Maryland is state #34 on our 50 state adventure. The next four posts will be about Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Over the next three weeks we will have a lot of cross over between states because of their close proximity to where we will be staying in each state. For example, we visited Gettysburg National Park in Pennsylvania this week from my Dad’s house because it was the closest we’d be to it but I want to blog about it under the Pennsylvania post.
March 23-30, 2019
Maryland is where I was born and raised until I was 13 years old. It’s where my father, step-mother and his side of the family still live. It’s filled with beautiful rolling farm lands and Chesapeake Bay crabs. People in Maryland have a very distinct accent, I’ve been able to identify it all my life even though mine has been mixed with the phrases and the accent of the south. In Maryland natives identify by which county they live in, not city. I have not come across people from another state that do this. If you’ve ever visited Maryland you will find Old Bay seasoning everywhere.
We snuggled in with family this week but also visited a few historic and popular tourist locations.
My dad built our house with his bare hands. I drove the girls one day. I went to Elementary and Middle school in Pylesville, MD, right in the middle of corn fields, seven miles south of the the Mason Dixon line in Harford County. My dad lives in Jarrettsville now and my grandparents live in Norrisville, in the same house in the woods they always have. The rest of my dad’s family is spread out a bit but all still in Maryland.
Our motorhome was able to fit in my Dad’s driveway tucked into the wood’s and plugged into 30 amps so Chris could work from it all week while the girls and I hung out with my family.
Loved the welcome sign and all the time in the woods.
My Dad and the girls set up a tent in his sitting room to sleep in all week because it was too cold and rainy to sleep outside in the treehouse. Abby ended up on the couch.
The gas burner that heats our RV and water broke while we were here. Chris ordered a part but that didn’t do the trick. We will have to get a mobile tech out in a couple of weeks to do the repair. Luckily it was warm enough during the day for the electric to heat it a bit for Chris to work. We didn’t have a dump station anyway so we were using the bathrooms in the house.
Dad let the girls go through his coin jar to look for quarters they needed to complete their collection. They were pleased with how many quarters they were able to add to their collection. Mostly ‘P’s’ because we are near the Pennsylvania Mint.
The state bird is the Oriole.I grew up watching the Baltimore Oriole baseball team. If fact, I met Danny Devito at a game there once.
We thought this was a Oriole that we saw at Fort McHenry but my Dad said it was a Robin.
Of course a trip to Maryland is not complete without eating Crabs. We ate all you can eat crabs at Madonna’s Seafood. I ate the most with 23 (they were a mix of smalls, mediums and larges).
The rules for eating Maryland crabs:
As soon as the crabs hit the table, you better eye up a heavy one and dig in. There is no dividing them up amongst the group. Everyone eats as many crabs as you can, sorry slow eaters.
There is no right or wrong way to eat a crab; legs first, apron first, butter knife, mallet, claws last… just as long as you don’t wear a bib. You will be watched by everyone at the table on whether or not you are cleaning out your crab completely. If not, you will be called out.
Don’t ask anyone to pick your crabs for you. If you are new, you’ll be taught one time, so pay attention; the instructions will be fast because we are taking time away from eating our own crabs.
If you cut yourself, keep eating. No complaining about the Old Bay or salt burning you’re cut.
If you leave the table to wash your hands, be prepared to be everyone’s personal assistant; picture taking, getting drinks, clearing shells (unless you are my family and need them for your ‘count’), or tying hair back.
If you pull out a huge piece, show it off.
One rainy day, we busted out my dad’s potato launcher and had a blast.
We loved having a whole house for a week to spread out!!
Fort Mc Henry
This fort is best known for the Battle of Baltimore that occurred on September 13-14, 1814. This battle against British troops to defend Baltimore was important in the War of 1812. An American storm flag was flown over Fort McHenry during the bombardment. Francis Scott Key was 3 miles out in the Harbor watching the battle from a British ship that he happened to be on because he was a lawyer negotiating the release of prisoners. He knew too much about the British troops position and tactics so he had to stay on board during the bombardment. He watched and waited all night. On dawn’s early light he saw a large American flag signaling American’s victory. The sight inspired him to write the poem “Defense of Fort M’Henry” on the back of an envelope. It that was later set to the music and became known as “The Star Spangled Banner”, our national anthem. That original flag is on display in Washington, DC at the National Museum of American History. It’s an impressive site to see.
The Museum and Fort are run by the NPS so we were able to visit it for free with our annual pass. The museum has a wonderful film with an emotional ending.
