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Things to do in Maryland

  • Baltimore Museum of Art Baltimore Museum of Art Baltimore, Maryland
    The Baltimore Museum of Art was started in 1914, next to the Homewood campus of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, but the museum is not part of the university. One of the featured exhibition is of the Cone Collection with masterpieces by Renoir, Matisse, van Gogh, Picasso, Gauguin, Cezanne, Degas and Manet. The admission is free, and a great restaurant called Gertrude's sits inside, owned and run by Chef John Shields. A fire occurred in 1904, damaging most of the city, and while a city committee was working on the city's future, Dr. A. R. L. Dohme, the committee chair realized that one thing that Baltimore would need is an art museum. Another committee was formed and led by art connoisseur and industrialist, Henry H. Wiegand, who helped get the museum started by 1914, as did Dr. Dohme, who donated the first artwork to the fledgling museum, called Mischief, by William-Sergeant Kendall. Since there wasn't a site or building for the growing collection, the Peabody Institute said they would house the collection until such time as a building could be acquired. Henry L. Walters had just opened a Italianate palazzo, for his beautiful collection, and they asked him if their collection could be included, but Henry declined, and the committee continued making plans for their own permanent museum building.  They bought a building in 1916 and hired an architect to remodel the place, but it would not be occupied, since the Johns Hopkins University gave them the land where they now sit, in 1917, and before they could move in, the collection was moved temporarily to the Garrett House in 1922, with the house being offered for a permanent home for the collection and some place for the directors could meet. The Garrett House would be purchased by an art group in 1925, wanting to keep the collection together, and offered the building for art associations and a hall where meetings could be held, although the space was limited. At Wyman Park, where the new building was to be constructed, architect John Russell Pope starting designing the museum's new home, and cornerstone was laid in 1927. The structure has three floors with many rooms copied from six Maryland historical houses, and even though there was some controversy about the locale, the quality of workmanship and cost, it was opened in April, 1929. The first visitors would be welcomed by Rodin's the Thinker, in the new sculpture court, with the majority of the collections being loaned by Baltimore and Maryland collectors. During its first month of being opened, it had almost 600 visitors coming in each day, and the library on the ground floor was fixed up with shelves, chairs, and reading tables. The library was moved to the third floor of the Cone Wing in 1983. Quite a few of the opening collections were eventually donated to the museum, with the donors including; Jacob Epstien, Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone, Blanche Adler, Edward J. Gallagher, Jr., Elsie C. Woodward, Dorothy McIlvain Scott, Saidie Adler May, John W. and Robert Garrett and Alan and Janet Wurtzburger. The collection had three growths spurts, in the 1950s, with the Saidie A. May wing being added in 1950, the Woodward wing in 1956 and the Cone Wing in 1957; with all of the additions being designed by Wrenn, Lewis and Jencks so that these new wings would complement the initial Pope design. Currently, the museum's permanent collections house more than 90,000 pieces, so that it is the biggest art museum in the state. It welcomes more than 300,000 visitors each year, and has created an area for travelling exhibitions and major art center by these many art programs. It was one of the first museum's in the nation that acquired an African art collection, with the majority of it coming with the Janet and Alan Wurtzburger collection that was donated in 1954. It houses over 2000 objects that come from the ancient Egypt period to the contemporary Zimbabwe and contains numerous varieties of art from pottery, masks, ceremonial weapons, royal staffs, headdresses, figures, jewelry and textiles that came from the cultures of Yoruba, Kuba, Ndebele and Bamana plus others. Many of these pieces are well known for their use in performances, religious contexts, and royal courts; some internationally known. Some of the main features includes works by carvers Sonzanlwon and Alan and a few marvelous figures by the legendary brass modeler Ldamie. There is a Lozi throne from 1900, carved in the court of King Lewanika of western Zambia, a 2006 video work by Theo Eshetu and a 20th century Hausa Koranic prayer board. The museum contains one of the finest collections of American artworks in the world that range from the colonial period to the latter 20th century. There are magnificent works of sculptures, decorative arts and paintings; with works from the early Baltimore area that includes portraiture by Rembrandt Peale, Charles Wilson Peale and other family members, American Baltimore album quilts, painted furniture by Hugh and John Finlay, silver from the city's finest silver manufacturing company Samuel Kirk & Son. The American painting collection spans from the 18th century portraits and 19th century landscape paintings to American impressionism and modernism, containing the beautiful works of John Singer Sargent, John Singleton Copley, Thomas Hart Benton, Thomas Sully, Childe Hassam, Thomas Eakins, Georgia O'Keefe, Thomas Cole and Theodore Robinson. These excellent works are complemented by gorgeous prints and drawings, with modern photographs that have come here with the Gallagher/Dalsheimer Collection; with artists like Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Imogen Cunningham and Man Ray.

