Top photo: Baltimore Skyline and Inner Harbor Promenade
The great state of Maryland welcomes Gildshire as we continue up the Eastern Seaboard. Renowned for crab cakes and The Star Spangled Banner Maryland is a treat to visit or to call home.
Maryland is a small state. It’s the 8th smallest, in fact. But Maryland is also the 19th largest by population. The Greater Baltimore Metro Area and the northern suburbs of Washington D.C. make it so.
Baltimore is, by far, the largest city. Annapolis is the capital and home to the United States Naval Academy. (Go Navy! Beat Army!)
Whether Maryland is a far northern, southern state or the last northern state as one works one’s way toward Dixie is a matter of hot debate. The subject of secession was hashed, rehashed, and was still being made a hash of when the Civil War was coming to an end. So, it depends on who you ask.
Aerial view of town of Ocean City Maryland
Actors: Francis X Bushman, and John Wilkes Booth (yes, that John Wilkes Booth)
Entertainers: Eubie Blake, Philip Glass, Billie Holliday, and Frank Zappa
Writers: John Barth, James M. Cain, H.L. Mencken, and Upton Sinclair
Military/Politics: Spiro Agnew
Athletes: Babe Ruth, Cal Ripken Jr, Jimmie Foxx, and Al Kaline
Weird and Wonderful Facts About Maryland:
The geographic center of Maryland is 4.5 miles northwest of Davidsonville. Population 7,815.
The Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore was the nation’s first cathedral. It took 16 years (1805-1821) to build.
Francis Scott Key wrote The National Anthem September 14, 1814, while watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor.
The 4.03 mile William Preston Lane Memorial (The Bay Bridge), joins the western part of Maryland to the eastern shore and crosses the Chesapeake Bay.
Forests cover approximately 2.7 million acres or 43% of Maryland’s land surface.
Maryland Public Television was the first PBS station to air. It was Baltimore Channel 67, and first broadcast, Oct. 5, 1969.
Maryland is bordered by Pennsylvania on the north and by the Chesapeake Bay and a small piece of Virginia on the south. On the east, Maryland is bordered by Delaware and the Atlantic Ocean. West Virginia and Virginia border Maryland on the west.
Annapolis – State House and St. Mary’s Church viewed over Annapolis Harbor and Eastport Bridge
Let’s Take a Trip Through Maryland!
West to East is the only way to travel Maryland, as the state is 249 miles that way, and only 101 miles north to south. We’re going to start in the mountains, put our hand over our heart and warble out-of-tune the National Anthem in Baltimore and finish at the ocean. Come on! It will be fun!
We start in Cumberland, as close to Pennsylvania as you can get without being force-fed a cheesesteak. Traveling east, we quickly arrive at Rocky Gap State Park.
The park encompasses over 3,000 acres of public land. Rugged mountains surround the park, featuring 243-acre Lake Habeeb. The lake is fed by Rocky Gap Run, which winds its way through an impressive mile-long gorge, displaying sheer cliffs, overlooks and a hemlock forest dense with rhododendron and mountain laurel.
Interstates 68 and 70 will take us on a scenic drive through the Green Ridge State Forest on the way to Burkittsville. Why Burkittsville? Because we need to see Ghost Hill.
As the story goes, this gravity hill is cared for by the spirit of a Civil War soldier who was crushed to death by a cannon he was pushing when it rolled back on him. We put our car in neutral and marvel as we slowly… begin… to… move…uphill!
Yikes! I told you Maryland was a fun state.
Maryland state capital building, Annapolis, on a summer afternoon
Continue on I-70 just 63 more miles (I also told you it was a small state. You should pay attention!) and arrive at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. From here we’re going to Fort McHenry.
But we aren’t going there just yet. You will find out why tomorrow morning. Spend the night at Brookshire Suites Inner Harbor for $84 a night. For dinner find a restaurant with crab cakes. They are, literally, everywhere around the Harbor.
From here we are going to catch a Water Taxi to Fort McHenry.
It was being pummeled by the British during the War of 1812. A lawyer from Baltimore named Francis Scott Key was watching. He was thus inspired to write The Star Spangled Banner.
Trained rangers walk visitors around and explain the history of the place. It is a valuable living history lesson. Why did we need to come in the morning? Because, if we arrive by 9, we will be invited to take part in the flag-raising ceremony. The flag takes on a whole new meaning at Fort McHenry.
View of Chesapeake City from the Chesapeake City Bridge
Catch the Water Taxi back (I never get enough of the Water Taxi), fire up the GPS (we call ours “Jill”) and set it for Ocean City. Honestly, there are too many roads to take for me to list them all here. But we will cross the impressive Bay Bridge across the Chesapeake. It’s only 146 miles from Baltimore, but we will be seeing some of the impressive Maryland Eastern Shore today.
When we get to Ocean City, we will find one of the quietest and most beautiful beaches on the Atlantic Ocean side of the country. A boardwalk connects the ocean to shops, restaurants, gift establishments, and a host of fun places at which to hang out.
While here we are going to check out Northside Park. It truly has something for everyone. Walking/running tracks throughout the park complete with distance markers, and well-maintained playing fields (soccer/ lacrosse/ baseball/ softball). It has a nice playground for kids and a long pier out on the bay to fish and crab or just take in the scenery. Northside Park offers free concerts on Sundays in the summer. They also hold Art’s Alive in summer and the Winterfest of Lights in December.
Appropriately enough we are saying the night at the Francis Scott Key Resort for $78 a night.
Annapolis town skyline at Chesapeake Bay with the US Naval Academy Chapel dome
Did you notice something unique about our trip across Maryland? It was only two nights in length. That way we have the time to spend a little extra of it at Rocky Gap, in Baltimore (baseball fans should see a game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards) or at the beach. The choice is yours. The state is your oyster…or crab cake.
We hope you have enjoyed our trip across Maryland as much as we have enjoyed having you along.
Next up, Delightful Delaware.