Region

May 30, 2011

Here in Howard County, located in Central Maryland, we’re mere minutes — or, at most, a few hours — away from big-city culture, rural beauty, historic sites and recreational opportunities.

WASHINGTON, D.C.

With our nation’s capital featured nightly on television, many monuments and buildings are already familiar: the White House, Capitol, Supreme Court, Library of Congress, FBI headquarters, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Holocaust Museum, Washington Monument, the Lincoln, Jefferson and Vietnam Veterans memorials and the World War II Memorial. Other attractions include the National Zoo, Rock Creek Park, National Arboretum,  Newseum, International Spy Museum and the 16 museums and galleries that constitute the Smithsonian Institution. These include the National Air and Space Museum, National Galleries of Art, American History and Natural History, Arts and Industries Building, the Freer Gallery of Oriental Art and National Museum of African Art, and the newest member, the National Museum of the American Indian.

The National Museum of Women in the Arts is located here, as well as theaters including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Arena Stage, National Theatre, Ford’s Theatre and Folger Shakespeare Theatre.

BALTIMORE

This one-time industrial center has developed into a true tourist mecca thanks to the Inner Harbor, a model of successful urban redevelopment. Right along the harbor are the National Aquarium, the Maryland Science Center, great shopping and dining.

Other attractions downtown include the B&O Railroad Museum, the Edgar Allan Poe house and grave at Westminster Burying Ground, the Babe Ruth Museum and the birthplace of the national anthem, Fort McHenry. Not far away, food stalls in Lexington Market sell everything from freshly made horseradish to Maryland crab cakes.

National touring companies perform at the Lyric Opera House, Center Stage, Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and the Hippodrome Theatre, while the music scene features the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Baltimore Opera Company.

Museums and galleries include the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore’s Black American Museum, the Museum of Industry and the American Visionary Art Museum. And don’t forget The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore!

Baltimoreans are devoted to their “birds,” the Orioles baseball team, and the Ravens football team. Each year on the third Saturday in May, the world focuses on Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course for the running of the Preakness, the second jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown.

ANNAPOLIS

Maryland’s capital is less than an hour away. This charming and well-preserved port is also the unofficial capital of the state’s boating population. The busy city dock area is known as Ego Alley, while narrow downtown cobbled streets are lined with interesting boutiques and restaurants. Tours are available, but the old section is so compact you can easily get around by yourself. The U.S. Naval Academy grounds, entered by the Visitors Center inside Gate One on Prince George Street, are open to tourists.

FREDERICK, NEW MARKET & HARPERS FERRY

About an hour west is picturesque Frederick, where historic buildings and antiques shops abound. New Market, on the way to Frederick, is another 18th-century town known for antiques.

Somewhat farther west is Harpers Ferry, W.Va., site of the famous 1859 raid on a federal arsenal by John Brown and his fellow abolitionists. Located at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers, the area has long been appreciated for its scenic as well as historic interest ... and the shopping is good, too.

CHESAPEAKE COUNTRY

The Chesapeake Bay is Maryland’s single greatest natural resource, the favored rest and recreation destination of both man and beast. Up and down its shores and on islands in its midst, communities, marinas, parks, historic sites and wildlife preserves welcome visitors.

Maryland’s Eastern Shore, bucolic and beautiful, begins just across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Keep going to get to Atlantic beaches and resorts such as Ocean City in Maryland or Rehoboth and Bethany beaches in Delaware.

MOUNTAIN HIGH

The Alleghenies run through the state, providing spectacular scenery. Mountains mean hiking, whitewater rafting and skiing at a number of resorts, including Maryland’s Wisp as well as others in Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Ski conditions are recorded on a local website, www.princetonsports.com/pages/skiing.php.

USEFUL INFORMATION

The White House
202-456-7041, www.whitehouse.gov

U.S. Capitol
202-226-8000, www.visitthecapitol.gov

Supreme Court
202-479-3000, www.supremecourt.gov

Library of Congress
202-707-5000, www.loc.gov

National Zoo
202-633-4800, nationalzoo.si.edu

Smithsonian Institution
202-633-1000, www.si.edu

Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
202-467-4600, kennedy-center.org

Folger Shakespeare Theatre
202-544-4600, www.folger.edu

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