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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.

A commuter’s love song

I love the Bay Bridge. Even when I’m in a line of slow-moving homebound traffic, even when I’m behind a carload of Bay-gazing tourists or even when facing winds, rains or snows that challenge the journey, I still love it.

A night on the dance floor in Davidsonville is good exercise and a great bargain

Back in the woods, off a winding country road in Davidsonville, a bunch of happy people are cutting the rug in the former mess hall of a decommissioned Nike missile base.     It’s good times as usual with the Davidsonville Dance Club, which hosts weekly Saturday night dances, evening lessons during the week and occasional weekend workshops. Founded in 1980, the club’s membership is about 250, equally balanced between men and women.

Maryland Day: Our heritage, our legacy

How did you get here? Are you a ninth-generation Marylander, tracing your emigrating ancestors back to the Ark and the Dove? Or a first-generation transplant, here for new opportunity?     With a few indigenous exceptions, all of us Marylanders — regardless of how recent or how ancient — are immigrants, refugees, explorers or colonists.