Not more than an hour drive from the large urban centers of Washington D.C. and Baltimore, visitors can immerse themselves in the tranquil world of small islands. Today connected by bridges and ferries, the Maryland Islands serve as an escape for urban dwellers. Visitors can bring their boats, take children to hike mile-long beaches, observe egrets and ospreys, watch the spectacular sunsets over Chesapeake Bay, and feast on fresh fish. Hours/availability may have changed.
1. Assateague Island
2. Cobb Island
3. Deal Island
5. Hooper's Island
6. Jane's Island
7. Kent Island
8. Smith Island
10. St. Clement's Island
11. St. George's Island
12. Tilghman Island
12 Best Islands in Maryland
- Assateague Island, Photo: Courtesy of Andrea Izzotti - Fotolia.com
- Cobb Island, Photo: Courtesy of Double Image Studio - Fotolia.com
- Deal Island, Photo: Courtesy of ArenaCreative - Fotolia.com
- Hart-Miller Island, Photo: Courtesy of Jeramey Lende - Fotolia.com
- Hooper's Island, Photo: Courtesy of Double Image Studio - Fotolia.com
- Jane's Island, Photo: Courtesy of Double Image Studio - Fotolia.com
- Kent Island, Photo: Courtesy of jonbilous - Fotolia.com
- Smith Island, Photo: Courtesy of Double Image Studio - Fotolia.com
- Solomons Island, Photo: Courtesy of DSL - Fotolia.com
- St. Clement's Island, Photo: Courtesy of flownaksala - Fotolia.com
- St. George's Island, Photo: Courtesy of Oleksii Astanin - Fotolia.com
- Tilghman Island, Photo: Courtesy of Chris - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Stephen Bonk - Fotolia.com
More Ideas in MD: Ladew Topiary Gardens
Located in Monkton, Maryland, the Ladew Topiary Gardens are a nonprofit topiary garden facility located on the former estate of Harvey S. Ladew, a prominent American socialite of the 1930s. Born in 1887 in New York City, Harvey S. Ladew grew up in a cultured lifestyle among Manhattan’s elite, learning French at a young age and taking drawing lessons from curators of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Following service in World War I as an Army liaison officer, Ladew began embarking on annual winter fox hunting expeditions in England starting in 1919, allowing him to enter into elite aristocratic social circles. As a prominent socialite, Ladew was close friends with early 20th century artistic and political luminaries such as Cole Porter, Richard Rogers, Clark Gable, T.E. Lawrence, and Charlie Chaplin.
In November 1929, Ladew moved to Monktown, Maryland and purchased a 200-acre property named Pleasant Valley Farm, located next to the Elkridge-Harford Hunt Club. Ladew renovated the property extensively throughout the 1930s, adding several new wings to the farmhouse and landscaping 22 acres of garden space out of land previously used for crop and livestock farming. Ladew’s gardens displayed his particular affinity for topiary carvings, and as such, the Pleasant Valley Farm property was described as the “most outstanding topiary garden in America” by the Garden Club of America. In the final decade of his life, Ladew established the Ladew Topiary Gardens, Inc. nonprofit organization for preservation of the property’s topiary gardens for future generations. In 1971, five years before Ladew’s death, the Ladew Topiary Gardens facility opened to the public.
Permanent Exhibits and Attractions
Today, Ladew Topiary Gardens is operated as a nonprofit garden and living history museum facility, overseen by a board of trustees. The 22-acre facility is open to the public for tours and exploration April through October, with limited operation for special events during the winter months. As a public garden facility, the Ladew Topiary Gardens have been named one of the top five gardens in North America and have been praised by publications and organizations such as the Garden Club of America and the New York Times.
Visitors may tour the property’s Manor House, completely renovated by Ladew from an existing frame farmhouse built on the property in the late 18th century. Ladew, along with architect James W. O’Connor and interior decorators Jean Levy, Billy Baldwin, and Ruby Ross Wood, transformed the house into a two-story luxury country estate. Docent-led tours explore a number of rooms within the estate, including the Oval Library, containing more than 2,500 volumes and widely renowned as one of the most beautiful rooms in America. Other rooms within the home include an Elizabethan Room, inspired by Ladew’s love of 16th-century English architecture and interior design, a formal Dining Room with bay windows overlooking the gardens, and a Drawing Room with a Steinway grand piano frequently played by Cole Porter. An outdoor Studio also features an exhibit chronicling Ladew’s life and achievements.
