Try these for real Mother's Day outings



May 06, 2001|By CANDUS THOMSON

Throw Mom out of the house next weekend. That's right, walk up to her and say, "Mom, I love you. Now get out."

Then before she cuts you out of the will, toss yourself out after her.

Pack a lunch and take a ride in the country. Or rent a canoe and paddle her around. Go fishing, bike riding or take a stroll. Visit some gardens. If there's a nice breeze, fly a kite.

Need some Mother's Day weekend suggestions? Try these:

Take a leisurely walk around Sugarloaf Mountain in Frederick County. The 1,281-foot mountain is privately owned, but open to all. Hikes of different lengths and grades are outlined on brochures and on signs. Walk as much or as little as you like. The summit has plenty of boulders to spread out and enjoy a picnic. Get to Surgarloaf via I-270, exit 22.

Gawk at the riot of spring colors at Brighton Dam Azalea Garden along the Triadelphia Reservoir straddling the Howard and Montgomery county lines. The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, which owns the reservoir, has been a tremendous steward and it shows. The 22,000 azaleas are at peak in the five-acre garden. WSSC started the garden in 1949 and in the last two years has improved the landscaping and bridge and restored the lighting. Bring along your rod, some minnows and nightcrawlers. The fishing has been really good, with largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleyes and big crappies. The garden is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Park at the Brighton Dam Visitor Center. The elderly or disabled can drive through the garden on weekdays. For directions, call 301-774-9124.

Go birding with the experts Sunday in one of the Baltimore area's most interesting parks, the 1,500-acre Soldier's Delight Natural Environment Area. Joe McDaniel, a member of the Baltimore Bird Club, will lead an 8 a.m. stroll to look for chats, prairie warblers and other varieties. The park in Owings Mills has the East Coast's oldest and largest area of serpentine barrens, a native grassland and home to more than 20 threatened and endangered plants. Call 410-356-3820.

Put your mettle to the pedal and set out on one of the region's trails. A brisk bicycle ride will entitle you to a good Mother's Day dinner. If you're looking for hard-packed dirt, there's the 20-mile Northern Central Railroad Trail from Hunt Valley into Pennsylvania. Or perhaps a section of the C&O Canal trail along the Potomac River. If you're seeking an asphalt surface to ride on, try the 14-mile Baltimore and Annapolis Trail from Glen Burnie to, well, almost Annapolis.

Rent a kayak or canoe and cruise Gunpowder Falls 10 or 12 miles from York Road to Phoenix Road. Remember, you'll need two cars for this. Another dandy is the Patuxent River as it runs between Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties. A nice 10-mile paddle goes from Patuxent River Park at Queen Anne Bridge Road to Jackson's Landing in the same park. Or put in at Jackson's Landing, paddle through Jug Bay and take out at Selby's Landing. Springriver Corp. rents canoes or kayaks and has shops in Baltimore (410-788-3377) and Annapolis (410-263-2303). For something a little different, go to Sandy Point State Park, just outside Annapolis, Saturday or Sunday and see if kayaking is mom's thing. The Maryland Sea Kayaking Festival -- in its sixth year -- is a great place to test one or 100 different styles of kayaks. Get a basic lesson or see a demonstration. Call 1-800-882-5694 for information.

Take a self-guided walk Sunday at the Cylburn Arboretum, a 176-acre nature preserve with formal gardens and nature trails in the heart of Baltimore. Pretend you live at Cylburn Mansion, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and filled with fireplaces, inlaid floors, mosaics, tapestries and ornate plasterworks from the mid-1800s. Cylburn Arboretum and Mansion are at 4915 Greenspring Ave.

Still stuck? Don't look for me. I'll be driving up the Jersey Turnpike to take the world's greatest mom to dinner.

Give us shelter

The Edward Garvey Memorial Shelter is as solid and practical as the man it's named for. And like Garvey, the shelter is an integral part of the Appalachian Trail. Family, friends and admirers gathered in Weverton last weekend to dedicate the handsome log shelter (and matching privy).

Garvey -- hiker, author and teacher -- died in 1999 at the age of 84. He wrote three books about the 2,100-mile trail from Georgia to Maine, the first, in 1971, the year after his first thru-hike.

That book, "Appalachian Hiker," sold more than 50,000 copies and launched thousands of hiking boots to duplicate his experience. He updated the book in 1978 and again in 1997.

The 9-by-12-foot shelter and privy were built of loblolly pine logs on a field in Bowie, then disassembled and hauled up a rutted dirt road to a site across the Potomac River from Harper's Ferry.

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