Washington DC MTDCommunity
The colony of Maryland was founded by Lord Baltimore in March 1634 and was one of the first regions in the Americas to be continuously inhabited by Europeans. Maryland eventually joined the other twelve original colonies in revolting against British rule to create the sovereign nation of the United States of America.
Maryland’s population in 2008 was estimated at 5,633,597. The state’s largest city is Baltimore with a 2008 estimated population of 785,618 people. This outweighs the state’s capital, Annapolis, which weighs in with only 36,524 people in 2008 (estimated).
As a Mid-Atlantic state, Maryland enjoys a diverse topography and an equally diverse climate. Maryland’s landscape ranges from
low marshlands near the bay, to sandy dunes accented by sea grass in the east, rolling hills of oak forest and mountain pine groves in the western region. Two major topographic features to note in Maryland are Chesapeake Bay and the Appalachian Mountains. The Eastern Shore and a small part of the western shore feature a humid, almost subtropical climate of hot summers and short, cool winters. To the west, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and the Piedmont region, which includes Baltimore, Westminster and Frederick, one can expect warm summers and moderately cold winters.
Aberdeen Proving Ground
At the onset of America’s involvement in World War I, Newton D. Baker, then the Secretary of War, came to the realization that the United States Army was not prepared for war against the Central Powers. Of utmost importance was finding a replacement site for the Sandy Hook Proving Ground at Fort Hancock, New Jersey. Due to its location near heavily populated New York suburbs and the busy New York harbor, Sandy Hook could not be expanded to accommodate for the new munitions that would soon be available to the Army.
Colonel Colden L. Ruggles, the commanding officer of Sandy Hook, was commissioned to select a new site. He soon selected the area along the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay near the town of Aberdeen. In October 1917, the United States Government officially took control of these 35,000 acres of upland and 34,000 acres of swamps and tidal lands, with construction of testing facilities beginning immediately. An additional seven thousand acres were added to the Proving Ground in 1942 to prepare for World War II.
Aberdeen Proving Ground has been used to test field artillery weapons, ammunition, trench mortars, air defense guns and railway artillery; as well as developmental testing of small guns with the addition of the Ordnance Training School. In July 1971, the Edgewood Arsenal, the current chemical research and engineering center for the Army, was merged into Aberdeen.
Aberdeen Proving Ground is home to 70 tenant units and several satellite activities. Major tenant units are the U.S. Research, Development and Engineering (RDECOM), U.S. Army Ordnance Center and Schools, U.S. Army Developmental Test Command, U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center, U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, U.S. Army Signal Network Enterprise Center, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense, U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency and elements of the Army Research Laboratory.
As “The Home of Army Ordnance,” Aberdeen Proving Ground continues its role as a research and development site during peacetime and an important mobilization and training center during wartime. The location of Aberdeen is ideal for tourism. The area is filled with activities that can be enjoyed by the entire family. Everything from parks, museums, concerts, and a healthy nightlife can be found here. The location also provides visitors and those stationed there to be close to some of America’s oldest historical sites.
Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility, Washington
Known as “The Gateway to the Nation’s Capital,” Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility, Washington is the primary arrival and departure point for our nation’s civilian and military leaders to and from foreign destinations. Andrews carries out these functions through peace, crisis, and conflict. A wide range of current and emerging command, control and capabilities are employed to keep our leaders informed of current events while en route to their destination. In recent years, kings, queens, prime ministers and military leaders from more than 50 countries have been escorted to and from the United States via Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility, Washington and its aircraft.
The 89 AW, located at Andrews, is host to more than 60 different organizations including units from the Navy, Army, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve. Nearly 13,000 people live and work at Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility, Washington, including Active Duty, Guard, Reserve personnel and their families.
The 316th Wing (the base’s host wing) is responsible for maintaining emergency reaction rotary-wing airlift and other National Capital Region contingency response capabilities critical to national security and for organizing, training, equipping, and deploying combat-ready forces for Air and Space Expeditionary Forces. The wing also provides installation security, services and airfield management to support the President, Vice President, other U.S. senior leaders and more than 60 tenant organizations and federal agencies.
