Best Thing about Chesapeake Country
Readers Choice & Editors Choice: The Bay
We smell it, hear it, name our streets and towns after it. We dive in it, harvest from it, build bridges over it. It gives us weather, gives us pleasure, gives us tranquillity.
From outer space the Bay is a blue void. To extraterrestrial tourists visiting the Chesapeake, it might be hard to imagine how a community revolves around a wide blue plain that looks, at times, so empty in the midst of this bustling pocket of civilization.
We know it is far from empty. Crabs, flounder, rockfish, jellyfish, oysters, clams, horseshoe crabs, eels, gulls, turns, osprey, bald eagles, ducks, kingfishers, swimmers, boaters, fishermen, crabbers, tubers, water-skiers, plankton, jet skiers, algae, sailors and paddlers swarm the Bay every day.
The Bay is more than just a place to make a living or explore or relax. Its like a god, something different for everyone. Big enough to hold all our definitions. But only something like a god, for our Bay is not infinite. We can destroy it.
Biggest Gripe about Chesapeake Country
Readers Choice: Traffic
Getting to the beach: impossible. Traffic jams on the way to work: certain. Idiot drivers: par for the course. Clogged two-lane arteries pumping steel through commuter colonies and past groves of white crosses. Rude drivers. Big rigs lost tire treads hurtling into traffic at 65 miles per hour. Worsening smog. Being stuck in a traffic jam on I-97 on a hot day with no air conditioning while downwind of a pig truck. Route 4 congestion. Road rage. All this and still barely a whiff of mass transit in our own little corner of Bay Country.
Editors Choice: Neighbors cutting down trees to improve their view
Arent trees and plants part of the view?
Not to mention that all those green, growing things help stabilize the soil, slowing down shoreline erosion and the amount of runoff pouring into the Bay. They also filter pollutants out of the soil. Waterfront owners, if you want to keep your shoreline and your view let the trees and plants grow.
Best Place for People Watching
Readers Choice: Annapolis City Dock
Its not the corner of Hollywood and Vine, but this little corner in Chesapeake Country can still satisfy your appetite for people watching.
Annapolis City Dock is such a great place to congregate because of the activities and attractions on land and in the harbor, said Annapolis Mayor Ellen Moyer.
There are great restaurants to enjoy, boats to tour and vessels to see from all over the world. You never know who you might see, and where they might be from, Moyer added. City Dock is a place to mix and mingle and enjoy the wonderful ambiance that is Annapolis.
City Dock by land and Ego Alley by sea offer an abundance of humanity that ranges from eccentric to commonplace, from the haves to the have nots, from Johnnies to Middies and from landlubbers to water-folk.
Editors Choice: Annapolis Mall
When summers too hot or winters too cold, the best place to people watch is Annapolis Mall. Sit next to the fountain outside of Nordstrom, in the kiddie-play area, grab a bench, or park in a restaurant window. An abundance of subjects for ogling will amble by for as long as you want to ogle.
Best Bay Festival
Readers Choice: North Beach BayFest
Where else can you go to the beach, eat crabs, buy crafts and listen to music all day, all at the same place? At the town of North Beach, thats where. You can do it all at its annual BayFest.
Expect a full dose of community hospitality. The overall atmosphere is friendly and helpful. We arrange parking so you never have to walk far to get anywhere. Everything is easily accessible, said the Town of North Beachs Joanne Hunt.
With an antique car show, martial arts demonstrations and plenty for kids to see and do, North Beachs BayFest lives up to its name. Alas, BayFest this year has come and gone, so youll have to wait until next year to sample its pleasures.
Editors Choice: Annapolis Rotary Crab Feast
On the first Friday of August, some 2,000 hungry crab fans tuck into 360 bushels of steamed crabs under the bleachers at Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Eat all you take, or share with a neighbor, say the Rotarians, who cook up not only crabs but also 75 gallons of Maryland vegetable crab soup, 3,600 ears of sweet corn and gallons of creamy cole slaw. Thanks to Adams, the Place for Ribs, 150 pounds of beef and pork barbecue and 1,800 hot dogs round out the all-you-can-eat menu. Theres also all you can drink of draft beer and soda.
Much good comes from all this feasting at the Rotary Clubs largest annual fundraiser. One hundred percent of profits are donated to local charities.
In 2002, $29,000 in crab profits benefited local charities and non-profit groups, including Salvation Army, Hospice of the Chesapeake, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Boys and Girls Club, Friends of Clay Street Children, First Night Annapolis, The Red House, Alcoholics Anonymous, Recreation Needs for Special Needs, Annapolis Chorale, the Eastport Wooden Boat Program and many more.
Eating crabs and corn with thousands of neighbors for many good causes: Thats what we call a fine festival.
