Located in Calvert County, Maryland, Solomons Island is an unincorporated community that serves as a popular tourist destination within the Baltimore-Washington D.C. metropolitan area, offering a variety of museums, historic sites, and cultural attractions. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


1.History

History
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Solomons Island, also historically known as Bourne’s, Somervell’s, and Sandy Island, was likely privately owned throughout much of America’s early history and did not see significant military action during the Revolutionary War and War of 1812, which shaped much of the Chesapeake Bay and Tidewater area throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Following the American Civil War, the island came into prominence as a result of the rising oyster industry in Maryland. In 1865, 80 acres within the island were purchased by Baltimore businessman Isaac Solomon, who established an oyster cannery and developed the island’s land for oyster processing and oystering vessel repair. Lots on the island were leased to workers, and by 1870, the community had grown large enough for the opening of a Post Office branch.

By the turn of the 20th century, the island’s community had grown to more than 400 residents spread across two communities, the Solomons Island community proper and nearby Avondale on the mainland. More than 500 vessels were also maintained and docked at the island, most used for oystering. The success of the island’s industry led to the development of the nearby communities of Dowell and Olivet throughout the following years.

Until the creation of a state road in 1915 to connect the community to Prince Frederick, most of Solomons’ communication with mainland communities was accomplished by biweekly steamboat travel and transit. Following the Great Depression and World War II, the island’s industry began to shift from oyster harvesting and fishing to charter and recreational boating and tourism. Throughout the 20th century, the island became increasingly connected to mainland Maryland, culminating in the 1977 completion of the Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge, which connects Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties today.

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2.Attractions

Attractions
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Today, Solomons Island is an unincorporated community in Calvert County, Maryland and is located at the mouth of the Patuxent River, near its entrance into the Chesapeake Bay. The community spans a total land area of 2.3 square miles and has a population of more than 2,300, according to figures from the 2000 census. The waterfront community has been voted as one of the 15 happiest seaside towns in America and serves as a popular weekend and tourist destination for visitors from the Baltimore-Washington D.C. area and beyond.

The island is the current home of Drum Point Lighthouse, one of three remaining screwpile-style lighthouses within the Chesapeake Bay. The lighthouse, which was originally constructed over Drum Point’s bay, is a classic cottage-style lighthouse which stands on legs screwed into the river bottom. The lighthouse was constructed in 1883 and operated by a keeper until 1960, when it was automated. In 1974, the lighthouse was acquired by the Calvert County Historical Society, which transported it via barge to its current location at the Calvert Marine Museum, where it has been showcased as a special exhibit since 1978. The museum, which offers a variety of exhibits related to the natural, economic, and social history of the Chesapeake Bay region, also showcases the oyster buoy boat Tennyson and the skipjack vessel Dee as special exhibits, which are chartered for periodic public cruises. A small aquarium is also offered, featuring an exhibit of otters and other marine life native to the Chesapeake Bay. Other museums on the island include the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum, which showcases the state’s largest collection of naval combat aircraft and features exhibits highlighting international conflicts from the Korean War to the present day.

The island’s Riverwalk, which spans along the Patuxent River from the Thomas Jefferson Bridge to the town’s southern edge, offers panoramic views of the island and its surrounding waters. A variety of outdoor and marine activities are offered for visitors, including sailing lessons, jet skiing experiences, and kayak and sailboat rentals. Cultural attractions within the city include the Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center, a Smithsonian-affiliated sculpture park which showcases creations by regional and national sculptors. A number of artisan and antique shops are showcased throughout the city, including Maertens Fine Jewelry and Gifts, Caren’s Solomon Style, and Island Trader Antiques. Dining is offered at the Tiki Bar, the Ruddy Duck microbrewery, and The Pier, which allows boaters to dock directly at its outdoor bar.

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3.Ongoing Programs and Events

Ongoing Programs and Events
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The island is known for its frequent cultural events, including its Taste of Solomons food festival, which showcases food and beverages from a number of local restaurants. The Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge regatta is held in July, while the Solomons Plein Air Festival in September showcases a Riverwalk painting challenge. Annmarie Garden also hosts an annual Artfest in September, which brings art vendors and family-friendly activities to the garden. Other annual special events include a Fourth of July fireworks display and a Christmas Walk holiday village.