Fort Detrick traces its roots to Detrick Field, the small municipal airport established at the site in the 1930s. The field was named in honor of Squadron Surgeon Major Frederick L. Detrick who served in France during World War I and died in June 1931.
As a multi-governmental community supporting an array of functions, Fort Detrick has representatives of every branch of the United States military among its nearly 7,800 military, federal and contractor employees. As an Army Medical Installation they are home to the United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC), the National Cancer Institute (NCI-Frederick) and nearly 50 mission partners. Fort Detrick is also home to the National Interagency Confederation for Biological Research and National Interagency Biodefense Campus. Supported functions include biomedical research and development, global telecommunications, the study of foreign plant pathogens and medical material management.
Fort Detrick serves the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services, and The Department of Agriculture. Fort Detrick also supports the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Air Force and the Joint Chiefs of Staff through elements of its Defense Department. The United States Army Garrison (USAG) provides base operations support for Fort Detrick.
Fort George G. Meade
Fort Meade became an active Army installation in 1917. Authorized by an Act of Congress in May of 1917, it was one of 16 cantonments built for troops drafted for the war with the Central Powers in Europe. The present Maryland site was selected on June 23, 1917 because of its close proximity to the railroad, Baltimore port and Washington D.C. The Post was originally named Camp Meade for Major General George Gordon Meade, whose victory at the Battle of Gettysburg proved a major factor in turning the tide of the Civil War in favor of the North.
During World War I, more than 400,000 Soldiers passed through Fort Meade, a training site for three infantry divisions, three training battalions and one depot brigade. During World War I, the Post remount station collected over 22,000 horses and mules. Major Peter F. Meade, a nephew of General Meade, was the officer in charge of the remount station. In 1928, the Post was re-designated Fort Leonard Wood, but Pennsylvania congressmen, angry at removing the name of native son George Meade, held up Army appropriations until the Army agreed to name the new permanent installation Fort George G. Meade on March 5, 1929.
Fort Meade became a training center during World War II, its ranges and other facilities used by more than 200 units and approximately 3,500,000 men between 1942 and 1946. The wartime peak-military personnel figure at Fort Meade was reached in March 1945, with 70,000. In September 1943, the first shipment of 1,632 Italian and 58 German prisoners arrived at Fort Meade. Some of those prisoners, including a highly decorated German submarine commander named Werner Henke, died during their captivity and were buried at Fort Meade. Over 150,000 American women served in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) during World War II. Members of the WAC were the first women other than nurses to serve within the ranks of the United States Army.
In August 1990, Fort Meade began processing Army Reserve and National Guard units from several states for the presidential call-up in support of Operation Desert Shield. In addition to processing reserve and guard units, Fort Meade sent two of its own active duty units, the 85th Medical Battalion and the 519th Military Police Battalion, to Saudi Arabia. In all, approximately 2,700 personnel from 42 units deployed from Fort Meade during Operation Desert Shield/ Desert Storm.
Today, Fort Meade enables critical national security missions by providing its customers and community the facilities and infrastructure they require, the quality of life they deserve and a safe, secure environment in which to work and live. Fort Meade combined with the NSA is the largest employer in the State of Maryland and the fourth largest workforce of Army installations in the continental United States with approximately 40,000 military, civilian and contractor personnel. Fort Meade is also one of the largest joint service centers in the United States.
The primary mission at Fort Meade is to provide “base operations support for facilities and infrastructure, quality of life and protective services in support of Department of Defense activities and Federal agencies.” With this mission in mind, Fort Meade supports more than 78 partner organizations from all five branches on the military and to a number of federal agencies. Supported federal agencies include the National Security Agency, the Defense Information School, the Defense Courier Service and the U.S. Army Field Band.
National Military Medical Center
Now joint base with Walter Reed Army Hospital.
The National Military Medical Center (NMMC) is known as “The Flagship of Navy Medicine.” As such, it provides medical care to Navy families, including those on active duty and their families, retirees from active service and our nation’s leaders.
The National Military Medical Center is one of the nation’s largest and most renowned military medical centers, best known for its history of providing care to war heroes and presidents alike for the past 65 years. NMMC is comprised of nearly 4,500 professionals who make it their daily mission to serve their patients. Each may have varying jobs, yet all work together to accomplish the vision of the medical center.
