25 Things You Should Know
Jul 03, 2013 09:52PM ● Published by Anonymous
|1. ST. JOHN'S SENIORS SAVED BY THE BELL
That bell you hear ringing near St. John's College between 12:30 and 1:30 on an early February 3rd morning is not your imagination. It's just about 100 St. John's seniors taking turns pealing the McDowell Hall bell to signal the completion of their senior essays.
|2. HERE'S A REAL KAYAKING CHALLENGE
It's about 45 miles from Brooklyn in the far northern section of Anne Arundel County to the southernmost city of Rose Haven. If you took the water route via the county's shoreline, however, you would be in for a much longer trip. Anne Arundel County has approximately 533 miles of shoreline. This is considerably more than Kent County's 343 miles and a little more than Queen Anne's 414. It's less, however, than Talbot County's more than 600 miles of shoreline. But they are all dwarfed by our Chesapeake Region's shoreline giant, Dorchester County, which proudly boasts more than 1,700 miles of shoreline.
|3. CHICKEN COOPS BECOME THE BIG SCOOP
Take a drive or stroll through the streets of upper Annapolis (Church Circle to Westgate) and you're likely to spy several larger-than-life chicken sculptures, each colorfully and uniquely decorated. The sculpture concept is the brainchild of Annapolis business partners Gavin Buckley and Jody Danek, who hatched the plan as a riff off the "Great Annapolis Chicken Debate," in which city officials and residents debated for and against allowing backyard chickens as pets. The chickens won and at last count, five of 12 residential applications have been granted their chicken permit (up to five chickens allowed per permit). The number of faux chickens, on the other hand, is expected to grow to 20.
|4. RECITE THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE; HEART IN HAND, COFFEE IN THE OTHER
If you're looking for a flashback experience reminiscent of grade school, then a morning visit to Chick & Ruth's Delly in downtown Annapolis is in order. There, at 8:30 a.m. each weekday and 9:30 a.m. each weekend, employees and diners take pause to salute our American flag by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in unison; a tradition that began in 1989.
|5. A LONG-AWAITED TRIBUTE
Eastern Shore lore boasts a genuine local hero— Underground Railroad "conductor" Harriet Tubman, who made the harrowing journey from slave state to freedom time and time again, guiding the willing to safety, including her 70- year-old parents. Her 19 successful trips help explain the $40,000 reward for her capture. It took cunning, planning, and immense bravery. So it is only fitting that Tubman be rightfully honored—which, 100 years after her death, is taking the form of a state park in Dorchester County, on 17 acres of land where she was once herself held in bondage. Slated to open in 2015, the park will include walking trails, a garden, and a visitor's center with educational exhibits. It will be a designated stop on the newly formed Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, a 125-mile drive with more than 30 historical stops related to Tubman's early life and the Underground Railroad.
|6. JUMP ON IN
Kent County is home to the two largest public beaches on the Chesapeake Bay—Betterton and Rock Hall. The larger of the two, Betterton, is a five-acre, family oriented waterfront park located near the mouth of the Sassafras River, where fresh water currents lower the salinity of the upper Chesapeake and free Betterton's water of troublesome sea nettles. Complete with a bathhouse, 500 feet of boardwalk, a picnic pavilion, fishing jetty, and public pier, there's more than enough to keep locals coming back. The smaller beach in Rock Hall has been voted the best place to watch the sunset in numerous publications.
|7. FUN FACT:
The Queen Anne's County Courthouse—the oldest Maryland courthouse in continuous use—has been in operation for 221 years. Visit a likeness of the county's namesake on the courthouse green—the only known statue of the Good Queen Anne outside England.
|8. MARCH ON
Even the most ardent of Navy football fans might miss out on the most important piece of fall pageantry preceding the Saturday afternoon games: the March-On of the Brigade of Midshipmen. The march begins in downtown Annapolis and ends in formation on the football field of Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Fans and admirers show their sweet side by tossing gum to the Midshipmen marching past.
|9. TAKE A SEAT
In need of a moment to reflect? Stop by one of the TKF Foundation's garden benches—situated at locations from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Bay Ridge to the Annapolis Waterworks Park on Defense Highway. Take a moment to jot down an observation, thank the Foundation, or inspire the next visitor in the notebook tucked away on each bench. To discover all of the bench locations around Annapolis, visit Opensacred.org.