The property’s 22 acres of gardens are arranged into a series of distinct garden “rooms,” constructed around more than 100 topiary sculptures taking a variety of human, animal, and artistic forms. Among the most famous of the gardens is the Hunt Scene, depicting hunters, horses, hounds, in pursuit of foxes. A variety of topiary sculptures are on display at the Sculpture Garden, ranging from natural scenes such as lyre birds, seahorses, and butterflies to cultural icons such as Winston Churchill’s signature top hat. A number of gardens evoke classical and European themes, such as the Tivoli Tea House and Garden or the Garden of Eden, which features a playful statue of Biblical figures Adam and Eve. Other gardens are themed around plantings, including a Rose Garden, Iris Garden, and White Garden, which features more than 35 different types of plants blooming with white blossoms.
A Nature Walk, opened in 1999, offers educational stations providing a glimpse into the area’s diverse wildlife along a 1.5-mile loop. A Butterfly House showcases monarchs and other species in their natural habitat during the summer months. A Visitor Center contains a gift shop offering books, jewelry, and home and garden gifts, and a Courtyard Cafe, located at the property’s former stables, offers homemade American fare.
Ongoing Programs and Education
In addition to field trip opportunities for elementary, secondary, and scouting groups, Ladew Topiary Gardens offers a wide variety of educational programming for students of all ages, including a Little Explorers Nature Preschool program, a Family Nature Explorers group, and a summer nature camp for children ages 2 to 15. For adult visitors, a fall lecture series welcomes distinguished horticultural speakers, and an In the Garden series provides opportunities to learn techniques from professional gardeners. More than 80 public special events are held at the facility throughout the year, including the My Lady’s Manor Steeplechase Races, a summer concert series, a Christmas open hours, and an annual Garden Festival.
3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton, MD 21111, Phone: 410-557-9466
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More Ideas in MD: Spruce Forest Artisan Village
The Spruce Forest Artisan Village in Grantsville, MD, is located in the Allegheny Mountains region, west of the Appalachian Valley. The village is home to six artists in residence as well as visiting artists who open their studio space and sell their work to visitors. The unique artists’ market allows guests to meet the artists, see their work in progress as well as their studios, and ask them questions about their craft. The artists’ studio spaces are located among a collection of a dozen cabins and log and frame structures, some of which date back to the time of the Revolutionary War. Permanent Collection
Highlights of the collection include Alta’s Cabin, a small log cabin built as a childhood reward for the village’s founder, Alta Schrock. As a child, Schrock helped her father collect on delinquent business accounts in exchange for the backyard hideout. Her cabin, named ‘The Sanctuary,’ was brought to the Spruce Forest site in 1970 and houses visiting artists today. The Compton One-Room School log cabin was donated to the village and restored with a grant from the Maryland Historical Trust. Western Maryland’s last one-room schoolhouse is outfitted with historic books, supplies, and furniture that illuminate the history of education in the Casselman Valley. The schoolhouse was likely built by Robert Compton, who served as an errand boy for George Washington as a child. His family moved to the Allegheny Region after the end of the Revolutionary War. The Eli Miller shed is a new construction, built at Spruce Forest from the parts of an old wood plank house. The 1976 home serves as a blacksmith shop and is host to metalworking artisans.
John Hochstetler’s Little House is among the oldest of Spruce Village at 200 years old. The simple post and beam building was built in 1800 by John Hochstetler, the first white settler in the area. The home teaches the history of the Amish, who settled the Alleghenies to avoid attacks by Native Americans and establish peaceful farming communities. In the summer months, the house is occupied by artisans and has hosted basket weavers and quillers, among others. The Miller House Peace Center of 1835 was moved to the site and restored in the mid 1980s. The home is furnished with memorabilia of the Miller family, an Amish family whose home served as a school and place of worship. While many of the structures host visiting artisans, both the schoolhouse and Peace House have summer hosts whose purpose is to teach guests about the history of the structures.
Additional features of the Spruce Forest include Casselman’s Bridge, a stone arch bridge with a single 80-foot span, built in 1813 along the historic National Road. Stanton’s Mill is a 1797 gristmill, which was in continuous operation until 1994. Today, the water chase adjacent to the mill is dry, but the wheel spins on electric power, allowing guests to see the restored building operating as it did for hundreds of years.
In this particular area of the Allegheny Region, known as Little Crossings, artists and artisans have been honing their crafts for over 200 years. Much of the work is specific to the region, and a large part of the village’s mission is to preserve the local craft and history. The village was founded in 1957 by Alta Schrock (1911–2001). Alta demonstrated her love of nature at a very early age by establishing a natural history museum in her school’s basement before she reached the 7th grade. She wrote nature essays and identified local herbs, flowers, ferns and trees.