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Solomons Island Beach



More Ideas in MD: Jane’s Island

Located along the eastern shore of Maryland near the city of Crisfield, Jane’s Island is the home of Jane’s Island State Park, which features 30 miles of water trails and a number of natural isolated beach areas. The land that now encompasses Jane’s Island State Park was originally inhabited by Paleoindians more than 13,000 years ago, when sea levels were more than 350 feet lower than during the modern era and the area was populated by woolly mammoths, mastodons, and bison.

History

Following the end of the most recent Ice Age, the Tangier Sound evolved from a freshwater river into an estuary ecosystem, and the culture of the area’s indigenous people began to shift toward activities such as fishing and oyster-shucking. By the time of the arrival of Europeans in North America, the island was inhabited by the Annemessex Nation. Throughout much of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, the island was inhabited by fishermen and contained several small communities, but as a result of storm damage and erosion, the island had become an uninhabited marshland by the early 20th century. In 1963, the State of Maryland authorized the creation of Jane’s Island State Park, which would span area on both the island and its nearby mainland. From 1965 to 1978, more than $1 million was allocated by the Maryland General Assembly for the development of the park, including the implementation of erosion control measures and the construction of camping facilities on the mainland.

Attractions

Today, Jane’s Island State Park is operated by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources as a public park facility encompassing more than 2,900 acres of salt marsh on the island, along with 30 miles of water trails within the surrounding waterways and a number of facilities and visitor amenities on the mainland. The island is located between the Tangier Sound and the Little Annemessex River and provides a wildlife refuge habitat for bird, fish, and crab species. The park is open to the public daily throughout the year from sunset to sunrise, with special extended hours available for certain activities, including fishing and hunting. Several accessible facilities are offered, including a Park Store and Nature Center.

The park features a system of more than 30 miles of marked water trails, which meander through the island’s salt marsh environment and are available for self-guided visitor exploration. The system has been listed on the American Canoe Association’s list of recommended water trails as an ideal trail for both beginner and advanced paddlers, due to its easy current and wind-protected atmosphere. The trails provide access to a seven-mile-stretch of isolated pristine beaches on the island, which may be explored by visitors. Several backcountry camping sites are also offered along the trails for visitors who have obtained backcountry camping permits from the park.

A variety of services are offered by the park for boaters, including canoe and kayak rentals, which are available at the park’s store from late April through mid October. All boats are available on a first-come, first-served basis for hourly or daily rental. Other boating services provided include a launching ramp and boat slips for campers. Fishing and crabbing opportunities and a fish cleaning station are offered for visitors with Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Sport Fishing Licenses. Direct access to the Tangier Sound, Crisfield Harbor, and the Annemessex River are offered. The park’s marina is a certified Maryland Clean Marina facility and takes care to preserve the waterways of the region for future generations.

In addition to boating and fishing, a number of outdoor activities are offered at the park, including opportunities for swimming along the park’s Tangier Sound-side beaches. Access to the beaches is only available via boat, and visitors should swim at their own risk and be aware of water conditions. Bird watching opportunities are provided from an observation tower on the mainland, with bird watcher’s checklists available at the park’s store. Several picnic areas offer tables, charcoal grills, playgrounds, and a volleyball court, with picnic pavilion areas available for rental for large groups.

A variety of overnight accommodations are offered at the park, including four modern log cabins that sleep up to six visitors. All cabins feature modern amenities such as heat and air conditioning, gas log fireplaces, outdoor grills, and kitchen appliances, though renters must provide their own bedding and towels. Temperature-controlled camper cabins are also available, sleeping up to four visitors. More than 100 campsites are located throughout the park, with half equipped with electrical hookups for vehicle and tent campers. All sites offer picnic tables, fire rings, lantern posts, and a camping pad. Three communal bath house facilities offer showers, flush toilets, and coin-operated laundry machines. The park’s Daugherty Creek Conference Center is also available for daily and overnight rentals, featuring conference rooms, a screened porch with outdoor grill, a full kitchen facility, and overnight accommodations for up to 16 visitors.

