Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Year's Eve in St. Mary's County

New Year's Eve is a time for celebrations with friends and family.  Ring in the New Year at one of these fun events in St. Mary's County!

  • New Year's Eve Party at Rustic River Bar & Grill
  • New Year's Eve Dance at Immaculate Conception Church
  • Dinner from the Special New Year's Eve Menu at La Tabella Ristorante Italiano
New Year's Eve Party at Rustic River Bar & Grill
Celebrate the new year at Rustic River with a dinner special followed by a party!  On December 31, enjoy a Surf and Turf dinner for $25 and choose from either Steak or Ribs paired with Lobster Tail, Snow Crab Legs, Crab Cake, Shrimp or Oysters.

Then, Rustic River is hosting a New Year's Eve Party from 9 p.m. 'til 3 a.m.  Admission to the party is $15 per person in advance (must be purchased by December 29) or $20 per person at the door and it includes:
  • Complimentary buffet
  • Complimentary champagne toast at midnight
  • New drink specials every hour on the hour
  • DJ and Karaoke
  • Complimentary breakfast served at 3 a.m.
All guests attending the party must be 21 years of age or older.  Rustic River is located at 40874 Merchants Lane, Leonardtown, MD 20650.  For more information or to purchase a ticket, call 301-997-1700 or visit
New Year's Eve Dance at Immaculate Conception Church
If you're looking for something a little different from the bar scene, head over to Immaculate Conception Church in Mechanicsville for their New Year's Eve Dance!  The dance will be held on December 31 from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.  Tickets are $25 per person and include free breakfast at midnight.  

Immaculate Conception Church is located at 28297 Old Village Road, Mechanicsville, MD 20659.  For more information or to purchase tickets, call 301-884-3123 or visit

Dinner from the Special New Year's Eve Menu at La Tabella Ristorante Italiano
La Tabella Ristorante Italiano, St. Mary's County's newest Italian restaurant, is offering a special dinner menu for New Year's Eve!  For $40 per person, enjoy a lovely romantic evening with your loved ones while La Tabella entertains you with food, sights and sounds.

The dinner menu includes delicious appetizers, such as Calamari Fritti and Crab Crostini; scrumptious entrees, like Stuffed Rockfish and Chicken Parm; and lovely desserts, such as Tiramisu.  The full menu can be viewed from La Tabella's website,

Seating is available at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.  Reservations are recommended.  For more information or to make reservations, call 240-237-8333 or visit

La Tabella is located at 23154 Wetstone Lane, California, MD 20619.  It is inside the Wildewood Neighborhood, but open to the public.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Celebrate the Holidays in the Cecil's Mill Historic District

A bit of St. Mary's history will come alive this weekend when Bill Clements of Cecil's Old Mill fires up the antique sawmill and demonstrates how logs that were eventually used to build many of the homes in St. Mary's county a century ago, were transformed into lumber boards. It's a rare opportunity to observe the sawmill in action this Saturday, December 4th, between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the Old Mill on Indian Bridge Road in California, Maryland (weather permitting).

Across the street, Cecil's Country Store will be holding their annual Holiday Open House on Saturday and Sunday with special sales, holiday decorations and food. Reminiscent of the holiday window displays from department stores of yesteryear, Cecil's enchanting Christmas window displays will delight children of all ages. Cecil's Country Store was also the local post office for many years and the old post office is still on display at the store. "There is a lot of history here at Cecil's and our goal is to mix a unique shopping experience with a little bit of history," says Dawna Wible, owner of Cecil's Country Store.

Located in one of Maryland’s first Industrial Districts, Cecil's Mill was originally built as a cotton/textile factory in the 1800's. It was later transformed into a grist mill and saw mill. After restoration in the late 1970's, Cecil's Mill became a National Landmark in St. Mary's County. Today, the mill exhibits artifacts including its working water wheel, and is home to local arts and handmade crafts for sale. The historic district also includes Cecil’s Country Store and Post Office.
For additional information about the open house or Cecil's Country Store and Cecil's Old Mill, contact Dawna Wible at 301-994-9622 or

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Christmas on the Square is Friday, November 26

On Friday, November 26th, the Town of Leonardtown will be abuzz with holiday cheer as it hosts its annual Christmas on the Square event on Washington Street!  The festivities run from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and include fun for the whole family.

The main stage will have a variety of entertainment including seasonal music and Christmas carols, costumed characters and more. Other holiday festivities around the Square and down Fenwick Street include sleigh rides, train rides, fire truck rides, hay rides, horse and carriage rides, a petting zoo, pony rides, live nativity, face painting, make-and-take crafts for children, an ice sculpture demonstration, visits with Santa, cookie decorating at the “Gingerbread House” (Kevin’s Corner Café) and more! See Frosty the Snowman, Mrs. Claus, and of course, the big guy himself, Santa Claus!

Watch for Santa’s arrival and the lighting of the Town Christmas Tree at 7:00 p.m.!  And don't miss the Winegardner Showroom, which will be hosting the Leonardtown Volunteer Rescue Squad's Annual Christmas Festival.  There will be beautifully decorated trees and wreaths, a slide show and photo display of days past in St. Mary's County, toy collections and crafts.  You may also spread your holiday cheer by preparing a letter or card to be sent to a member of the Armed Forces.

Many Leonardtown businesses will also be open, so stop in and do some of your holiday shopping!  Also, enter for your chance to win a basket of gift certificates from local Leonardtown businesses. No purchase necessary. Simply ask for a raffle ticket at any (and all) participating Leonardtown First Friday businesses that you visit between now and December 3. The giveaway is valued at over $150! The winning ticket will be drawn on the Leonardtown Square at 6 p.m. during the First Friday on December 3. You must be present to win. To see which businesses are participating, please visit

A free round-trip shuttle bus service will be provided by STS Transportation into the Leonardtown Square from the College of Southern Maryland-Leonardtown Campus. Vehicular traffic into the downtown area will be detoured to designated parking areas and streets around Town.

Christmas on the Square is sponsored by the Leonardtown Volunteer Fire Department, the Leonardtown Business Association, the Commissioners of Leonardtown, and community partners Quality Built Homes, Winegardner Auto Group, Sabre Systems, and the College of Southern Maryland. For more information, call 301-475-9791.

In case of rain, please visit or call the Leonardtown office at 301-475-9791 and listen to the answering machine recording. The rain date is Saturday, November 27.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"Spies and Other Guests" - Sotterley's Holiday Candlelight Tours

This year’s Holiday Candlelight Tours at Sotterley Plantation will feature a time-traveling experience during the Civil War Era to Christmas 1864. On December 10th & 11th from 6 p.m.–10 p.m., this historical dramatization unfolds within the 1703 Plantation House, with stellar performances by The Sotterley Players.

The Civil War rages on throughout the Southeast, but the holiday spirit is alive and well at Sotterley. Upon entering the historic Plantation House, tour guests will have the opportunity to witness the annual holiday celebration of Dr. Walter Hanson Stone Briscoe and Mrs. Emaline Briscoe. Along with their family and closest friends, this year’s guest list also includes “Spies and Other Guests”! The mood is one of joyous merriment as enchanting stories are shared.

Live musical performances from local premiere high school choral groups and complimentary cookies and punch will be available in the historic Barn, prior to the reserved tour time. Reservations are required.  The first tour begins at 6 pm.  Tours run every 10 minutes.
Save time and buy your tickets online for $15 per person:  Tickets can also be purchased by phone for $16 each by calling 301-373-2280.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Family Plantation Christmas at Sotterley Plantation

Family Plantation Christmas will be held on Saturday, December 4th, 2010 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Sotterley Plantation, offering a full day of wonderment and Christmas spirit!
New for 2010! Craft Vendors for choosey shoppers. Petting Zoo – for animal lovers. Demonstration by the Sotterley Garden Guild on Swag-Making. Patuxent Voices, a women’s acapella group, to perform Christmas favorites from various periods of history.

