91. Walk a Labyrinth
No monsters lurk in the heart of modern labyrinths, nor are these self-circling pathways constructed with high and deceptive walls to make you lose your way. Instead, todays labyrinths are paths to enlightenment. As you walk their paths, your mind is said to circle into its center, following the spiral of the labyrinth.
Described by their number of circuits or rings, labyrinths have one entrance and one well-defined path, which leads to the center and back out. In size, they can range from a small design on a stone to a walkway over 40 feet in diameter. Walking back and forth on the path or tracing a smaller path with your fingers you turn 180 degrees each time you enter a different circuit.
Find your path in Anne Arundel or Calvert counties labyrinths, both are free, out of doors and open at all reasonable hours.
In Anne Arundel, the labyrinth circles in front of Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts as the centerpiece of the Halls circular garden called Founders Green, dominated by a majestic elm tree. This 11-circuit pathway with a diamater of 42 feet replicates the great Charters Labyrinth from the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. 801 Chase St.: 301/261-1553.
In Calvert, find your way at Calvert Homestead, where a simpler labyrinth, laid by volunteers who traveled many miles, is dedicated to Homestead founder Robert Burnett, who died last year of cancer. In it, Barbara Burnett has branched off from her herbs and dried and ornamental flower business into self-discovery. Discover it for yourself off Sixes Road south of Prince Frederick (410/535-3786).
92. Go for Golf
Golf is mostly a game of failures.
All my life Ive been trying to make a hole in one. The closest I ever came was a bogey.
Im standing on a raised first tee, looking out over a dark green fairway. I breathe deeply as I take a few practice swings. I place the ball on a tee and swing to start my round. As I watch the ball hooking into the woods, I think to myself, why do I play this game?
On the third hole, I finally put a drive in the fairway. I hit a worm-burner, and Im a little bit closer to the cup. Then I flub my chip shot into a bunker and I mutter, why do I play this game?
At the par-3 ninth hole, I play a six-iron onto the green and hope my worst golf is behind me. I leave my first putt six feet short. I push the next one past the cup and as my third try rims off the lip, I say to my partner, why do I play this game?
After 16 holes of hooked drives, shanked irons, bad chips and missed putts, Im ready to snap my clubs. As I tap in for eight and card another snowman, I scream, why do I play this #@$%!!** game?
Finally, Ive reached 18, four hours and 93 strokes after the round began. Im sweaty and tired and frustrated and ready to hit the club house. I take a swing and put a short drive in the fairway. My three iron settles in the fringe surrounding the green. I hit a soft chip and Im putting for par. After two practice strokes I nestle that final putt into the cup and I think to myself, this is why I play this game.
Summer is the best time to play golf, with all its hours of frustrations and moments of joy. Try out some of these area courses:
- Annapolis Golf Club: 410/263-6771;
- Arnold: Bay Hills Golf Club: 410/974-0669;
- Bay Hills Golf Club: 410/974-0669;
- Crownsville: Eisenhower Golf Course: 410/222-7922;
- Davidsonville: Renditions Golf Course: 410/798-9798;
- Edgewater: South River Golf Links: 410/788-5865;
- Lower Marlboro: Mellomar Par Three Golf Course and Driving Range: 410/286-8212;
- Owings: Twin Shields Golf Club: 410/257-7800;
- Severna Park: Severna Park Golf and Sports Center: 410/647-8618.
93. Make a Movie
With video cameras costing as little as $200, almost everyone has one at their disposal nowadays. But that doesnt mean everyone knows how to use one, any more than everyone who has access to a car knows how to drive.
Video cameras work differently than our eyes or even still cameras do. The most important thing to remember is that movies are called movies for a reason. Video doesnt have a subtle enough palette to capture the true beauty of a sunset, but it can capture the grace of a horses gallop.
That doesnt mean you should avoid colorful scenes. What it does mean is you should strive to include motion in every shot. If your subject isnt moving, you need to.
Try circling your subject, or moving in. Dont zoom in unless your cameras mounted on a tripod. Zooming in exaggerates every little jerk your hand makes, even if your camera has a built-in stabilizing device. And avoid using your digital zoom at all, as it will noticeably distort your subject.
You dont need big, sweeping motions, either. Move in on someone speaking and youll be surprised how much motion there is a hand gesture or facial expression.
Most folks line their subjects up right in the middle of the frame. Try dividing it into thirds, instead. Think about how our eyes are placed a third of the way down our faces and a third of the way in from our ears. Line your subjects up the same way.
Get to know your camera. Take your kids or dog to the park and tape them running around. Get used to following the flow of the action. Try taping at various light levels, from high noon to a candlelit room and from various distances. Play with all your cameras features. Keep experimenting until you know your cameras strengths and limitations inside out.
If youre serious about making movies, youll want to invest in some editing equipment. The easiest way to edit video is on a home computer. Most new computers even come with video editing software. There are also editing devices that work with your camera and a VCR. These can be cheaper than a new computer, but theyre much slower and grant you far less control.
