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Sweeten your travels with smart fun

Did you know that the blue crab’s Latin name is Callinectes Sapidus, meaning beautiful savory swimmer? Maryland Bay Game, released by Department of Natural Resources to add smart fun to your home-state travels, is full of fun facts like this plus nature-related games.
Tattered sneakers tell a river’s story. Retired state senator Bernie Fowler tells his.
This Sunday, June 8, Bernie Fowler will tie on his white sneakers to wade into the Patuxent River. Well-wishers, family and friends, school kids, politicians and reporters will join him, linking hands in a human chain, striding into the water until they can no longer see their shoes. Then, if history is a guide, Steny Hoyer — the second-ranking Democrat in the U.S. Congress — will measure the height of the watermark on his old friend’s overalls, declaring the Sneaker Index for 2014.  

You can get (most) anything you want — even a good book

If the medium is the message, then there’s more to be learned from Calvert Library’s huge festival of local authors than you’ll read in this week’s feature story, The Writers Next Door.     Your neighbor may have written just the one for you, I say, introducing 33 authors and their latest (or favorite) books. These are quick introductions, the literary equivalent of speed dating, with a life compressed into one sentence and a plot into another. At the May 31 festival, you’ll meet even more authors from 9:30 am to 4pm.

A garden named for this Maryland first lady is a fine place to encounter spring

Spring is here, calling us outdoors.          Sample the season at Helen Avalynne Gibson Tawes Garden, an out-of-the-way treasure hidden in plain sight at Maryland Department of Natural Resources headquarters in the Tawes Building.     The gardens are known to local birders as a hotspot for migrating warblers in April, when waves of Virginia bluebells bloom along the walkways.

A St. Patrick’s Day visit from Southern Maryland to Southern Ireland

America goes green on St. Patrick’s Day. From beer to dress to hair (and once upon a time, the Chicago River), green is the color of choice.      In putting on the green, we’re not alone. St. Patrick’s stomping grounds is doing its own greening, returning to its roots to recapture a way of life and an economy rising from the Old Sod.

Nace Butler’s mother was enslaved by love

I ran away in February 1785 …         Thus begins the story of Nace Butler, a young man born to a bold Irish indentured servant and an African male slave.     Nace’s mother Eleanor Butler, known as Irish Nell, arrived on one of the ships of Charles Calvert, the fourth Lord Baltimore.

But not without changing our world

In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.      –Abraham Lincoln

Noxzema comes to The Baltimore Museum of Industry

From COVERGIRL cosmetics to Noxzema, Maryland has a legacy of good skin. For those two boons to ­beauty, we owe thanks to turn-of-the-20th-century Baltimore pharmacist George Bunting. Bunting invented Noxzema to relieve sunburn. Perhaps he was beseeched by clients who failed to factor in the sun’s strength as they sought relief from summer heat on rivers, Bay or oceans.     Who hasn’t used Noxzema? The skin care line with the bracing aroma has become a staple of adolescent medicine cabinets and beauty regimens around the world.

Meter rates down to $1

Once you’d paid the meter, you might as well have gone to D.C. as to Annapolis. Both capitals charge $2 per hour for meter parking. That’s 25 cents for seven and a half minutes, or 16 quarters to fill a meter. No wonder we who park in both cities carry rolls of quarters.     For Annapolis, the burden is lifted. Until March 31, rates fall to a mere $1 per hour at the city’s 384 meters.     So come to town, park and spend. Economic stimulus is the reason for the bargain rates.

Broadneck Peninsula Trail links Arnold

In New England where I grew up, everyone knew everyone else and you always got a friendly nod or a smile, especially if you were out walking the family pooch or trekking to school in inclement weather. I loved running down country roads, knowing I’d likely see someone I knew at some point along my route.     We’re lucky that way in Annapolis, too. An abundance of trails and sidewalks make Maryland’s capital city a walking- and running-friendly town.