And the old favorites: Let Santa know what you want for Christmas, purchase scrumptious treats from Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen, take a horse-drawn carriage ride, sing along with the carolers, make holiday crafts, visit the Sotterley Museum Shop to find unique holiday gifts while the children are buying presents at Santa’s Secret Shop, and purchase seasonal greens and hand-crafted items from Sotterley’s Garden Guild!

Make this Christmas event part of your family tradition!  The cost is $5 per person at the gate.

For more information, call Sotterley Plantation at 301-373-2280 or visit

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Greenwell Monster Rockfish Festival

The Greenwell Foundation is hosting the Monster Rockfish Festival on Sunday, October 31 from 11 a. m. to 5 p.m. at Greenwell State Park in Hollywood, Maryland!

The Monster Rockfish Festival is being held in conjunction with the first annual Monster Rockfish Tournament, taking place in the Maryland waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010. The tournament is a production of BAMM Enterprises in Lexington Park.

The highlight of the Festival is the First Annual Rockfish Cook-off featuring restaurants from the greater Maryland area. There will be Rockfish tastings and other seasonal culinary delights, as well as beer and local wine. Entertainment options include live music, tours of historic Rosedale Manor and an awards ceremony for Monster Rockfish Tournament participants. Local crafters and artists will display and sell their work.

Pony rides, and horseback, fishing and kayaking demonstrations (weather permitting) will be offered.

The Festival is a designated SAFE TRICK OR TREATING ZONE. Vendors will offer candy and other treats to children who come in costume. Other Halloween events will include pumpkin painting, costume contests, hay rides, and a pre-carved pumpkin contest (bring your carved pumpkin to the Festival for judging).

The Festival is free to the general public ($3.00 parking fee applies).

For more information about the Festival, visit  For more information about the Tournament, visit

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Patuxent Wine Trail Goes Local - Features Two St. Mary's County Wineries

The Patuxent Wine Trail is proud to announce their first wine trail event: The Patuxent Wine Trail Goes Local! Wineries along the Patuxent Wine Trail will host a local product vendor from 12 – 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 23 and Sunday, October 24 at each of the wineries.

Sunday: Thompson’s Corner Café

Slack Winery in Ridge will host:
Blue Wind Gourmet
Just in Time Antiques

While there is no charge for this event, wineries may charge for tastings according to their normal tasting fees. Some wineries (indicated in product description) are offering special tastings of reserve wines or barrel

For more information about the Patuxent Wine Trail, visit or find them on Facebook. For industry information, please visit or email

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Grave Matters at Historic St. Mary's City

Experience life and death in 17th -century Maryland in a unique theatrical event that’s the perfect Halloween treat. Walk historical paths by moonlight as Maryland’s colonists provide a glimpse of their days and nights that’s entertaining, illuminating, and possibly haunting. End your evening in the old town by taking an optional horse-drawn carriage ride to the Brick Chapel, where a violin duet will serenade visitors.

Grave Matters will take place at Historic St. Mary’s City on Friday and Saturday, October 29 and 30. Tours will be offered every 15 minutes from 6:30 pm to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for visitors age 12 and up and $15 for those ages 6-12. Children 5 years and under visit free. Friends of Historic St. Mary’s City and St. Mary’s College of Maryland students with an ID enjoy a discounted rate of $15. Advance ticket purchase is required. Call the Historic St. Mary’s City Visitor Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday at 1-800-SMC-1634 or 240-895-4990 to reserve your place.

To ensure the best experience for everyone, parental guidance is suggested. Some material may not be suitable for young children.

This event is made possible through support by Brinsfield Funeral Home and the Historic St. Mary’s City Foundation. For more information about this event or the museum, call or visit

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Speaker Series: Ralph Eshelman, Ph.D. - "Vestiges of the War of 1812 Along the Patuxent”

Sotterley Plantation, in partnership with The Boeing Company, will proudly present Dr. Ralph Eshelman as part of the 2010 Speaker Series on October 22 at 7 p.m. Widely published, he lectures on military and maritime history, polar exploration, geology and paleontology. His lecture on The War of 1812 in the Chesapeake Bay area, focusing specifically upon our area of Southern Maryland, will be based on research disclosed in his recently published book, The War of 1812 in the Chesapeake: A Reference Guide to Historic Sites in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

The former Director of the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons, Maryland, Dr. Eshelman worked as a Research Associate in the Department of Paleobiology at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. He is active in several professional and civic organizations including past president of the Council of American Maritime Museums, American Association for Quaternary Environment, founding vice-president of the National Maritime Preservation Task Force of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, vice-president for Science and Stewardship of the Maryland-Washington D.C. Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, Society for Historical Archaeology, Patuxent Riverkeeper, and Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Research interests have taken Dr. Eshelman all over the globe. He is the owner of Eshelman & Associates, a cultural resource management consultancy firm and partner in a lighthouse preservation firm. He is a consultant to the National Park Service. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan with a major in geology and vertebrate paleontology and a minor in ecology.

This event is free to the public. Please call Sotterley Plantation for reservations: 301-373-2280.  To learn more, visit

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Get into the Halloween Spirit on a Ghost Tour

Sites and attractions throughout St. Mary’s County will be holding ghost tours in the weeks leading up to Halloween! Come hear the spooky history and legends of Sotterley Plantation, Summerseat Farm, Point Lookout Lighthouse, and Historic St. Mary’s City.

On October 14, 15 and 16, Sotterley Plantation will tell the tales of the Civil War and the experiences of Sotterley’s inhabitants, who were Confederate sympathizers during this volatile time in history. Tours will start every ten minutes beginning at 7 p.m. and tickets are limited.  Visit Sotterley's website,, for more information.

Summerseat Farm will be holding its ghost walk, “The Gates of Summerseat,” on October 21, 22 and 23. “The Gates of Summerseat” will feature 332 years of history, lore, and legend at one of America’s oldest – and most storied – farmsteads. Tours run from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and tickets are limited.  Visit Summerseat's website,, for more information.

Point Lookout State Park also has some eerie tales to tell. During Spirits of Point Lookout on October 29 and 30, guests will be taken on historically representative interactive tours of Point Lookout featuring the site’s many legendary tragedies and hauntings. The tours will run from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Advance ticket purchases are recommended.  Visit the Spirits of Point Lookout website,, for more information.

Historic St. Mary’s City will share the story of its early inhabitants and what happened to them after their deaths during Grave Matters on October 29 and 30.  Experience life and death in 17th century Maryland as you walk historical paths by moonlight with Maryland’s colonists providing a glimpse of their days and nights that’s entertaining, illuminating, and possibly haunting. Tours will run every 15 minutes from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Visit Historic St. Mary's City's website,, for more information.

For more information on the ghost tours and other upcoming events, visit the St. Mary’s County Division of Tourism website,

Friday, September 24, 2010

'Beloved Horses' Author Sharon Miner to Hold Book Signing at Greenwell

Cover of the upcoming book.
Author Sharon Miner will be at Greenwell State Park on Sunday, Oct. 3, from 1pm - 3pm, to sell and sign copies of her new book, "Beloved Horses in Second Careers." One of Greenwell's beloved horses, Spot, is profiled in the book and appears on the cover.

Spot is the cornerstone of Greenwell's riding lesson program, popular with riders and campers alike. He is a favorite of riders with disabilities as he is so patient. Unknown to many, Spot led quite an interesting life before he came to Greenwell. Miner's book tells the story of Spot.

