Come summer, Chesapeake County comes alive with the sound of music. Its yours to enjoy whether you bathe in the glow of summer sun or evening moon. From north to south, here they come:
Downs Park, off Mountain Rd., in Pasadena, hosts the Bayside Concert Series on Sunday nights from mid-June, with a 20th anniversary bluegrass double bill June 23 (2-4 and 6-8). Picnic with live music each Sunday in full view of the Chesapeake, 5 or 6pm through Labor Day, when the Annapolis Symphony ends the season. See 8 Days a Week for each nights artist. ($4; except free for military bands: 410/222-6230).
Annapolis City Dock is venue for the Summer Serenade Concert Series, resounding with the sounds of the Naval Academy Band on Tuesdays. Bring your own seats and listen in. (7pm; free: 410/263-1183).
Quiet Waters Park matches Downs Park with its own summer-long series, playing from 6-8pm every Saturday from June 22. Highlights are Footworks Percussive Dance ensemble June 29, The Annapolis Opera July 20 and Annapolis Symphony Orchestra Aug. 31. Check 8 Days a Week for full schedule: (410/222-1777).
In Edgewater, Historic London Town and Gardens plays host to vocal artists singing classic arias and Broadway favorites in Music Under the Stars. On July 11, Hear America Sing; and on August 15, youre in for a Night of Lyric Delights. Grounds open two hours before performance so that guests may stroll the woodland gardens and tour the archaeological site ($15 each; $40 for the series: 410/222-1919).
North Beach hosts free second-Saturday concerts on the Bay at its Boardwalk pavilion, starting at 6:30pm. Mary Ann Redmon kicks off on July 13, followed by Kevin Kline August 10 and a double bill, the U.S. Navy Band Cruisers followed by Treated and Released, on and September 14. The fourth Tuesday July 23, August 27 and Sept. 24 is open mike night, starting at 7pm (301/855-6681).
On the second Thursdays of each month through September, Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum holds free, old-fashioned concerts with lemonade and cookies. Guest artists making music on the porch in this summers Bay Breeze concert series are Calvert Community Band, July 11; Dixie Ramblers, Aug. 8; Annapolis Chorale, Sept. 12 7:30pm: (410/257-3892).
These regular concerts are perennial favorites, but as summer heats up youll find ever more outdoor concerts and festivals at which to shake your groove thang. 8 Days a Week will keep you updated as more outdoor music pops up.
72. Discover a Dome
Theres so much to see and do in Chesapeake Country, its easy to get overwhelmed, throw in the towel and spend your summer sulking in front of the television. An easy alternative is to think of some thematic trick that narrows down your options. You could just visit domed buildings, for example. Sound silly? Look at where such silliness would lead you:
Start at the Maryland State House in Annapolis, the oldest state legislative building still in use. Built in 1772, our capitol served as the nations capitol from November, 1783 until June, 1784, when the domes timbers were declared completely rotten. The national capital moved north, settling in what would become the District of Columbia only in 1800. Our replacement dome took 11 years to complete.
A model of the State House and old photographs in the Archives Room show changes made to the building over time. The founding fathers thought government buildings should reflect democratic ideals (which is why so many sport Greek columns), and the story of the domes construction also traces the development of those ideals.
Other rooms display famous paintings and artifacts from the first days of our nation. The Old Senate Chamber stands just as it did when the Continental Congress met there or when George Washington resigned as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and the approval of the Treaty of Paris ended the Revolution, both in December, 1783.
The State House is open 9am5pm weekdays and 10am4pm on weekends, with tours starting at 11am and 3pm (410/974-3400). The Old Treasury building next door, built between 1735 and 1737 and restored in 1949, is also open for viewing.
A block west of the Capitol, across Lawyers Mall, stands our newest state building: the red brick, Georgian revival Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. Senate Building. There you can watch sunlight stream through Marylands own Tiffany dome and fall four stories to stain the state seal and surrounding marble floor amber, lavender and green.
Ungainly though a dome 20 feet across and assembled from 49 sections of breakable stained glass may be, Marylands Tiffany dome made many journeys to reach its present home. After illuminating the Court of Appeals for 70 years, the dome was dismantled by Robert A. Miller, Marylands oldest art-glass firm, and stored for four years. In 1976, it was reinstalled in the ceiling of the Joint Hearing Room of the Legislative Services Building in Annapolis. There, for 25 years, it was hidden where no light could penetrate.
The Senate Building is open 8am5pm Monday through Friday, year round (410/946-5400).
Down Maryland Avenue youll find the Naval Academys chapel, a far too modest term for such an impressive structure. The chapels terra-cotta dome rises above a necklace of more Tiffany windows. The cumulative effect is an appropriately austere grandeur, but the chapels most interesting feature is buried in the basement.