If you cant edit your video at home, youll have to edit it in the camera. That means keeping your shots short, so your audience doesnt lose interest. Otherwise shoot as much as you can, so youll have more to work with when you sit down to edit.
Either way, think about how your shots relate to one another. If you show someones face and then cut to a cold glass of beer, your audience will assume not only that your subject is looking at that glass, but also is about to drink the beer from it or at least wants to. A relationship has been established, whether you intended it or not.
You may eventually grow tired of waiting for something interesting to happen so you can tape it and decide to orchestrate some action of your own. Dont sit down and write pages and pages of dialogue, though, unless youre willing to hire professional actors. Write up simple directions for every scene, instead: Joe, I want you to get Marys phone number, and Mary, I want you to make Joe work for it.
Youll be surprised how willing and able your friends and neighbors are to fulfill such directions and set you well on your way to becoming your communitys Cecil B. DeMille.
94. Camp with Ghosts
Camping out satisfies primal urges to get close to nature. Of course, nature doesnt always rock like a cradle. Its a scary world out there. Add the thrill or chill of that other dimension to your camping trip by bunking with the ghosts at Point Lookout State Park in St. Marys County. For years campers, visitors and park rangers alike have shared stories of unexplained apparition-sightings at the Point.
With the Points history of human tragedy, its not so shocking to think you may find a lost soul or two wandering the grounds. Point Lookout has been the site of Indian massacres, colonial duels, shipwrecks and an infamous Civil War hospital and prison camp. Thousands of people have died in misery on and around Point Lookout. Some estimate 4,000 to 14,000 deaths in the prison camp alone.
So if youve got the fortitude, spend the night at Point Lookout, and maybe youll bring back a ghost story of your own. For reservations: 888/432-camp.
95. NJFK: Tell a Spooky Story
Nothing goes with summer like a campfire, and nothing goes with a campfire like a spooky story except maybe marshmallows. Spooky stories can be told anyplace, anytime, of course, but the darkness and isolation felt around a campfire are particularly conducive to having your socks scared off.
When its your turn to do the scaring, remember that every story must have three things: a beginning, a middle and an end. You should begin every story by setting the scene and describing the characters; if your listeners dont know anything about the people in the story, they wont care what happens to them. Give your listeners a few key details like the lines in a coloring book and let them fill in the rest.
The middle is when things start heating up. Events go from good to bad or from bad to worse, dragging your characters along behind (or driving them in front). This happens a little differently, depending on what kind of story youre telling. There are stories in which living people end up as ghosts, stories in which living people are haunted by ghosts and stories in which living people are haunted by living people (who often have hooks for hands).
If your characters are being haunted, its vital that you not reveal too much too soon. Just throw a few mysterious details at your listeners, again letting them fill in the rest. Remember that each of us knows what scares us best; your listeners are fully capable of scaring themselves silly, if you point them in the right direction.
Slowly bring your story to a boil a point of no return for your characters and listeners alike. Your characters get their heads chopped off or find hooks hanging from their door handles or the corpses of their loved ones and throw themselves off cliffs or down wells. This is the only time you can be overt and get away with it, and then only if want your audience to scream and leap out of their seats. You can scream or shout or clap your hands or jump up or grab a listener or whatever.
Or you can end your story as slowly and subtly as it began. The surprise ending lets your listeners release all the fear theyve been building up inside; the quiet ending sends them to bed with it. It also keeps kids awake for hours, or gives them nightmares that last well into adulthood, so be prepared to reap what you sow.
Spooky story tips:
- If your story doesnt send a shiver up your spine, it wont send one up anyone elses. You have to believe every story you tell at least a little bit.
- Tell spooky stories in the dark, but if there has to be a light on, stand right beside it so that it casts eerie shadows across your face.
- Be subtle, not overt. Begin the story like you would any other, like it was about a trip to the grocery store, then slow down as you near your climax. Let every word sink in. Give your listeners plenty of time to fill in all the details that make a story scary.
96. Walk in the Rain
Most folks run inside the moment drops begin to fall, but walking in the rain is one of summers unique pleasures. Rarely is a summer downpour too cold for comfort. In fact, a cool shower can be a refreshing delight after a hot summer day.
Avoid wearing shoes that will warp, and remember that wet white clothes can be revealing. Never walk beneath a green sky, when you see lightning flash or hear thunder. Toss all other worries aside and make like Gene Kelly (just be careful not to splash any cops when youre dancing through puddles).
When the rain lets up, dash indoors and change into your pajamas, then fix yourself a cup of hot herbal tea and curl up with a good book or an old movie. Be prepared to miss the end, however tea and pajamas make a powerful sedative (especially after a walk in the rain).
97. Day Trip to the Ocean
Dont let the summer pass by without enjoying the smells and sounds of the ocean surf. Pack a cooler, a beach chair and a good book. Remember your sunscreen. And take a kid along. Children need the ocean, and youll have more fun.
Even if you cant afford a weeks condo rental on the boardwalk in Ocean City, you can spend a day there. Its only a little more than two hours driving time, traffic permitting, from Annapolis to the ocean.