The facility’s main goal is to provide Force Health Protection to our troops, by maintaining a fit and ready force, deploy medical troops when needed, provide health care to the service person wherever he or she may be stationed in the world…and provide care to our other beneficiaries: families and retirees.
Naval Air Station Patuxent River
Naval Air Station Patuxent River is one of eight sites across the country (and one overseas site) under the command of NAVAIR or Naval Air Systems Command. The Patuxent River site is one of three that form the Aircraft Division. The other Aircraft Division locations are at Lakehurst, N. J. and Orlando, Fla. The Weapons Division is located at sites in California and New Mexico and there are NAVAIR depots in California, Florida and North Carolina.
NAVAIR comprises six organizations working as a fully integrated team. These are the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR); Program Executive Office, Air Anti-Submarine Warfare, Assault and Special Mission Programs PEO(A); Program Executive Office, Tactical Aircraft Programs PEO(T); Program Executive Office, Strike Weapons and Unmanned Aviation PEO(W); and Program Executive Office, Joint Strike Fighter PEO(JSF) and the Naval Inventory Control Point (NAVICP).
NAVAIR, working with industry, delivers high quality, affordable products and support to the operating forces. Products and services include aircraft, avionics, air-launched weapons, electronic warfare systems, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, launch and arresting gear, training equipment and facilities, and all other equipment related to Navy and Marine Corps air power.
NAVAIR provides total life cycle support of all naval aviation weapon systems including research, design, development and engineering; acquisition; test and evaluation; training facilities and equipment; repair and modification; and in-service engineering and logistics support.
NAVAIR employs nearly 32,000 military and civilian employees; manages approximately 150 acquisition programs; and maintains over 4,100 aircraft in active inventory, including 96 individual type/model/series. Principal customers include the operating forces of the Navy and Marine Corps, other activities of the U.S. Armed Forces and foreign allies.
U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis
The U.S. Naval Academy was founded in 1845 by Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft in Annapolis, MD. Throughout the years, as the Navy has progressed from sail and steam-based ships to today’s high tech fleet, the Naval Academy has continually updated itself to give young men and women up-to-date academic and professional training. The primary mission of the Academy is to develop midshipmen “morally, mentally and physically” to be effective naval and marine officers.
The Academy stresses two core curriculums. The first of which is the Academic Program which includes courses in engineering, science, mathematics and social science. Designed to provide a broad-based education, this program prepares midshipmen for nearly any career in the Navy or Marine Corps. The second program is the Athletic Program. The primary goal is physical fitness, but through an array of athletic choices, midshipmen also develop leadership and teamwork skills and learn the importance of commitment and personal sacrifice.
Another defined area of cadet growth is Moral Education. Moral and ethical development is a fundamental element of all aspects of the Naval Academy experience. As future officers in the Navy or Marine Corps, midshipmen will someday be responsible for the priceless lives of many men and women and multi-million dollar equipment.
Anne Arundel County, Md.
Anne Arundel County was an original county of Maryland. It was created in 1650, a year after the death of its namesake, Anne Arundel of the once prominent Arundel family of Cornwall, England. The Anne Arundel County seat is located in Annapolis, which is also the state capital. Nearly 500,000 people call this “land of pleasant living” home. The area’s superior quality of life along the Chesapeake Bay and its proximity to Baltimore and Washington D.C. are major draws.
Outdoor activities abound within Anne Arundel County. With 534 miles of coastline, boating, fishing, water skiing, sailing and swimming are popular pastimes. For those that prefer land, there are two state parks, more than seventy county parks and several nature preserves within the county.
Sandy Point State Park
—Sandy Point State Park is a 786-acre park resting on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. The park offers ample room for swimming, fishing, crabbing, boating and windsurfing. Unparalleled views of the Chesapeake Bay and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge can be found from the park’s beaches and picnic areas.
The park’s location along the eastern flyway makes it an ideal location for bird watchers. A wide range of birds live or pass through Sandy Point as well as other wildlife which can be enjoyed from two unique hiking trails.
Baltimore and Annapolis Trail
—This 13-mile trail connects Baltimore and Annapolis with an 8-foot wide paved trail. As a part of the East Coast Greenway, the trail offers a place for walkers, runners, bicyclists, and even equestrians.