Miner's appearance is sponsored by the Greenwell Foundation and is part of an East Coast tour promoting the publication of her new book.

Sharon Miner is the author of adventure stories and mystery novels for middle grade readers and young adults. Miner, a professional horsewoman, always includes horses in her books. Read more about Miner and her books at her Web site:

For more information about Miner's East Coast book tour, visit her blog:

More about Spot:

Spot was born in Texas where he was used for cow cutting. He did the same later in California. He landed in Oklahoma and was sold to a man who lived in Maryland. Caitlyn Keyes was 13 years old and living in Southern Maryland when she saw an ad in a magazine for an eventing farm.

"The ad had a picture of this really cool looking registered Paint Horse named Lucky Leo. We ended up going to that farm (because my mom does saddle fittings) and she asked a girl who this horse was because I just wanted to see him. Well come to find out he just so happened to be for sale. Of course we bought him!"

"He then evented up to Training Level but could easily school Prelim, but he developed arthritis so he was retired from jumping. Then a year later he went to nationals in Pony Club in Kentucky for Dressage! Also, the whole time I owned him he fox hunted. I am so happy to hear that he is still a superstar."

-- Caitlyn Keyes, Summer 2009

More about Spot's role in the Greenwell Therapeutic Riding Program:

A few years ago, Gene and Colleen Lane spent time at Greenwell as park hosts. They lived in their motor home at the park and volunteered with several of Greenwell’s programs including the Therapeutic Riding Program. As TRP volunteers, Gene and Colleen assisted as side-walkers, walking alongside a horse and TRP rider during lessons. Now, Gene is a TRP rider himself.

Shortly after completing their park host service, life took a drastic turn. Gene suffered a fall and a stroke. He lost the use of his legs and one side of his body.
Gene Lane riding Spot

Therapeutic riding was suggested as a way to offer Gene an opportunity to improve his physical and cognitive abilities. At first, he wasn't sure what to expect but he says because of his experience as a Greenwell TRP volunteer, "I knew I would be better." Colleen says they both knew the difference riding would make because of their experience as volunteers in the program.

Since his injury, Gene has had to rely on others for assistance with everyday tasks and he spends a lot of time in a wheelchair. But riding is the first thing he has done for himself. Therapeutic riding has also taken his recovery to a new level.

After two months of riding, his balance and posture have improved, he is able to sit upright, his legs are straighter and his overall attitude is happier. And the horse he rides, Spot, can sense that Gene is getting more comfortable as time goes on as evidenced by the change in Spot’s walk and gait.

"Riding in the TRP is truly the highlight of my life," says Gene. He says riding Spot has enriched his life in so many ways, adding, "Spot is a lifesaver."

The Greenwell Foundation offers therapeutic and recreational horseback riding lessons for children (age 7 and up) and adults with developmental, physical, or emotional challenges. Lessons fees, donations, and grants combine to cover the cost lessons year-round.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

RiverFest: Celebrate the St. Mary's River!

Celebrate the St. Mary’s River with kayaking, song, entertainment, and educational exhibits at RiverFest 2010 on Saturday, September 25 at Historic St. Mary’s City!

Festivities will take place from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and all activities are free! Discover what you can do in your own backyard to keep our waterways and shoreline healthy. Local vendors will be on hand to discuss solar energy, sustainability, rain barrels, and rain gardens. Take home a copy of the 40-page home conservation guide available free at RiverFest.

Join Senator Bernie Fowler for the annual River Wade-In, an informal check of water quality, at 2 p.m. See how deep you can go before you lose sight of your feet. Have a close encounter with some of the winged, finned, and furry characters you might meet in your neighborhood at birds of prey and touch tanks exhibits. Mutts Gone Nuts, a madcap variety show featuring amazing rescued dogs, will perform at 1 and 3. Stroll through outdoor mini-galleries, where regional wildlife artists will display their work, or paint a pumpkin and create your own work of art. Become a work of art by having your face painted or watch a balloon artist twist and turn a latex and air sculpture. Relax at water’s edge and enjoy regional talent including David and Joe Norris performing original tunes inspired by our land, waters, and history, Southern Maryland Traditional Music and Dance, and duet Indian Summer. At 4 p.m., Hot Jazz of D.C. will wrap-up the day with manouche gypsy jazz and swing.

The living history exhibits, including the tall ship Maryland Dove, and the St. John’s Site Museum at Historic St. Mary’s City will be open. Vendors will offer food and beverage for sale throughout the day. This event is sponsored by the St. Mary’s River Watershed Association and Historic St. Mary’s City, with support from The Boeing Company, St. Mary’s County Arts Council, Maryland State Arts Council, and more than thirty local businesses. For more information about RiverFest visit or or call 301-862-3517 or 800-SMC-1634.  To see a video about RiverFest, click here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ghosts of Sotterley Tours: “The Civil War at Sotterley – the Nation will rise again … and so will the dead!”

The Nation is divided by the Civil War and the death toll is rising. Danger lurks at every turn … especially for Confederate sympathizers, as were the inhabitants of Sotterley during this era.

On October 14, 15 and 16, the “Friends of Sotterley” acting troupe promises even more thrills and chills than last year. For the second year, the incomparable James LePore has written a script of intrigue, surpassing his prior stab at creative genius and the ultimately spooky! Under the direction of Dawna Diaz and featuring the technical wizardry of Ming Diaz, the entire creative team offers a seemingly real-to-life (and death) exposure to Sotterley Plantation during this most volatile time in history. This historic dramatization walking tour unfolds at various outdoor locations around the plantation, so dress appropriately for the weather. Guests are also invited to take the chill off by a roaring bonfire (weather permitting) and to enjoy treats available for purchase.

Reservations are required for this event.  Tours start every 10 minutes beginning at 7 PM.  New this year: “Save Time, Buy Online at!" The cost is $13 per person. Order online and receive a 10% off coupon for our Museum Shop!  This event may not be suitable for young children.  Phone orders: $14 per person, 301-373-2280.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

44th Annual St. Mary's County Oyster Festival

It’s that time of year once again. When, for oyster lovers, the St. Mary’s County fairgrounds near Leonardtown transform to nirvana. Oysters served up raw, scalded, grilled on the barbie, on bread, on the half shell, stewed, nude, cooked in savory sauces, in salads, even in desserts, just about every way imaginable and then some. They’re here for the eating and enjoying at the 44th Annual St. Mary’s County Oyster Festival. This year's festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, October 16th and 17th at the County Fairgrounds on Route 5, just South of Leonardtown.

The idea of the oyster festival was first hatched back in 1967 when the Lexington Park Rotary Club was looking for a project in which the entire membership could involve itself for the good of all concerned. In addition to the member’s involvement, the festival had three main objectives:

-Promote a weekend of fun, food and fellowship in a rural atmosphere.

-Promote the bounties of life in this land of pleasant living, especially St. Mary’s County oysters, as an attraction to visitors.

-Provide funds to benefit the charities of the various participating service and civic organizations.

A little under a thousand visitors relished this first endeavor. Through the years, attendance steadily grew, as did the festival. Today the St. Mary’s Oyster Festival has become one of the Eastern Seaboard’s leading folk festivals. Good food, quality entertainment and two nationally recognized contests, the National Oyster Cook-off and the U.S. National Oyster Shucking Championship Contest are the elements that attract visitors from across the country each year.

