Solomons Island is the nearby getaway

Trips: road trips, regional events

October 30, 2003|By Laurie Willis | Laurie Willis,SUN STAFF

So you want to go somewhere relaxing, a place that's quiet yet offers fun activities.

A place not too far from Baltimore, so that getting there and back in a day - with time to enjoy yourself in between - is doable.

Ever consider Solomons Island?

Just 90 minutes from Baltimore in Southern Maryland's Calvert County, Solomons Island is a nice little getaway that may surprise you.

It's quaint, sure enough. And at a glance it may seem there's nothing to do there.

But there is plenty to do - not just on the island but in Calvert County in general.

If you're into fishing, you can always charter a boat and go out for a day to catch rockfish, croaker, spot, flounder or perch. Bunky Conner, owner of Bunky's Charter Boats, has four vessels, 44 feet to 48 feet, ready to go out most anytime. Conner, 56, has operated his business at Solomons Island for 15 years. About the only complaint he has about Solomons is that it's growing too fast.

"I'd just like to see it be a plain old village like it was 20 years ago," Conner said back in the summer.

Of course, if fishing isn't your forte, you can always rent a boat and go on a tour of Solomons.

For those who'd rather enjoy some activities on land, there are several options. Sisters Crystal and Ursula Lopez from San Antonio enjoyed their brief stay in Solomons in July.

"We love it. It's nice, it's beautiful," said Ursula, 25. "It's very peaceful and quiet. It seems very safe here," added Crystal, 21.

The sisters visited the Calvert Marine Museum, which showcases fossils from the area and also features the Drum Point Lighthouse. The museum has an aquarium that's sure to please the kids, and it offers one-hour tours of the island aboard the William B. Tennison.

A few months ago, Patrick and Wendi Shifflette of College Park enjoyed a relaxing meal at the restaurant Solomons Pier.

"The museum and Tiki Bar are probably the biggest attractions, but also the fact that there are so many bars along the water," Patrick Shifflette said.

"I think it's relaxing," Wendi Shifflette added.

Solomons also has several bed-and-breakfast inns, as well as a hotel or two, for people needing overnight accommodations. The Solomons Victorian Inn, Adina's Guest House, Back Creek Inn Bed & Breakfast, By the Bay Bed and Breakfast, Locust Inn Rooms and Webster House are among the choices. There's also a Holiday Inn Select.

Phyllis R. Moore of Odenton celebrated her 50th birthday with family and friends. She and her husband, Fred, spent two nights at the Solomons Victorian Inn.

"I would definitely recommend it for a weekend getaway for Marylanders," she said.

Places to visit

Calvert Marine Museum (14200 Solomons Island Road, 410-326-2042): Features fossils from Southern Maryland, a lighthouse, an aquarium and a one-hour cruise of the island aboard the William B. Tennison.

Annmarie Garden (13480 Dowell Road, 410-326-4640): A sculpture garden along St. John's Creek. It's situated on 30 acres and is free to the public. Patrons can simply park their cars and walk the garden. It features events throughout the year, including the Garden in Lights, which runs Dec. 12 through Jan. 1. Patrons are asked to make a donation to view the lighted drive-through garden display.

Solomons United Methodist Church (14454 Solomons Island Road, 410-326-3278): Built in 1870 on land donated by Isaac Solomon, the church is the oldest building on the island still being used as it was originally intended. Services are held at 9:15 a.m. Sundays. All are welcomed.

Shopping

Sea Gull Cove Gifts (14488 Solomons Island Road South, 410-326-7182): Specializing in nautical decorations, including lighthouses, crabs, seagulls, flags, pictures and much more.

Bears by the Bay (14560 Solomons Island Road South, 410-394-1900): Country crafts, candies, collectibles, candles and more.

There's also shopping in nearby California and Lexington Park, with stores including Belk, Bath & Body Works, Target and Payless.

Where to eat

Captain's Table (275 Lore Road, 410-326-2772): The restaurant's specialty dish is stuffed shrimp. Seating is available on the water, and each table has a view of the water. Under new ownership for the past 1 1/2 years, Captain's Table is one of the island's more popular restaurants and has been a staple there for at least a decade. It opens daily at 7 a.m. and also offers breakfast.

Stoney's Kingfishers (14442 Solomons Island Road South, 410-394-0236): The restaurant's specialty is crab cakes, which are a half-pound. Deck seating is available on each level. Each seat has a water view.

Catamaran's Restaurant & Bar (14470 Solomons Island Road South, 410-326-8399): The 22-ounce Catamaran's steak, marinated for three or more days, is the restaurant's most popular item. Also popular is the rockfish, served stuffed or Cajun style.

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