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,

Friday, May 7, 2010

CANCELED: Piney Point Lighthouse Celebration

The Piney Point Lighthouse Celebration is CANCELED due to impending construction and will resume in 2011!

Colonial Printing Workshop

Printed documents are essential to the smooth operation of government and business, so it’s not surprising that the first printer in English North America south of Massachusetts operated out of St. Mary’s City, Maryland’s first capital!  Modern visitors to Historic St. Mary’s City (HSMC) can explore a colonial printer’s operation in the reconstructed Print House.

In June, HSMC will offer a two-day intensive workshop for those who wish to immerse themselves in the colonial print trade. Sessions will take place on consecutive Saturdays, June 5 and 12, from 9 a.m. until noon. “Apprentice” printers will enjoy a hands-on experience using ancient skills and replica tools to compose, justify, and produce documents. Discover where Maryland’s first printer, William Nuthead, got the supplies he needed. Try each of the steps involved in making a print and keeping a typical 17th century printing Franklin press in working order. You will gain a new appreciation for your desk jet!

Attendance is limited and pre-registration is required by contacting interpretive programs coordinator Aaron Meisinger at 240-895-4978 or There is a non-refundable fee of $50 ($40 for Friends), which includes all materials, including a suitable-for-framing print to take home, and admission to the museum.

For more information about Historic St. Mary’s City exhibits and programs, visit or call 240-895-4990.

Wine, Art, and Music - May Leonardtown First Friday

Tonight, the streets of Leonardtown will come to life during the May First Friday!  Shops and restaurants in uptown and downtown Leonardtown will be open from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m., and many of them will offer specials and fun events!

The Port of Leonardtown Winery will be holding its soft opening today from 12 p.m. until 9 p.m.!  Stop by for a tour of the winery, sample the wines, and buy some to take home with you.  Tours of the winery will run every half hour until 8:30 p.m.  The spring wine line-up includes Vidal Blanc, Chardonnay, McIntosh Run (semi-sweet apple wine), Breton Bay Breeze (semi-sweet white blend), Breton Bay Shoals (semi-sweet red blend), and Autumn Frost (sweet dessert-style wine from Vidal Blanc grapes).  For more information on the Port of Leonardtown Winery, visit their website at or read their blog at

Make it a night of wine samplings by heading over to Quality Street Kitchen & Catering, located on Fenwick Street in downtown Leonardtown, for a wine tasting with "big red" wines from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m.  Tastings are $5 per person.

The Good Earth Natural Foods Company, located on Park Avenue in downtown Leonardtown, will have Melissa from Bacchus Imports in the store to sample a selection of Sustainable Wines.

The North End Gallery, located on Fenwick Street in downtown Leonardtown, will be holding the Opening Reception for the exhibit "Coastal Colors," which will run from May 4 though May 30.  The show features the artwork of Tom and Kathleen Ball.  Tom is a photographer and Kathleen works with watercolors.  Visit the North End Gallery from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. during First Friday for the reception featuring these two local artists.  For more information, visit

Continuing with the art theme, visit the Maryland Antiques Center complex, located along Route 5 in uptown Leonardtown next to the Port of Leonardtown Winery.  From 4 p.m. until 8 p.m., the Leonardtown Galleria (located inside the Maryland Antiques Center) will be holding a Pyrography (Woodburning) demonstration by Rose Beitzell.  Creek Side Gallery (also located in the Maryland Antiques Center) will be holding an art show entitled "Local Treasures," featuring the art of Calvert artist Sue Stevenson.

In the Maryland Antiques Center Building 2, the Craft Guild Shop is hosting their "Celebrate the Grape in style" exhibit, which will feature artisan Nancy Wiehe's collection of dazzling beaded stemware and wineglass markers.  Treadles Studio (located in the Craft Guild Shop) will be showing how wool becomes yarn and demonstrating the techniques of needle feathering.  Guests will be offered the opportunity to create their own coaster.

Add some music to your evening at Fenwick Street Used Books & Music in downtown Leonardtown!  Yumi, whose musical talents span from funk and rock to traditional West African rhythms, will be performing.  Yumi has worked in various music capacities touring across the U.S. with many well-known R&B and Rap artists such as Morris Day, The Barkays, Atlantic Star, and Doug E. Fresh.  Peruse the shop's wide selection of books and music while enjoying the music of Yumi.  All purchases will be 10% off.