  • USS Constellation
    The USS Constellation was built in 1854, a modern sloop-of-war and the second naval vessel to carry the famous name, with the first frigate disassembled in 1853 in Norfolk ship yard, the same yard that built the sloop; maybe with some of the materials from the frigate being used in the sloop's structure. It was launched in 1854, and commissioned in 1855, becoming the final sail-only warship that was designed and built by the US Navy. During the period from 1855 to 1858, the sloop would be used for mostly diplomatic duties in the Med, leaving to become the flagship of the African Squadron in 1859 to 1861, disrupting the slave trade by capturing three slave ships and freeing the African slaves. During the Civil War, the Constellation would be used to deter the Confederate cruisers and commerce raiders in the Mediterranean Sea, and after the war, she would be used to contribute to various efforts of the government like the duty of carrying famine relief supplies to Ireland, and displays to the Paris Expo Universelle of 1878. For some years, the sloop would be used as a floating naval barracks, and then a practice ship for the naval academy midshipmen, and finally a training ship for the Naval Training Center in Newport, Rhode Island in 1894. During WWI, she would train over 60,000 recruits, and then be decommissioned in 1933. President Franklin Roosevelt would recommission her in 1940 to become a national symbol, and during the second World War, the Constellation would be used as the relief flagship of the US Atlantic Fleet. Finally, in February, 1955, the Constellation would be taken off the Naval Vessel Register in August of 1955, a full century plus a couple of weeks after she was first commissioned. May 23, 1963, the Constellation would be taken to her final berth at Constellation Dock in the Inner Harbor at Baltimore, Maryland and made a National Historic Landmark. This is the last American Civil War-era naval ship and the last sail-powered warships that was constructed by the United States Navy. In 1994, the ship became condemned as being unsafe, and so, she was towed to the drydocks at Fort McHenry, in 1996, with a $9 million reconstruction project taking until 1999 to be completed. During October of 2004, the ship would take her first voyage since coming to the dock in 1955, and it would travel to Annapolis and the Naval Academy which lasted all of six days. They have started taking tours of the ship which are either self-guided or guide led, with almost all of the vessel being accessible.

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  • Maryland Historical SocietyMaryland Historical Society Baltimore, Maryland
    The Maryland Historical Society began in 1844 and is now the oldest cultural facility in Maryland, and its goals include the collection, preservation and interpretation of relics and materials that showcase the state's diverse history; with a library, museum, educational programs and publications of scholarly works about the state. The society's complex is found in the Mount Vernon section of Baltimore, Maryland and contains the Enoch Pratt house which has been the mainstay of the society since 1919. This house was constructed in 1847 and given to the society in 1916 by Ms Mary Washington Keyser as a memorial to her husband, H. Irvine Keyser, who had been a member of the society since 1873 until his passing in 1916. Enoch Pratt was a famous philanthropist from the city that started the Enoch Pratt Free Library and also donated major sums to the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore, the Maryland School for the Deaf and the Maryland Science Center. The society has been publishing a quarterly journal since the early 1900s, and the Maryland Historical Magazine is one of the finest peer reviewed journals in the nation that has one of the biggest readerships in state historical society journals. It publishes books about the state's history that is currently distributed via a partnership with the Johns Hopkins University press, that includes Crime and Punishment in Early Maryland that was authored by the former librarian Rapheal Semmes with more than 100 titles in the Library of Congress. Some of the famous works displayed at the society's home includes the original manuscript of the Star-Spangled Banner, as well as the journals and letters of Benjamin Banneker; a free African American farmer, almanac writer, astronomer, surveyor and mathematician. It also contains 231 weapons, 2200 Native American prehistoric archaeological artifacts, 15,000 musicals scores, a magnificent collection of 18th and 19th century paintings, maritime relics and silver, 866 items of jewelry, ceramics, dolls, toys, quilts, costumes and Maryland painted and inlaid furniture. Other exhibits contain the state's furniture, artworks and history.