|10. ST. MICHAELS IS FOR LOVERS
St. Michaels area residents go a step beyond wearing their heart on their sleeve each February—they actually post it on utility poles for all to see! In celebration of Valentine's Day, the town is blanketed with hearts in the weeks leading up to the holiday, when residents buy the plywood fixtures to proclaim their love—whether it be to a significant other, family member, or friend- all the while raising funds to support local charities. The success of the program has led to a similar project in March with shamrocks.
|11. LOVE IS IN THE AIR
Anne Arundel County seems to be a hot-spot for weddings, with 4,196 couples applying for a marriage license in 2012. That's compared to 445 in Talbot County, 274 in Kent, 267 in Dorchester, and 601 in Queen Anne’s.
|12. YOU'RE IN FOR A REAL TREAT
Once a staple of small-town living, Soda Fountains all but died out after the fizzling refreshment began being bottled and sold. But several local business owners aren't willing to let the iconic hubs disappear. In Easton, Hill's Soda Fountain has been serving up breakfast, lunch, and, of course, all sorts of sweet treats, daily (except on Sundays) since 1928, as only a classic soda fountain can—from the back of a drugstore. Going back even farther in time is the Soda Fountain at Stams Pharmacy in Chestertown, which has been delighting customers with its selection of "pop," ice cream, and other desserts since 1886. Similar offerings can be found at the Soda Fountain at Durdings Store in Rock Hall (circa 1925). Enjoy!
|13. OVER-IMBIBED IN ST. MICHAELS?
Carpenter Street Saloon has you covered. The C-Street Shuttle totes tipsy patrons as far west as Tilghman Island and as far east as Easton, dropping passengers right at their door for a nominal fee. Just ask the bartender to ring the shuttle.
|14. FAN OF TIFFANY GLASS?
Take a peek into several of the area churches and you are bound to catch a glimpse of stained glass designed and executed by the Tiffany Studio in New York. Emmanuel Church in Chestertown, and St. Anne's Church and the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis are a few that came across our radar. But don't stop there; timeless beauty awaits the curious.
|15. AN UP-AND-COMING DINING TREND
We all know a beautiful vista adds to the dining-out experience, even deeming some restaurants as destinations worth the journey. But what's a restaurant to do if it doesn't boast water frontage or is tucked away in side-street obscurity? To the roof they go. We already know of one restaurant in Annapolis with rooftop dining (Metropolitan Kitchen and Lounge) and another that's about to build atop (Rockfish). Be on the lookout (or look-up!) for others.
|16. ALL ABOARD
The city of Annapolis is chock full of fun ways to get around, and the climate of transportation is evolving rapidly, with at least three new modes introduced in the past few years.
The Circulator Trolley—which runs along the "Central Business District" from the Westin Annapolis Hotel at Park Place, down Duke of Gloucester Street to St. Mary's Street, over to City Dock and up Main Street— features nine scheduled stops at 10-minute intervals. However: did you know you don't have to be at one of those stops to climb on board? If you see the Trolley, just wave. It will stop anywhere along that route. And it's free! Sunday through Thursday, the Circulator runs from 6:30 a.m. to midnight, and until 2:30 a.m. on weekends.
Ecruisers—the yellow, white, and black golf-cart style electric vehicles— are another option. They're free of fares, but all-but-require tipping. Ecruisers are most popularly seen running to and from local events, but you can give the dispatcher a shout by calling 443-481-2422.
PediCabs Your chariot awaits! Chariots of Annapolis—the city's own pedicab company—is now operating in its second year. Open from April 1st to late December, the team of bicycle-pulled rickshaws run from the Westin, down to City Dock, and across to Eastport. (Anywhere this side of the Royal Farms, that is.) They’re free— just remember to tip your peddler, who can pull up to about 500 pounds, or about 2 to 3 adults. Call the dispatcher at 443-333-9770.
Water Taxis are another great option. Fares range from $3 to $8 per person, and they run from May 10th through October 3rd. You can catch a water taxi at the stand next to the Harbormaster's office in Ego Alley, and go as far as upper Spa Creek or even Back Creek—ideal transportation between downtown Annapolis and Eastport. Call 410-263-0033 for more information.
|17. FUN FACT:
From Stan and Joe's on West Street, down Main Street, to the Market House, is the same distance (roughly fourth-tenths of a mile) as from Sears to Nordstrom in the Annapolis Mall.