Readers Choice: Quiet Waters Park
For the young and young-hearted, the four playgrounds at Quiet Waters are more than a sight to see, theyre places to go wild. Each is geared toward different ages, and the fourth and biggest playground, already awesome, will undergo improvements this fall.
Whats cooler than a good playground? How about a playground easily accessible in the middle of Annapolis thats surrounded by the greenery and open spaces of Quiet Waters Park?
Editors Choice: Calvert Cliffs State Park
Built with an all-volunteer workforce more than 100 strong, this playground is not only a romp in the park but a prime example of how old tires and telephone poles recycle into fun.
The ground itself is funky to walk on, as its layered in chipped-up rubber tires to soften the impact for falling kids. In this flubberesque base swims a half-sunken Chessie the Sea Monster, a creature wrought of tractor tires and sprouting a tongue of treads. On the opposite end from her towers the bow of some great ship. From its 12-foot-high deck you can survey all the playground, from the zip line to the slide to the swings to a triangular weird bouncy tire swing thingy to a kid-sized wooden playhouse to the ropes and ladders and metal climbing poles. Its enough to keep kids playing happy for hours if youll stop hogging it.
Best Place to Get Married
Readers Choice: Herrington on the Bay
Jutting into Herring Bay at Herrington Harbour is a gateway to romance, a place where the Chesapeakes beauty meets the tailored fit of a tropical paradise. Palm and banana trees, forest-like copses of seagrass, bright-painted, honeymoon-ready cabanas, private beaches and a clear-day view to Tilghman Island all make Herrington on the Bay the best spot to tie the knot, according to Bay Weeklys readers.
Its just so beautiful here and people want their wedding day to be memorable, says party coordinator Jodi Jackson.
Herrington on the Bay assures your special day will be a day to remember by adding personalized service to its breathtaking waterfront view. We pay particular attention to detail to make sure nothing is missed, says Jackson.
Editors Choice: We know of so many magical places in Chesapeake Country, but we get married so infrequently that we agree with our readers that this scenic spot which weve all seen firsthand is a fine place to say I do.
Best Place to Commune with Nature
Readers Choice: Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary
With miles of shadow-dappled forest rolling into undisturbed freshwater wetlands of the Patuxent, Jug Bay is a place to see nature on its own terms, says Jug Bay naturalist Karyn Molines. Unlike some parks arranged around human activities such as picnicking and biking, Jug Bay is a park for nature. Otters, diamondback terrapins and peregrine falcons grace the sanctuary.
Even the parks limited accessibility, open only on Wednesdays and weekends, works to its advantage. The animals dont see people on the trails that often, so they dont avoid them, Molines explains. As a result, you see lots of wildlife. And with eight miles of trails, you can feel like the first one out there.
Editors Choice: Battle Creek Cypress Swamp
The beautiful nature center at Battle Creek Cypress Swamp features hands-on exhibits great for grabbing kids interest. Then follow the boardwalk into the swamp and youll sample prehistoric times. Here Marylands northernmost stand of cypress trees grow, their knobby knees protruding. Plenty of critters make their homes here. If you dont see them, youll likely see signs of them. Bring the mosquito repellent!
Readers Choice: Oyster Tonger at Annmarie Garden
Like any good memorial or monument, The Tonger combines art and history, says Annmarie Gardens director Stacey Hann-Ruff. It evokes the memories and the history of people who grew up here and the curiosity of those who are new to the area. They ask Whats a tonger? and that gives us an opportunity to teach.
We often hear that people like the sound of it and the lines of the sculpture. They can hear, see and feel the water.
Editors Choice: Louis Goldstein
All of us who miss Mr. Maryland can find a bit of solace in Annapoliss newest statue. Sculptor Jay Hall Carpenter of Gaithersburg worked from hundreds of photographs, videotape and Goldsteins actual clothing to mold and cast the larger-than-life bronze.
Now Louis stands in effigy hand on hip, bronze brow gleaming, his clothes rumpled, his tie askew, and a smile creasing his face.
Truth be told, the ultimate insider, the man who knew everybodys name, looks a little lonely outside the treasury building that bears his name in Annpolis.
With his free hand, he offers the last of his famous gold coins. Stop by and give it a rub, for old times sake.
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Best Place to Pick up Bay Weekly
Readers Choice: Whole Foods
As the only certified organic grocer in the nation, Whole Foods is the destination for organically minded shoppers. The aisles are always crowded with customers seeking products free from chemicals, additives and artificial flavorings. Many hundreds of you also pick up your Bay Weekly here each week. Clearly, this vote proves youre both loyal shoppers and faithful readers.
Editors Choice: Everywhere!
Five hundred stops and shops in Chesapeake Country carry Bay Weekly. Without them, youd have to read on-line. Each one of them is a solid link in the chain that brings the paper you want to read from our hands to yours.