy hour 3-6pm (half priced menu items) and outdoor dining in season. 
 
Petie Greens
6103 Drum Point Rd., Deale; 410-867-1488; www.petiegreens.com
Lunch and dinner daily

Pirates Cove

Classic Chesapeake hospitality comes in several styles at Pirates Cove, a waterfront tradition on the West River for decades. In every style, says co-owner Anthony Clarke, “Pirates Cove puts forward an honest commitment to welcome our community with our comfortable ambiance and a friendly service team.”
    For casually upscale dining, remodeling has opened broad vistas on the riverfront throughout the restaurant. With beautiful sunny water views, and the addition of great food from Chef Steve Hardison, Pirates Cove has a lot to offer new guests for lunch, dinner and brunch on weekends. The improvement of the banquet rooms has enabled guests to plan for family events such as wedding rehearsals, dinner parties, retirements and community events. 
    Chef Steve’s unique interpretation of local food has produced a seasonal menu of traditional South County favorites with original creations. Included are bluefish, crab cakes, fried green tomatoes, fresh oysters, rockfish and special rare delicacies like Alaskan halibut cheeks, blowfish and shad roe. Shrimp Louie salad or roasted beet salad with homemade dressings are likewise healthy and different.
    A relaxed style of hospitality is served at the bar, as welcoming a spot as you’ll find in Chesapeake country. Special offerings are piratical brews, including the famous Pirates Punch, and a wide selection of rums. Enjoy happy hour in the bar weekdays from 3 to 7pm. Arriving early in the bar or main dining room is essential this time of year to get a seat beside one of our two fireplaces. Nothing like the ambiance of a stone fireplace, maybe some Cream of Crab soup (60-year-old recipe) or a hot buttered rum to help you feel warm, comfortable and relaxed.
    All year long, local musicians on Friday and Saturday nights make you want to linger. If you do, you can stay in Pirates Inn — the only lodging for miles — or in your own boat, at Pirates Marina.
 
Pirates Cove Restaurant, Inn & Dock Bar
4817 Riverside Dr., Galesville; 410-867-2300; www.piratescovemd.com
Lunch and dinner daily plus Sun. brunch

Plaza Mexico

Plaza Mexico does double duty.
    In North Beach, it’s a favorite neighborhood hangout. For northern Calvert and southern Anne Arundel counties, it’s the best — and only — Mexican restaurant for 12 miles to the south and 24 to the north. 
    It’s got the looks for both jobs. Its central location, big windows on a walkable town, generous dining room and long, popular bar with side tables and televisions draw in locals and the Bayfront town’s many visitors. Touches of Mexico, as well as the menu, earn it its name.
    “The original Plaza Mexico is a famous shopping area in the heart of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico,” says owner Benny Ayala. “We try to bring some flair from Mexico, so our customers enjoy it.”
    As well as the flair, Ayala brings his hometown food to Chesapeake Country. Beyond the traditional tacos, burritos and quesadillas, less familiar dishes such as fajitas and chori-pollo translate seamlessly to American tastes. Guacamole made at the table should start your meal because it’s so good. Mexican beer and margaritas make tasty additions. 
    As the weather warms up, you can enjoy it all outdoors on Plaza Mexico’s large patio.
 
Plaza Mexico
9200 Bay Ave., North Beach; 443-964-6381; ­www.PlazaMexicoMaryland.com
Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat.

Rocco’s Pizzeria

Rocco’s Pizzeria is the pizza of choice in Annapolis since 1974. Awards hang in double layers on the wall for display. The Gargano family has owned and operated Rocco’s from the beginning. 
    Walk in and you will be overcome by the aroma of a New York style pizzeria. Customers keep coming back for the fresh-out-of-the oven experience. This local restaurant prides itself on being the place where everyone knows your name and your pizza. What else would you expect after 44 years? 
    It goes without saying that you should order pizza: thin-crusted New York style or the thick-crusted Sicilian. Roccos Pizzeria is all fresh. The dough and sauces are made daily using the family’s own recipes as well as shredding the whole-milk mozzarella. Fresh! Fresh! Fresh!
 
Rocco’s Pizzeria
954 Bay Ridge Rd., Annapolis; 410-263-9444; www.roccospizzashop.com
Lunch, dinner, carryout and delivery daily

Rogue Pierogies

Pierogies are Eastern Europe’s version of the stuffed dumpling, a food so comforting that many nations have their distinctive varieties, from kreplach to ravioli to samosa to wontons. 
    The small pockets of dough known as pierogies are traditionally stuffed with potatoes, cheese and onions. Though rooted in that tradition, Rogue Pierogies owner Krista Sermon, of Annapolis, is an innovator. Her current list stretches to 15 varieties, from ethnic variations like Kaczenskys, Gandolfinis and two curries to American favorites like Reubens and Buffalo chicken and blue cheese.
    Each little dumpling is handmade from local, fresh ingredients from Maryland farmers and without preservatives or artificial flavors.
Fully cooked and frozen, they are quick and easy to prepare.
    Find Rogue Pierogies at Anne Arundel County Winter Farmers Market (Sundays 10am-1pm), the Kent Island Farmers Market (Thursdays 3:30-6:30pm), Graul’s Markets in Annapolis and Cape St. Claire and Green Valley Marketplace in Arnold. You can also order online. Best of all, buy where they’re made: 1825 George Ave., Suite 1, Annapolis.
 