“Oysters any way you like 'em” have always been the trademark of the festival, and this year is no different. If you can’t get enough, oysters will be available ‘to go’ in pints and quarts. Seafood lovers can also feast on a delicious range of specialties like scallops wrapped in bacon, fried clams, crab cakes, shrimp, fried fish, crab soups and seafood and clam chowders. For those that might be shy about all that seafood, other dishes will be available. Volunteers from numerous local non-profit organizations make the event run smoothly by cooking and serving most of the food, contributing to the funds available to charitable causes.

On Saturday, nine finalists from across the country will compete to determine the nation’s premier oyster chef in the National Oyster Cook-off. The three fresh oyster categories that the finalists will compete in are: Hors D'oeuvres, Soups and Stews, and Main Dishes. Their recipes were chosen from nearly 150 entries submitted by contestants from coast to coast. Visitors can watch the preparation and later sample the contestants' dishes.

The U.S. National Oyster Shucking Championship Contest, held both days, features the fastest men and women shuckers from around the country as well as the fastest local tidewater shuckers competing for cash prizes and a trip to Galway, Ireland to compete for the International Oyster Opening title. Shucking champions will begin their competition on Saturday with several heats held for both men and women contestants. Winners of the first round will compete on Sunday, with the women's champion and the men's champion competing head to head for the U.S. championship crown and the right to represent the United States in the International Oyster Shucking Competition.

A family-oriented festival, the St. Mary's event is also noted for its’ quality entertainment. Live entertainment will be provided at three locations on the festival grounds. There's something for the curious shoppers in the crowd as well. Two buildings will be dedicated to displaying and selling local arts and crafts, always a crowd pleaser, exhibitors are restricted to local arts and crafts to preserve the local flavor.

Entertaining and educational exhibits sponsored by county, state, and private community organizations participate in the festival. There is also a building on the grounds filled with exhibits including old farm and watermen's implements. These exhibits showcase and celebrate a time and place when men and women made their living working the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

In addition, this year The Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, DC (DCVAMC) is sponsoring an outreach/information event for recently returned combat Veterans on Saturday and Sunday, at the festival. All Veterans of all eras are invited to come join in for a day of family fun and camaraderie.

The gates are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 11:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, no charge for children 12 and under, and there is plenty of free parking. The festival events continue, rain or shine, since adequate buildings and tents are provided on the grounds. Proceeds from the Oyster Festival go to local charities.

The Festival has come a long way since 1967 when the stalwart bunch worked night and day to stage the first festival. The Rotary creed of “Service Above Self” has been at work in its most graphic state – not only by Rotarians but also by all those who participate.

For more information on the festival and a full schedule of events contact the Oyster Festival office at 301-863-5015, or write to P.O. Box 766, California, MD 20619, or visit the festival web site at

Monday, September 13, 2010

RiverFest on the St. Mary's River!

Discover Southern Maryland’s maritime heritage, the beautiful St. Mary’s River, and 101 many ways to protect and play in the tidewater environment at RiverFest on September 25 from noon - 5 p.m.! Discover how to tread lightly on this fragile landscape and learn about local flora and fauna. Relax at water’s edge as local musicians perform. Join a wade-in with Senator Bernie Fowler for a casual measure of water quality. See how deep you can go before you lose sight of your feet. The event, sponsored by Historic St. Mary’s City and the St. Mary’s River Watershed Association, is free!

For more information, visit or call 301-737-2903.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

FREE WineFest Pre-Event at Blue Wind Gourmet

FREE to the public: To kick off the Riverside WineFest at Sotterley 2010 event season, the public is invited on September 14 to a free Pre-Event Party hosted by Blue Wind Gourmet and owner Rob Plant, featuring savory gastronomic delights and wine tastings from two local wineries: Running Hare Vineyard and Port of Leonardtown Winery.

Running Hare Vineyard, located in Prince Frederick, offers a little bit of Tuscany and Napa in Southern Maryland, with regional and International award winners. Port of Leonardtown Winery, the newest winery on the local scene, made its first bottling run in April and is ready to introduce to its taste sensations!

Blue Wind Gourmet is located at 22803 Gunston Drive in California, MD.

Riverside WineFest at Sotterley 2010 will take place on October 2nd & 3rd from Noon-6 p.m. at Sotterley Plantation, so don’t forget to mark your calendars! Discounted tickets are available through September 24th at or by phone: 301-373-2280 or 800-681-0850.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sign Up Now for the St. Mary's Century Bike Ride!

Patuxent Velo, Southern Maryland’s premiere Bicycle Racing Club, is proud to announce that the St. Mary’s Century, a challenging bicycle touring ride through scenic St. Mary’s County, will be held Saturday, September 25, 2010!

The St. Mary’s Century offers a wide range of courses that accommodate bicyclists of all skill levels including a traditional full century (100 Miles), as well as a metric century (62-miles) and 35-mile route. The ride begins and ends at the College of Southern Maryland Campus in Historic Leonardtown. The event begins at 7 a.m.
Participants will enjoy the quiet rural charm of St. Mary’s County, a region steeped in history and culture, with charming back roads and passages perfect for cycling! Scenic rest stops will be well-stocked with traditional refreshments, high energy foods, and sport drinks as well as local specialties, and will include St. Mary’s City, the Island Bar and Grill on St. George Island, and the St. Clement’s Island Museum in Colton’s Point. At the end of the ride take a refreshing shower at the College of Southern Maryland’s new Wellness and Aquatics Center. Then, grab a bite to eat at the free picnic while enjoying live entertainment.

Registration is available online at and Cyclists may also register in person between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. on the day of the event (cash or check only). The registration fee is $40 per cyclist and includes a technical t-shirt, refreshments along the routes, and the post-ride picnic. A portion of the registration will be used to support a local charity in St. Mary’s County. Additional information is available at

Bring the whole family and make it a weekend of fun! There are lots of events and activities for the family to enjoy including the St. Mary’s County Fair in Leonardtown, RiverFest at Historic St. Mary’s City, and the Bowles Farms Corn Maze in Clements. For more information about these events, as well as lodging and dining options, visit

For more information about the St. Mary’s Century, please visit the Patuxent Velo website at or email

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Interactive Murder Mystery Dinner Tickets Now On Sale

The Friends of the St. Clement’s Island and Piney Point Museums announce that tickets are now on sale for their annual interactive murder mystery dinner, a fundraiser to benefit the St. Mary’s County Museum Division. The event will take place at Lenny’s Restaurant in California on Saturday, September 18. Tickets are $60 per person for Friends members and $65 per person for non members. Only 140 tickets will be sold.

The murder mystery is entitled “Murder at the Yacht Club” and attendees are encouraged to dress in their most stylish and flamboyant nautical outfits.

The event begins at 6 p.m. with a cash bar and silent auction and live auction at 6:45 p.m. conducted by local, and lively, auctioneer A.J. Bussler. A delicious buffet dinner will be served at 7:15 with the murder mystery performance.

Parts will be offered to amenable dinner guests who will then read from a provided script. All participants are encouraged to ham it up for a hilarious and unrehearsed “whodunit.” The evening will conclude with coffee, dessert, crime solving and announcement of silent auction winners.

Tickets can be purchased by calling the St. Clement’s Island Museum at 301-769-2222. Ticket reservations must be made in advance. No tickets will be sold at the door.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Newtowne Players Present Laundry & Bourbon and Lone Star

The Newtowne Players will perform Lone Star and Laundry & Bourbon, two one-act comedies by James McLure, on Thursdays - Sundays, from August 6 - 22, 2010.

Lone Star is a hilarious study of a pair of Texas “good ole boys” on a Saturday night carouse. Roy cherishes three things above all: his country, his wife and his 1959 pink Thunderbird. As the evening wears on, the underpinnings of Roy’s world begin to collapse. Despite all, the high good humor of the play never lapses, and all ends as breezily and happily as it began.

