Sampling 378 Years of History
Maryland Day offers so much, it takes a full weekend to celebrate it all
Maryland Day is our version of Columbus Day.
On March 25, 1634, voyagers from the ships the Ark and the Dove celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for surviving their long voyage, coming to land safely on a Potomac River island and negotiating a peace accord with the Piscataway Indians.
Those were smart Indians; they suggested the colonists go elsewhere. Thus St. Mary’s City, not St. Clement’s Island, became the seat of the Lord Baltimore’s new colony.
There’s been a lot of history since then. Nowadays, it takes a three-day weekend to commemorate Maryland’s 378 years. Celebrations of many chapters of that history, ancient and modern, have been laid on at both early landing spots and throughout the Four Rivers Heritage Area of Anne Arundel County.
“Following the example of Open Doors Heritage Days in Europe and America, Maryland Day opens our tourism season with a collaborative event in a heritage area anchored in the state capital — and with the original landing and first state capital in driving distance — that’s easily and inexpensively visited,” says Carol Benson, executive director of Four Rivers: The Heritage Area of Annapolis.
With spring in the air, the Maryland Day weekend is a swell time for historic day tripping. Restaurants, businesses and neighborhoods have joined forces with historic destinations to multiply the fun to be had.
Each experience costs only $1 (with rare exceptions), and some are free. Space is often limited, and some events require reservations, so plan ahead and arrive early.
–Sandra Olivetti Martin, Bay Weekly Editor
Anne Arundel County Courthouse Museum
Crossroads of the Community Exhibit
Anne Arundel County’s working courthouse has seen 188 years of history. See The Crossroads of the Community and meet its makers to catch up on some of the dramas of those years. If you like the shows CSI or Law and Order, this exhibit is for you.
Friday, March 23, 9:30am-4pm
7 Church Circle, Annapolis; www.fourriversheritage.org
Chesapeake Children’s Museum
Kids Create Chesapeake Bay Lighthouses
Taking inspiration from real Chesapeake Bay lighthouses, kids use cereal boxes, cellophane scraps and other recyclables to make a lighthouse model. Daisy Girl Scouts can earn the Clover Petal. Brownies and Juniors can earn a Lighthouse Badge.
Friday, March 23, 10:30-11:30am
25 Silopanna Rd., Annapolis, 410-990-1993; www.theccm.org
Maryland State House
Behind-the Scenes Tour
The nation’s oldest working statehouse teems with history. Today, there’s a special treat in addition to self-guided tours of the grand building and its original working chambers, including the Old Senate Chamber, where George Washington resigned his commission as commander in chief in 1783.
Today’s highlight is silver service from the USS Maryland, newly returned to its home in the State House. Each of Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City are represented in this remarkable silver service made by the celebrated firm of Samuel Kirk and Sons and paid for in 1906 with a $5,000 donation from Maryland schoolchildren.
Curators of the state’s art collection describe its significance (1pm and 2pm) and answer questions about this unique 46-piece service and its new permanent installation in the State House Caucus Room.
Photo ID required.
Friday, March 23, 1-3pm
100 State Circle, Annapolis, 410-974-3400;
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Board the Stanley Norman Skipjack at Annapolis City Dock
Come aboard the Stanley Norman, a 110-year-old skipjack run by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, to discover the history of one of Maryland’s most important industries, oystering. You will learn about skipjacks, oysters, and how it all relates to the health of the Chesapeake.
Friday, March 23, 3:30-5:30pm
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Build an Oyster Reef
Mold reef balls to create an instant underwater community inviting to oysters. Reef balls are punctured concrete spheres with holes that provide valuable marine habitat. Dress to work outdoors, including gloves and boots. Bring lunch and water. 30 workers per session.
Friday, March 23, 9am-2pm
Saturday, March 24, 9am-noon
4800 Atwell Rd., Shady Side; 410-268-8816; www.cbf.org; rsvp email@example.com
Tea Party and Period Music
All kinds of interesting stories of Maryland history live in the brick walls of this three-story Georgian mansion built between 1769 and 1774.
The architectural gem was commissioned by Declaration of Independence signer Samuel Chase, who staffer Carol Kelly describes as the “perfect American story: young, ambitious, political and reaching beyond his means.” Chase later became a Supreme Court justice, yet he never lived in the house. Wealthy plantation owner Edward Lloyd bought and finished it.