Rogue Pierogies
1825 George Ave., Suite 1, Annapolis; 410-858-7088; www.roguepierogies.com

Sam’s on the Waterfront

”Everything we serve is made fresh in our kitchen,” says Sam’s owner Andrew Parks.
    Sam’s on the Waterfront is the kind of place that is worth the drive, though the residents of Chesapeake Harbour, the gated marina community where Sam’s makes its home, don’t need to. You can also pull your boat right up to their dock bar and dine there. 
    It’s a scenic destination: cottage-lighthouse-styled with waterfront views wrapping three-quarters around for great views all seasons. You’ll also find cozy corners.

    Food is New American. Expect regional favorites made with local ingredients and inventively re-imagined in dishes that look as good as they taste.
    Parks opened Sam’s — named for his grandfather and daughter — to “bring diversity and creativity to the Annapolis food scene.”

    He recommends a couple of light dishes: Sam’s Famous lobster mac and cheese, award-winning burger or wings or Sam’s seafood pasta with jumbo shrimp, blue bay mussels and sea scallops served over linguini with tomato, spinach and Old Bay in Sam’s house cream sauce.

    Sam’s diverse wine list and liquor are as carefully chosen as the food.

    Nightly specials give you happy hour 3-7pm Tuesdays through Fridays. Local musicians entertain every Friday and Saturday nights starting at 7pm so you don’t have to wait till 10pm to hear great live local music.
    Find daily news, including specials, events like Oyster Fest, Party Gras, Full Moon parties and live entertainment, on the active Sam’s Waterfront Facebook page.
 
Sam’s on the Waterfront
2020 Chesapeake Harbour Dr. East, Annapolis; 
410-263-3600; www.samsonthewaterfront.com
Dinner Tues.-Sun., lunch Tues.-Sat., brunch Sun.

Thai Paradise 

Health, flavor and speed are the unbeatable combination you get from Thai Paradise. Now in its second year, the Severna Park carryout may be the authentic Thai source you’ve been seeking.
    “Variety and complexity best describe the dishes at Thai Paradise. We emphasize lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components and a spicy edge,” says Nathan Thiesse, the lucky husband of owner and chef Tanida Thiesse. “We cook like we eat at home.”
    Specialties include Pad Thai, Drunken Noodles and Pad Ga Prow, a stir fry with meat or tofu, basil, bell pepper, Thai chiles and garlic.
    Som Tom is a papaya salad combining green papaya with tomato, Thai chili, garlic peanuts and dressing; it is spicy.
    Most curry items are spicy, but not all. Massaman Curry is like a delicate stew combining potatoes, peanuts and meat or seafood.
    Accomplished Thai chef Tanida Thiesse, who hails from Surin Province, brings to Severna Park the traditional dishes she ate growing up. She uses only dry ingredients imported from Thailand plus the freshest meat, seafood and vegetables. All dishes are made fresh from scratch. Every soup and entrée is cooked fresh to order, using the healthiest natural ingredients. 
    Order online at www.thaiparadisemd.com or call 410-544-7622 for speedy carryout or delivery. 
 
Thai Paradise
57 W. McKinsey Rd., Severna Park; 410-544-7622; www.thaiparadisemd.com
Lunch and dinner, Mon.-Sat.

Thursday’s Bar & Grill

Thursday’s Bar & Grill — a sports bar with 12 TVs, the NFL Ticket and a great happy hour — calls to you as you work your way home, when you want to relax and when there’s a big game. 
    That’s not its only call. 
    Thursday’s Bar & Grill calls you for its $10 lunch menu weekdays 11am to 3pm. “That’s a deal,” says general manager Mitch LeFevre. 
    Evenings and weekends call the family for good casual eating in the dining room.
    Much of the menu is homemade. Burgers are one-half pound fresh, never frozen, beef. Oysters and crabs — including steamed — are always local when in season. Fresh oysters are now in season. Thursday’s best-selling wings are fried in-house and repeatedly voted Best of the Bay by Bay Weekly readers.
 
Thursday’s Bar & Grill
1751 Horace Ward Rd., Owings; 410-286-8695
Lunch and dinner daily plus Sun. breakfast

Thursday’s Steak & Crab House

Atop an authentic decommissioned steamboat landing, Thursday’s Steak & Crab House offers casual destination dining. Because it’s at the end of the road in Galesville, you won’t find it unless you’re looking for it — or lucky. In summer, it’s a favorite destination by boat as well as by car, cycle or foot. Whatever the season you can’t beat the views — because you’re on top of the water.
    With that location, you’d guess correctly that Chesapeake delicacies top Thursday’s menu. Here fresh, local ingredients mean local oysters in winter and fresh rockfish whenever available. In season, crabs are dropped off at the dock daily. Order them steamed, soft-shell or in gluten-free crabcakes made with only Chesapeake Bay crabmeat and no filler or bread. Ask at other restaurants where your crab comes from, and you’ll see what a rarity this is. 
    This time of year, crab lovers can switch to snow crab legs. Steamed shrimp with a house blend of seasonings are always popular, as is Thursday’s Orange Crush. 
    Come summer, remember Thursday’s tiki bar, 25 boat slips and two dinghy docks. You’ll love it outside, and so will your dog. Thursday’s is so dog friendly that there’s even a doggie menu.
    About the name?
    “We’re where the weekend starts on Thursdays,” says general manager Monique Morgan.
 
