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Enjoy smart family fun at Anne Arundel County’s big regional parks

Summer is all about kicking back and enjoying extra time together as vacations begin and the weather warms.     But so many summer activities can mean trouble for the family budget. With some smart planning, a fun-filled summer doesn’t have to break the bank. In Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks, I’ve found good, affordable fun for the whole family, even the dogs.

Today’s organic methods were the only options for gardeners in the early 19th century

We had a storm and terrible rain this week … my garden almost washed away; a dozen tulips were washed out of the ground and carried outside the garden fence. No one has seen such a flood in 10 years.

Little Coconut, Pineapple and Twix taught these middle-schoolers a big lesson

With their feet gingerly navigating mud and grasses at the water’s edge as they prepare to release three baby northern diamondback terrapins into the wild, these Severn River Middle School students could be almost anywhere along Chesapeake Bay.     Poplar Island, however, is no ordinary locale. The island, like the careful return of the terrapins to their birthplace, is a unique and successful example of environmental stewardship. Visiting there, students are in position to understand our human impact, both positive and negative, on the world around us.

My first days as a senior Peace Corps Volunteer

I have a view of Mount Ararat from my bedroom near Artashat in Armenia. The peak dominates the landscape, flat land that doesn’t see much rain. The mountain, the national icon of Armenia, is now in territory claimed by Turkey, but people here still consider it their own.     Every day in Shady Side, I was awed by the beauty and size of the Bay. In this landlocked country, I look out upon another wonder of the world: Noah’s mountain, the peak where the Ark is said to have run to ground.

Once a year, Hammond Harwood House opens the gates to the ­capital city’s private gardens — and invites you to look inside
 

They are there, hiding behind impossibly small doors tucked into the crowded summer streets of Annapolis. Or perhaps they appear as unexpected splashes of color coyly winking at strollers past a secluded courtyard.

Calvert protects 100-plus more acres

Calvert County has a plan to get people back to nature. The county comprehensive plan sets 40,000 acres of prime forest and farm as its preservation goal.     More than 28,000 acres is already preserved or protected. That total includes property protected by the county and state as well as land privately owned by American Chestnut Land Trust and the Nature Conservancy.     Now the Calvert Nature Society has swelled the roll of land preservation groups, purchasing the 107 acres of forest, field and farm known as Keim Forest.

Remembering when at Mayo beaches

Anne Arundel’s little known Beverly Beach and Triton Beach were once some of the largest resorts on the East Coast. Vacationers came to the popular Beverly Beach Club to swim, play, dance and gamble.

In his model boats, Norman Gross records maritime history

Watermen name their boats for their wives and girlfriends. There was a time when Norman Gross thought it a romantic gesture. Now, he’s not so sure.     “Why did the men name the boats after their wives? Was it because they loved them? Or was it because they say stuff on the boat they couldn’t say at home?” the 58-year-old Gross wonders.

That’s the goal of Pirate’s Cove’s Pigs & Pearls Fundraiser to benefit the West & Rhode Riverkeeper

They say it was a hungry man who was the first to eat an oyster, but I disagree. I say it was a smart man, one who figured out how to set a bunch of oysters on a flat rock by a fire, cover them over with wet leaves and let them steam until they popped open, then slurped down all those succulent bits of salty goodness. Come to think of it, that was probably one smart woman who figured that out.

SOFO business group to transform Annapolis Middle School fence from sad to glad

Thousands of commuters each day slog their way along Forest Drive, the busy Annapolis thoroughfare running from the southwest edge of the city to the Eastport Peninsula.     The South Forest Drive Business Association, SOFO as the coalition of local businesses calls itself, wants to give those drivers something to look at, beginning with a 500-foot rusty and battered chain-link fence topped with barbed-wire midway along the road at Annapolis Middle School.