After living in Indiana and working as a school teacher, Schrock returned to the area in the 1950s to establish the village and give back to her home community. The first Mennonite woman in the United States to receive a PhD, Schrock founded the Springs Historical Society and Museum, and later opened the Penn Alps Restaurant and Craft Shop, which still operates today adjacent to the Spruce Forest Village. She was inducted into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame for her contributions to preserving the state’s history as well as her efforts in job creation in the historically impoverished region. The Penn Alps Restaurant and Spruce Forest Artisan Village provide opportunities for artisans to make a living by working with their hands, and have provided a value for many that is much greater than the checks received. Today, the Spruce Forest Artisan Village hosts 60,000 visitors each year.
Ongoing Programs and Education
Workshops at the Spruce Artisans Village are offered all year round, and include wheel thrown pottery, weaving, jewelry making, feather carving, and a variety of painting and drawing workshops.
177 Casselman Road, Grantsville, MD 21536, Phone: 301-895-3332
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More Ideas in MD: National Electronics Museum
In the heart of Maryland is the National Electronics Museum, which specializes in showcasing the history of defense electronics used in The United States of America. Since the museums beginning in the 1980s it has continuously encouraged learning about engineering and science through history.
Housed with a variety of exhibits displaying crucial documents, artifacts, and publications visitors are able to understand the development of key electronic systems and how this technology influenced both defense and commercial products. The National Electronics aims to provide its visitors with an educational experience that will foster appreciation of the evolution of electronics.
In 1980 in the State of Maryland, the non-profit institution was officially incorporated as the National Electronics Museum. Beginning in a small space of 2,000 square feet, it quickly grew and in 1992 moved sites to the Friendship Square, which is its current location. Presently the museum is 22,000 square feet of indoor space featuring exhibition galleries and laboratory, an event space, and a conference room. As well, there is an outdoor exhibition space on half an acre of land. As the museum grows, it continues to add permanent outdoor exhibitions and update different sections of the diverse gallery.
Within the National Electronics museum are a variety of exhibits that allow visitors to have insight into how technology developed electronics. Some of these exhibits include the Fundamentals, Early Radar, Communications, Countermeasures, Under Seas, Electro-optical and Space Sensor Galleries. In the Fundamentals Gallery, through hands on exhibits it explores of the understanding of magnetism, electricity, and the electromagnetic spectrum. Visitors will be able to use equipment to generate electricity and see first hand how electromagnetic waves can cook food and generate cell phones. In the Under Seas Gallery the history of how sonar systems transformed the effectiveness of submarines and tracking items underwater. In the exhibit there is an interactive demonstration of both active and underwater sounds, which shows how sonar devices are used for imaging, tracking, and locating. Visitors can learn how the physicist Samuel F. B. Morse applied electrical principles in 1835 to develop the Morse Code in the Communications Gallery. The exhibit continues to explore the history of how the use of electricity advanced communications. The gallery begins with the telegraph technology that continued to develop, which allowed humans to eventually use digital communications to send messages. In the Electro-optic gallery, museumgoers travel back in time to the early 16th Century when Galileo studied the starts and planets with a telescope. Since then the technology of electro-magnetic sensors has grown, and is now used in planes. Pilots in battlefields are able to have detailed images of the sky through fog, rain, clouds, and darkness. The museum displays the McDonald Dougals F-4 Phantom aircraft, which has an electro-optic system under the wing which, allows precise delivery of rockets and bombs. Within the 13 different exhibits visitors can have a diverse experience learning about the development of electronics through the ages and how it has been used for defense.
The museum is involved in a variety of events that take place throughout the year. Some of these include the Escape Velocity Con 2017, the Electronica Electronic Music Festival and inside of the institution there is a Pioneer Hall and conference available for rental. The Escape Velocity Con is a combination of pop culture and science, which is great for people of all ages. The Electronica Electronic Music Festival is an annual event that celebrates electronic music. In the Pioneer Hall and Conference room, both of these can be rented out as event spaces for receptions, dinners, luncheons, and meetings.
The National Electronics Museum is dedicated to providing educational programs and fostering a facility of learning in the community. Through specific events, programs for learning, and scholarships the museum aims to encourage experience the history of the defense electronic industry. In the annual programs of The Young Engineers, Pioneer Camp, Scientists Seminars, and Robot festival children are continue learning outside of exhibits. As well as offering special events, throughout the year there are school programs and weekend programs. Through these, children can experiment with their interest in electronics and engineering by hands on building classes. Dedicating to developing education the Robert L. Dwight Science Scholarship established by the museum awards engineering students at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and the University of Maryland College Park. Filled with exhibits the museum is a place for visitors to be surrounded by technological advancements and to be inspired to learn.
1745 I Rd, West Nursery, MD 21090, Phone: 410-765-0230
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