Thursday’s Steak & Crab House
4851 Riverside Dr. Galesville; 410-867-7200
Lunch and dinner daily

The Ugly Pig

I really wanted a good ham sandwich — and my pickles are something, says George Williams, owner and operator of the The Ugly Pig. 
     We are mostly a carryout delicatessen, with a few seats outside and a few seats inside. We specialize in charcuterie, and we make everything we sell, from peanut butter to prosciutto, mayonnaise to miso. 
    The Ugly Pig is also a small market where you can pick up eggs, bacon, cuts from the wonderfully raised vaccine-free pigs I use at the store or any of our specialty house-made products to be even more tremendous cooks at home. We also do catering, and we also sell whole pigs.
    I created The Pig because I wanted to be a part of the national conversation about food that is happening right now. I think many of the foods I serve are being lost to modernity in some way or have a carbon footprint that is unnecessarily large. I think the money we spend on food and how we spend it is a way to be politically vocal. As a witness to the growth of the locavore movement, I’ve felt charcuterie was an under-produced niche to which I felt I had something to contribute.
    We source everything we can locally, and we deal face to face with our farmers.
     Because we make everything on the menu, we know for sure things like allergen information and dietary information in a very thorough way. We do not use high fructose corn syrup or any products with high fructose corn syrup. We do not use butter. We do not have a deep fryer. We do not have a microwave. We really like our ingredients and our farmers and want to do them justice. Our prepared dishes have layers of our ingredients — and a lot of effort. 
    Most of the food I sell is drawn from personal travel experiences. So every dish is a signature dish. 
    Flagship products include dry-cured bacon, honey peanut butter, chicken salad, split pea soup, vinegars we ferment to make mustards and all sorts of stuff, bone broth, sandwiches, Italian sausage, fermented foods like sauerkraut, celery and gochujiang, dinner dishes and so much more.
    We happily take orders over the phone. Because we source so much of our food from local farmers, our menu changes every week. For phone orders and for planning, I post the weekly menu on our Facebook page. There you can find everything from the day’s sandwich or dinner offerings to what charcuterie or pickled product is available. 
    Wondering about our name? It is drawn from song lyrics. Our logo, drawn by a local Annapolis High School student, is also inspired by the song’s lyrics.
    As the song goes, a pig offers the protagonist an adventure that is foreign, at times terrifying, but in the end very gratifying. I can’t say more. You’ll have to come in.
 
The Ugly Pig 
1841 St. Margaret’s Rd., Annapolis; 410-571-3060; www.facebook.com/TheUglyPigAnnapolis
Lunch & dinner Tues.-Sun.

Umai Sushi House

Good sushi is where you find it.
    Give yourself the surprise of finding very good sushi in a four-store shopping corner in Deale. If it were summer, you’d get a hint of good to come in the container garden that makes the parking lot a vibrant oasis. In the dead of winter, you enter on hope. Or perhaps you long for a steaming bowl of hot chicken soup.
    Step inside. Behind the sushi bar, the chef slices thin slivers of very fresh fish. Owner Chang Park, your likely waitress, greets you like a long-lost relation. Her warmth makes the 34-seat café hospitable. Much of Umai’s business is carry out, but with a pot of tea, a carafe of saki, a beer or a glass of wine, you may find yourself lingering at a table.
    For good reason. Umai’s authentic Korean dishes you won’t find the likes of for many miles. Less rare nowadays, the Japanese side of Umai’s menu compares favorably with trendier competitors in Annapolis and D.C.
 
Umai Sushi House
657 Deale Rd., Deale; 410-867-4433
Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat.
 
 
 
 

I’m buying long rods to fish from shore the windy days of early ­trophy rockfish season

       My latest fishing quest originated in last year’s trophy rockfish season as I was putting in a supply of ice for my skiff’s fish box. Parking near an SUV, I had paused to compare notes with the occupants who were as eager to get into some action as I was, using a different sort of gear.
      They were shore anglers, armed with the long surf-type fishing rods needed to get long casts off the shallow Bayside shorelines of the public areas that have become popular in recent years, especially during the early season.
      I admired the anglers for their zeal even as I pitied them for the endless and fishless hours I suspected they experienced in their pursuit of trophy rockfish from land. Yet the anglers assured me they were doing well.
      Since it was just over a week into the season, I smiled. Many anglers claim they are doing well, particularly if they aren’t. It’s really nobody’s business but their own.
      Just to reassure myself that I wasn’t missing anything, I asked if they had any pictures. Of course they did, and one dived into the SUV to fetch his phone. My jaw dropped at a picture of him and his two buddies with three of the biggest, fattest trophy rock I had seen yet that year. 
      He also confided that those fish weren’t the only ones they’d scored but conceded that they’d already been out four or five days during the trophy season. Plus, they had released some trophy-sized fish during the earlier March and April catch-and-release season. 
      My opinion of the opportunities afforded to shore anglers shifted considerably. I had not yet managed to get my skiff out on the water even once. It wasn’t that I lacked the free time. What I lacked was calm seas. It had been blowing since opening day.
      Weather is one of the biggest drawbacks of boat fishing during the trophy season. It’s not so much a problem if you’ve got a larger craft that can handle a good chop and provide shelter from the chilly winds that blow over the Chesapeake in April. For smaller skiffs like my 17-footer, it’s a showstopper. Getting out even once a week is often a challenge with our cold and windy springtime weather.
     Shoreside angling suddenly began to make a lot more sense. There are publicly accessible sites up and down both sides of the Bay, usually with a lee shore sheltered from the worst of any small craft advisory winds. If I wanted more time on the water, I decided, perhaps I should join the long-rod crowd. But the only long rods I had were fly rods.
      As it takes time (and financial resources) to put together a proper set of tackle, I put it off until the following year, which is now upon me. Doing a bit of research in the meantime, I determined what was needed and have begun to put together a couple of outfits. 
      The most popular surf sticks for shoreside fishing around the Chesapeake are nine- to 11-footers coupled with a 5000- or 6000-series spin reel capable of holding a few hundred yards of 20- to 30-pound monofilament or braid. The extra-capacity reels are necessary because shore-bound anglers often make casts of 150 to 300 feet, then have to contend with the sizeable runs of big fish.
      Right now I’m looking forward to a busy early season beginning in just a few weeks. When it’s too cold and windy to take out my skiff, I’m planning to be along a shoreline in a comfortable beach chair, clad in well insulated clothes and sipping a warm beverage, with an eye on my rods, waiting for trophy rockfish to come by and take my baits.
 