There, sealed in a marble crypt, lie the bones of Revolutionary War hero John Paul Jones. After the dissolution of the American Navy following the revolution, Jones found work as an admiral in the Russian navy. He died in Paris and was buried there in an unmarked grave until 1905, when his remains were disinterred and moved to the academy. The crypt also contains assorted artifacts from Jones brief but brilliant life.
You can reach the academys visitor center through Gate 1. The center is open 9am-5pm every day. Join a walking tour of the academy grounds 10am3pm M-F; from 9:30Sa; and 12:30Su ($6: 410/263-6933).
Find a dome cut to the pattern of everyday life at Solomons United Methodist Church, on Solomons Island Road in of all places Solomons.
Pastor John Williams and his friendly congregation welcome all visitors to their pretty little church, nestled on the Patuxent. Built in 1870, the church sports a proper bell tower and a domed ceiling that rises above windows made of stained lead glass. The pews are wooden and the pulpit and altar are both handcrafted.
The typical Sunday service (9:30am) draws about 100 people, but most folks show up early to chat with friends, neighbors and visitors. Everybody sings along with the choir, accompanied by the piano (410/326-3278).
Also in Calvert County, Marylands only nuclear power plant sits high above the Bay just north of Calvert Cliffs State Park, inside a buffer of 2,000 acres of mostly protected wilderness. Tours of the plant have been suspended due to security concerns.
A shame, since Baltimore Gas and Electrics Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plants twin reactors form two of the proudest domes in Chesapeake Country. Now youll have to borrow a boat to see them, but be careful dont sail too close.
Unlike most nuclear plants, there are no cooling towers at Calvert Cliffs. Water drawn from the bottom of the Bay is used to cool the fuel temperature to that of the Bays surface, where used water is emptied.
73. Play a Game of Extreme Croquet
Its not your fathers lawn bowling anymore. Croquet hasnt been genteel since Winona Ryder and friends used the game to frame their machinations in the noir movie classic Heathers. But extreme croquet croquet on steroids to its fans takes the games evolution to a whole nother level.
What makes the game extreme? The woods, the drainage basins and the swamps chiggers and all where the game gets played. Instead of friendly, manicured lawns to stake their wickets on, extreme croquet players set up their courses somewhere in the great outdoors, on fields or in parks, near rip rap or crossing over brooks. Any hindrance or obstruction will do, so long as it makes the course more difficult. The courses can range from 50 to 150 yards long, and the game runs until some predetermined time: nightfall, say, or high tide. Whoever scores the most points before games end wins.
Extreme croqueters describe themselves as dedicated to enjoying eXtreme croquet, nature and the near-death experience! If this sounds appealing to you, you can get more information on eXtreme croquets official rules, equipment and clubs at www.extremecroquet.org/Maryland/. Or contact the Maryland eXtreme Croquet Society at: P.O. Box 1817, Salisbury, MD 21802 410/546-8415. Or you can simply pick up on the spirit of the thing and look for hindrances on your home court.
74. Turn Back the Century
Just for a weekend, go back to the 19th century. Turn off the lights. Unplug the TV, CD player, VCR and DVD. Put a sheet over the computer. Turn off the phone. Lose your car keys. Hang up a clothesline.
Go to the kitchen and make some lemonade. With lemons and sugar. Find a good book. Watch the grass grow. Talk to your neighbor. Write a letter by hand.
Round up some kids and play kickball. Ride your bike. Take a walk. Watch birds. Pick some flowers and make a bouquet. Play Parcheesi.
Cook some burgers or vegetables on a charcoal grill. Make ice cream. Light some candles. Play an instrument. Sing.
Watch fireflies. Look for shooting stars.
Now you know what they mean by the good old days.
75. NJFK: Put on a Play
Bored this summer? Here is a great solution: Get some friends together and put on a play. Getting dressed up and acting out all of the different characters is so much fun.
Pick any play you like: musicals, drama, comedy, Shakespeare. Or write the script yourself. It doesnt have to be complicated.
My sister and our friends put on a play every year. Weve done Grease, Guys and Dolls and The Wizard of Oz. Last year it was A Midsummer Nights Dream by William Shakespeare. This year weve chosen The Sound of Music.
Studying and practicing your lines at rehearsal, deciding on makeup, creating scenery and finding the right props make for a lot of hard work, but youll have so much fun it wont seem like work at all.
For costumes, you can always find lots of good stuff that doesnt cost much at thrift stores.
