Monday, March 22, 2010

A Blooming Good Time! The Second Annual Garden Fair at Sotterley

The Second Annual Garden Fair at Sotterley Plantation will take place the weekend of April 17th and 18th, 2010 from 10am – 4pm. This year’s event will include a wide array of things to do, offering something for everyone!

The entire site will be a flurry of activity: Presentations on everything from Orchid Growing to Oyster Ranching by University of Maryland Professors, Environmental Experts, and Master Gardeners in the historic Barn. Pick up a mallet and play croquet on the Croquet Lawn. Shop the booths abundant with beautiful hand-crafted wares by local Artisans. Fly a kite down on the field. Check out the Going Green! and eco-friendly exhibits. Take a tour through the magnificent Colonial Revival Gardens. Children are welcome to craft birdhouses, birdfeeders, and paper flowers. Enjoy lunch in the garden. Pick up some lovely additions for your garden at the Sotterley Garden Guild plant sale.

Admission is $7 for one day; $10 for a two day pass (Sotterley Members free the second day); Children under 12 FREE.

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

Photo by Sara Fisher.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tickets Now Available for "The Importance of Being Earnest"

Tickets are now available for the Newtowne Players' performances of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, which will run from March 26 through April 11.  The play is the story of two young gentlemen living in Victorian England that have taken to bending the truth in order to put some excitement into their lives.  Jack Worthing has invented a brother, Earnest, whom he uses as an excuse to leave his dull country life behind for big city escapades in London. Algernon Montceriff has taken the same name, ‘Earnest’, when visiting Worthing’s ward at the country manor.  Things start to go awry when they both end up in the country and their deceptions are unraveled - threatening to spoil their romantic pursuits.

To reserve tickets now, contact the Three Notch Theater at 301-737-5447 or visit

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Celebrate Maryland on March 28

Celebrate Maryland where the state began! Historic St. Mary’s City (HSMC), a museum on the site of the Maryland’s first capital, will commemorate the 376th anniversary of the founding on Sunday, March 28.

Living history sites will be open free from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Begin your visit in Town Center, where visitors are invited to enjoy March winds, wide open spaces, and a very old sport – kite flying. Marco Polo is credited with recording accounts of kite construction and use after his visit to China in 1295, thus introducing his native Italy and eventually all Europe to this invention. Originally used for military purposes and for hoisting fireworks into the sky in Asia, kites took on the more recreational aspect that we know today. An illustration of Holland from 1618 shows children flying the diamond shape kite that is so familiar. Everyone can fly beginning at 10:00 a.m. B.Y.O.K. (Bring Your Own Kite)! Be sure to leave time to tour the Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation, the Indian Hamlet, the Maryland Dove, and the St. John’s Site Museum and grab lunch. Bear Creek Bar-B-Q will be serving on site.

The Maryland Day ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. Keynote speaker Dr. Edward C. Papenfuse, Jr., Maryland Archivist and Commissioner of Land Patents, will share The Spirit of 1634, a look at lessons to be learned and the stories yet to be told of that first year of settlement, linking them to the living history, archaeology, and reconstruction for which St. Mary's City is world renowned.

Mike Marlay will receive HSMC’s highest honor, the Cross Bottony and all will enjoy music from the First Missionary Baptist Church Youth Choir. The program will close with the Ceremony of the Flags, a perennial crowd-pleaser, when children representing each Maryland jurisdiction present their county colors.

Following the program, after the Official ceremony is over the guests will be asked to gather at the Mackall Barn for the opening of the exhibit. A Ribbon Cutting and light refreshments (cookies and lemonade) will be served.

The St. Mary’s College of Maryland Orchestra and senior soloists will perform under the direction of Jeffrey Silberschlag, conductor. The concert will take place in St. Mary’s Hall at 3:30 p.m.

The celebration of Maryland Day began in 1903, when the State Board of Education decided to dedicate a day to the study of state history. They chose March 25, the day in 1634 when Maryland's first colonists came ashore at St. Clements’s Island to give thanks for a safe passage across the Atlantic Ocean. In 1916, the General Assembly made Maryland Day a legal holiday. At HSMC, events take place on the Sunday closest to March 25.

For more information about Maryland Day or the museum, visit or call 240-895-4990.

Digital and print photos are available.  Please contact Susan Wilkinson at 240-895-4967 or

Friday, March 12, 2010

Local Author’s New Book about Sotterley!

Sotterley Plantation has announced the release of David G. Brown’s newly published book, Sotterley ~ Her People and Their Worlds. Generously, all of the proceeds of the publication will be donated to Sotterley Plantation. His motive: “I love the place. I want to see Sotterley succeed … to survive for future generations.”

With retirement from his long-standing career with the U.S. State Department at the beginning of the new millennium, Dave and his wife Erna adopted Southern Maryland as their second home and were introduced to Sotterley Plantation. The connection was immediate, and they dove into volunteer work. For the past decade, they have dedicated time, resources and energy to this National Historic Landmark and its mission. Brown’s impressive work experience, combined with his passion for Sotterley’s history as an Interpreter and member of the Education Committee’s Oral History Project, motivated him to write the stories of some 50 people who lived and worked at Sotterley over 300 years.

The story of Sotterley Plantation began shortly after the founding of Maryland and continued over the next three centuries. It rose from humble beginnings, prospered in the age of tobacco and slavery, endured The Great Depression, and survived three wars, only to stumble toward imminent ruin until a generous fate brought both restoration and a renewed relevance for our time. Some who resided at Sotterley were socially prominent, though many were not. Some were free, while others were enslaved. Some were white, many more were black. Yet together their stories have much to tell us about the history of Southern Maryland and a maturing Chesapeake society.

The book is $17. To order, call Sotterley Plantation at 301-373-2280 or email Kim Husick at

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Historical Society announces addition of Newtown Manor to List of Endangered Places

The St. Mary’s County Historical Society's nomination of the Newtown Manor House for the Endangered Maryland program, a partnership between Preservation Maryland and Maryland Life Magazine, was accepted as one of eleven endangered sites in Maryland for its 2010 program. All the sites are featured in the March/April 2010 issue of Maryland Life. A selection committee of preservationists from throughout Maryland evaluated the nominations based on a list of seven criteria, including:

- historic significance of resource,
- urgency of the threat facing the resource,
- feasibility of solution and usefulness of the Endangered Maryland listing,
- level of community support;
- geographic diversity;
- diversity of resource type, and
- diversity of threat.

The Newtown Manor House is thought to have been erected in the mid-18th century. The major threat to the structure is its slow deterioration from a lack of continuing maintenance. It is part of the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church and Newtown Manor House Historic District in Compton. This mission is the oldest Catholic Church in English-speaking America. From this area of Newtown Neck and from other locations in Southern Maryland, English Jesuit priests conducted missionary activities among the Indians and ministered to the needs of the settlers beginning in the 1630s and 1640s. The St. Mary's County Historical Society felt that, by bringing attention and focus to this unique resource, progress could be made to preserve this wonderful historic building. The Historic District marks a location and site important in the 17th century ecclesiastical history of Maryland, as an example of a self-contained Jesuit community made self-supporting by a surrounding 700-acre farm. The Jesuit community recently sold that farm to the State of Maryland with the intent of developing a state park. In 1967, the Society of Jesus sold 7.5 acres to the Archdiocese of Washington, which included the old church and the House.

For more information, contact Susan Wolfe, Executive Director, St. Mary’s County Historical Society, by email at or by phone at 301-475-2467.