Wish a Fish Foundation Needs Your Extra Gear
      If you’ve got an excess of any kind of fishing equipment that you’re no longer using, the Wish a Fish Foundation could use it (410-913-9043). The Foundation is intending to raise money by selling donated fishing gear at the Pasadena Fishing Flea Market on Feb. 17 and 18 at Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Hall, 161 Ritchie Hwy., Severna Park.
      Wish A Fish accepts donations on Thursday, Feb. 15, when some afternoon and evening help would be welcome. Volunteers are also needed to help at the tables at the flea market (outside but in a tent) on the 17th and maybe 18th, 7:30am-2pm: 
410-439-3474.
 
 
 
Is cursive an evolutionary dodo?
       Can you sign your name in cursive?
       For much of American history, handwriting was a hallmark of education and character, taught in classrooms as part of the triumvirate of reading, ’riting and ’rithmatic. Students who persevered through eight grades took as much pride in their penmanship as John Hancock, whose graceful cursive on the Declaration of Independence made his name a synonym for signature, as in sign your John Hancock on the dotted line.
      Into the 20th century, handwriting was so foundational a part of the public school curriculum that educators devoted themselves to perfecting a system good for one and all, just as modern educators have with Common Core. From letterforms and linkages standardized in the mid-1800s by bookseller and abolitionist Platt Rogers Spencer — and not so different from many Hancock used — the American cursive handwriting style evolved.
      Spencerian descendants — about whom we’ll have more to say — were so successful that by the mid-20th century, Americans from coast to coast could write — and read — one another’s handwriting, as well as John Hancock’s.
Yet just about then (does Sputnik ring a bell?) states began de-emphasizing handwriting to allow more classroom time for the curriculum we know today as STEM. 
       Does cursive have a future? That’s the question we ask in honor of National Handwriting Day, which falls on January 23, the birthday of the Massachusetts’ patriot John Hancock. No longer can every graduate of our public schools read Hancock’s signature — or, for that matter, the handwritten document itself.
      Can you?
 
A Pillar of Civilization
       Through the four- or five-thousand-year span of recorded history, handwriting has evolved, influenced and reflected every aspect of culture. This art of forming visible, readable characters has evolved in many styles, from cuneiform and hieroglyphics to unconnected block letters to flowing cursive.
      About the time the Egyptians were developing hieroglyphics, Sumerian merchants were codifying their transactions into cuneiform script. Ever since, handwritten documents have recorded births, marriages and deaths but also started and ended wars. They’ve bought and sold land and slaves, and guaranteed — or challenged — our voting rights.
      By about 1500 BCE, the Phoenicians had an alphabet of 22 phonetic symbols. This marvelous invention spread to Greece, Persia, India and Egypt.
      Like any new technology, handwriting brought on tidal waves of change. Socrates feared a written language would destroy memory, according to Anne Trubek, author of The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting. To a degree, he was right; the old oral tradition that gave rise to Homer is obsolete. On the other hand, as French philosopher Jacques Derrida noted, we only know what Socrates thought about anything because someone recorded his ideas.
        In the second century BCE, the Roman Empire conquered Greece, adopting its then 23-letter alphabet. The alphabet spread throughout the Roman empire. More letters were adopted over the centuries until, by the 15th century, the Roman alphabet consisted of 26 letters.
       By then, handwriting had become a specialized skill, practiced by the scribes and monks who saw their livelihood threatened when Gutenberg developed a printing press capable of assembly line-style production of books. Despite their worries, handwriting remained for many centuries the dominant medium for recording and sharing information.
         The Renaissance development of copperplate engraving brought the fanciful flourishes to script writing. This script evolved into the italics from which cursive and basic lowercase letters derive.
        In early America — as in so many cultures over the millennia — handwriting was a skill that could earn a craftsman a living. By the 1700s, master clerks were doing the actual penning of many of our historic documents. The United States Constitution was drafted by James Madison, penned by Jacob Shallus, assistant clerk of the Pennsylvania State Assembly and signed, more or less elegantly, by 56 colonial gentlemen, for whom fine handwriting was a mark of education and cultivation. 
       In 1786, George Fisher published The Instructor, or American Young Man’s Best Companion Containing Spelling, Reading, Writing, and Arithmetick.
         “The capitals must bear the same Proportion one to another,” wrote Fisher. He directed that upstrokes be fine, and downward strokes fuller and blacker. “And when you are in Joining,” he instructed, “take not off the Pen in writing, especially in running or mixed hands.” His words may ring familiar to 60- and 70-somethings who learned Palmer cursive in school. 
        In the mid-18th century Platt Rogers Spencer developed a utilitarian writing system uniting aspects of several popular writing systems. During the late 1880s, the Spencerian method evolved into the Palmer system, which emphasized writing with arm movements rather than with the fingers. With variants, Palmer remained the school standard of penmanship through the 1950s.
        Meanwhile, other technologies were changing the world. As early as 1947, when TIME magazine was already bemoaning the “day of typewriters, shorthand, telephones and Dictaphones,” educators and the media were complaining that schools were neglecting penmanship instruction. In 1955, the Saturday Evening Post pronounced us a “nation of scrawlers.” By the 1980s, some public school students were receiving little or no formal handwriting training.
 