In the 1890s, its last private owner willed it to a board of trustees to maintain as a home for elderly women, who, she wrote “needed relief from the vicissitudes of life.” Six to eight independent ladies of all means live in the historic house to this day.
Both days’ events show off the three rooms open to the public, including the foyer with its magnificent cantilevered staircase and Palladian window. No high heels or strollers.
On Friday, join the ladies for a historic repast of tea, finger sandwiches, and sweets and savories served by costumed colonials in the beautiful dining room of an eighteenth-century mansion. Seating for 25 at 2:30 or 4:30pm; rsvp.
On Saturday, the Weems Creek Jammers play music typical of English country dances and their colonial equivalents, as well as Virginia reels and French quadrilles.
Friday, March 23, 2:30 and 4:30pm and Saturday,
March 24, every half-hour 2-5pm for 25 visitors at a time
22 Maryland Ave., Annapolis, 443-994-1830 (Carol Kelly)
West Annapolis Heritage Partnership
The business and residential neighborhood you know as West Annapolis was formerly known as Norwood’s Beale Plantation. John Norwood, the first sheriff of Providence (later Anne Arundel County) patented the land in 1658 as a good site for growing tobacco.
Friday, March 23: bb bistro serves colonial cuisine.
A walking tour of West Annapolis meets in the McCrone Parking lot on Annapolis Street at 10:30am.
Saturday, March 24, rsvp: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center
Three Days of Events Celebrating Bates, Its Community, History and People
The Wiley H. Bates Heritage Park, home of The Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center and Memorial, is a $27 million complex dedicated to preserving and presenting the history of Wiley H. Bates High School, the only high school for African Americans in Anne Arundel County from 1932 to 1966.
At Friday’s open house, 11am-1pm, explore the history and people of the Bates Legacy Center and see the documentary Bringing Back Bates.
Local youths sing, dance and recite poetry Saturday at 2pm.
Hear a local gospel choir Sunday at 3:30pm. rsvp 443-510-7092 or Wileyhbates11@verizon.net.
1101 Smithville St., Annapolis; 410-263-1860; www.whbateslegacycenter.org
Maryland Art and Wine Reception
Historic Reynolds Tavern has been an Annapolis landmark since 1737. For the three-day Maryland Day holiday, Chef Antonello creates lunch and dinner specials celebrating Maryland’s bounty.
Friday, meet J.E. Nicklason, who has made the people and places, water- and landscapes of Chesapeake Country the subjects of his art and camera. Learn how he sees his subjects while sampling wine from Maryland’s Boordy Vineyards.
7 Church Circle, Annapolis; 410-295-9555; www.reynoldstavern.org
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Bring your binoculars and join Chesapeake Bay Foundation staffers on a hunt for osprey, a major success in protecting natural resources. Osprey have just returned from their winter grounds in Central and South America and are setting up nests around the property. Open to the first 20 birdwatchers.
Saturday, March 24, 8-9am
rsvp Adam Wickline: 443-482-2034; email@example.com
Merrill Center; 6 Herndon Ave., Annapolis; 410-268-8816; www.cbf.org
City of Annapolis Historic Preservation Commission
Archaeology in Annapolis
See, touch and learn about the lives and culture of past Annapolitans. Student archaeologists with the University of Maryland’s Archaeology in Annapolis Summer Field School show and explain historic artifacts and images from recent excavations from Fleet, Cornhill, Pinkney, and East streets. You’ll learn — based on food remains and tableware — how various communities and ethnic groups, including whites, African American and Filipinos, have lived in the city for over 300 years.
Historic Annapolis: Hogshead
Tour & Living History
Hogshead has been long known as the Barracks, for that’s the purpose it served for 18th-century frontiersmen, for whom the Wild West was practically next door. Visit to hear stories of how they lived from their impersonators and lay your hands and imaginations on their tools.
Saturday, March 24, noon-4pm
43 Pinkney St., Annapolis; 410-267-7619; www.annapolis.org
Historic Annapolis: William Paca House
Tour & Living History Performance
The home of William Paca, signer of the Declaration of Independence and Revolutionary-era Governor of Maryland, has been restored from former uses — including as the Carvel Hall Hotel — as one of the most elegant landmarks in Annapolis. Tour the garden, first floor and newly decorated dining room.