Laundry & Bourbon was conceived as a companion piece to precede Lone Star. Here, the action centers on the discontent and very funny gossip of three small-town wives whose marriages have turned out to be less than hoped for.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances start at 8 p.m.; Sunday shows begin at 3:30 p.m. Performances are held at Three Notch Theatre on 21744 South Coral Drive in Lexington Park. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students, senior citizens and the military. Thursday shows are $10 general admission. Light refreshments and beverages are also available for purchase at the theatre.

Reservations are recommended. Please make reservations for the show by calling 301-737-5447 or visiting

Monday, July 26, 2010

Children’s Day Offers Fun, Food, and Festivity

The Museum Division of St. Mary’s County Department of Recreation and Parks is proud to present its annual Children’s Day event at the St. Clement’s Island Museum in Colton’s Point on Saturday, August 7 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Museum staff and volunteers will provide kids with heritage games, face painting, crafts and free sno-cones. Enjoy music and magic by Reggie Rice, known as the SuperMagicMan, throughout the event. The museum’s water taxi to St. Clement’s Island will begin at 11 a.m., weather permitting, with the fee for children waived for this special event. Adults are $7 each. This is a great opportunity to take your kids to see the replica of the Blackistone Lighthouse!

Representatives from the St. Mary’s County Library will offer story time and the St. Mary’s Hospital Health Connections van will offer a Teddy Bear Clinic. Kids are encouraged to bring in their teddy bears for some expert care and parents can get screenings for high blood pressure. Ladies from The Delicados will give away free balloons! The Optimist Club of the 7th District will offer a boy’s and girl’s bike giveaway (need not be present to win), a kiddie tractor pull, and 50-cent per item lunch menu! Bring your camera for pictures with Pinch, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs baseball mascot from noon to 1 p.m.

Free t-shirts will be available for the first 100 kids thanks to the following generous event sponsors: Chesapeake Custom Embroidery, Cullins Pool Water, Combs Drury Reeves Insurance Agency, Avenue Flags & Flagpoles, Delegate John F. Wood, Jr., Tidewater Dental Associates, Checkers Restaurant, Colton’s Point Marina, GTMR, Inc., and PNC Bank.

The St. Clement’s Island Museum is located in Colton’s Point at the end of Route 242, nine miles south of Clements intersection at Routes 234 and 242. The museum and grounds are handicap accessible. For more information, please call 301-769-2222 or log onto the Museum Division website at

Thursday, July 22, 2010

St. Mary’s County Water Trail Brochure Now Available!

A new Water Trails guide is now available for residents and visitors to explore St. Mary’s County.

“Water Trails in St. Mary’s County” is a wonderful resource for people who wish to learn more about St. Mary’s County’s rich natural resources,” said Francis Jack Russell, President, Board of County Commissioners for St. Mary’s County. “The guide also offers information about historic and cultural places that can be found on and nearby the trails.”

Project coordination, design and technical assistance was provided by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Boating Services Unit with support from the Town of Leonardtown and a committee of local paddling enthusiasts. Funds to print the brochure were provided through grants from the Southern Maryland Heritage Area Consortium, the National Recreational Trails Program, via the State Highway Administration, and St. Mary’s County Government. The guide will promote water trails on the St. Mary’s peninsula and will be distributed by the Division of Tourism and the Department of Recreation and Parks. To receive a free copy, call 800-327-9023 or download it at

“A major element of the St. Mary’s County Division of Tourism’s marketing strategy for 2010 is a focus on outdoor recreation and features our valuable assets of pristine waterways,” said Carolyn Laray, manager, Tourism. “This guide will complement our other tourism marketing efforts and will help residents and visitors discover our county by water.”

The water trails map and guide will lead paddlers along several water trail adventures in St. Mary’s County. The colorful guide, printed on waterproof and tear-proof paper, was designed primarily for those touring by kayak and canoe but also includes information on public boating access points and amenities managed by St. Mary’s County Recreation and Parks and others.

“This new water trails guide will help novice and experienced paddlers enjoy and explore the waterways of St. Mary’s County,” said DNR Secretary John R. Griffin.

Water Trails in St. Mary’s County, MD, is one of a series of water trail maps developed by DNR and contributes to the statewide network of water trails and public access points that DNR has promoted for decades. For more information about Maryland’s water trails, visit

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fish in the Monster Rockfish Tournament!

BAMM Enterprises in association with The Greenwell Foundation, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and 98Rock/WBAL Baltimore are proud to announce the first annual Monster Rockfish Tournament and Festival to be held on October 30th and 31st respectively. This is Maryland’s largest celebration of the esteemed Maryland state fish, the striped bass.

The tournament will be held from 5:00AM – 3:30PM on October 30th in the Maryland waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. There will be eight weigh stations throughout the bay to ensure accessibility to all anglers across the mid-Atlantic region.  One of the weigh stations is Point Lookout Marina in Ridge.

The tournament is divided into two regions, North and South with prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in each region. Two first place prizes of $10,000 will be awarded as will two second place - $3,500 prizes and two third place awards of $1,500. Awards are based on heaviest fish. A Maryland State Rockfish Record will land the lucky angler $100,000.

BAMM Enterprises will award participants of the tournaments within tournaments (TWTs) for largest bluefish per boat by region, largest rockfish per angler by weigh station, and a Maryland State Record Bluefish. These prizes are based on total number of entries.

An initial entry fee of $350, before September 1st ($400 thereafter) will grant access to the tournament for one boat with up to four anglers. Each additional angler will have to pay $100. A portion of the entry fees is designated to help support the Greenwell Foundation and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Team captains will receive a free tee shirt and cap with entry. To find out more information about entering the tournament, go to This tournament is an “open” event, meaning anyone may enter the tournament. It is not limited to any memberships, affiliations, skill levels, etc. The use of a professional charter boat and crew is encouraged, as well as recreational boat owner entries.

The fun doesn’t stop when the fishing ends. Each marina will have a fish filleting completion for professional captains and mates, to see who has the fastest knife skills! The next day, the first annual Monster Rockfish Festival, will be a day full of events for the whole family. Spend the day at the fully accessible Greenwell State Park on the scenic Patuxent River in St. Mary’s County. The first annual Rockfish Cook-off will be held, where Restaurants from the greater Maryland area have the opportunity to compete to see who has the best Rockfish dish. There will be a tasting tent where the People’s Choice will be decided.

The Festival is on Halloween! What would the event be if it didn’t have CANDY. The Monster Rockfish Festival is a designated SAFE TRICK OR TREATING ZONE. Each of the dozens of vendors will be supplying candy and other treats to all the children who come to the festival in costume. Other Halloween events will include pumpkin painting, a carved pumpkin contest, costume contests, hay rides, and more.
The park will also feature seasonal culinary favorites such as stuffed ham, oysters, and crab cakes to name a few. The park will feature live music, vendors, crafts people and other entertainment options including park tours. Weather permitting there will be kayaking demonstrations, fishing demonstrations, boat tours, horseback riding demos and the award ceremony for the Rockfish tournament.

This absolutely FREE event is open to the general public.

For more information, visit or call 877-390-2266.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Take the Buy Local Challenge!

Every pledge counts! The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC) invites you to take the pledge again this year and join the thousands across Maryland supporting Maryland's family farms during Buy Local Challenge Week, July 17-25, 2010. Register your pledge now at

Your pledge to "eat at least one item from a local farm every day during Buy Local Challenge Week" immediately puts your $'s to work in your neighborhood, ensuring that farms survive for future generations. Plus you're doing your part to maintain a cleaner, greener planet and provide safe, nutritious food for you and your family.