Cursive Uncommon in ­Common Core 
        Since 2010, to many teens and young graduates of Maryland’s public schools, the swirls and twirls of cursive are as unreadable as ancient Sanskrit.
       Trace it back to Maryland’s adoption that year of Common Core State Standards in reading, English/Language Arts and mathematics, known 
as the Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards. Later, pre-K standards were added. 
       State education standards have been around since the early 1990s, varying from state to state. In 2009, most states, the District of Columbia and a couple of territories voted to develop Common Core State Standards. Maryland was among the first of many states to adopt the new, voluntary standards. 
       Common Core put our nation “one step closer,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation that bankrolled the initiative, “to supporting effective teaching in every classroom, charting a path to college and careers for all students.” 
       Often Common Core pushed cursive aside for keyboarding and computer skills, math and sciences.
 
How Important are ­Connected Letters?
        Does the loss of our common heritage of handwriting matter? Opinions are divided.
        Juli Folk, 37, is reading handwritten Calvert County Census documents for the Center for the Study of the Legacy of Slavery at the Maryland Archives while studying for her masters degree in Library Information Science at the University of Maryland ISchool. 
       Her volunteer project depends on her ability to read cursive in many hands over many decades. “I had fun learning it in elementary school,” she says.
      Yet for today’s students, she’d be happy to see it “offered as an art class. Or teachers could show students what cursive letters look like, then let them learn it on their own.”
      “What matters,” she says, “is that handwriting, whether printed or cursive, is legible.”
      The American Bar Association seems to agree. Printed signatures are just as legal as are cursive — or electronic ones,” according to University of Missouri law professor David English.
       Other benefits may make cursive fit enough to survive the keyboard era.
       Some researchers say learning cursive benefits brain development and fine motor skills in children, leading to improved writing skills and reading comprehension — skills critical across the Common Core. 
        Dr. William R. Klemm, senior professor of neuroscience at Texas A&M, says learning cursive helps train the brain to function more effectively, increasing hand-eye coordination and reading speed. Thus, he concludes that schools that drop cursive are depriving students of an important developmental tool.
        Whatever learning cursive may do for our hands, eyes and brains, losing it certainly cuts us off from our past. A generation illiterate in cursive will be unable to read historic documents, including Grandma’s letters. 
       “Sending a handwritten letter is becoming such an anomaly,” says actor Steve Carell. “My mom is the only one who still writes me letters. There’s something visceral about opening a letter. I see her in handwriting.”
       At the Maryland State Archives, Emily Oland Squires hears complaints from researchers, especially students, struggling to read with cursive. 
       Archives staff tries to bridge the gap by helping research teachers create lesson plans that include both primary source documents written in cursive and their transcriptions. Online transcriptions have been made of many documents pertaining to state and African American history.
        “Still, we ask teachers to let students try to work from the manuscripts before giving them transcriptions,” says Squires. “It helps them learn.”
 
Does Cursive Have a Future?
         Some states have legislated a future for cursive. In 2016, Alabama and Louisiana — not states earning top educational ratings — became the latest of 14 states that now require cursive in school.
        Maryland does not require cursive be taught. 
        “There are currently no standards for cursive,” says Walter Lee, of the office of the Curriculum Coordinator and Instruction at Anne Arundel County Public Schools. “But Maryland created a framework in which cursive does appear.” 
       Lee explains that Maryland decided to include cursive as part of the framework for interpreting the state standards for the Commonwealth of Maryland. “There are no policies governing cursive,” he says, “but there are practices. It is up to local education agencies.”
        In Anne Arundel County, he says “incorporating cursive into reading time during the school day is a school-based decision, meaning that it is up to the principal.”
      In the bigger picture, it may be, as Trubek says, that the decline in our use of handwriting in our daily lives is only the next stage in the evolution of communication. Where we’ll be next, who knows.
        While we wait to see what the next wave of change brings, we might all heed the advice of Benjamin Franklin: “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” He did both.
       In honor of National Handwriting Day, pick up a pen or pencil and put it to use.
 
What is Cursive?
       Cursive derives from the Latin word currere, meaning to run. Cursive writing has a more comfortable flow than early Roman square block printing or the more rounded uncial writing of early Latin literature. In handwriting history, forerunners of cursive appear as far back as ancient Roman times. Due to its speed and efficiency, many languages since the ancients have cursive forms. 
       In America, cursive has subtypes such as ligature, in which letters within words are connected with lines. There’s also cursive italic penmanship, which combines joins and pen lifts within words. Looped cursive is the style taught in American schools since the late 1800s. If you learned cursive, it may well have been this style. 
 