Throughout the day, historic interpreters of the award-winning Project Run-A-Way enact the stories of runaway slaves.
Saturday, March 24, 10am-5pm
186 Prince George St., Annapolis; 410-267-7619; www.annapolis.org
Historic St. Mary’s City
Honor Native Americans in the Colony’s Recreated 17th-century Capital
In our oldest city, costumed interpreters in recreated 17th-century settings tell the stories of Maryland’s first years, when St. Mary’s was the colony’s capital. You’ll see archaeological sites under excavation across the landscape plus the reconstructed State House of 1676; Smith’s Ordinary; the Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation, a working colonial farm, a replica of the square-rigged Dove and the Woodland Indian Hamlet. Hands-on activities at most sites.
This year’s celebration focuses on the region’s indigenous people, who helped the early English settlers. This year the state officially recognized the Piscataway Indian Nation and the Piscataway Conoy Tribe.
Anthropologist and Indian affairs advocate Rebecca Seib speaks at 1pm in a program that concludes with the Ceremony of the Flags, featuring fourth-graders parading the colors of Maryland jurisdictions.
Saturday, March 24, 10am-4pm
Visitor Center: 18751 Hogaboom Ln., St. Mary’s City; 240-895-4990; www.stmaryscity.org
Wimsey Cove Framing & Art
Kids and their parents explore Maryland through our oldest maps with a guide who explains how maps and bird’s-eye views were made and used. You’ll see the world through Capt. John Smith’s eyes and travel through Anne Arundel County in 1860 and Annapolis in 1878. Reproductions of the Maryland maps are 20 percent off.
Saturday, March 24, 11am-3pm
3141 Solomons Island Rd., Edgewater; 410-956-7278; www.marylandframing.com
Take a break from history and visit one of Annapolis’s many pocket parks. Learn about Annapolis MainStreets, the Girl Scouts — who celebrate their centennial this year — and their Maryland Heritage Badge.
Saturday, March 24, Noon-4pm
Pocket Park at 122 Main St., Annapolis
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Hike in Nature and History
Hike with Center guides to the beautiful and historical Contee Farm, learning as you walk about the land, its culture and the research of Smithsonian scientists at the Center.
rsvp: Open to the first 18 hikers ages 8 and older.
Saturday, March 24, 1:30-3pm
647 Contees Wharf Rd., Edgewater; 443-482-2388; www.serc.si.edu
Annapolis Tapestries Inc.
The needle-smart volunteers of Annapolis Tapestries invite you to make history, joining them and more than 300 stitchers from the U.S. and around the world in creating a community legacy.
No experience necessary, as volunteers will guide you in adding your stitches to original tapestry canvases. You’ll sign your name in the Stitchers Log, which will become part of the permanent exhibit of the Annapolis Tapestries Project.
Expert stitchers work on one of the 18th century tapestry panels and demonstrate needlepoint techniques.
Saturday, March 24, 10am-4pm
Sunday, March 25, 11am-4pm
Historic Annapolis Museum, 99 Main St., Annapolis; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.annapolistapestries.wordpress.com
Historic Annapolis Museum
Exhibits and Living History
Get a first look at two new exhibits.
Sewing Through Time uses found history to document the necessity, pastime and industry of sewing.
Also brand new: Views of Annapolis.
All day, civilian and military interpreters describe early Annapolis life.
Saturday, March 24, and Sunday, March 25, 10am-5pm
99 Main St.; 410-267-6656; www.annapolis.org
Historic London Town and Gardens
Visit a Historic Town, Reconstructed from Archaeological Clues
History lives at London Town, where you can visit William Brown’s house and the Lord Mayor’s Tenement to see colonial-style hearth cooking and colonial-era British Marine drills. The newest exhibit, Discover London Town, interprets the site’s history from 13,000 years ago to today.
Make your reservations for Spirits of the Past: A Colonial-Era Drink Tasting: 5pm, $30 rsvp.
Sunday, March 25, 10am-4:30pm
839 Londontown Rd.; Edgewater; 410-222-1919; www.historiclondontown.org
Charles Carroll House
Open House for All Ages
Charles Carroll House was home of the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence. Re-enactors from Capital City Colonials lead tours and historic scavenger hunts.
Sit for a silhouette portrait by Baltimore historical artisan Lauren Muney: $15 for one likeness; $25 for two.
