We are all familiar with our Nation’s Capital, Washington D.C. Buzzing with history, politics, museums and monuments D.C. is a tourist Mecca. Thirty miles to the south of this metropolis however, life slows to a crawl and a little known traveler’s gold mine waits calmly on the banks of the mighty Chesapeake Bay.
With New England like charm, the towns of North Beach and Chesapeake Beach lie nestled on the banks of the Bay arranged as though on a painting. Filled with boutiques and antique shops and untroubled by the crowds of tourists found in nearby Annapolis, one could browse for hours untroubled by any distractions. Welcome to Calvert
County, Maryland, hidden treasure of the Chesapeake Bay. Here the pace of life slows down considerably. Whether you are strolling along the boardwalk, basking in the sun on soft, sandy beaches or picking freshly steamed Maryland Blue Crabs at Stoney’s Seafood House, you can act like a local while you visit with a few inside tips.
North Beach, a quaint bay side town with a water front area seven blocks long which includes a half mile long boardwalk and a fishing pier, is a real treat for those wanting to explore off the beaten path. Antique shops filled to the rafters with goods await your visit. Once you make your rare find, relax at Thursday’s Bar and Grill for lunch. Don’t forget to save some bread for the seagulls waiting for you out on the beach!
If you love the outdoors and want to enjoy nature, there are a number of parks you can visit. Bayfront Park, known lovingly by the locals as "Brownie’s Beach", offers swimming, sunbathing and fossil hunting. Here even novice hunters can find dozens of shark’s teeth, along with other fossils including vertebrae from dolphin. Some people bring their own kayaks to search out beyond the beach for these archeological treasures. For even more ancient adventure move on to Battle Creek Cypress Swamp. Some parts of this majestic Sanctuary are over a thousand years old.
Want some art with your nature? Try Annemarie Garden, filled with sculpture and native flora, there is something new to experience around every turn. Included along the trails are "Talking Benches", inlaid with tiles showing 13 different plant species native to southern Maryland. A favorite exhibit, called "A Surveyor’s Map" is an ever rising boardwalk through the forest, twisting and turning as it slowly brings you up into the trees. At your feet, every few paces, are sayings from local residents which over time will be worn away by the footsteps of the visitors. Fading with time, these words of wisdom will one day be gone, but your memories of this visit will linger for a long time to come.
No visit to Calvert County is complete without Maryland Blue Crabs from Stoney’s Seafood House. Featured in both The Washington Post and Coastal Living Magazine, Stoney’s crab cakes are the best in Maryland. No matter where you are in the County, just ask any local where Stoney’s is and you’ll be pointed in the right direction. If you just aren’t a fan of seafood, their filet mignons sandwich is just the ticket!
There are many places a traveler can go in the Metro Washington D.C. area for a new experience. Calvert County is unique in that there is a timelessness in the air. Calvert Cliffs stand sentinel over the ageless Bay, gulls wheel and cry along the shore.
History hides quietly here, waiting for discovery. There is no timetable, no schedule. Like the steady beat of an Amish horse and buggy or the gently lapping waves, you can find yourself here. One of the best things about it is that it is still mainly undiscovered. There are no huge lines, no fighting for parking. Also in it’s favor is that it is so close to the other, more famous tourist places. After fighting the crowds, taking a break here is like being able to stretch out.
Spending a day in Calvert County, MD is a feast for all the senses, and if you decide to prolong your stay, there are Bed and Breakfasts, hotels and even a Resort and Spa to pamper your every need. So close to the hubbub of Washington D.C. or Annapolis, Calvert County seems miles away from it all. A chance to slow down and breathe. A place off the beaten path and away from the mainstream crowds of tourists. Calvert County and the Chesapeake Bay are well worth the short trip away from it all.
Stoney’s Seafood House
Prince Frederick, MD
Broomes Island, MD
Solomon’s Island MD
Thursday’s Bar and Grill
9200 Bay Avenue
North Beach, MD 20714
Bayfront Park (Brownie’s Beach)
Battle Creek Cypress Swamp
PO Box 99
13480 Dowell Road
Dowell, MD 20629
Bio: A native of Calvert County, I am temporarily living in South Carolina with my husband of 16 years, a son who wants magical powers and my cat. I’ve published other articles in Calvert County’s local paper "The Bay Weekly" and am currently working on a book.