 

 

The season is already underway

      It’s starting now. The yellow perch run is on the way, with the white perch run right behind it. Despite our wildly unpredictable weather this time of year, Maryland’s 2018 fishing season is opening up — whether you’re ready or not.
      Hardier practitioners will reap the first and richest bounties, as always, so don’t be misled by freezing temperatures. The fish may hesitate during periods of extreme cold but not for long. Temperature is not the primary element affecting the coming and going of fish. They’re also driven by the increasing sunlight, lunar phases, tidal flows and the inexorable changes in their bodies. Females are already swelled to bursting from the copious quantities of roe they are producing. Males are overflowing with milt.
       Staging areas are the right places to target, the deeper water up in the tributaries where the schools of fish will build up awaiting whatever secret signal their senses need to start for the headwaters to spawn. Yellow perch prefer 45- to 55-degree water for reproducing. Improbable as it seems, on a sunny, 60-degree day, the shallows of a tributary can easily reach those temperatures, though Bay waters may remain in the 30s.
       If nothing else, it’s the time to break out your spring perch fishing tackle and get it ready for action. Light lines need replacing more frequently than heavier tests, so check yours. If they appear chalky, stiff or in any way suspicious, replace them now. Four- to six-pound test is the way to go this time of year. Each spool refill at a local sports store costs $3 to $4.
        A seven-foot, medium-weight spin rod is adequate for pan fishing. However, maybe this spring is time to invest in a six- to six-and-a-half-foot light- or ultra-light-action rod matched with one of the many 1000-series spin reels. It is far more satisfying to use tackle matched to the fish, and casting the lightweight lures and baits you’ll be using will be far easier. Your accuracy will be vastly improved, and light bites will be far more detectable.
       The best terminal setup is a pair of shad darts about 18 inches below a small weighted casting bobber. You can tip the darts with grass shrimp, minnow, bloodworms, earthworms, butter worms or any combination. 
       You’ll also need some warm clothes: hip waders or high boots if you’re a bank angler, some warm wool gloves (fingerless are best) and a few hand warmers, just in case. If using minnows for bait, don’t forget a small bait net. Nothing will numb your hands faster than having to plunge them repeatedly into your live bucket for baits.
        A five-gallon pail remains the best general tackle container: bait bucket, fish holder and sometime seat for when the bite may be slow. A thermos full of hot beverage can also go a long way to making the cold more bearable.
       Yellow perch must be at least nine inches in length — a 14-incher is a citation — and the possession limit is 10 fish per day. They, like white perch, are best prepared cleaned, rolled in panko crumbs and fried in hot peanut or corn oil until golden brown. Many devotees insist that yellow perch are better than whites, though that argument could be endless.

Fish Finder

Yellow perch are moving up into the tributaries. During the last cold snap, stalwart anglers made some holes through the ice in the upper Magothy and caught a number of yellows and not just a few whites. Spawning is definitely happening, though small males of both species are always the first on station. Pickerel are also up there in the tribs. Their spawn is imminent. Don’t ignore crappie either, as they too are schooling and becoming active in fresher water.
 
Hunting Seasons
Wild turkey: Jan. 18-20
Duck: thru Jan. 27
Ruffed grouse: thru Jan. 31
Whitetail and Sika deer, bow season: thru Jan. 31
Canada goose: thru Feb. 3
Snow goose: thru Feb. 3
Rabbit: thru Feb. 28
Squirrel: thru Feb. 28
http://dnr.maryland.gov/huntersguide/Documents/Hunting_Seasons_Calendar.pdf
 

Rich or poor, Owensville ­Primary Care turns no one away

Over $10,000. That’s what the average American spent for health care in 2016, and up is where that number is heading.
     “My wife’s health insurance jumped 38.9 percent,” laments a friend recently retired. “My pension is disappearing.”
     Across the age spectrum, you hear endless variationa of the same story.
Last year, 11.9 percent of Anne Arundel County residents couldn’t afford to see a doctor, according to the county’s Report Card of Community Health Indicators. Seventeen percent didn’t have a primary care physician.
     In a culture where health and wealth are inextricably linked, Owensville Primary Care is a haven. It welcomes all with these words: This Health Center serves all patients regardless of insurance status or ability to pay.
     It is an oddly placed haven.
     If you wanted to show off southern Anne Arundel County’s pastoral ideal, you couldn’t do better than take a drive down Owensville Road, the east-west link between Rt. 2 and Galesville. Amid imposing white homes set back on yards rolling into farm fields, the modernistic stucco building might, if noticed, raise a question. 
     Its placement tells a truer story of Southern Maryland life than the scenery. It’s a story in many ways little changed since Owensville Primary Care was founded in 1974 to, in CEO Sylvia Jennings’ words, “address the needs of a very low-income, rural, minority population that did not have access to health care.”
     Over four decades, Jennings has seen need persist and — for many of those years — overseen Owensville Primary Care’s ability to deliver care regardless of race, age or income.
      “We pledge to provide quality health care to our entire, diverse community at a responsible cost,” Jennings says. “That’s our mission.”
     Since the Affordable Care Act was passed, that pledge has included helping people, patients or not, find qualified health care programs. Nowadays, people losing their subsidies are welcome for advice and alternatives.
 
A Melting Pot
     In the utilitarian waiting room, you find yourself in a microcosm of the larger Southern Anne Arundel County community, where homes — and with them wealth — run the full range from mansions to shanties. Here, your neighbors — black and white, young and old, more and less affluent — visit as they wait. You might find — as I did on this day — a kid sucking a lollipop. Two elderly women, black and white. A tattooed hipster with an ear gauge in his lobe. A workingman in an Orioles cap. Yourself.

Owensville Primary Care outgoing CEO Sylvia Jennings, retiring after more than 20 years.

       Owensville Primary Care has become, over the years, an American melting pot. 
     “I came in one morning to find a Jaguar in the parking lot next to a jalopy,” says Jennings, the white-topped dynamo who for two decades has been CEO of this federally qualified Community Health Center, one of 16 in Maryland and some 1,400 nationwide.
      The numbers support the impression of diversity. Of October’s 1,156 patient visits, 38 percent were paid by commercial insurance, 32 percent by Medicare and 28 percent by Medicaid, with two percent self-paid.
 