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More Ideas in MD: Deal Island

Located in Somerset County, Maryland, Deal Island is a census-designated place within the Salisbury, Maryland-Delaware Metropolitan Statistical Area, featuring several historic attractions listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

History

The three-mile-long Deal Island, surrounded on three sides by the waters of the Tangier Sound, was originally discovered by European explorers in the early 1600s, when a hurricane caused a shipwreck on the island’s shores of a ship connected to the explorations of Captain John Smith. Shipwreck survivors referred to the island as the “land of the Devil” due to its rough, marsh-filled environment. For the following century, the island was referred to as Devil’s Island and was used as a popular pirate hideout within the Chesapeake Bay region. Eventually, the island’s name was shortened to Deil Island, which was changed to Deal Island over time. The island’s local economy was historically centered around the shipbuilding and fishing industry, though the arrival of steamboats to the Chesapeake Bay in 1878 drastically altered the island’s industrial and social landscape. A major hurricane in 1933 caused substantial damage on the island, including the destruction of most major oystering and crab houses and the region’s steamboat wharf. Following the storm, the island was rebuilt as a small insular island community.

Attractions

Today, Deal Island is one of the last regions in the Chesapeake Bay to retain its historic character without experiencing the effects of modernism. The island is accessible from the mainland via a bridge on Maryland Route 363 and is home to three island communities, including Deal Island Village, Chance, and Wenona. The island is a census-designated place and spans a total land area of 3.2 miles.

Maryland Route 363, commonly known as Deal Island Road, spans the entire length of the community and is home to a number of public businesses and industrial facilities. Wholesale seafood is still produced within the community, including a full-scale oyster hatchery and crab pickers along the Deal Island Harbor. The harbor in Wenona is also home to several of the last few dozen remaining oyster-dredging skipjacks in the Chesapeake Bay region. The island’s Sea Gull skipjack is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, along with the island’s Deal Island Historic District, St. John’s Methodist Episcopal Church, and Joshua Thomas Chapel, which preserves the body of Joshua Thomas, who famously predicted the defeat of British forces in the War of 1812.

Two local markets are offered in the town, including Lucky’s, which offers a deli and sit-down restaurant and sells groceries and alcoholic beverages. The family-owned Arby’s General Store has also been operated in Wenona Harbor since 1984, offering marine supplies, boating fuel, bait and tackle, and sundries and snacks. The adjoining Arby’s Bar and Grill offers American fare and draft beer offerings. Natural areas within the island and its surrounding region include the Deal Island Wildlife Management Area, which preserves a variety of duck and waterfowl species. A public beach is also offered along the island’s shore near the exit of the Deal Island Bridge. Kayaking opportunities are offered along the Monie Bay Water Trails, a network of three trails operated by the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine

Research Reserve of Maryland. Other outdoor activities for visitors include biking, fishing, kayaking, sailing, and wildlife watching and photography.

Several private properties within the island community are available for weekly vacation rentals, offering visitors a taste of small-town historic Chesapeake Bay living. Rentals include the Sunrise-Sunset Cottage, which offers boating, kayaking, and bike rental packages, and the Korner Kottage, which sleeps six visitors and features a deck and screened-in porch. Waterfront luxury condominiums are also offered at the Dames Quarter Condos facility. All visitors wishing to rent island properties should contact property owners directly via phone or email. A list of rental properties is available on the official Deal Island website.

Ongoing Programs and Events

Deal Island has hosted an annual Skipjack Race on Labor Day weekend every year since 1959, which features traditional two-sail bateaux entrants. The Deal Island Yard Sale is also held Saturday through Monday of Labor Day weekend, featuring participants from a number of nearby communities. A Skipjack Bike Tour is held on the second Saturday in September, sponsored by the Chance Volunteer Fire Company and offering 15, 30, and 64-mile rides throughout the region. An annual Skipjack Run across the Deal Island Bridge is offered in conjunction with the Bike Tour. Monthly community talks are offered at a variety of locations throughout the island as part of the University of Maryland’s Deal Island Peninsula Project.

Deal Island-Chance Volunteer Fire Department, 10090 Deal Island Road, Deal Island, Maryland, 21821, Phone: 410-784-2612

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More Ideas in MD: Tilghman Island

Located in Talbot County, Maryland within the Chesapeake Bay, Tilghman Island is a census-desginated place offering a variety of dining, shopping, and outdoor natural experiences in a historic, quaint island atmosphere.