|18. A MIGHTY REBIRTH
It was the largest white oak in the U.S., and older than our country to boot; the great Wye Oak in Talbot County stood an impressive 96 feet tall and it's girth was an amazing 31 feet in circumference. But after 460 years strong, the mighty giant was felled during a severe thunderstorm in June 2002. Thanks to the inspired generations of Marylanders, there was no shortage of ideas of how to commemorate the tree and put it's deadwood to good use. In the end, an exquisite Governor's desk was honed, a fleet of gorgeous guitars was crafted, barrels were made to age Heavy Seas (Baltimore) beer, and oak saplings were— believe it or not—cloned and planted at Mount Vernon. Today, you can even visit Wye Oak State Park, the original site of the oak and home to a memorial pavilion containing a large portion of the trunk.
|19. MR. OCTOBER
The entire state of Maryland gets to claim the Baltimore Oriole, not just the folks at the corner of Camden and Eutaw streets. As the official state bird, our black and orange (where do you think the uniform colors came from?) feathered friend migrates to very southern climes in winter but finds his way back north by May. And the bird is not named after the city. The coat of arms of Lord Baltimore (for whom the city is named) displayed the same vivid colors as the bird. Interestingly, young Baltimore Orioles don't molt into that bright adult plumage until the fall of their second year. Guess that's the ornithological equivalent of being called up from the Bowie BaySox for the World Series.
|20. UNEARTHING A LEGACY
Well known as the birthplace of abolitionist heavyweights Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman (both of whom were born slaves), the Eastern Shore could boast another impressive coup in relation to the abolitionist movement. A team of archaeologists embarked on a multisite dig this spring in hopes of revealing that the Hill neighborhood in Easton was home to the earliest documented community of free blacks in the nation. Let the prodding begin!
|21. A LESSON IN SOCIAL MEDIA
Some local event organizers are giving residents a real reason to "like" their Facebook page—more bang for their buck. From wine to music to food festivals and beyond, discounts in the form of promo codes are popping up on event Facebook pages months in advance, offering the savvy-shopper something to talk about, and hopefully ensuring a sold-out crowd for the organizers.
|22. MIGHTY OAKS FROM LITTLE ACORNS GROW
Depending on how observant and inquisitive you are (and how good your eyesight may be) you might have wondered what the heck is sitting on the Maryland State House dome. The flags seem to stick out of something roundish at the very top—like birthday candles out of a cherry on an ice cream sundae. Those familiar with colonial architecture, however, probably recognize it as an acorn—the once ubiquitous early American design detail. An acorn was the perfect metaphor for our New World nation—mighty oaks from little acorns grow. (America's early fathers had an abundance of hope and faith.) There was a practical application for the acorn, as well: a substantial structure was needed to anchor the largest Franklin (yes, that Franklin) lightning rod ever attached to a public building during big Ben’s lifetime.
|23. RINGING IN THE FOURTH
There may be three main fireworks shows in Talbot County to celebrate the Fourth of July, but there certainly are more than three places to watch the "rockets red glare." The best place to watch the St. Michaels (over the Miles River) and Oxford (over the Tred Avon River) fireworks are from the water, of course. But if you find yourself grounded, there are plenty of other options.
Easton's fireworks are set off in the area behind Target, making them visible from many locations around town. There's plenty of space to park and carve out your own piece of land in the undeveloped area around Target, or you can drive around in search of clusters of people who know how to beat the crowds and still see a great show.
In St. Michaels, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is the premier spot on land to catch the display. The museum holds its Big Band Night in conjunction with the fireworks, offering music, food, and other fun extras for the whole family. Those looking for a more low-key evening should check out Bellevue, located on the other side of the river from Oxford (same fireworks display). The cozy setting boasts a playground, beach area, and pier.
|24. OUR OWN BUCKLEBERRY FERRY
The Oxford-Bellevue Ferry across the Tred Avon River in Talbot County is a charming 20-minute round-trip back into Maryland history. The ferry dates back to 1683 (the route, not the vehicle) and is believed to be the oldest privately owned ferry in America. Rates range from $11 for a car and one driver ($1 for each additional passenger) to $3 for a pedestrian. Catch it in on either side of the Tred (at the ferry dock in Oxford or at the end of Bellevue Road).
|25. ONE LIQUOR LAW DOESN'T FIT ALL
Ever wonder why you can buy alcohol in some counties in Maryland on Sundays and not in others? It's because alcohol laws vary considerably in the state by county, each of which has its own liquor board. Talbot County, for example, is the only county in Maryland in which beer and wine can be sold at grocery stores (some exceptions exist in other counties due to "grandfather" clauses). Hours of sale also vary considerably based on county—although you can always count on bars staying open until 2 a.m. To find out more about your county's laws, contact your local liquor board.