Saturday, March 24, and Sunday, March 25, Noon-4pm
107 Duke of Gloucester St., Annapolis; 410-269-1737; www.charlescarrollhouse.org
Quilting and Oral History of Rosenwald Schools
If you studied at a Rosenwald school, bring photos to share, recount your experiences and add stitches to documentary story quilts on six of Anne Arundel’s 23 Rosenwald schools. Otherwise, come to learn.
Rosenwald schools were built by African American communities throughout the southern United States with partial funding from a special fund started in 1917 by Julius Rosenwald, head of Sears Roebuck & Co.
Saturday, March 24, 1-3pm, Annapolis
84 Franklin St., Annapolis; 410-216-6180; bdmuseum.com
Sunday, March 25, 1:30-3:30pm
Galesville Community Center, 916 W. Benning Rd. and Mount Zion United Methodist Church, 41 Ark Rd., Lothian
Annapolis Maritime Museum
Who Were These Characters?
McNasby’s Oyster Company, Annapolis’ last oyster shucking house, lives on as the Annapolis Maritime Museum. Annapolis historian and author Jane McWilliams talks about the Calverts, George Washington and Annapolis’ Declaration of Independence signers. Girl Scouts can attend on the way to earning their Maryland Heritage Patch.
Sunday, March 25, 2pm
Second St. at Back Creek, Eastport; 410 295-0104; www.amaritime.org
St. Clement’s Island Museum
Meet the Colonists, Tour a Lighthouse
The St. Clement’s Island Museum tells the story of Maryland’s first colonists from England to the new world. See them as depicted by local artist George McWilliams, who used contemporary locals as models for his 1999 mural.
At Piney Point Lighthouse, Museum and Historic Park you can not only visit a historic Maryland lighthouse but also learn about local boats, from skipjacks to submarines.
Join citizens and officials in a commemorative ceremony to honor the founding of Maryland at the spot. From 2 to 3pm, local historian and author Dr. Ralph Eshelman talks on the colonists who made the crossing and gave thanks on this day in 1634.
Sunday, March 25, 10am-5pm
Colton’s Point, St. Mary’s County; 301-769-2222; www.co.saint-marys.md.us/recreate/museums.asp
U.S. Naval Academy
Nautical Activities for Families
Kids and families try on a sailor’s life, learning to tie nautical knots, construct a paper John Paul Jones hat and make linoleum rubbings to take home. Guided walking tours of the Academy are also available for a fee.
Sunday, March 25, Noon-3pm
Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center (Enter at Gate 1, King George St.); 410-293-8687; www.usna.edu/NAFPRODV/VC
Gone But Not Forgotten Walking Tour
Join Squire Richard (aka former mayor Richard Hillman) in exploring sites reflecting three and a half centuries of change in the historic district and on the grounds of the Naval Academy. The hour-long tour ends at Mills Fine Wine and Spirits just in time to taste St. Michaels wines and Nutterz snacks.
Sunday, March 25, immediately after the noon flag-raising ceremony at Susan G. Campbell Park, Annapolis City Dock
Mills Fine Wine & Spirits
Maryland Wine Poured and Snacks Served
As one of the oldest family-owned businesses in Annapolis, Mills Fine Wine and Spirits has been making Maryland history for 60 years. Visit today and taste St. Michaels wine and Nutterz snacks.
St. Michaels Winery of Talbot County pours a selection of its award-winning dry white and red wines and its delightful, easy-sipping Gollywobbler sweet wines, complemented by B More Nutz of Baltimore with its Nutterz in crab, bacon cheddar, mild chili and many other delicious flavors.
Sunday, March 25, 1pm until it’s all drunk
87 Main St., Annapolis; 410-263-2888; www.millswine.com
Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts
Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, located in the former Annapolis High School, shows how it lives up to its name with performances of dance by Ballet Theatre of Maryland, theater by the Annapolis Shakespeare Company, and song by the Annapolis Chorale. Plus Hawaiian and belly dancing, art shows, demonstrations and hands-on projects for all ages.
Sunday, March 25, 1-4pm
801 Chase St., Annapolis; 410-280-5640; www.mdhallarts.org
Colonial Kids Dress-up
The aspiration of young men has made lasting marks on Annapolis. Tobacco planter Matthias Hammond was only 25 and newly elected to the House of Delegates in 1774 when he commissioned this stately brick Georgian main house with half-hexagonal wings on either side.