The Bay Bridge Walk
—Annually, anywhere from 40,000 to 60,000 people gather for the Bay Bridge Walk. Held every year since 1975 on a Sunday in early May, the walk allows residents to get out and enjoy a unique experience.
Baltimore County, Md.
A largely suburban county in northern Maryland, Baltimore boasts approximately 785,618 resident…the third-highest population in the state, with the second highest number of jobs!
Baltimore County’s history stretches back to the 1650s and English rule. Throughout the years, a number of portions of the county have been “broken” off to form or help form surrounding counties, as population increase has demanded. The most notable portion to be removed from the county was the City of Baltimore which became an independent city in 1851.
Baltimore County offers a wealth of recreational activities on its own, but when combined with the City of Baltimore, there is almost too much to choose from.
North Point State Park
—North Point State Park, located on the shores of Chesapeake Bay, offers 1,310 acres of natural resources and historical significance. Among the supported activities at the park are hiking, biking, tidal fishing, bird watching and picnicking.
The historic Defenders Trail passes through the park. The trail was used in the War of 1812 by American Soldiers to fight off the attacking British. Another interesting historical site within the park is the Bay Shore Amusement Park which operated from 1906 to 1947. In its 40 years of operation the park was a popular summer destination. A couple of restored buildings stand on the site today as markers of the past.
Gunpowder Falls State Park
—With 18,000 acres stretching between Harford and Baltimore Counties, Gunpowder Falls State Park is one of the largest state parks in Maryland. The variety of topography, ranging from marshes and wetlands to steep slopes, provides activities for everyone, no matter what their pleasure is. There are more than 100 miles of trails including the 21-mile Northern Central Railroad Trail. The Gunpowder River offers excellent trout fishing and other freshwater or tidal fishing areas as well as a swimming beach. The Dundee Creek Marina offers a boat launch on Gunpowder River along with rowboat rental, fuel and a marina store.
City of Baltimore
—While Baltimore’s cultural and recreational offerings are too numerous to list, some of the more popular include professional sporting events, featuring the Baltimore Orioles (Major League Baseball) and the Baltimore Ravens (National Football League); the Baltimore Zoo; the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, home of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; the Lyric Opera House; and the Inner Harbor, which features numerous attractions including bars, clubs, and restaurants, Harborplace, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, the Maryland Science Center and historic Fells Point.
Calvert County, Md.
Calvert County was established in July 1654 by Lord Baltimore and maintained close ties to England. In the ensuing years, Calvert County was home to a number of conflicts between a group of Puritans, who settled here under the leadership of Richard Preston, and men dispatched by Governor Stone of Virginia.
Between the lull of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, the plantation system of agriculture was developed and employed in Calvert County, making a gracious living for a number of already wealthy landowners. The most immediate changes to the county’s way of life came after the Civil War, when the freeing of the slaves severely hurt the plantation system.
In 1865, Captain Isaac Solomon established a commercial fishery and cannery on an undeveloped island in the southernmost part of the county. Here he hoped to take advantage of the abundant fish populations in Chesapeake Bay and the Patuxent River to counteract the failing plantation system. Solomons Island, as it would come to be known, would later become a training site for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps with the onset of World War II.
American Chestnut Land Trust
—The land trust features a number of nature trails running throughout the watershed region of Parker’s Creek and Governor’s Run. The area also features an experimental chestnut arboretum and historic structures.
Battle Creek Cypress Swamp Sanctuary
—This 100-acre nature sanctuary features the northernmost naturally occurring stand of bald cypress trees. An elevated boardwalk allows for easy hiking through the swampy areas and the nature center contains a number of natural history exhibits.
Breezy Point Beach and Campground
—This bay-front park features swimming, fishing, picnicking and camping. Breezy Point is a perfect getaway for those looking to spend a day or a weekend hunting for fossils along the beach.
Calvert Cliffs State Park
—Hiking trails throughout this 1,400 acre wooded park end at Calvert Cliffs. The cliffs offer fossil hunters the perfect location to find the perfect specimen for their collection.
Calvert Marine Museum
—The museum houses a number of exhibits ranging from local maritime history to the paleontology of Calvert Cliffs to the estuarine biology of the Patuxent River. A main attraction to the museum is the Drum Point Lighthouse, an authentically restored lighthouse from 1883.