Walking out to the fort. British ships lined up 3 miles out from land because they knew our cannons could only reach 2 miles.
We were able to participate in ranger led talk and hold the original sized Star Spangled flag. Today was the first time the flag flew this year.
The Star-Spangled Banner Flag house
This house is located near the inner harbor. We headed over there after the Fort. This is the house that Mary Pickersgill lived and worked. She is the women that made the Star Spangled Banner Flag.
You can visit the outside of this building for free.
Luckily we are members of NARM and Time Travelers so we were able to get comped tickets to take a self guided tour of Mary Pickersgill’s house and the museum.
Outside the museum is a Little Free Library. The girls each picked up a book.
Inside Mary Pickersgill’s house and business. During the summer they have costumed interrupters.
As we were walking back to the car, we saw the Old Baltimore Shot Tower. When it was completed in 1828, it was the tallest structure in the United States.
Molten lead was dropped from a platform at the top of the tower, through a sieve and into a vat of cold water at the bottom of the tower to produce both “drop shot” for pistols and rifles and “moulded shot” for larger weapons such as cannons. The tower stopped producing shot in 1892, when a new method of making shot made the tower obsolete.
The Maryland Capitol building, or the ‘State House’ as the locals call it, is the oldest U.S. state capitol in continuous legislative use, dating to 1772. It is also the only state house to be used as the nation’s capitol. Here’s a random fun fact: It has the distinction of being topped by the largest wooden dome in the US constructed without nails. This might be my favorite capitol building because of the location, size and uniqueness.
I loved driving down this thin street and it appearing at the end.
It was in the Old Senate Chamber that Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army on December 23, 1783. I love that the entire room is dedicated to this event. This was a huge moment in American history. Washington was so amazing and knew he could have been a King but he really believed in our new ideas for governing ourselves and decided to step down and make way for this new way of governing. That is why they asked him to be the first president 6 years later and was unanimously elected. He served for 8 years, declining a salary. In 1776, Washington declined to run for a third term of office, believing his death in office would create an image of a lifetime appointment. The precedent of a two-term limit was created upon his retirement.
The room looks exactly the way it did over 200 years ago; down to the placement of chairs, the gold-toned walls, and the absence of electrical lights. You can stand next to George and look up to see the visitors galley, the only place women were allowed in 1783. There is a statue of Mary “Molly” Rideout. Her description of Washington’s resignation is one of the few that have survived.
The first object you see as you enter the building is a $170,000 case to protect the original speech Washington penned with ink and read to the Congress as he resigned. He folded it up and handed it to a congressmen as he exited the room. That congressman’s family kept it in their family until 2007 when the Maryland State Archives purchased it from the family.
The whole day was free! Love that!
Back in 1998, I was visiting my dad and heard about a movie that Julie Roberts and Richard Gere where filming near his house. When I drove over to check it out, I saw Richard Gere on the front steps of a church being used for the movie. The movie was Runaway Bride.
The rest of the movie was filmed in Berlin. It’s a cute little town that I had never visited. My best friend from Maryland joined us for lunch. We watched the movie the night before.
The Hotel Atlantic, is hotel where Richard Gere’s character stayed during his visit to interview Julie Robert’s character. We had lunch here; complete with Maryland style crab soup. It was good but not as good as my dad’s.
Ocean City, MD
The boardwalk wasn’t open but we enjoyed a stroll from the end by the amusement park to the art museum. Chris’ family vacationed here when he was around 8 years old. However, my family didn’t have much money growing up so we didn’t take vacations unless my grandparents paid for it. This is one place I always wanted to see but never got the chance.
One on one time with Grandpa while Chris worked and I cleaned. Mackenzie played with fire all day while Abby played with with the sling shot and bow and arrow.
My step brother and his family drove down from PA to hang out for the evening. The cousin’s have never really known each other but they hit it off immediately and had a fantastic time playing in the woods all night. They created their own ‘club’ and plan to stay in touch.
Visiting my grandparents
I haven’t seen my grandparents in 3 years. The girls and I went over to visit with them for a few hours. The girls made ‘yo-yo’s’ with Gran and we just sat around talking. I miss them so much. They still live in the same house they have since before I was born. I was excited Aunt Cheryl stopped by as well.
McDonald’s even has Old Bay on the Fish Filet up here.
A cool Chick-fil-a cow topiary
Wal-Mart sells Crab traps.
We paid the highest toll driving from my Dad’s to Delaware.
Our updated map