Since colonial times, the proximity of Southern Maryland to the metropolitan areas of Washington, DC, and Baltimore, Maryland, has meant this pastoral Chesapeake Bay countryside has felt the tread of soldiers’ feet, seen the construction of high tech defense and energy Facilities, and received wave after wave of city dwellers in search of solitude and renewal.
The counties of Calvert and St. Mary’s that border the western side of the bay have somehow managed to keep much of their rural character, their isolated wetlands where a wild goose still calls, their salty watermen who ply the bay in workboats.
A drive along the main routes that follow the county contours southeast/northwest can be deceptive. The riches in parks, preserves, museums, and historic cities hide just off the main route, and a traveler could drive through the counties without learning the human and natural history of Maryland’s birthplace.
Chambers of commerce, county tourist bureaus, and visitor information centers are brimming with information to connect travelers with mouth-watering seafood, to provide anglers and boaters with Directions to marinas and boat landings, and to help kayakers and canoeists find flat water and protected coves to explore.
The wide road shoulders and pastoral scenery make Southern Maryland ideal for cyclists. Morning sunshine on tobacco leaves drying inside a red barn is especially beautiful viewed from a bicycle, wind in the face, birdsong all around. Many of the sites mentioned here have roads and trails that invite exploration by mountain bike. A Southern Maryland Bicycle Map is available from the Calvert County Department of Economic Development. Phone (800) 331-9771.
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