Recreation opportunities abound at Quiet Waters

Park: Annapolis site offers relaxation and exercise for two- and four-legged visitors.

August 08, 2004|By Nancy Knisley | Nancy Knisley,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

At Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis, a family can spend the entire day hiking, biking or even chasing the family dog - or just enjoy a quiet, relaxing hour or two amid the county park's 340 acres, between South River and Harness Creek at 600 Quiet Waters Park Road.

Visitors might want to start with a ride on the 6 1/2 -mile paved bike trail that loops around the central part of the park, with an extension leading to South River at the trail's southwestern end. If cycling doesn't appeal, the area also is open to in-line skating and jogging.

Those looking to take advantage of the park's waterfront location can paddle around Harness Creek in a kayak or canoe rented at the boat dock, a six-minute walk down the Harness Creek Trail from the Blue Heron Center parking lot. Pedal boats are also available. (Boat rentals are available April through October.)

The park features a new playground, and while there are no ball fields, there is plenty of open space for a pickup game of softball, badminton, volleyball or horseshoes.

The park also features a fitness course that runs through the woods for about a mile along the bike trail, starting near the visitor center and ending near the park entrance. The course has a number of exercise stations with directions at each for doing exercises such as sit-ups, pull-ups or jumping over logs.

Nature lovers can observe plants and animals in a variety of environments, including wetlands, hardwood forest and a native-plant meadow. A scenic view can be enjoyed from the overlook above the South River.

The park is also a place to enjoy the arts. The Visitor Center houses two galleries that feature changing exhibitions of fine and decorative art. The galleries are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Not all the art is sheltered. Outdoor sculptures are in the park's formal gardens adjacent to the Blue Heron Center, and near the playground, along a walking path and even in the pond.

During the summer, the Friends of Quiet Waters Park sponsors a concert series featuring a wide variety of musical styles, including rock, swing, gospel, jazz, county and Celtic. Performances are held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays through Sept. 18 and on Labor Day.

One of the park's most popular attractions is its dog park, which is divided into two large fenced areas where dogs can run off-leash - one area is for large dogs, the other for small and elderly dogs. And although the park doesn't offer swimming for people, dogs can swim at the dog beach off the South River Promenade.

For those interested in renting a picnic pavilion - equipped with tables and grills - the park has six: four large and two small.

The park is open from 7 a.m. to dusk daily except Tuesday. The daily park entry fee is $5 per vehicle ($2 if the vehicle has handicapped tags). If you walk, run, bike or skate into the park, entry is free.

Information: 410-222-1777 or www.aacounty.org/RecParks/Parks/quiet_wa ters_park. Additional information about the park and the summer concerts can be found at the Friends of Quiet Waters Web site: www. friendsofquietwaterspark.homestead.com.

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