  •  B & O Railroad MuseumB & O Railroad Museum Baltimore, Maryland
    The B & O Railroad Museum showcases the historic railroad equipment that is located in Baltimore, Maryland, that once called the Baltimore & Ohio Transportation Museum when it originally opened in 1953, and is considered one of the finest and most important collections of railroading treasures in the world and houses the biggest collection of 19th century locomotives in the nation. The museum is housed in the Baltimore and Ohio's Railroad's old Mount Clare Station and adjacent roundhouse that is part of the railroad's huge complex Mount Clare Shops site that started in 1829, and is today, the oldest railroad manufacturing complex in the country. In fact, Mount Clare is believed to be the birthplace of American railroading, which was the site of the first regular railroad passenger service in the nation, that started in 1830. The site was where the first telegraph message was sent; which stated, "What hath God wrought?" that was sent to Washington D. C. in 1844, using Samuel F. B. Morse's new invention and code. There are also marvelous collections of 19th and 20th century relics that pertain to the railroad industry with 250 pieces of individual railroad rolling stock, 5000 cubic feet of archival material, 15,000 relics, four important 19th century buildings that includes the historical roundhouse, and a mile of track, that is said to be the most historic mile of track in the country. The museum highlights an outdoor G-scale layout, a wooden model train that children can enjoy playing around on and an indoor HO scale model. The gift shop offers books, toys, DVDs and similar related items of railroading. The complex was made a National Historic Landmark in 1961, and in 2008 won three awards in Nickelodeon's Parents Picks Awards in categories of; Best Indoor Playspace for Little Kids, Best Museum for Little Kids and Best Indoor Playspace for Big Kids; with TV and film actor Michael Gross acting as the museum's celebrity spokes person.  The very first horse-drawn B & O train travelled along the 13 miles of the new finished track that went from Mount Clare to Ellicott Mills, now called Ellicott City, Maryland, in May, 1830, and became the first railroad passenger service in the nation; with existing Mount Clare station being built in 1851 and the roundhouse designed by Ephraim Francis Baldwin and constructed in 1884 to maintain the railroad's passenger cars. During the majority of its history, the B & O was collecting various locomotives and other relics of its history, for the many public relations purposes. The collection had been stored in numerous places, until a permanent home was decided on and when the car shop of Mount Clare Shops picked, the new museum opened in 1953.   

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Local Restaurants in Maryland
  • Gertrude's Restaurant
    Gertrude's John Shields honors the Chesapeake cuisine with the finest and freshest regional foods served to your table, much like Grandma Gertie did. Soups; vegetarian chili is roasted seasonal veggies & black beans in homemade chili, topped with sour cream, cheddar cheese and scallions; cream of crab soup with lump crab & scented w/ sherry; Miss Jean's Red Crab is traditional veggie based Maryland crab soup w/ backfin crabmeat. Salads; house salad with field greens, plum tomatoes, red onions, carrots, euro-cucumbers, balsamic vinaigrette; seafood salad with field greens, lump crab, poached gulf shrimp, sea scallops & roasted lemon vinaigrette; Caesar with romaine, anchovies, aged parmesan, herbed croutons, Caesar dressing; spinach salad with spinach leaves, applewood smoked bacon, mushrooms, red onion, goat cheese and warm sherry wine vinaigrette; berry good salad with field greens, fresh berries, goat cheese, toasted pistachios and berry vinaigrette. Small Plates; crabettes is spicy, miniature east-meets-west crab cakes with ginger, garlic & serrano chiles, with sweet pepper relish; chicken dumplings is grilled five-spice chicken with Napa cabbage, ginger, cilantro and pickled ginger sauce; Asian jumbo shrimp is char-grilled shrimp served with chile-garlic sauce and sesame slaw; single-fry oysters is chincoteague, Virginia specialty lightly dusted in cornmeal and served with tangy remoulade sauce; pulled pork quesadilla is flour tortillas filled with citrus BBQ pork and spicy pepper jack cheese; citrus BBQ shrimp is wrapped in pancetta, basted with housemade BBQ sauce, then grilled and topped with melted fontina cheese; zuchettes is panfried mini versions of crab cakes, with orange-chipotle pepper sauce; steamed mussels with chardonnay, roasted garlic, tomato & basil; Portobello crab imperial is marinated & grilled Portobello mushroom topped with jumbo lump crab imperial; chicken & corn fritters with mango-chutney aioli dipping sauce.

