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They’re the decorations on Riverdale Baptist Church’s Living Christmas Tree

You may see 75 singing Christmas balls, but I see 75 angels dressed in white, making a joyful noise on the branches of a 30-foot-high, illuminated, pre-engineered Christmas tree.     Riverdale Baptist Church in Largo is celebrating 30 years of the two-hour holiday production The Living Christmas Tree, which includes a full orchestra, light show and heartwarming play that can turn most any Grinch into a mellow fellow just in time for the holidays.

Muddy Creek Artists Guild shows more than meets the eye

For shoppers, Muddy Creek Artists Guild’s annual holiday show and sale is about finding gifts from the arts to fill their shopping lists and — very likely — indulge themselves.     With 55 artists showing and selling hundreds of creations in the Guild’s biggest show of the year, there’s lots to see, admire and desire.     For artists, the eight-year-old Guild has become a community where they develop their strength and vision.

Deputy director Sherrod Sturrock steps up to lead

Calvert Marine Museum keeps track of the ages. You learn about the prehistoric Chesapeake there by encountering creatures that lived in that shallow, warm ocean and on its shores. About the humans who followed ages later, and how the water enriched their lives. About the creatures that evolved, died and live in Chesapeake Bay and the Patuxent River.

Spirits of the ­Rising Sun Inn

Had I never lived in Crownsville’s historic Rising Sun Inn, I’d have scoffed at folks who believed in the supernatural. But once my brother and I rented the Inn and moved in, peculiar things started that we couldn’t quite explain away.     Take the day our buddy’s girlfriend fled our housewarming party, screaming in terror.

Boats are only part of the fun

It’s a Melamud family ritual 30 years in the making. I announce I’m planning to go to the Annapolis Boat Show. My wife gets a puzzled look, then reminds me that our current boat is perfectly adequate and we are certainly not looking for a new one. I explain that the Boat Show is not just for people planning to buy a new boat; there are other reasons to go. I then promise not to buy a new boat. She wishes me a good time, and off I go.

Follow new Guide to “hidden gems”

You’ll find your way on the Magothy River with ease and insight with a copy of the brand-new Magothy River Water Trail Guide.     “Our river is like a hand with a narrow opening between Gibson Island and Persimmon Point and Dobbins Island in the palm,” says 20-year Magothy River Association president Paul Spadaro. “But what’s really worth experiencing are the fingers and fingernails.”

Chesapeake Curiosities: Battle Creek Cypress Swamp is the northernmost of its kind

A habitat unique in Maryland flourishes just south of Prince Frederick. Battle Creek Cypress Swamp is one of the nation’s northernmost naturally occurring stands of bald cypress trees.     “It’s actually a bit of a mystery why the swamp is here, as we don’t see similar stands of trees in other low-lying swampy areas of the county,” says Shannon Steele, Calvert County naturalist.

Ward Farm Recreation and Nature Park

Our summer on the cheap took us to a park still being born.     Ward Farm Park in Dunkirk is not yet open, except for some hikes and camps.     Naturalist Tania Gale led our group of seven children and seven adults on one of those hikes, pointing out plants and insects and filling us in on the history of the Ward family as well as what changes are coming.     The 209-acre parcel was purchased in 2013 by Calvert County. Phase one of the master plan includes building ball fields where now there are corn fields.

Neighbors joining neighbors to celebrate our independence

Is there anything more fun, more moving and more important than a hometown Fourth of July parade? Whether joining the parade or watching it, we celebrate our independence as a nation and as a people.     Across the land, communities large and small decorate themselves, their dogs and conveyances from baby buggies to trikes and bikes to convertibles, tractors, fire engines and floats. In a partnership of faith and delight, we join as one entity united by shared purpose.

Stories that need to be told

This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day, our national day of remembrance of those who gave their lives fighting for the United States across the world.     All over the country, patriotism abounds as festivities and events both large and small mark the day. Locally, the weekend marks the commissioning of a new crop of officers from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. The weekend is also the beginning of summer fun. Families spend the long weekend trying out barbeques, pools and the outdoors season.