If you have already registered your pledge - take the next step: starting today make your first purchase at a local farm, farm stand, farmers' market or winery; stock up at a grocer that offers genuine local products; or treat yourself to a meal at a restaurant that serves local farm food. Discover the bounty of Maryland's farms, and we hope you'll decide to shop local year round!

Need help finding Local? Visit for statewide directories to locate farm fresh products, meats, wines and more.

Share your favorite Buy Local experience with your friends. The Buy Local Challenge website also hosts the BLC Online Community. This site allows you to upload information about BLC events, submit your photos, tips or recipes, to chat, or generally interact with other users in Maryland and around the nation.

The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC) was established to promote diverse, market-driven agricultural enterprises, which coupled with agricultural land preservation, will preserve Southern Maryland's environmental resources and rural character while keeping the region's farmland productive and the agricultural economy vibrant. To learn more about additional programs and resources, contact SMADC, P. O. Box 745, Hughesville, MD 20637; phone: 301-274-1922; fax: 301-274-1924; email; or visit

Monday, July 12, 2010

2010 Governor’s Cup Yacht Race Sets Sail August 6

The annual St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) Governor’s Cup Yacht Race sets sail from Annapolis on Friday, August 6, at 6 p.m; and for the first time ever, boats will be tracked live by GPS. This year marks the 37th running of the race from Maryland’s current capital city to its first capital in St. Mary’s City. The Governor’s Cup Yacht Race is the oldest and longest continuously run overnight race on the Chesapeake Bay. As boats begin to cross the finish line, sailors and the public are invited to a post-race party that goes on all day and into the evening Saturday with food and live entertainment. Racers can register and get details online at Registration deadline is July 30.

“One of the things that I think is really cool about this race,” said SMCM varsity sailing coach and the Governor’s Cup principal race officer, Adam Werblow, “is that you have to be a really good sailor. You have to be tactical and be able to weigh risks.”

The Kattack GPS system, free to all racers, will display the race in real time, continually tracking the location of each boat by name throughout the race so you will be able to follow it online. One can watch the racers’ strategies, pause the race, zoom in and out, show boat speed, distance traveled, and more.

Saturday, party-goers can relax on the lawn of the Teddy Turner Waterfront in front of the James P. Muldoon River Center and enjoy food and music from the Nautical Wheelers, who play from noon to 4 p.m, and the Key West Race Week performers Joe Bachman and the Crew, who play 7-11 p.m. Entrance to the party is free.

At 4:45 p.m. on Saturday after the race, an awards ceremony for winning yachts will be held under the tent on the waterfront. Photographers from last year’s photography competition will also be awarded during this time. A private skipper’s dinner will begin at 6 p.m. under the tent in front of St. Mary’s Hall.

The Governor’s Cup was conceived and founded in 1974 by three SMCM students and has been sailed every summer since. The race covers a 70-mile course with over 150 boats competing.

Last year in the A-0 class, Michael Brennan, of Potomac, Maryland, came in first on his boat, Sjambok. Blofish came in first in the A-1 class, with Dailey Tipton, of West Chester, Pennsylvania, as the skipper. Long-time competitor Don Wagoner, of Shady Side, Maryland, came in first in the A-2 class with his boat, Der Baron. In the A-3 class, Albert Holt, of Annapolis, came in first place with his boat, Kestrel. David Way, of Shady Side, Maryland, led the way in the multihull class in his boat, Trinity.

The largest boats in the fleet are in the A-0 class. The first to finish, winning line honors, went to the U.S. Naval Academy’s Zarafa.
Suggested photo caption: Winner in the A-0 class at last year’s St. Mary’s College of Maryland Governor’s Cup Yacht Race was Michael Brennan, of Potomac, Maryland, on Sjambok.

Courtesy of St. Mary's College of Maryland

Thursday, June 17, 2010

An Independence Day Celebration Concert at Sotterley Plantation

For a traditional and quaint 4th of July celebration, visit Sotterley Plantation for their annual Independence Day Celebration Concert on Sunday, July 4th from 1:00 p.m. - 4 p.m. Come and enjoy an afternoon of music on the Portico, while taking in the breathtaking view of the Patuxent River! Pack your picnic baskets, bring along your lawn chairs and blankets, and listen to the patriotic music renditions of the Chesapeake Orchestra Brass Quintet led by Maestro Jeffrey Silberschlag of St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

To cool things down, Bruster’s Real Ice Cream, with tasty ice cream, will offer a selection of their standard favorite flavors. “On A Roll” will sell hot dogs, the great American food, with a variety of favorite fixings. And since no event is complete without kettle corn, Sir Pops A Lots will be on the hill popping away. Beer, wine, and cold drinks will also be available for purchase. Take a chance at winning prizes at the Brown Bag Raffle and Silent Auction, including toys large and small, wine for the discerning taste, original artwork and prints, and the gastronomic delights from local restaurants. Fun activities for children, too!

As a special and sincere thanks, all those with a Military ID are invited to celebrate this event free of charge. General Admission is $10 per vehicle.

For more information on Sotterley Plantation events, visit

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Patuxent River Sojourn Kayaking Trip

Enjoy a multi-day canoeing and kayaking expedition on the Patuxent River from June 24 - 28!  The Patuxent River Sojourn takes paddlers on a journey along the Patuxent that includes educational programming, riverside camping, festive meals, live music, and more.

Both novice and experienced paddlers will enjoy this unique on-the-water experience that builds a strong environmental ethic.  Paddlers have the option of signing up for as many (or as few) days of paddling as they like, from one day to the full trip.  The trip itinerary is as follows:
  • Thursday, June 24: Kickoff at Greenwell State Park
  • Friday, June 25: Restoration Activities and Creek Paddles around Greenwell
  • Saturday, June 26: Paddle to Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum
  • Sunday, June 27: Restoration Activities and Creek Paddles around Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum
  • Monday, June 28: Creek Paddles around Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum
The cost is $65 per day for adults and $35 per day for youth.  The price includes meals, camp sites, commemorative t-shirts, daily or weeklong shuttles, safety outfitter, and interpretive education (canoe/kayak not included).  Participants must be at least 8 years of age.  (The cost is $55 per day for Patuxent Riverkeeper members.)

For more information and to register, visit the Patuxent Riverkeeper website,, or contact Lauren Webster at 301-249-8200 or

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

7th Annual Juneteenth Celebration and 5K Run/Walk

The 7th Annual Juneteenth Celebration will be held on Saturday, June 19 at Freedom Park in Lexington Park from 12 p.m. until 8 p.m.!  The festival is produced by the Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions (UCAC) and celebrates African American heritage in St. Mary's County.

The festivities this year include gospel singing by the legendary Winfield Parker, African dance and drumming, exhibits, the Minority Outreach Coalition Mini Health Fair, games, vendors, food and more.  Plus, there will also be an evening jazz concert featuring saxophonist Jaared!  To see the complete festival program, click here.

For fitness enthusiasts, there is also a Juneteenth/USCT Memorial Festival 5K Run/Walk to support the mission of the Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions.  The 5K race will run through the old Lexington Manor neighborhood and on the paved path in adjacent Lancaster Park.  Both runners and walkers are invited to participate in the 5K.  Awards will be given to the top male and female overall, as well as to the top three males and females in each age group.  The entry fee for the 5K is $20 for pre-registrants or $25 on race day.  Register online at or by mail.  Register on race day from 7:45 a.m. until 8:45 a.m.  The race begins at 9 a.m.

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, two months after the surrender of General Lee and more than two years after Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, General Granger of the Union Army landed in Galveston, Texas and issued General Order No. 3 - All slaves are free.

