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In its 4th year, the Annapolis Irish Festival draws an ever-larger crowd seeking Celtic music and heritage

Two past winners illustrate the magic of make-believe

Creativity comes out to play in Twin Beach Players’ Kids
Playwriting Festival

Talent Machine’s young actors are rehearsing for life

Summer’s darlings, winter’s pests

Fish recipes from the Chesapeake

I learned from the best

I was 16 months old when I went on my first fishing tournament, joining my grandfather Bill Burton, at the Waters and Woods Ball Fishing Tournament he staged for more than 50 years in the last weekend of April. I didn’t get to fish until my third tournament, and then I was skunked.     At four and a half, I caught my first rockfish, fishing with my grandpop during his April tournament. First we heard the ziinnnnnggggggg! of the reel, then the yell, Fish on! It was my turn...

Away is a word with two meanings

As the spring sky was brightening, Roy completed his checklist of the readiness of the trailored boat in his driveway. On board were life jackets, flares, fire extinguishers, paddles, a whistle, flags and flares.     The boat, another used yet unnamed craft, was a 19-foot aluminum V-hull runabout with an 80-horsepower engine, an engine that seemed to work fine when he tested it. Roy hadn’t boated for a while, but when his son Kevin called from Iraq saying he’d really...

Storms aren’t the Bay’s only surprise

In the summer of ’66, I was 13 years old and halfway through my first summer camp at Severn Sailing Association in Eastport, where I was learning to sail, getting my first full taste of what it was like out there on the waters of the Chesapeake.     All summer long we had sailed our boxy, square-bowed Cadets around short triangular courses in Annapolis harbor, always within eyesight of the club. Instructors in battered Boston Whalers shepherded our motley fleet, making...

In simplicity, I find plenty

It was late October when I launched my kayak from Jackson Landing into the Patuxent River. I wondered what I would find during the lull between migrations. The osprey had already settled into their South American winter quarters, the ducks and swans were still on their way from northern shores. September’s abundance of wildflowers had faded; only remnants of purple asters remained, the rest gone crunchy and brown. A light breeze whisked the wild rice, but the water was mirror flat,...

John Smith was right

The Chesapeake is a country that may have the prerogative over the most pleasant places known, for large and pleasant navigable rivers, heaven and earth never agreed better to frame a place for man’s habitation. –Captain John Smith, 1608 The Bay seemed like a god when I was growing up. It was filled to the brim with opportunity: a fishing spot, a refreshing cool-down, a glassy surface to explore by boat.     There was no rawer excitement than a boat day. We pulled...

10 products to restore luster and arouse envy

When winter abandons Chesapeake Country, it leaves many a boat looking like an old haunted mansion. Now, boaters are full-swing in chores they would have done in March — if they could have.     My Catalina 34 is my home, so I’ve learned how to avoid that haunted look. This back-to-the-water season, I’m sharing my shopping list of 10 cleaning products to help you bring a glow back to your boat and make your neighbors jealous.     1. Dull gelcoats...

Is it the captain or the electronics?

My whole life I have believed that the skill of the craftsman was more important than the fanciness of the tools.     I reached this conclusion in college when many of my classmates bought $100 slide rules. I got better grades with my $20 model.     In my field of passion, fishing, my belief was reinforced by the most successful fisherman I have ever been out with. Geoff’s boat was a wreck, and he never got around to mounting his fish finder (probably the...

Young artists needed to retell a grand old story

It’s a story every American knows. A citizen is held captive on an enemy warship attacking our homeland. The defenders are bombarded; everyone expects the defenses will be overwhelmed and the city overrun. But after a day and a night of battle, the shelling stops, dawn comes and the Stars and Stripes are still flying proudly over Fort McHenry. Baltimore is safe; Frances Scott Key pens a poem destined to become our national anthem.     The familiar story has special meaning...

Graham Hays, 18, Riva

My friend Hugh and I just laid hands on a 26-foot, 1970s’ Catalina 27 fixer-upper. Barnacles infest the rudder and hull, and there are stains and chipped paint. This summer we plan to haul the boat out of the water and repair it. Then we will take it on Fleet Week. Six friends will man this ship and take to the Bay for a whole week, sailing from port to port.     Having our first boat is an amazing feeling, even more so than a car because the boundaries are virtually...

To an osprey, I’m the paparazzi

Living on the Chesapeake Bay allows me to play in the playground of osprey. These beautiful birds, also known as sea hawks, are creative in where they make their homes.     Many people on the Chesapeake are such lovers and advocates for osprey that they build nesting stations in hopes that a family will move in. Just down the river from my home is one such nesting station. I went to take photos, but the osprey parent was very protective of the little ones. Screaming at me in...