Then, enjoy fine French dining at Cafe Des Artistes, located on the corner of Fenwick Street and Washington Street in downtown Leonardtown.  Randy Richie will be performing on piano from 6:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m., and the special is Bouillabaisse, a celebrate seafood stew with shrimp, mussels, scallops, Seabass, clams and Hawaiian Marlin in a rich seafood broth.

For more information on all of the festivities going on during the May Leonardtown First Friday, visit!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mother's Day Fun at Sotterley!

Sotterley Plantation is offering a special gift for all mothers on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 9, 2010. From Noon until 4 p.m., mothers will receive a Guided Tour of the Plantation House at HALF PRICE!

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

For more information on upcoming Sotterley Plantation events, visit

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Leonardtown Criterium is Back!

The first bike arrived in Leonardtown via steamship over 131 years ago in 1879, and in 2010, the bikes are back!  The 13th Leonardtown Criterium bicycle race will be held on Sunday, May 16 from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.  Sponsored by Patuxent Velo, the official Southern Maryland cycling club, this high-energy bicycle race features five racing categories and will send professional cyclists on a 0.7 mile course through Leonardtown.

Racers have the option of entering the Junior Division or the Masters Division, which are divided into Men’s and Women’s categories. Kids are invited to participate in the Street Sprints event, which is free and open to kids under 10 years of age.

Registration is now available on, but racers can also register by completing and mailing the registration form found on the Patuxent Velo website at, or in person on race day starting at 7:30 a.m. Registration closes 15 minutes prior to the beginning of each event. All riders must have a USAC racing license. One-day license applications will be available at the registration desk on race day for Cat 5 Men or Cat 4 Women only.

Spectators are invited to come out and cheer from the sidelines along the Leonardtown Square as the cyclists race past!  Many Leonardtown businesses will be open during the event and some will be offering specials. For more information on all there is to see and do in Leonardtown, visit the St. Mary’s County Division of Tourism website,

For more information on the Leonardtown Criterium, contact Hans Welch at 240-925-4806 or visit

Photo by Tom Roland.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

"Museum-On-The-Go" Event - Discover U Children's Museum

Discover U Children’s Museum is holding a “Museum-On-The-Go” event at Sotterley Plantation on Saturday, May 8th from 9:00 a.m. until noon. The event is free for children of all ages.

A group of committed parents and grandparents, educators and business leaders, Discover U Museum is dedicated to bringing an exciting children's museum to Southern Maryland. The Museum-On-The-Go is a hands-on, interactive, and creative place where children can play to learn and discover all that they are and all that they can do.  Kids will be able to plant their own mini-gardens to take home and watch grow!

And be sure to stop by the Sotterley Garden Guild Plant Sale and Free Plant Exchange on the very same day from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.  Own a piece of Sotterley Plantation by purchasing plants from Sotterley’s Colonial Revival Garden. During the Plant Exchange, exchange your plants for other annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetables, shrubs, trees, bulbs and seed for free.

For more information, contact Sotterley Plantation at 301-373-2280 or visit  Be sure to also check out the Sotterley Plantation blog by visiting!

The Sotterley Garden Guild Plant Sale and Free Plant Exchange

New Extended Hours! The Sotterley Garden Guild Plant Sale and Free Plant Exchange will take place at Sotterley Plantation on Saturday, May 8th, 2010 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The Plant Sale will run for the full extent of the day, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., where guests are able to purchase plants from Sotterley’s Colonial Revival Garden. The Free Plant Exchange will run from 10:00 a.m. to Noon only. Your plants in exchange for other annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetables, shrubs, trees, bulbs and seeds! For Free Plant Exchange information, call 301-904-3439.

Because of their dedication to this National Historic Landmark, the Sotterley Garden Guild has not only raised thousands of dollars in support of Sotterley Plantation, but they are also responsible for the exquisite gardens. Their passion for beauty is evident to the smallest of details, so take the opportunity to appreciate their horticultural artistry!

For more information on upcoming Sotterley Plantation events, visit our website at