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     You have 10 days to complete your gift-giving mission. Having difficulty coming up with brilliant ideas to wow and impress?       Here Bay Weekly helps you think outside the Big Box and impersonal online shopping sites by browsing and buying at small businesses and shops in Chesapeake Country. We talked to many of our favorites to find out what surprises you can find on their shelves.

Tundra swans return

     “The first tundra swans of the season have arrived on Fairhaven pond.” Jimbo Degonia‎ posted the news on Bay Weekly’s Facebook page Tuesday, November 21, documenting their arrival with this photo. That’s early for birds usually seen after the first of December.      A week later I saw a pod of three of the snow-white birds on the same pond, and more since.

North Beach wants to show the world a pretty, seasonal face

     The Calvert County town of North Beach takes beatification seriously. Last month, three awards recognized town citizens and business people for keeping up appearances.      The yard of Denise LaGrange and Rit Aldi at 9210 Dayton Ave. was named October 2017 Yard of the Month by the North Beach House & Garden Club.

Take advantage of the quiet — and of migration — to go birding

     Winter is a wonderful time to study nature in Chesapeake Country. Yes, you read that correctly, the dreaded season of cold and snow. Before I am lambasted for being a warm-weather heretic, let me explain my reasoning.      First, winter in the natural world is mostly a quiet time for humans and nature alike. Similar to our many hardwood species, the crowds of summer now lie dormant, giving you plenty of space to enjoy the natural world.
     With the coming weeks offering events and attractions promising to wow you, amaze you and fill your hearts with holiday wonder and glad tidings, how do you choose which of the season’s pageants makes it on to your calendar?      Here’s a bit of guidance that may help you to inspire a new tradition or rediscover a forgotten favorite.   What: Illuminated London Town  

Join the debate on where to put Maryland’s ultimate NIMBY

     Not in my backyard. That’s where nobody wants the new Chesapeake Bay Bridge that just about everybody wants — somewhere else.      This week, you get to join the debate on whose backyard deserves a new bridge and how to finance it. In a short half hour from 7:00 to 7:30 pm Wednesday, November 15, you’ll hear an overview of the massive project, including its schedule.

Construction underway for 2018 grand opening

     Thirteen shovels dug into the ochre clay to break ground for Calvert County’s first animal shelter. Rising at 5055 Hallowing Point Road in Prince Frederick is a main shelter building of 12,910 square feet to house up to 200 animals plus a 1,380 square-foot barn to shelter livestock.      The shelter’s namesake, former county commissioner Linda Kelley, would like that, as her fellowship with animals extended to potbellied pigs, which she kept as pets.
SPCA to keep holiday tails wagging
     Lights on the Bay, the annual holiday display at Sandy Point State Park, has a new producer.      For 22 years, Anne Arundel Medical Center created the two-mile drive-through light show. Now Anne Arundel County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals takes the reins.
Maryland municipalities rise to the challenge of driving positive change 
     Chesapeake Beach and North Beach have more going for them than great views. Calvert County’s Twin Beach towns are certifiably sustainable, meaning they live up to standards set by the University of Maryland. As well as the Twin Beaches, 11 other Maryland towns joined the Sustainable Maryland community this year.      Each town has its own advances up the 150-point ladder of certification.

October 25 is Eastport Yacht Club Light Parade’s how-to seminar

     Snoopy and Charlie Brown, rainbows and candy canes, Christmas trees and an angel with a big trumpet: Over 35 years, Pete Chambliss’ boats have morphed into all those forms in the Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade.       Crowds of thousands cheer as the illuminated powerboats and sailboats cruise in two slow loops below and above the Eastport-Annapolis Spa Creek Bridge.       That’s how Chris and Cyndy Rogers joined the parade.