  • Volts
    The Volt restaurant in Fredericksburg is a distinct dining pleasure as the menu will attest. First course offers; potato-leek chowder with applewood smoked bacon, scallop, leek transparency; Tuscarora farm organic beets with cherry glen farm goat cheese, upland cress and meringue; yellowfin tuna tartare with jasmine rice, chili oil, petite cilantro, soy air and sesame lavash; shiitake veloute pine nuts, chili oil and opal basil; composition of market veggies with maroon carrots, watermelon radish, fennel, upland cress, petite herbs and banyuls vinaigrette; Hudson valley duck liver with butternut squash, seckel pears, pistachio and crystal lettuce. Second Course; cherry glen farm goat cheese ravioli celeriac, maitake mushrooms and sage brown butter; soft-shell crab English peas, kumquat preserve, apple soubise and pea tendrils; red wattle pork belly with calypso beans, mostarda, petite red ribbon sorrel; veal sweetbreads with flavors of picata, Meyer lemon, golden raisin. Main Courses; opah bok choy, dashi, baby radish, black forbidden rice; pineland farm beef sirloin with farro risotto, ramps, morel mushrooms and braised carrots; sturgeon with cauliflower, beluga lentil, verjus and crisp onion; border springs farm lamb loin with merguesz, spinach, eggplant caponata and madras curry; Maine lobster with salsify, maroon carrots and ruby quinoa; pork tenderloin with cipollini onion, crosnes, celeriac, fava beans, fiddlehead ferns, pommery mustard; freebird farms roasted chicken with forest mushroom risotto, arugula and Chioggia beets; longenecker farm rabbit with asparagus variations, Swiss chard and summer truffles.

Chicken & Dumplings Gertrude's Restaurant Baltimore, Maryland

 

Char-broiled Chicken Gertrude's Restaurant Baltimore, Maryland

 

Steamed Mussels Gertrude's Restaurant Baltimore, Maryland

 Maine Lobster Volts Fredericksburg, Maryland



Roasted Chicken Volts Fredericksburg, Maryland

 

Rabbit Volts Fredericksburg, Maryland 

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  • Chase-Lloyd House Chase-Lloyd House Annapolis, Maryland
    The Chase-Lloyd House is located in Annapolis, Maryland is a magnificent three story Georgian mansion that was built during the late 1760s and early 1770s with the interiors done by William Buckland. It was being built for Samuel Chase, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and associate justice of the Supreme Court, but sold it before it was completely finished in 1771 to Edward Lloyd IV. Lloyd would have the mansion finished in 1774, with help from Buckland and another architect, William Noke. The mansion would stay in the Lloyd family until 1847, when descendants of Chase purchased it back. It was made into a home for elderly women, in 1888, and is still used for that today, with the main floor and marvelous gardens available for public viewing. The brick house is laid on top of a tall basement and is 54 feet wide, and 43 feet deep, with 18 inch thick walls of Flemish bond and belt courses of rubbed brick. The front is showcased with a three-part central doorway with pediment, fanlight, entablature and sidelights that is most peculiar for a pre-Revolutionary home. Just above the doorway, there is a triple window, and then above that is an arched window; and all windows are capped with flat arches of rubbed brick. The first and second floor windows are six-over-six, but the third floor windows are six-over-three; and the back of the house has a big Palladian window that pertains to the main landing on the inside. The mansion's main plan calls for a center hall, with four rooms, but bigger than usual, and the entry hall contains a screen of free standing Ionic order Ionic columns, and behind them is a fantastic central stairway leading to the landing, which splits and goes up on both sides. These staircases were not originally supported, but after noticing some sagging, supports were added. The interior ceilings have plaster moldings like those of Robert Adam; with the woodwork, and especially the door frames on the main floor, having elaborate carvings. The interior doors are six panel mahogany with wrought-iron handles and the most elegant woodwork existing in the dining room, that has unfortunately lost its plaster ceiling. Originally, the kitchen was located in the basement, and a building in the rear was added in the 19th century and called Chase Annex. The mansion was made a National Historic Landmark in 1970.