When opening night comes, you may be surprised at how large an audience you have if youve remembered to tell everybody you know and put up signs. Putting on a play is fun not only for you but for everyone who watches it, too.
76. Thrill to Theater under the Stars
Nestled between City Dock and Eastport along Conduit Street is a small building painted black to blend in with the night. Within, youll find the open courtyard and stage of Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre, performing under the stars for its 37th year. The theater produces three plays each summer. Youve got time to catch the second and third.
Shakespeare returns to Annapolis in midsummer with 12th Night. The Bards comic exploration of a world gone wacky runs under twinkling stars June 28-July 27. The season leaps ahead to the 20th century with Promises, Promises, running August 2-31 (All shows 8:30pm Th-Su @ Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre, 143 Compromise St.; $12 w/discounts: 410/268-9212 www.summergarden.com).
The thespians of twin towns North Beach and Chesapeake Beach perform on the lawn Shakespeares The Comedy of Errors or Something Similar, adapted by Sid Curl, at 6pm SaS June 22 and 23, 3rd and Bay Ave. Bring a picnic.
Prefer silver screen to open stage? Kinder Farm Park will please with its free Friday Flicks on July 12. Family fun includes carnival games, contests and entertainment as prelude to a screening of the movie Stuart Little II at dusk (fun starts 6:30pm @ Kinder Farm Park, Millersville: 410/222-6115).
Charm a date as Baltimores Little Italy Restaurant Association hosts the Little Italy Open Air Film Festival. Each Friday from July 5 through August 30 at the corner of High and Styles streets youll find free Italian and Italian-American cinema shown on a screen draped over a restaurant wall. Evenings open with live Italian music (7pm) as prelude to the feature (9pm). Bring your own chairs and arrive at the parking lot at least one hour early the shows are quite popular (410/528-1096). Ci vediamo al cinema! See you at the movies!
77. Duck Indoors If It Rains
Should it rain, duck indoors to one of our areas myriad other performance troupes:
- 2nd Star Productions: Everybody loves a gangster, and nobody does it better than Damon Runyon. His classic Guys and Dolls, is reprised with charm and style this summer. Act quickly; the show wraps up June 29. 8pm FSa; 3pm Su @ Bowie Playhouse, Whitemarsh Park, Bowie. $15 w/discounts; rsvp: 410/757-5700 www.2ndstarproductions.com.
- The Talent Machine Company: See 50 of the Annapolis areas rising young talent in Annie Get Your Gun, which plays FSaSu July 12-July 28 plus Th July 18 and 25. Next comes Cole Porters Anything Goes, which plays FSaSu August 2-18 plus Th Aug. 8 and 15 at newly remodeled Key Auditorium at St. Johns College, Annapolis. $10: 410/956-0512.
- Chesapeake Music Hall: Modern-day man dreams up Lola the showgirl in Copacabana. Curtains part 6:30pm F; 6pm Sa; 12:30pm Su; 11am W July 6-Aug. 31 @ Chesapeake Music Hall, 339 Buschs Frontage Rd., Annapolis. $32.50 FSa; $29.50 ThSuW: 800/406-0306 www.chesapeakemusichall.com.
- Twin Beach Players: The Odd Couple plays August 23, 24, 30, 31 at 8pm; Aug. 25 & Sept. 1 at 6, at North Beach Volunteer Fire Department: 301/812-1607.
These and other local groups may have more shows waiting in the wings; keep an eye on 8 Days a Week for the latest.
78. Collect Old Barns
Once the thrall of living near water in Bay Country began to soak in, I started to notice another Bay landscape symbol in my peripheral vision. No matter what route I took, a barn appeared.
It would mark the edge of a dangerous curve, command a rise in a wooded area, sit starkly in the sun surrounded by swaying grass or loom over the farmhouse that shared its acreage. Sometimes it wouldnt show itself until all the leaves were on the ground. I was always rewarded with a glimpse except in the densest residential areas, and even in those neighborhoods I might see an old one hanging on, authenticating a spanking-new housing development.
Many of them, I discovered, were tobacco barns, so their appearance might change with the seasons; as tobacco went in, slats were opened to let it air-cure. Their tobacco went out.
So explore a back road youve never been down before, or just open your eyes to the barns you pass every day on your commute or in your back yard. Choose your favorite one and visit it; listen to its rhythmic creaking in the wind. Get out there and shoot them with your camera, that is. Painting them, too, is quite restful with a palette and oils rather than bucket and ladder; what better subject to explore a thousand shades of gray?
One more good thing about a barn: it will likely still be there once summer is over.