For more information about the Juneteenth Celebration or the 5K Run/Walk, contact the Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions at 301-862-4868 or visit

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Half Price Admission for Dad

Sotterley Plantation is offering a special gift for all fathers on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 20, 2010. From Noon - 4 p.m., fathers will receive a Guided Tour of the Plantation House at HALF PRICE.

You and your father are welcome to stroll the exquisite blooming gardens, walk the plantation grounds and nature trails, see the historic outbuildings including the original 1830’s Slave Cabin, or picnic out on the lawn while enjoying the breathtaking views of the Patuxent River at Sotterley Plantation. Top off the day with buying a memorable gift at the Museum Shop, now located in the NEW Visitors Center. It will be a day he will never forget!

For more information on upcoming Sotterley Plantation events, visit

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Mid-Summer Faire at Historic St. Mary's City on June 20

On Sunday, June 20, Historic St. Mary’s City will host a Mid-Summer Faire. Commoners and gentry are invited to spend the day enjoying merriment, games, music, entertainment, and competitions inspired by the colonial past. Sawing contests, wooden-horse jousting, pig races, juggling, and more! Food will be available from vendors throughout the day. Festivities will take place from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at each of Historic St. Mary's City’s living history sites. Admission is $10 for adults, $3.50 for children ages 6 to 12 years, and free for those ages 5 and younger.

For more information, visit or call the museum at 240-895-4990 or 800-SMC-1634.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

River Concert Series Music Festival Starts June 18

The 2010 St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) River Concert Series concert season kicks off Friday, June 18, when accomplished jazz and classical pianist Jeffrey Chappell joins the Chesapeake Orchestra and music director Jeffrey Silberschlag to perform American composer Samuel Barber’s “Piano Concerto.” The concert also includes Robert Schumann’s No. 1 “Spring.” The weekly celebrations on the college’s Townhouse Green continue every Friday through July 30 with world-class music and a variety of food from local vendors. Gates open at 5 p.m. and concerts start at 7 p.m. These outdoor concerts are free and open to the public, and picnic baskets are welcome.

The first evening concert celebrates the special birthdays of Barber’s 100th and Schumann’s 200th. Pennsylvania-born Barber won the Pulitzer Prize twice, in 1958 for his first opera “Vanessa” and in 1963 for his “Concerto for Piano and Orchestra.” Critics call Schumann’s “Spring,” written in 1841, “exuberant and lyrical” and “melodic.”

Pianist Chappell has performed throughout the United States and abroad in recitals and at chamber music events. He has been a soloist with the symphony orchestras of Philadelphia, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Houston, and Denver, among others, as well as with the Chamber Orchestra of Albuquerque, the Missouri Symphony, and the Mississippi Symphony. His many appearances with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra include concerts at Carnegie Hall and Wolf Trap Park. Chappell is on the faculties of Goucher College in Baltimore and the Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C.

Silberschlag, music director and conductor of the River Concert Series, Chesapeake Orchestra, and the Italian Alba Music Festival, has recorded with the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Warsaw Philharmonic, and Czech Radio Orchestra. His performances have been hailed by European critics as thrilling, compelling, and outstanding. Silberschlag has collaborated with such artists as Hilary Hahn, Lara St. John, Terence Blanchard, the Ahn Trio, and Jane Monheit.

For more information, visit the River Concert Series web site at or call 240-895-3038.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Free At Last! Black History Celebration

Rescheduled from the Blizzard of February 2010! At Last, indeed! On June 26, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Sotterley Plantation is partnering with The Boeing Company to offer this important all day, free to the public event, as part of the 2010 Speaker Series: FREE at Last! ~ Black History Celebration!

As time passes, life changes. Learning from the tragic mistakes of the past, we come together as a community of FREE people. One of the ways to honor the past is to recognize: It should not be forgotten. Our reflection upon the past helps us to measure our progress and strive for improvement in the future. In the 1790’s, Sotterley held nearly 100 enslaved people, who were largely responsible for the prosperity of this once over 4,000 acre plantation. Today we honor the sacrifices, struggles, and survival of those who have been lifted.

For a full day, there will be character presentations, tours of the original 1830’s Slave Cabin, hands-on learning, children’s activities, and the soulful praising performances by the St. Peter Claver Choir at 11 a.m. and the Southern Maryland Gospel Choir at 2:00 p.m.

Sandi English will revive her performance of “Mammy Reminiscence” at 11 a.m. in the Customs Warehouse. Having mastered the art of African-American storytelling, she and her daughter Liana will transport guests back in time to when slaves risked all to make their way to freedom. At 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., Ms. English will take on the persona of “Grandma Wisdom,” who recounts the significance of the more modern-day revolution for equality to her questioning granddaughter.

Sotterley Plantation Education Director Carolyn Hoey will give Slave Cabin Tours featuring slave inventories, new findings from the 2009 restoration project of this important structure, and a hands-on exhibit of day to day tools and household items used by the slaves.

Because of the generous grant and continued support from The Boeing Company, Sotterley Plantation is able to offer this important community outreach, fulfilling its mission of serving as an educational resource and cultural venue while it seeks to preserve, interpret and research the plantation’s diverse cultures and environments through its history.

This event is free to the public.  For more information, visit or call 301-373-2280.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fourth of July in St. Mary’s County

The Fourth of July weekend is always a special one in St. Mary’s County for residents and visitors.

The holiday weekend in 2010 will start for many on Friday, July 2 at the River Concert Series at St. Mary’s College. The July 2 concert will showcase the Chesapeake Orchestra and conclude with fireworks. On Saturday, July 3, the Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department has an event-filled day planned and will launch fireworks after dusk. The Annual Independence Day Celebration and Concert will be held on Sunday, July 4 at Sotterley Plantation from 1-4.

The holiday weekend in St. Mary’s County will begin by “Summoning the Heroes” at the Lawn of St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Jeffrey Silberschlag and the Chesapeake Orchestra welcome the 4th of July weekend with music of John Williams, George Gershwin and Sousa Marches, featuring Brian Ganz, piano, the Sax Quartet from the “President’s Own Marine Band” in P. Goldstein’s “Abundant Air” and Ian Chaava, Young Artist Concerto Competition runner-up PLUS Fireworks!! Additional information about the River Concert Series can be found at

An old-fashioned Independence Day Celebration on July 3 is being staged at the Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department with live music by No Green Jelly Beenz from 7-11, carnival food and games in the evening and a car, truck and bike show during the day. A fireworks display is planned for dusk. For more information, call 240-925-7863 or visit

The Independence Day Concert at Sotterley on July 4 will feature the Concert on the Lawn. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. Members of Sotterley and military families are free; other visitors will be charged one fee per car. For more information on membership and Sotterley, log on to

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Potomac River Maritime Exhibit Building and Kayak Launch Opens at Piney Point Historic Park

The Potomac River Maritime Exhibit Building and Kayak Launch at Piney Point Historic Park both open to the public on Friday, June 18 at 3 p.m. All are invited to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour the new exhibits.

Located at 44701 Lighthouse Road in Piney Point, Maryland, the county park and indoor exhibits are open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through September. The grounds are open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset.
The Potomac River Maritime Exhibit Building houses the collection of four historic wooden vessels on loan from the Paul Hall School of Maritime Training and Education. The collection is comprised of a 67-foot skipjack (Joy Parks), an 84-foot bugeye (Dorothy A. Parsons), a log canoe, and Potomac River dory boat. The new exhibits include the “Working Boats of Yesteryear.” This exhibit is anchored by the immense 81-foot bugeye. Adjacent to the Potomac River log canoe is the “Harvest and Hauls” exhibit.