  • Harriet Tubman Museum and Educational Center
    Harriet Tubman was born Araminta Ross in 1820 or 1821, and she became an African American abolitionist, humanitarian and Union spy in the Civil War, after she had escaped from slavery which she had born into. She would help more than 70 African Americans get their freedom, on 13 separate missions using that famous network of antislavery activists and safe houses that would become known as the underground railroad. Some years later, she would help John Brown recruit men of his raid on Harpers Ferry, and after the war was over, she would help the struggle for women's suffrage. Harriet would have a very tough childhood living in Dorchester County, Maryland, often beaten and whipped by the different masters that she had been hired out to, suffering a traumatic head injury caused by a heavy metal weights that was thrown by a irritated overseer, aiming at another slave. The head wound would cause headaches, disabling seizures, powerful visionary and dream activity, with spells of hypersomnia that continued to happen all through her life. Harriet was a devout Christian, believing her dreams and visions had come from God. Harriet escaped from her masters in 1849, and traveled to Philadelphia, then going back to Maryland to rescue her family. Ever so slowly, she would bring her relatives out of the state, one group at a time, while guiding many former slaves to freedom, traveling by night and in the darkest secrecy, Harriet, or Moses as she had been nicknamed afterwards, never lost a person, with numerous rewards being offered for her capture and immediate return of the freed slaves, although no one knew her name. In 1850, the Fugitive Slave Law was passed that stated all runaway slaves would have to be returned to their original state and owner, even in the territories, which cause Harriet to have to take the freed people farther north into Canada; and help them find work. After the Civil War started, Harriet went to work for the Union Army, first as a cook, then as a nurse and finally as an armed scout and spy. Harriet would become the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war, guiding a raid that was conducted at the Combahee River, that freed over 700 slaves. When the war was over, Harriet retired to her family home in Auburn, New York, where she would take care of her aging parents, and became active in the women's suffrage movement until she became sick and then went into a home for elderly African Americans that she helped open many years before.

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  • Monocacy National BattlefieldMonocacy National Battlefield Frederick, Maryland
    The Monocacy National Battlefield is part of the National Park Service, and the site of the Battle of Monocacy Junction that happened here in July of 1864, during the Civil War. The battlefield encompasses the Monocacy River that lies southwest of Frederick, Maryland, and has been called, "the Battle that Saved Washington", and became one of the last battles that the confederate would carry out in Union territory, with opposing leaders General Jubal Early, a southerner, and General Lew Wallace, a Union general. The Monocacy battle occurred in the middle of an area that contained numerous other Civil War battlefields and sites, located along Maryland State Highway 355, just southeast of Frederick. Interstate 70 is close by and goes west to Antietam National Battlefield, while US 15 goes north to Gettysburg. Going south on 15, you will be at the Balls Bluff Battlefield in no time, while Monocacy is 50 miles west of Baltimore and 44 miles northwest of D.C. Most of the battlefield was owned by private citizens for a century after the war, but in 1928, Glenn Worthington, the owner 0f the biggest part of the northern segment, petitioned Congress to make a National Military Park at Monocacy, which became a bill in 1934, but 50 years before it could be funded.  In the latter 1970s, 1587 acres would be purchased and set aside for the battlefield and turned over to the National Park Service, and the historical Thomas Farm acquired in 2001 by the Park service and is today a life estate. Preservationists lost some of their fights to keep the battlefield whole in the 1960s and 1980s when I270 was built and then widened, bisecting the field in certain areas. During the following decades, many veterans groups would put commemorative plaques on the battlefield, marking special areas that their groups had fought in, like the 14th New Jersey, the 87th Pennsylvania Infantry and Vermont markers. More monuments were added later, that would include the Maryland Centennial Monument by the Best Farm, a famous site where Union troops had found the special order 191 of Robert E. Lee, who lost it during the 1862 Maryland Campaign, and the Confederate Monument. 

  • Dr. Samuel Mudd House & Museum
    Samuel Alexander Mudd, I, M. D. was the American doctor who was convicted and imprisoned for aiding and conspiring with John Wilkes Booth in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln during 1865. Mudd was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson and released from his prison in 1869, four years after going there. Mudd was born in Charles County, Maryland, and the fourth of ten children, growing up on his father's tobacco plantation about 30 miles from the capital city and had 89 slaves working on it. Samuel went off to school at 15, and eventually graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore with a doctorate in medicine, writing his thesis on dysentery. When he graduated in 1856, he returned to Charles County, to practice medicine and marry his childhood sweetheart, Sarah Frances (Frankie) Dyer Mudd a year later, with Mudd's father giving him a wedding present of 218 acres of land that became known as St. Catherine's and a new house which would be built with the Mudds staying at Frankie's bachelor brother, Jeremiah Dyer. They would move into their new house in 1859, and have nine children altogether, four of which were born before Samuel went to prison and five after he was pardoned. To supplement his medical practice, Samuel would start growing tobacco, and used five slaves to help him. Samuel believed in slavery and once wrote a letter to theologian Orestes Brownson telling him about it. In 1861, when the Civil War started, the south Maryland slave system and all the economy that is supported began to wane, and in 1863, the Union Army built Camp Stanton, only 10 miles from the Mudd farm. This camp would train the freemen and runaway slaves that totaled more than 8700 black soldiers, although in 1864, the state abolished slavery, which made it very hard for Mudd to run his farm. He thought about selling it and just living off his medical practice, but while he was thinking about these choices, he met a man that was interested in buying his farm, a 26 year old actor, called John W. Booth. During the next few months, historians said that many meetings occurred, while Booth looked for a way to take the hostage President somewhere to wait while he was ransomed for a huge number of Confederate soldiers. There are numerous stories and accounts of what happened, although it would be difficult to be sure what was what. After Booth was killed, Mudd would be arrested and charged with conspiracy to murder the president; and in May 1865, President Andrew Johnson had a nine man military tribune try the conspirators, with Mudd being represented by Gen. Thomas Ewing, Jr. and on May 10, 1865, Samuel Arnold, Lewis Powell, David Herold, George Atzerodt, Michael O'Laughlen, Mary Surratt and Edmund Spangler, along with Samuel Mudd were charged with conspiring to murder Lincoln. The prosecution called 366 witnesses to the stand to make sure the defendants were convicted. As is the case in most famous trials and investigations of this kind, the truth will never be known, but whatever happened during that dark period in our history is now buried, with only the museums and books remaining to throw some shadows over the entire affair.

