As spring arrives, nearby parks are picnic-ready

Druid Hill Park is full of places for an outdoor feast

Outside: sports, activities, events

March 25, 2004|By Sarah Schaffer | Sarah Schaffer,SUN STAFF

Spring is finally here, or at least that's what the calendar says.

And though recent days have been unseasonably cool, warmer temps will soon be coming our way.

In the meantime, to get you thinking of days outdoors under sunny skies, we've assembled a list of great picnic spots.

The following is a LIVE guide to some nearby parks that make perfect backdrops for a casual alfresco meal.

Mount Vernon Square

With four small parks surrounding the stately Washington Monument, Mount Vernon Square is just right for snacks and an afternoon siesta.

Sculptures, fountains and trees dot the green spaces, which were planned and established in the early 19th century.

Mount Vernon Square is at Monument Street between St. Paul and Cathedral streets.

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine

Picnicking possibilities await at this national park, a 42-acre plot that surrounds the star-shaped fort that withstood the Battle of Baltimore in 1814.

Grounds are open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is no charge for picnicking on the grounds surrounding the fort, but there is a cost to explore the fort. Adult admission passes, which cost $5, are valid for seven days. Children under 17 are free.

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine is at the end of East Fort Avenue. Call 410-962-4290 or visit www.nps.gov/fomc/.

Druid Hill Park

At almost 750 acres, this massive green space is chock full of places to set up an outdoor feast.

After your meal, walk off those calories with a 1.23-mile jaunt around the park's lake.

Druid Hill Park is at Madison Avenue and Druid Park Drive. Call 410-396-6106.

Herring Run Park

Located across from Lake Montebello in Northeast Baltimore, this park is a favorite spot for many local athletes.

But a relaxing day in the sun can also be had at this location, where large trees offer shade on the banks of a winding stream.

Herring Run Park is at 3700 Harford Road. Call 410-396-6101.

North Point State Park

This Baltimore County park stands in a spot that's seen many uses over the years.

Decades ago, the Bethlehem Steel Corp. bought the land and demolished the old Bay Shore Amusement Park.

In the late '80s, the area became a park again when it was acquired by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

In addition to picnic areas, the bayside spot has nature trails and a wading beach.

North Point State Park is at 9000 Bayshore Road (just off Old North Point Road). Admission is $3 per vehicle. Call 410-592-2897.

Leakin Park/ Gwynns Falls Trail

This large preserve includes a number of picnic spots along the scenic Gwynns Falls Trail.

A nature center and sports fields are also on the premises.

Leakin Park is at Windsor Mill and Franklintown roads. Call 410-396-7931.

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