Today, kids five to 12 enter the mansion to dress up in 18th century colonial garb and learn the niceties of colonial etiquette, including how to make a bow or curtsy. Souvenir postcards and coloring book reward for genteel manners.
Sunday, March 25, 1-4 pm
19 Maryland Ave., Annapolis; 410-263-4683;
Captain Avery Museum
Watermen in Maryland History
In 47 years of combined experience working the waters of Chesapeake Bay, Bill and Sue Cheatham have pulled up more than fish, crabs and oysters. In Bringing Our Bay’s Past to the Surface, the husband and wife show and tell about the artifacts they’ve discovered and the tools they’ve used. Hear them at 1, 2 or 3pm.
You’ll also tour the 19th century home of museum namesake Captain Salem Avery with docents, who’ll describe the Avery family and the Shady Side peninsula in the 1860s.
Sunday, March 25, 1-4pm
1418 East West Shady Dr., Shady Side; 410-867-4486; www.captainaverymuseum.org
Deale Area Historical Society
Living Historic Village
On the grounds of Herrington Harbour North Marina, cast-off buildings have been assembled and reconstructed in a historic village.
Herrington Harbour owner Steuart Chaney saved the first building, the Nutwell School, in honor of his great-aunt, who taught there, commuting weekly by horseback. Soon buildings were finding him, in such numbers that they became a village.
“All the buildings were going to be destroyed because of development,” Chaney said. “I wanted to save them. They tell the story of the past.”
The Deale Area Historical Society reanimates the village. Today, hard-working housewives, farmers, watermen and students carry out the jobs that would have been daily chores in the early 1900s. They churn butter, crank the ice cream freezer, make a needlework sample and tie mariner’s knots. Join them, writing on slates and competing in a spelling bee, learning to grow tobacco, attending a Beneficial Society meeting and discovering if you descend from a member of the War of 1812 militia.
Refreshments served by Herrington on the Bay Catering.
Sunday, March 25, 1-5pm
Historic Village Museum at Herrington Harbour North Marina, 389 Rt. 256, Tracys Landing;. www.dahs.us
Galesville Heritage Museum
18th Century Shipbuilding Illuminated
The village of Galesville treasures its past. The Galesville Heritage Museum preserves and illuminates those treasures in the home of schoolteacher Carrie Weedon. Visit today, and you’ll learn about the Stephen Steward Shipyard, the scene of Anne Arundel County’s only Revolutionary War battle. The shipyard and home were burned by British raiders on March 31, 1781. But the larger story of 18th century shipbuilding on the West River is being reconstructed, in large part from artifacts found at the shipyard site.
At 1:30 and 3:30pm, Dean Hall, current owner of the property, tells the story of how the shipyard was rediscovered in the last 20 years. You’ll glimpse what life was like at the shipyard, where blacksmiths, shipwrights, tenant farmers and other laborers worked. Meet a living history performer portraying Stephen Steward and watch the video How Ships Were Borne, learning how ships were built and launched.
Sunday, March 25, 1-5pm
988 Main St., Galesville; www.galesvilleheritagesociety.org
Back Creek Books
Colonial Book Talk and Display
Back Creek Books is a storehouse of Maryland history, buying and selling quality used and out-of-print books, with an emphasis on Marylandiana, Americana, Military and Naval History and Nautical material. Local historian Paul Koch talks about colonial Maryland books, maps and documents and shows samples of his collection. Owner Rockford Toews serves wine and light refreshments.
Sunday, March 25, 2-5pm
45 West St., Annapolis, 410-626-1363; www.backcreekbooks.com
Historic St. Mary’s City
Woods Tea Company, an acoustic trio, adds witty banter to traditional and vintage tunes and invites sing-alongs and trials of a dozen instruments at 2pm at the Visitor Center auditorium. $15 admission benefits the museum’s tall ship, Maryland Dove.
Ping, a new vocal group of the St. Mary’s College of Maryland Chamber Singers, makes its debut performance of 17th century songs. Transportation will be provided for those needing assistance.
Sunday, March 25, 5pm in the Brick Chapel
18751 Hogaboom Ln., St. Mary’s City; 240-895-4990; www.stmaryscity.org