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  • Hampton National Historic SiteHampton National Historic Site Towson, Maryland
    The Hampton National Historic Site is located in the Hampton section of Towson, Maryland and preserves the historical mansion and grounds of a huge 18th century estate, that contains a Georgian manor house, stone slave quarters, grounds and gardens. The estate was owned by the Ridgely family for seven generations, starting in 1745, and ending in 1948, being the biggest private house in the nation, when finished in 1790, and currently one of the most outstanding examples of Georgian architecture in the country. The furnishings, along with the slave quarters, and other buildings, give an invaluable insight into the life of Americans in the late 18th century and early 19th century that owned land and belonged to the new aristocracy. This was the first site to be chosen as a National Historical Site in the nation for its beautiful architecture by the Park service and admired for the magnificent formal gardens; that have been renovated back to their original condition and appearance in the 1820s. There are numerous trees that are a couple of centuries old, and besides the mansion and marvelous grounds, the overseer's house and slave quarters are available for your viewing. The land grant that formed the property was given to Col. Henry Darnall, one of Lord Baltimore's relatives, in 1695, with his heirs selling it to Col. Charles Ridgely, a tobacco trader and farmer in 1745. During the late 1750s, the estate had grown into more than 10,000 acres, and contained an ironworks. Captain Charles Ridgely, the colonel's son, enlarged the family business by creating apple orchards, stone quarries and gristmills into the estate. In the Revolutionary War, the ironworks would become an important source of income for the family, making cannons and ammunition for the Continental Army. In 1783, the captain would start the main house construction, Hampton Mansion, inspired by Castle Howard in England that was owned by relatives of his mother. In 1790, the Hampton Mansion would be the biggest private home in the nation, unfortunately, Capt. Ridgely passed away that year, and his nephew, Charles Carnan Ridgely took over the estate and became known as the second master of Hampton. He commissioned over 10,000 feet of irrigation pipe to be laid in 1799 from a nearby spring to bring water to the great house and the gardens surrounding it. Well known and esteemed artisans were brought in to design geometric formal gardens, that were planted there during the years from 1799 to 1801. Charles was an avid horseman, and started raising thoroughbred horses there, and installed a racetrack. One advertisement from 1799 stated that his stud racehorse, Grey Medley could be used for stud service, with another of his horses winning the Washington City Jockey Club cup, Post Boy. The Hampton has grown to 25,000 acres by the 1820s, with the mansion overlooking a fantastic estate of coal mining, orchards, ironworks, marble quarries, merchantile interests and mills. The huge farm would produce hogs, horses, beef cattle, dairy products and corn, with over 300 slaves working it and serving in the house, thus making the estate one of the state's biggest slaveholder estates in Maryland. There were six formal gardens, called parterres, that had been built on three terraced surfaces that faced the mansion, and had peonies, roses and seasonal flowers and in 1820 an orangery was constructed on the estate.

