I [photocopy] a list of 30 to 40 items to pack, such as underwear, toiletries, accessories, outerwear, etc. I am very specific: blouses, shirts, dresses, shoes, pants, hose, etc.
As I pack I check off each item. If I'm not packing a bathing suit, I merely cross it off. That way I never forget clothing or extras.
Anita S. Goldsmith
ONE BOX FITS ALL
Whenever we travel in Maryland, we take a travel box, one that fits under the front seat of the car. In it we keep a travel journal, pen, stamps for postcards, traveler's checks, extra rolls of film, small change for tolls, etc. It's also an excellent place to keep all receipts from gas stations and motels.
Claire J. Pritcher
INTO THE WOODS
Green Ridge State Forest, located 15 miles west of Hancock, is the place to go when you want to get away from it all -- including other people who have the same idea. The forest is great for leisurely car camping. While camping is free with a permit, the sites are primitive -- no showers, no water, no nothing (except maybe a picnic table). On the other hand, many of the campsites are secluded, situated well off the road and surrounded by forest -- not other campsites.
When you feel energetic, there are miles of hiking trails and unpaved roads waiting to be explored. Other attractions include the nearby C&O Canal, the Old Stone Furnace and spectacular views of the Potomac River from No Name and Banner's overlooks.
For more information, call Green Ridge State Forest at (301) 777-2345.
I buy self-adhesive labels before I go away and address them to everyone I want to send a postcard to. When I write my postcards, I simply stick these address labels onto them. I don't have to spend my vacation time writing addresses. P.S.: I also buy my postage stamps before I go away. That way, I don't have to spend my vacation time in and looking for a post office.
Mrs. Henny Zimmerman
For day trippers, travel west! Not only will the eye strain and glare from the sun be minimized, but the sun's glow will highlight the scenery on both ends of your trip.
Gail M. Rupprecht
THE COST OF TOLL-FREE
When traveling on a budget, you can often get a reduced room rate by booking lodging directly with the location at which you want to stay rather than calling their 800 number (if dealing with a chain). Operators at toll-free numbers will quote the standard price for a given room. Frequently, you can get a better deal by speaking directly with the manager of each establishment.
TAPES FOR TOTS
If you have young children, get a cassette player for your car. Those story tapes and children's song tapes delight them, and deliver me. Even a tape recorder would do. You would not believe the ease with which you can travel when you don't hear: "I'm bored," "I'm hungry," "Tell him to shut up," "Mom, Mom, Mom . . ."
Jennings Randolph Lake is one of Maryland's best-kept secrets. The lake, which is about eight miles upstream of Bloomington in Garrett County, features a scenic overlook, picnic areas, boat launch and the Robert W. Craig campground. It is also the site of the Waffle Rock, a unique geological feature with a geometrical pattern resembling that of a waffle.
The campground is situated on a high ridge overlooking the Jennings Randolph Dam and features plenty of campsites, potable water, hot showers and a playground. A 3/4 -mile interpretive trail provides campers with a leisurely walk through the surrounding woods.
Donald P. Snyder
Maryland's only publicly owned arboretum gets barely a glance from the thousands of vacationers rushing to the seashore on Md. Route 404 in Caroline County. The 500-acre Adkins Arboretum, within the 3,500 acres of the Tuckahoe State Park along the border of Queen Anne's and Caroline counties, was opened in 1980.
The handsome, rustic Visitors Center was opened in 1985 and contains offices for the park and the arboretum, a small auditorium, various exhibits and a library of books on native plants.
When the arboretum's planting is complete over the next decade, it will be possible to walk through a spruce-fir forest from the mountains of Garrett County, a bald cypress swamp, and other forests of Maryland.
Nature walks are scheduled for schools, and the general public, through the spring, summer and fall. Call (301) 634-2847 for details.
Dan M. Tabler
GRAB A BAG
When traveling, a supply of biodegradable plastic trash bags (available in various sizes) can be useful to stash wet bathing suits and towels, cover a wet bench, cover a dry seat when you are wet, as tote bags for seashells and other collections, as emergency boots to ford a shallow stream, and to clean up your site to help keep Maryland beautiful.