Walking Into a Nightmare
       Jennings, 82 and days from retirement, works behind the scenes, in an office stocked with tall jars of Hershey’s Kisses. Jolly, direct and demanding, she does not want a visit to her sanctum to feel like “a walk down the hall to the principal.”
      For the office she is now dismantling has been the scene of many hard decisions.
      “I walked into a nightmare,” Jennings recalls.
      In 1981, the well-intentioned, six-year-old South County Family Health had descended into bankruptcy. With $1.5 million owed, court administrators threatened to “nail doors shut and walk away,” Jennings remembers. That’s when she joined the board, deputized by her boss, Virginia Clagett, then South County’s councilwoman.
      Paying off that debt took eight years.
      A second round of troubles in the mid 1990s brought Jennings back on the board to captain “a sinking ship.” First she laughed at entreaties; finally she accepted. That was 1997. She spent the next two years cleaning up the mess.
 
The Team
      Jennings has been the force that kept Owensville Primary Care on track.
      But hers is not the face you’re likely to know if you happen to be one of its 3,400 patients, from birth to geriatrics. 
      First you meet the reception crew, who, Jennings says and experience proves, are “welcoming and treat you not as a stranger but as a friend.” 

photo by Wayne Bierbaum

Back, doctors Thomas Sheesley, Jonathan Hennessee and Wayne Bierbaum. Front, nurse practitioner Nancy Bryan, behavioral health director Dr. Jana Raup and physicians assistant Ann Hendon.

photo by Wayne Bierbaum

Rebecca Woolwine, Judy Bracken, Amber Snay and Billie Aisquith in back row. Keri Mahan and Brittany Galloway, seated.

      Many, like office manager Billie Aisquith, have been here as long as Jennings. Increasingly, they are “cross-trained in multiple functions,” like Vickie Payne, who is also a fire department EMT just certified as a medical assistant through Anne Arundel Community College’s online program.
       “When they expand their skills, they expand their incomes,” Jennings says.
       Next, you enter into the hands of nurses — among them nurse supervisor Vanessa Greenwell, Owensville Primary’s longest serving staffer at over 30 years — who’ll take your weight and height, blood pressure, temperature and blood oxygen readings.
       They turn you over to health care providers, who range from doctors to nurse practitioner Nancy Bryan, retired from the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps, to physician assistant Ann Hendon.
       At 28 years in, chief medical officer Wayne Bierbaum calls his egalitarian work at Owensville Primary “what I’ve wanted to do since I decided to go into medicine: helping people manage in difficult circumstances.”
       Doctors Jonathan Hennessee and Thomas Sheesley are National Health Service Corps Scholars, who repay their medical education by working in communities with limited access to care, in their cases for a term of five years.
      Behavioral Health Director Jana Raup or Licensed Clinical Social Worker Jen Thornton offer counseling and therapy.
 
Right People for the Job
       From the bottom up and top down, salaries are a priority with Jennings, who brings her medical experience as a nurse along with administrative experience alongside a state legislator.
      “I really focused on getting people a decent wage,” she said. “Even then, $7 an hour for nurses was ridiculous.”
        “The money wasn’t there so it was a long process,” says Sharon Widemann, Jennings’ long-time colleague and now successor as CEO.
      Nowadays, Jennings calls “our salaries very competitive,” good enough to draw expertise from outside South County. 
       “Young physicians fresh out of school are paid a very good entry-level wage that appreciates the fact that family-care physicians are difficult to recruit,” she notes. 
      For five years, Jennings and Widemann, who came on in 1994 as an accountant, “got our hands dirty with work to make sure we had the right hiring.”
        Computerization brought the next challenge. 
      “When IT hit us all with electronic records, we were able to draw the best staff among community health centers, who are doing wonders for our record keeping,” Widemann says.
 
Finding Wherewithal
      Every step took money. 
      Community health centers are backed by tax dollars. Owensville Primary Care has a $4 million budget, with federal funding of about $1.5 million, supplemented by fees for service, donations from citizens and small government grants for targeted programs.
       Federal and private funding supported the construction of the building back in 1976, enabling Owensville Primary to move out of the old Owensville primary school. The building was county property until 2002, when it was surplussed to Owensville Primary. That same year, a state grant of $200,000 and a loan from the county paid for renovation. Later grants paid for better parking. This year, the behavioral health center moved into its own remodeled space, replacing the old post office that shared space with Owensville Primary.
      Grants enabled growth in services. In 2013 federal monies brought on behavioral health case managers, certified application counselors for Affordable Care and expanded Medicare, plus two more physicians. 
      A brand-new grant supports response to the opioid addiction crisis with mental health, public awareness and Narcan training.
      From Jennings’ years with Clagett as both councilwoman and delegate, she understood the levers of government. 
     “She has kept us in the minds of politicians who help our cause,” says chief medical officer Wayne Bierbaum.
      Jennings retires with Owensville Primary Care “in the black.” But not without a touch of uncertainty. Federal funding for community health centers expired September 30, and Congress has yet to reauthorize it.
 