To help Baysiders get to the Atlantic, Ocean City has solved one major problem for day-trippers: parking. Head for the West Ocean City Park & Ride, right off Route 50 between the western end of the Harry Kelley Bridge and Golf Course Rd. Park and catch an Ocean City bus, which will drop you off right at the boardwalk.
The 710-space parking lot is open 24 hours; parking is free! The shuttle bus starts its day at 6am and continues thru 1am, for $1 per person, good for travel through a 24-hour period. The shuttle opens at 6am and continues to the downtown transit street at South Division, where you can cross the street to the south (inlet) end of the boardwalk and hit the beach. Or catch another bus ($2) to other locations.
While at the lot, youll get a fine view of Assawoman Bay and its wetlands from a wrap-around boardwalk a you wait for the bus. There is an office of the Transportation Division on site.
Easy side trips from the parking lot include the Shanty Town and Ocean City Outlets shopping areas. And if youve always wanted to bicycle to Assateague Island, you can park your car and take off along Route 611 from the new lot.
Information? The Town of Ocean City: 410/723-1606 www.town.oceancity.md.us./park&ride.html
98. Get Ready to Chunk a Punkin
Pumpkins will fly across the sky in slower, lower Millsboro, Delaware during the 17th Annual World Championship Punkin Chunkin, November 1-3. If you want your chance to chunk, you better plan ahead now.
Join 80 to 100 teams and 20,000 to 30,000 spectators in a magic soybean field and watch what the joining of medieval warfare and modern technology will do to an eight-to-10 pound pumpkin.
All chunkers agree that while punkin chunkin starts as a hobby, it quickly becomes an addiction. This summer design and build your own machine and join the diverse group of engineers, mechanics, builders and tinkers that make up the punkin chunkin nation. Enter the contest, see what chunkin is all about and find out if you catch the fever.
For more information on the 17th Annual World Championship Punkin Chunkin, go to www.worldchampionshippunkinchunkin.com.
99. Savor Summer Specialties: Sail to Dinner
Chesapeake Country has so many good restaurants and summer is the time to go to dinner by boat. Youll set out with the sun high in the sky. Its rays will be a little too warm since youll be wearing a polo shirt and shorts and not a bathing suit. Thats all right: dinner is waiting for you.
At Hemingways Restaurant (410/643-crab) on Kent Island, you can dine on seafood while the sun sets over the Bay Bridge. For great crabs, theres Cantlers Riverside Restaurant Inn on Mill Creek (410/757-1311 www.cantlers.com), but be sure to go on a week night. It can get quite crowded and touristy on the weekends. Just off the dock are tanks that hold molting crabs that the kids will love to examine.
On the Severn River is Annapolis, of course, with plenty of restaurants to choose from and plenty of buoys out in the harbor for you to tie up to. Going to Annapolis will give you an added treat. From your anchorage, youll have to catch the water taxi to the City Dock.
Further down the Bay, on the South River, is Surfside 7 (410/956-8057 www.surfside7.com), which has live entertainment almost every night. Off the West River, youll find The Inn at Pirates Cove (410/261-5050 www.piratescovemd.com). Down in South County, on Rockhold Creek theres Happy Harbor Inn (410/867-0949) and on Tracys Creek Calypso Bay (410/867-9787). Way down South, theres Surfside South, with dinner docking at Herrington Harbour South (410/257-0095).
And we havent even gotten to Calvert County, where the town of North Beach has just opened its pier to visitors and diners. Chesapeake Beach offers a couple more options, each in protected harbor, at Rod n Reel (301/855-8351 www.rodnreelinc.com) and, down Fishermans Creek, at Abners. All the way down, Solomons is full of choices.
Listen to the water lap against the pier, enjoy the seafood, and smile to yourself when you hear the other diners comment on your boats clean lines or its clever name.
If youre uncomfortable transiting at night, relax. Summer offers plenty of twilight for you to make it home. You might want to plan your outing for an evening when there will be a full moon or get some friends to join you with their boats so you can form a convoy.
Start for home while the sky is a light gray. The wind and boat traffic will have died down. Enjoy the emptiness on the water and how easily your boat rides on a calm sea. The channel markers will flash their red and green warnings. In the distance, youll spy the red lights from the Bay Bridge. Night is coming on, but youre almost home and you tie off the first line at your pier as darkness settles over Chesapeake Country.
100. NJFK: Goodnight Moon
Its not every night you can say Goodnight, Moon. The sun changes it wake-up call only by minutes, so this time you can count on the fact that sunrise tomorrow is going to be only a minute or two later than sunrise today. But Luna keeps no such regular schedule, hence our word lunatic. In the course of the month of June, for example, Lunas rising times jumped day by day from as little as 23 minutes to as much as 72 minutes. That means much of the time, Luna works the day shift.
So a nighttime moon is a phenomenon worth your attention. When you find one, we give you permission to stay up and bathe in moon rays until you fall asleep. Make your last words of the day Goodnight, Moon.
101. Sit on the Dock of the Bay
Sit on the dock of the Bay. If its too much work to find a dock, youll do fine on a deck or in a deck chair. Watch the tide roll away. You know the rest.