Also new is the “Waterways of Southern Maryland’ exhibit that gives visitors an orientation to their location in our region and to the Chesapeake Bay. Two additional exhibits continue the story: “Watermen and Their Life” and “Seasonal Cycles.” A new exterior sign for the Exhibit Building will also be debuted. These exhibits focus on the life of the watermen who make their livelihoods working the waters of the Potomac for crabs, fish and oysters.

A new recreational resource – a kayak launch – has been installed on the creek side of the park grounds. The launch will accommodate kayaks and canoes and will be available during museum operational hours.

The Park also contains the Piney Point Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse on the Potomac River. The 35-foot lighthouse tower is open for climbing. The Piney Point Lighthouse, Museum and Historic Park is also accessible by boat, offering a sturdy handicap accessible pier with accompanying step down platform. The pier connects to the wooden boardwalk that surrounds the lighthouse grounds. The scenic riverside venue of the lighthouse park offers guests not only an aesthetic panorama and serene escape but comfortable benches and picnic tables to accommodate an extended visit.

This park and its exhibits are part of the county’s Department of Recreation and Parks Museum Division. For more information on joining the Friends of St. Clement’s Island and Piney Point Museums, a membership organization committed to supporting the county’s museums, contact Carol Cribbs at 301-769-2222. For more information on the museums, including directions and special events, call 301-769-2222 or log on to

Photos are available upon request.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Kirk Ranzetta to Sign Copies of "I'm Goin' Down County"

On Monday, May 24, 2010, from 10 am to 3 pm, author Kirk Ranzetta will be available to sign copies of I’m Goin’ Down County in the St. Mary's County office of Land Use & Growth Management.

St. Mary’s County, Maryland, the “Mother County” of the State, is blessed with an architectural heritage that speaks to the history of its past residents. From the earliest colonial buildings such as Sotterley Plantation and Ocean Hall to the historic hangars and aircraft testing facilities at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, the County’s historic buildings chronicle the exceptional events and the everyday lives that shaped the place that 100,000 people now call home. I’m Goin' Down County includes a historical narrative from the earliest periods of the County’s history to the present. This book weaves the churches, stores, residences, marine railways and boatbuilding shops, tobacco barns, camps, lighthouses, as well as schools into a story of how “countians” shaped, modified, and rebuilt the world around them to fit their needs. The volume also includes a detailed narrative of hundreds of historic properties located throughout the County. Profusely illustrated with black-and-white images taken of historic buildings, the book takes readers on an architectural journey through the oldest county in Maryland.

The St. Mary's County Department of Land Use and Growth Management is located at 23150 Leonard Hall Drive in Leonardtown.  For directions, click here.

For additional information, contact Grace Mary Brady at 301-475-4200 ext. 1549.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Celebrate St. Mary's County's Heritage!

Mark your calendar now for St. Clement’s Island Heritage Day on Saturday, June 12.  St. Clement’s Island is the site of Maryland’s first colonial landing in 1634 and during Heritage Day, visitors will learn more about the founding colonists through fun interactive activities! 

Take a free boat ride aboard the historic wooden oyster buy boat to St. Clement’s Island, Birthplace of Maryland. Departures from the St. Clement’s Island Museum pier begin at10 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m.  On the island, see the reconstructed Blackistone Lighthouse, a replica of the original built by John Donahoo in 1851, and the 40-foot commemorative cross dedicated by Governor Albert Richie in 1934 in honor of Maryland's 300th birthday, which recognizes St. Clement's Island as the birthplace of religious toleration in America.

Enjoy the scenic and natural beauty of the island, Potomac River, and waterfowl with a walk along the hiking trail or picnic at the pavilion or any of the tables dotting the island shore. The recreated Blackistone Lighthouse will be open and available for tours from 10:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wear comfortable walking shoes, sun screen, and bring plenty of water (available for sale on the island and in the museum store). Pack a picnic lunch and bring the camera for some scenic and relaxing island fun!

The kids will enjoy playing heritage games and listening to the folk tunes of Joe Norris from noon to 2 p.m. Other participants include Frank Maio with information and gear of the colonial militia, Coby Treadway from Historic St. Mary’s City with hands-on learning about the Native Americans, and colonial reenactors portraying the island’s first owner Dr. Thomas Gerard and his daughter Elizabeth. Don’t miss author Pete Imirie signing his book “Touch the Wind” and sharing his fond childhood memories of St. Clement’s. Books are available for purchase in the museum store.

In addition, the St. Clement's Island Museum will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is handicap accessible (the island is not handicap accessible). A 13-minute orientation film will give you a comprehensive history of the island and the building of the Blackistone Lighthouse replica. Admission to the museum is free for this event. Meet Maureen Appleby, an artist whose artwork depicts life near St. Clement’s Island. The Crab Claw Museum Store offers an array of unique gifts, souvenirs, home decor, clothing, jewelry, books, and so much more. 

Located on the museum grounds will be the St. Mary’s County Master Gardeners with free Black-eyed Susan seed packets and abundant information about how to raise and maintain Maryland’s official state flower.

The St. Clement’s Island Museum is located at 38370 Point Breeze Road in Colton’s Point, MD. For more information please call the St. Mary's County Museum Division at 301-769-2222 or visit

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Improve Your Outdoor Photography Skills!

On Saturday, June 12th, award-winning nature photographer Robert Tinari will offer his guidance and expertise to students during an Outdoor Photography Workshop at Sotterley Plantation. His instruction will include the basic fundamentals of capturing the essence of a subject with a camera, with the emphasis being on gardens and architectural applications.

Mr. Tinari works as a commercial and fine art photographer and is a master printmaker. Regularly chosen to appear in juried art competitions, his photographs have also been used in calendars, magazines and websites. He teaches photography and lectures on fine art photography throughout the Washington, DC area, and judges photography contests throughout the area. Robert is an active member and strong supporter of Sotterley Plantation.

          • $85 for non-members of Sotterley Plantation
          • $75 for current members of Sotterley Plantation
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Sotterley Plantation.

To register, please contact Robert at 410-286-5445 or email him at Class size is limited.

Monday, May 10, 2010

David J. O'Neill to Speak on "Conservation and Exploration - Understanding the Capt. John Smith Trail"

On June 4 at 7 p.m., Sotterley Plantation, in partnership with The Boeing Company, will host David O’Neill, President of the Friends of the John Smith Chesapeake Trail, as part of the Speaker Series 2010 at Sotterley.  He will share the story of Capt. John Smith and the creation of the first water-based national historic trail delving into the politics and the policy behind the new park entity. Current plans to implement the Trail, highlighting how it is being used to advance geo-tourism and regional conservation planning policy and practice will also be discussed.

Best known in the Chesapeake region for his leadership of the Chesapeake Bay Trust, Mr. O’Neill increased revenues by 200 percent during his tenure and more than doubled its grant making to support Chesapeake Bay environmental restoration and protection activities. While at the Trust, he helped develop and pass several important pieces of legislation, including the Chesapeake Bay 2010 Trust Fund that dedicates millions of dollars annually for Bay restoration. He was awarded the prestigious Andrew White Medal from Loyola University for outstanding commitment to the Chesapeake Bay and the State of Maryland. He has also presented papers and given speeches on issues of land use and environmental policy in cities across the United States and in Europe.

Because of the generous grant and continued support from The Boeing Company, Sotterley Plantation is able to offer this important community outreach, fulfilling its mission of serving as an educational resource and cultural venue while it seeks to preserve, interpret and research the plantation’s diverse cultures and environments through its history.

This event is free to the public. Please call Sotterley for reservations: 301-373-2280.  For more information, visit the Sotterley Plantation website,