  • Montpelier Mansion
    Grand Isle, Maryland is home to one of the oldest log cabins in the nation.  It is a one and a half story cabin built in 1783 by Jedediah Hyde, Jr. with 14 to 18 inch cedar logs, measuring 20 by 25 feet with a large fireplace on the end.  An overhead loft for sleeping is the top part of the cabin and the Maryland Historical Society obtained the cabin in 1945.  They moved the cabin two miles to where it sits today, and worked on its foundation so they could renovate it.  The Department of Forests and Parks finished the renovation in 1952, when it was given to the Maryland Historic Sites commission.  Grand Isle County Historical Society was just being started and it was given permission to furnish it, hold meetings there and make it into a museum for all the local people and eventually an information center.  The Maryland Division for Historic Preservation took over the reigns of the Historic Sites commission in 1985, and roof work was done so that the home was now in its original condition and looks.  Grand Isle is the biggest island in Lake Champlain, and is also known as South Hero Island.  It is home to a state park, which opened in 1959 and set on the island's 14 mile long and 3 mile wide land.  It is one of the most popular camping areas in the state and visited by people from all over New England.  South of Laurel, Maryland, in Prince George's County, the Montpelier Mansion is a five part Georgian style mansion that was built between 1781 and 1785, and has been called the Snowden-Long House, New Birmingham or just Montpelier. The house was constructed by Major Thomas Snowden and his wife Anne, and now is a National Historic Landmark that is run as a house museum. The house and 70 acres make up the estate, of what originally had been set on 9000 acres. Snowden has come here from Birmingham, England in 1658, where his family had settled after coming there from Wales. Richard, the immigrant's son name was Richard Junior, whose son Richard was nicknamed the ironmaster, because he had gained a lot of wealth by running an iron forge, that mined local iron. His son, Thomas, would have a son named Thomas who would become Major Thomas, with rank acquired in the American revolution. The major would marry Anne Ridgely and construct the mansion around 1783. They had a son and called him, Nicholas, who was born in the mansion in 1786, would become the next owner, until he passed on in 1831. Then his daughter, Julianna Maria would take over the ownership and marry Dr. Theodore Jenkins in 1835, and he subsequently passed on in 1866, with Julianna passing on soon after. The estate became the property of their children who kept it until 1890; and then owned by speculative investors Martin W. Chollar and W. P. Davis. Josephine D. Taylor of New York purchased it in 1895 for a summer retreat, and then the title would belong to Lewis H. Blakeman of New York until 1900; then to New York author, Edmund H. Pendleton who lived there from 1905 until he passed in 1910, using it for his winter retreat. His estate sold it to Otto V. von Schrader in 1911, and for the next few years would be owned by various people until 1928, when Breckenridge Long, the undersecretary of state under Franklin D. Roosevelt and the US ambassador to Italy from 1933 to 1936. His daughter, Christine L. Wilcox, would be the last private owner, who would then donate it to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission in 1961.

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  • Antietam National BattlefieldAntietam National Battlefield Sharpsburg, Maryland
    The Antietam National Battlefield is a National Park Service protected area that sits beside the tranquil Antietam Creek in Sharpsburg, Maryland commemorating the Civil War battle that took place on September 17, 1862. The fields sit on the Appalachian foothills by the Potomac River, and contains the visitor center and battlefield site, field hospital museum and national military cemetery with more than 330,000 visitors coming here each year. This would be the first battle of Lee's initial invasion into the north, in 1862, and was made a national battlefield site in 1890, transferred from the war department in 1933, and redesignated in 1978. It is listed along with the other historical areas on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. The Antietam National Cemetery sits on 11.36 acres and contains the remains of 5,032 soldiers with 1,836 of them unidentified; sits next to the battlefield site, with the interments occurring in 1866, with only Union soldiers interred here. The cemetery has the graves of soldiers and their wives from the Spanish-American War, WWI and WWII and the Korean War. In 1953, it was closed for further interments, although there was an exception in 2000 for the remains of USN Fireman Patrick Howard Roy, killed during the attack on the USS Cole.  The visitor center has a museum with displays about the battle and the civil war, with a movie called, "Antietam Visit" that shows the battle and President Abraham Lincoln's visit to Union commander, General George B. McClellan, with a documentary about the battle is shown. There are interpretive talks given by park rangers, an audio tour that accompanies you on the 8.5 mile driving tour of the battlefield that contains 11 stops for you to visit and view and imagine what it might have been like for the youngsters that stood within a stone's throw, barrel to barrel and bayonet to bayonet. The visitor's center was built in 1962, part of the Mission 66 plan and has been considered for replacement for a facility that is more in tune with the battle. The Pry House Field Hospital museum is located in the house that the general used for his headquarters during the battle, with numerous exhibits of the medical care of the period and information about the house.  It was quite a battle and would be interesting reading if you enjoy that and history. But the battlefield itself would be the place to find out more, as the dawn rises slowly, pushing the fog away to revel the incredible green space that held so many thousands of living, dying and dead those many years ago. 

  • Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum
    George Herman "Babe" Ruth was born in 1895, in Baltimore, Maryland in a row house that is now a monument to one of the greatest baseball hitters of all time, and a legend that didn't need drugs or other enhancing chemicals to play the game he loved. The house that he was born in belonged, or rather was leased by his grandfather, Pius Schamberger, who was an upholsterer. By the time the late 1960s had arrived, that property and the three houses next to it had become so unlivable that the houses were scheduled for demolition. Hirsh Goldberg, the mayor's press secretary began such a wonderful campaign to save the historical birthplace of the babe, that is was opened to the public by 1974, with the nonprofit Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation formed to take care of everything. The Babe's widow, Claire, helped gather together relics and memorabilia of his life to put in the house, so that now it is a fitting memorial to the man who became so famous that a candy bar was named after him, and every youngster in the United States wanted to become the next Babe Ruth. By 1983, the museum was expanded to include the Baltimore Orioles, the team that first signed the Babe to a contract. The museum was also operating under the name of the Babe Ruth Museum, although by 1985, the mayor, William Schaefer, wanted the museum to be the official archival repository for the Baltimore Colts, which had just left the city to become the Indianapolis Colts. The attendance climber to more than 60,000 visitors each year, when the Orioles Park opened in Camden Yards in 1992, but museum managers began to realize that they just didn't have enough room for all the memorabilia and visitors. Over the three decades that the museum had evolved into a place where you could learn about one of the greatest ballplayers of all time, but also the magnificent story of the Orioles and Colts. In 2005, the Sports Legends Museum opened in Camden Yards, and all the collections were moved into that venue, with the birthplace of the Babe going back to its original purpose of showing where the home run king was born and grew up. The displays that are featured at the birthplace museum include the 500 Home Run Club, the Ruthian Record, Babe batted here, the historic house, Babe: Husband, father, friend, and Playing the Babe. In the 500 Home Run Club exhibit, it tells the story of how infrequently home runs were hit before Babe, and then after he began knocking them out of the ballpark, they became a fan favorite, with Babe Ruth hitting 714 home runs during the regular baseball season, with many more whacked at exhibition games. So far, there have only been two men that have matched that mark, with only 25 hitting 500 or more; but, in today's game, how many of those players were using illegal substances to help them hit more home runs? We will never know, but one thing is certain, Babe Ruth was the first natural home run hitter in baseball and many believe that he is the greatest hitter of all time. The streets of Baltimore weren't the best place for kids to play, never mind learn the game of baseball, but the Babe did and in his Babe Batted Here exhibit, you'll learn all about it, plus how he got started, a catcher's mitt, hymnal book used by George as he attended St. Mary's Industrial School in Baltimore and his jersey. In the Ruthian Record display, you'll learn about his outstanding baseball record, as a hitter, pitcher and catcher. In the Babe: husband, father and friend exhibit you'll learn about his reputation, living life to the fullest, playing hard, working harder and even taking time to become friends with many people, especially the children that adored him. Babe Ruth and his story are now legends in the world, not only of sports, but of the man behind it all, with numerous television stories about him, movies and books, although not many have been able to capture the real man, the one who had to struggle with all kinds of prejudice and jealousy; but yet still be the human person that he was. This is more than just a monument to the greatest baseball player that ever lived, it is a place where children can go and see what dreams are made of and that they can happen, if you work harder than you thought possible, never giving up or quitting, always giving your best and that isn't 100 % my friends, but 110%. It shows all of us what we can do if we are determined to excel at anything, that it is possible and very probable.  Babe was so loved that he was given two nicknames, the Bambino and the Sultan of Swat, and played baseball from 1914 to 1935, starting out with the Boston Red Sox as a pitcher, then sold to the New York Yankees in 1919, becoming a full time right fielder, and then back to the Boston Braves in 1935, only to stop playing after that year and retired. In 1998, The Sporting News considered Ruth to be the number one on the list of Baseball's 100 Greatest Players, in 1999, he was named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team and in 1969, he was named the Greatest Player Ever in a ballot that commemorated the 100th anniversary of professional baseball. Babe was the first ballplayer to hit 60 home runs in one season in 1927, which was broken by Roger Maris in 1961, with Ruth's lifetime home run record standing at 714, the highest amount until 1974, when Hank Aaron passed it with 755.

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May 11, 2011