Charles County, Md.
Established in 1658, Charles County is named after Charles Calvert, the Third Lord of Baltimore. Much of the industry in the county remains as it was when it was established. The basis for this industry is agriculture with an emphasis on the growth and sale of tobacco. Now, Calvert County is a booming suburban community south of Washington D.C. filled with historical and natural attractions. Numerous historical sites and buildings dot the landscape, ranging from homes and churches to courthouses and schoolhouses. Bird watching and bicycling are two of the more popular outdoor recreations—and Charles County offers some of the best of both found in Maryland.
American Indian Cultural Center/Piscataway Indian Museum
—This museum strives to show the life of Native American people before contact with exploring Europeans. The focus is on Maryland’s indigenous people but the museum also includes information about other areas of the country. A full-scale replica of a long house, tools, weapons and authentic art highlight the collection.
The Port Tobacco One-Room Schoolhouse
— This one-room school is the original building from 1876. It served the people of Port Tobacco as a school for nearly 75 years until 1953. In the 1990s the Charles County Retired Teacher’s Association restored the school and furnished it with items representative of the 1870s.
LaPlata Train Station
—This historic building represents the impact that railroads had on the growth of Charles County during the late 1800s. The station first opened in 1873, the same year LaPlata’s first post office opened and was followed by a period of major growth for the town. Today, the two-room station is operated by the Charles County Historical Society and features an authentic red caboose sitting on an adjacent track.
Purse State Park
—Purse State Park is a 90-acre reserve that remains in a natural state with nearly no improvement. It lies in a remote area with gently rolling hills, wooded countryside, marshlands and moss-covered rock walls. This “wild” state of the park makes it a perfect location for fossil hunters.
White Plains Regional Park
—This regional park offers something for the whole family to enjoy. The main attractions of the park include an 18-hole golf course with Bermuda fairways, lighted tennis courts, a “tot lot” and playground, a 15,000 square foot concrete skate park and several small picnic pavilions.
Frederick County, Md.
Frederick County was the home to a number of famous people. Thomas Johnson, the state’s first governor, was born here as well as John Hanson, America’s first president under the Articles of Confederation. Francis Scott Key, who wrote “The Star Spangled Banner,” was born here and shared a law practice with his brother-in-law, Roger Brooke Taney. Taney would go on to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
The first European settlers in the area came in 1730 with a predominately German background, by way of Pennsylvania. The county’s location in both the Appalachian Mountain and the Piedmont Plateau regions makes it a prime agricultural area. In fact, Frederick County has more farms than any other county in Maryland. Fittingly enough, the oldest building in the county is a German farm house which now serves as the Schifferstadt Architectural Museum.
National Museum of Civil War Medicine
—The National Museum of Civil War Medicine details the development and progression of medical practice used and developed from experiences in the American Civil War.
Rose Hill Manor Park/The Children’s and Farm Museum
—Specializing in depicting early American Life, this living history museum offers historic tours and events designed for children of all ages.
Schifferstadt Architectural Museum
—This unique museum, housed in the county’s oldest building, provides America’s finest example of German Colonial architecture. Built in 1756, the stone manor house and accompanying gardens are open for guided tours from April to Mid-December.
—The Hessian Barracks are listed on the National and State Registry of Historic Sites. Built in 1777, this site has been used as a Revolutionary War prison, by the State Army in 1812, as a Civil War general hospital, the First Maryland School for the Deaf, and was the staging point for the Lewis and Clarke Expedition.
Gambrill State Park
—This state park, located west of the town of Frederick, offers miles of hiking and biking trails along with horse trails. It also features a 34-campsite and four-camper cabin campground which is available seasonally.
River and Trail Outfitters
—Providing raft, canoe, kayak and tube tours, the River and Trail Outfitters offer a unique way to experience the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers near historic Harpers Ferry and Antietam Creek. Bike rentals are also available for tours along the C&O Canal.
Harford County, Md.
In 1773, a large portion of Baltimore County was split off to form a new county to be named Harford County. The county was named after Henry Harford, the last proprietor of Maryland. Like many of the surrounding counties, Harford contains a number of historically significant sites and buildings for tourists to visit as well as outdoor recreational spots.