79. Savor Summer Specialties: Seafood Festivals
Summer seafood feasts have been a part of Chesapeake tradition for generations, so its only natural that the Bay area hosts over a dozen big seafood festivals before summers end. Treat your palate to steamed crabs, soft-shell crabs, crab cakes, crab soup, crab balls, shrimp, fish, clams, pit BBQ, sausages, corn on the cob, French fries, watermelon and more.
July 17: Indulge in all-you-can-eat crabs, clams, clam strips, sweet potato fries, watermelon and more at the ever-popular J. Millard Tawes Crab & Clam Bake. 1-5pm @ Somers Cove Marina, Crisfield. $30; rsvp early: 800/782-3913 www.crisfield.org.
August 2: Enjoy heaps of all-you-can-eat steamed jumbo #1 crabs, crab soup and more in time-honored Annapolis fashion at the 57th Annual Annapolis Rotary Crab Feast, touted as the worlds largest. 5-8pm @ U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis. $35; $12/kids 6-12: 410/841-2841 www.annapolisrotary.com.
August 3 & 4: Feast on the Bays beautiful swimmers at Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museums Crab Days 2002. Indulge in crab cakes and steamed crabs plus crab racing, chicken necking, trotlining, live music, kids fun, boat rides and more. 10-5 @ the museum, St. Michaels. $8.50 w/discounts: 410/745-2916 www.cbmm.org.
August 24 & 25: Frolic at a beach party, enter a crab cake contest and treat the kids to a pony ride and more at the North Beach Bay Fest. Noon-8:30 Sa; noon-6:30 Su @ Boardwalk, North Beach: 301/855-6681.
August 30-September 1: Pick and feast at the 55th Annual National Hard Crab Derby & Fair. Includes crab races, beauty pageant, parade, boat racing/docking contests, carnival, fireworks and more. 10-5 @ Crisfield. $4; $2/kids 12 & under plus what you eat: 800/782-3913 www.crisfield.org.
September 7-9: Maryland Seafood Festival. 11am-8pm @ Sandy Point State Park, Annapolis: 410/268-7682 www.mdseafoodfestival.com.
Check Bay Weeklys 8 Days a Week for listings of smaller or spur-of-the-moment feasts. For a more complete list of Marylands seafood festivals, log on to the Maryland Department of Agricultures 2002 Maryland Seafood Festivals calendar at www.mda.state.md.us/aqua/fests02.htm.
80. NJFK: Make Tie-Dyed Art You Can Wear
Tired of wearing the same old T-shirts and sleeping on the same old sheets? Pick out any natural-fiber fabrics you own and transform them into a swirling rainbow of multi-colored prints with tie-dye.
|Heres what youll need:
Fabric dyes in as many colors as you can imagine. (These can be purchased separately or in kits from most toy, craft and fabric stores, or even on-line.)
A large plastic or metal bucket to mix the dye in. (Youll need one bucket for each).
A long-handled spoon or stick to stir the dye.
Rubber bands or string to tie your shirt, plus optional marbles to tie inside the shirt and anchor the rubber bands.
Rubber gloves are a good idea to protect your skin.
Youll need plenty of newspaper to cover the surface youre working on. And, of course, youll need the T-shirt or sheets or whatever it is you want to dye. Remember that most dyes work best on fabrics that are at least 60 percent cotton or other natural fiber. Most dye packages should say what kind of fabric suits them best.
Prewash your T-shirt or sheets so that there are no chemicals or stains to interfere with the dye. Then let your imagination run wild tying the T-shirt up with bands. If you pinch in the middle and tie it with concentric rings of rubber bands, your T-shirt will wind up with a series of circles like ripples in a pond. If you anchor a marble in the pinched area underneath the first rubber band, the circles will look like a sunburst when youre done. If you want to make a series of lines, twist the shirt like youre wringing it out, then wrap rubber bands around it, stretching in a line from one end of the T-shirt to the other. Or scrunch the t-shirt up into a ball and tie string all around it, like a package youre wrapping up to be mailed or like a spider web.
Next, mix your dye in the bucket according to the directions that come with the dye. (Different brands of dye require slightly different processes, so be sure to read the instructions.) Most dyes require hot water and many are harsh on the skin, so this is a good time to wear rubber gloves.
Once the dye is ready, soak your T-shirt. Remember that the longer it soaks, the deeper and richer the color will be. If you want to use more than one color on the same shirt, you can: Soak in one color first, then remove the shirt and rinse it and repeat the process with dye color number two. (Be sure to read those dye instructions again to see precisely how long to rinse and wait before soaking in the next color.) When the last color dye has set, rinse and let dry.
Tah-dah! A brand-new summer-colored wardrobe. Just dont stain your dads T-shirt, like some kids.