History

Tilghman Island was originally known by European settlers in North America as Great Choptank Island. In 1752, the island was purchased by Matthew Tilghman, earning it the name Tilghman Island. The island was briefly taken over by British forces during the War of 1812 as a site for military provisions, but in the 1840s, the community of Tilghman began to develop, with industry centered around the farming industry. Following the advent of steamboat service to the Chesapeake Bay in the 1890s, the island became a hub for local fishing and oystering activity connected to the nearby cities of Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

Attractions

Today, Tilghman Island is a census-designated place and is home to a population of more than 850 residents. It is located within Talbot County, Maryland along the eastern coast of the Chesapeake Bay and is connected to the mainland via a bridge along Maryland Route 33 over the Knapps Narrows waterway. The 2.7-square-mile island is located approximately two hours from Baltimore and Washington, D.C. and is a popular tourist destination for day trip and weekend getaways, offering a variety of dining, shopping, and outdoor natural experiences.

A variety of historic attractions are offered on the island, including the Sharps Island Light, which was originally constructed on Sharps Island in 1838 but transported to Tilghman Island the following decade due to erosion. In 1882, the current light station was constructed, which features a caisson foundation, 9.8-inch lens, and 35-foot cast iron tower noted for its similarities to the Leaning Tower of Pisa due to storm damage that occurred in 1977. In 1982, the light was added to the National Register of Historic Places and is featured today as part of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Several other historic sites on the island are also NRHP-designated places, including the Paw Paw Cove Site and a number of historic fishing and oystering vessels.

Cultural attractions on the island include the Tilghman Island Watermen’s Museum, which offers a variety of exhibits celebrating the island’s fishing and oystering industry heritage and economy. The museum was born out of a 2007 effort to save the historic Kathryn workboat and evolved into a full museum facility that opened to the public in June of 2008. Today, the museum showcases exhibits emphasizing the stories of local watermen and offers rotating exhibits of art pieces depicting the Chesapeake Bay region’s fishing industry. The island is also home to the Phillips Wharf Environmental Center, which offers hands-on educational and conservation opportunities for visitors of all ages.

A variety of dining options are located throughout the island, including the Marker 5 Restaurant and Tiki Bar, which offers traditional Chesapeake Bay dishes such as Maryland crab soup, crab cakes, and rockfish. Beer and cocktails are offered at the establishment’s tiki bar, and freshly-smoked seafood and meats are served from a smoker and grill.Characters at the Bridge offers a casual, local-favorite atmosphere and classic American fare such as burgers, sandwiches, and seafood dishes. The Tilghman Island Country Store also sells take-out deli foods, sundries, and adult beverages and offers weekly wine tastings on Friday evenings. Shopping destinations include Crawford’s Nautical Book Bank, which stocks an impressive collection of maritime-themed books, maps, and charts, and Fairbank’s Tackle, which sells fishing supplies and sundries.

A variety of outdoor natural activities are offered on the island, including opportunities for sailing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing. Equipment rentals are offered at the Knapps Narrows Marina and Tilghman Island Marina, including bike, kayak, and paddleboard rentals. Sailing charters depart three times daily throughout the summer season from Chesapeake Bay Sailing Charters, with private yachting and historic vessel sailing experiences available for individuals and groups. Public water access is allowed at several sites throughout the island, and fishing and crabbing are allowed with possession of a valid Maryland fishing license. Boating tours of the area’s historic lighthouses and structures are also offered by the Chesapeake Lights tour company.

Overnight accommodations are offered at a number of inns and bed and breakfast facilities throughout the island, including the Lazyjack Inn, which overlooks Dogwood Harbor, and the Black Walnut Point Inn, which offers an outdoor relaxation area featuring hammocks, adirondack chairs, and a private dock. Other facilities include the Tilghman Island Inn, Lowe’s Wharf Marina and Inn, the Knapps Narrows Inn, and Harrison’s House. Several vacation rental properties are available on the island for longer stays and larger groups, including Hard Heads Cottage, Captain’s Watch, and Tilghman Landing.

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