—There are a number of historic towns within Harford County, each with its own unique historic buildings. These towns include Aberdeen, Bel Air, Havre de Grace and Jerusalem.
Havre de Grace Maritime Museum
—The Maritime Museum’s mission is to collect, preserve and document the maritime skills and heritage of the Lower Susquehanna River and Upper Chesapeake Bay.
Historic Jerusalem Mill Village
—Located in Gunpowder Falls State Park, this historic village contains a variety of activities that include Revolutionary and Civil War era living history demonstrations and encampments.
Geneva Farm Golf Club
—This is Harford County’s first 18-hole golf course. It features a fully stocked golf shop, full-service restaurant and a banquet room. The club can accommodate up to 200 people for golf outings, weddings, rehearsal dinners and other special events.
Howard County, Md.
Howard District was formed in 1838 with the splitting of Anne Arundel County and became an official county in its own right in 1851. Howard County is a bit of an oddity in that it contains no officially incorporated cities under Maryland law. The largest community in the county is Columbia.
Howard County lies between Washington D.C. and Baltimore, offering easy traveling to either. The county boasts itself as “…a successful melding of old and new, urban and rural, where the rolling green hills of the Piedmont meet the rocky fall line of the glaciers.”
Whether you’re seeking action, adventure, or relaxation, Howard County has something to offer you. You can discover the area’s history during an afternoon hike, pick your own produce, play a round of golf or just relax at a luxurious spa.
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum:
Ellicott City Station
—Built by the B&O Railroad in 1830, the Ellicott City Station is the site of the original terminus of the first 13 miles of commercial track ever built in the United States. It is also the oldest standing railroad station in America. Two restorations, one in the 1970s and one in 1999, returned the building to its 1857 appearance and turned it into a museum. The museum’s exhibits showcase the story of early American transportation and travel.
Historic Savage Mill
—This 19th century mill, a National Historic Landmark, has been adaptively restored to create a unique shopping and dining experience. It is one of the top 25 most visited attractions for both the Washington D.C. and Baltimore Areas.
Ellicott City Colored School
—This restored one-room schoolhouse from the 1880s showcases the history of educational opportunities for African American children in Howard County during the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Columbia Horse Center
—This equestrian facility offers lessons to children and adults. It features an Equi-Lease program, show teams, horse sales, summer and winter camps and boarding.
Patapsco Valley State Park
—Extending 32 miles along the Patapsco River, this state park encompasses 14,000 acres of hiking, fishing, camping, canoeing, horseback riding and mountain biking. Created in 1907, Patapsco Valley State Park is one of the oldest state parks in Maryland. The Avalon Visitor Center contains exhibits spanning more than 300 years of history on the Patapsco River. Located within a 19th century stone dwelling, the center includes a replica of a forest warden’s office circa 1930.
Montgomery County, Md.
In 1776, Frederick County was split into three counties, one of which would become Montgomery County, named after Revolutionary War general, Richard Montgomery.
The county is Maryland’s most populated and affluent, which is a result of being adjacent to the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. Its 479 square miles are composed of small, rolling hills.
Patuxent River State Park
—Patuxent River State Park is located along the upper 12 miles of the Patuxent River and bridges Montgomery County and Howard County. The park is comprised of 6,700 acres of farmlands and natural areas. A portion of the park is a state wild lands area. Primary recreation uses for the park are fishing, hiking and horseback riding, though hunting is allowed in designated areas.
Seneca Creek State Park
—Encompassing 14 miles of riverfront along the Seneca Creek and a total of 6,300 acres, the Seneca Creek State Park winds it way to the Potomac River. One of the main features of the park is the 90-acre Clopper Lake, which is surrounded by forests and fields with a number of scenic areas. The park is a popular destination for hikers, picnickers, boaters, fishers and cross-country skiers. Hunting is allowed in designated areas.
The park also contains a number of historic attractions. The Black Rock Mill is a partially restored mill complete with exhibits. The Seneca Schoolhouse is a restored 19th century one-room schoolhouse which was originally built for the children of the workers at the Seneca Sandstone quarries.