‘A’ For Accountabiliity
     Recovery from a troubled past has made accountability part of each day’s work.
     “We hold ourselves accountable with committees for quality care, insurance and improvement,” Widemann says. “Once a month, a group of clinical and administrative staff review incidents and look at how our patients are doing. If one provider is doing a great job, we see how to share those best practices.”
     Patients have two ways to rate their satisfactions, and a sign on the reception desk invites complaints if you’ve waited more than 20 minutes to be seen. Quality measures are posted on the front door and the website.
      Accountability is one of the hallmarks of Jennings’ tenure, according to Bierbaum who has worked beside her the whole time.
     “Our goals have been continually strengthened through her vision of what we should become, so that everyone knows that we stand for service delivered with compassion, accountability and professionalism, always trying to do better in our mission,” he says.
     On January 2, Jennings passed on title and responsibility to Widemann. She leaves with satisfaction, relief and confidence, in a transition that, she promises, “will be seamless.” Preparing Widemann to continue the mission has been Jennings’ final achievement. 
     That, and revisiting 22 years of history, paper, electronic and human. 
     Amid the sorting, preserving and trashing, there was reflecting.
     Jennings already had reached retirement age when she was persuaded to come to the rescue of Owensville Primary Care.
     “I thought I’d do it a couple years and get it straightened out,” she recalls. 
      But day after day, year after year, she returned.
      “What I do every day of my life is so satisfying that it has allowed me to work till 82,” she says.
 

Outgoing CEO Sylvia Jennings, left, and her successor, Sharon Widemann.

      Now, 20 years in, she allows herself to be “very personally pleased with myself for the job I have done here. Some people will call me smug, but you have to have some personal reward. I’m not talking about money but about feeling I have contributed something to my neighbors and friends.”
      Widemann’s mission is continuing a success she helped create.
     “We have a very fully equipped and functioning federal community health center, a strong executive staff, strong providers and a growing behavioral health component,” the new CEO says.
      Her plan is to reach into the community to bring affordable health care to people still unserved. Growing the behavioral health unit is a particular goal.
      She steps comfortably into Jennings’ big shoes.
     “We’re not a one-woman show anymore,” Widemann says. “We’re a team effort. Plus, I know where Sylvia lives.”

When the cold really sets in, the hardy angler goes fishing

      Bitter cold is not enough to describe the single-digit temperatures that descended on Chesapeake Country in late December and early January.
     In Erie, Pennsylvania, where I grew up, this is what winter is like. This year the small city broke into the news (yet again) for not only low temperatures but also record Christmas snows: over five feet in four days. Weather like that is one of the reasons I moved to Maryland some 50 years ago. But for people thereabouts, it’s no big deal.
      Anglers in that neck of the woods simply make the transition to hard-water fishing. They are quite content to continue the pursuit of yellow perch, walleye, crappie, sunfish, pickerel and Northern pike throughout the winter.
     To do so, they equip themselves with ice augers, snow shovels, pop-up ice tents or small shacks on snow skids, space heaters, some tip-ups or ice rods, a slotted ice spoon for keeping the fish holes clear and some minnows or a handful of grubs or butter worms for bait. 
     Our recent temperatures have been low long enough to create safe ice (four inches or more) on many Maryland freshwater impoundments. Exclude brackish tributaries as the salt content lowers the freezing levels and the tidal currents make ice unsafe.
     Deep Creek, Smithville, Tuckahoe, Unicorn, Urieville and Waterford are among the hundred or so constructed lakes scattered throughout the state. Always keep in mind that sufficient ice is the essential requirement for safe angling. Check with Maryland Department of Natural Resources (www.almanac.com/content/ice-thickness-safety-chart) to be sure that the waters you’re interested in fishing are considered safe. 
     The basic equipment is simple, though, like my home-state ice-fishers, you can dress it up all you want. A boring auger, powered or manual, is a real help in making an ice-fishing hole, but I often used a steel spud or wrecking bar for chipping out access to the depths. Attach a rope to the bar and wrap the end around your arm so that when you break through the ice the tool doesn’t slip from your grasp and go shooting down to the bottom. 
     It is also a great advantage to have fished your chosen waters before they ice up, especially as you will have an idea of where the deeper areas lie. You’ll need at least eight feet of water to have a chance at getting fish. Avoid the areas, no matter how attractive, near any outflow as the moving water creates dangerous and unpredictable ice thicknesses. 
     An inverted five-gallon bucket with some kind of cushion makes a satisfactory seat, and a pop-up tent will break the wind — if you don’t mind cutting a hole in its floor. Space heaters can be a comfort if you are careful with the exhaust gases, always providing adequate ventilation.
    Small 18- to 24-inch rods (with appropriate reels) adapted for kids during the regular season are what you need for ice fishing. For bait, use small minnows, worms, grubs and similar trout baits, both real and synthetic. Add shad darts as an additional attractant. Small jigs and spoons will also work. Hooks up to No. 2 work well. You’ll only need a split shot or two for weight to get down near the bottom.
     Storing caught fish is simple. Dropping them outside on the ice freezes them up quickly. They are then easily handled and carried home in your bucket. The fish will generally resume activity as they thaw, so make allowances on the way to the cleaning table.

My Favorite Stories of 2017

Together, we read a lot of stories over the course of a year. Many of them give you a moment’s insight or delight. Others tell you just what you need to know. Some stay in your mind, even after all those words have come between you and them all that time ago. So I can still recount stories we ran four, 14 or 24 years ago.
    Before I close the book on 2017 (yes, I really do have a large, heavy book labeled “2017 • Vol. XXV,” I like to reflect on what we’ve done in the 52 issues of our 25th volume.
    Following the pattern of this Best of the Bay edition, I’m awarding them categorical bests.


Best Bay Weekly Cover of 2016

Get Ready for the Great American Eclipse: Aug. 17