Strathmore Hall Arts Center
—This building from 1900 is an excellent example of historical renovation and adaptive use. Once a private mansion, Strathmore Hall has been restored and now hosts a myriad of different functions ranging from concerts to private parties.
—White’s Ferry is the last functioning ferry on the Potomac River. Since their initial development, ferries have been used to carry people and their vehicles across the river between Maryland and Virginia. White’s Ferry offers modern-day commuters a chance to see what commuting meant in days gone past.
—Designed by John Russell Pope, the architect of the Jefferson Memorial, the Woodend Mansion is an early 20th century Georgian Revival home. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the mansion now serves as the headquarters of the Audubon Naturalist Society and is open to the public on weekdays.
Prince George’s County, Md.
Created in 1696, Prince George’s County was formed from portions of Charles County and Calvert County. Later, in 1748, a portion was split off from Prince George’s to become Frederick County. Prince George’s County’s many attractions offer a wide spectrum of activities ranging from educational to exhilarating. Topping the county’s list of popular attractions
are the Goddard Space Flight Center and Six Flags America.
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
The Goddard Space Flight Center is the core of all of NASA’s tracking capabilities. The center’s duties also include the development of unmanned sounding rockets, research in space and earth sciences. The center offers a number of free exhibits with a focus on the work done at Goddard from 1958 through the present. The Visitor Center contains space flight artifacts, photographs and even an area dedicated to model rocket launches.
Six Flags America
—With over 50 rides, shows, and attractions spread out over 200 acres, Six Flags America is the place for family entertainment in Prince George’s County. The park offers a stable of top-rated roller coasters including “Superman Ride of Steel,” the “Mind Eraser,” “Tony Hawk’s Halfpipe” and the “The Joker‘s Jinx.” Also on site is “Renegade Rapids”—one of the largest wave pools in the world.
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Depot/Laurel Train Station
—This restored American Queen Anne style building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building, still in use today as a busy commuter station, began life in 1835 as a major station between Washington D.C. and Baltimore on the railroad’s new direct line between the two major cities.
—Piscataway Park occupies seven miles of Potomac River riverfront and sits directly across from Mt. Vernon. It features hiking trails, wetlands, Indian burial grounds, a public fishing pier and scenic views of President Washington’s home at Mt. Vernon. Local wildlife, including bald eagles, beavers, deer and osprey, among others, is plentiful in the area.
St. Mary’s County, Md.
St. Mary’s County was named after Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the site of the first Roman Catholic Mass in the New World. The first English settlers arrived here at St. Clement’s Island on March 25, 1634 from the Isle of Wight in England. Annually, this landing is celebrated as Maryland Day.
Created in 1637, St. Mary’s County holds the distinction of being the first county to be established in Maryland. The county is also where Francis Scott Key, the author of The Star Spangled Banner grew up.
Point Lookout State Park
—Point Lookout served as an important watch post during both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. At the onset of the Civil War, Point Lookout became a hospital for the Union and a prison camp for captured Confederate soldiers. A Civil War Museum is open seasonally to give visitors a glimpse into the past. Also located in the park are 143 campsites, three fishing areas, swimming areas with lifeguards, a playground, picnic tables and a boat launch.
St. Clement’s Island State Park
—This 40-acre island is the site of Maryland’s birthplace. It was here that the original English settlers landed in 1634 seeking to establish a colony of religious freedom. The island offers hiking trails, a picnic pavilion, and scenic views of the Potomac River along with educational panels showing the island’s history. A more detailed history of the island is available at a museum on the nearby main shore.
Cecil’s Mill Historic District
—Cecil’s Mill Historic District was one of Maryland’s first Industrial Districts. Its centerpiece is the Old Mill, built in 1812 as a cotton/textile factory and later rebuilt as a saw mill. Today, the mill exhibits artifacts from Maryland’s early industrial days and artisans offer handmade crafts and original artwork. Also included in the historic district is Cecil’s Country Store and Post Office.
Historic St. Mary’s City
—St. Mary’s City is Maryland’s premier living history museum and archeological park. The city was Maryland’s first capital and the fourth permanent English settlement in the Americas. Today, the 835-acre site allows visitors to board a tall ship, tour the 1676 Statehouse, explore Woodland Indian Hamlet or watch the ongoing reconstruction efforts of the original brick chapel.