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Volume 15, Issue 36 ~ September 6 - September 12, 2007

The Fun Doesn’t Have to Stop Just Because Labor Day’s Come and Gone

by Kat Bennett, Kat Burke, Dennis Doyle, Dotty Holcomb Dougherty, Carrie Madren, Helena Mann Melnitchenko, Sandra Olivetti Martin, J. Alex Knoll, Julie Randolph, Bethany Rodgers, Eileen Slovak, Aubree Stafford, Michelle Steel and Margaret Tearman

Summer started as a fresh sheet of paper for us to fill with adventures, travels, fruits of the season, good company and more. Through the last 101 days we’ve caught all summer has to offer.

As we say goodbye to summer’s carefree days, we welcome autumn, with its chameleon leaves changing and the mornings crisping. Savor fall the first time you see your foggy breath or hear the first crunch of leaves underfoot, as you station a pumpkin at your door, or bounce along on a hay wagon.

To help you move into autumn with no regret, we present Bay Weekly’s annual guide, 50 Ways to Leave Your Summer.

–Carrie Madren

1. Fall Fishing Frenzy

Labor Day may mark the end of carefree days on the Chesapeake for many, but for anglers, it is the beginning of the best rockfish season of the year: Fall Frenzy. Shortening days and dropping temperatures mean one thing to striped bass: Eat up for winter.

Baitfish know that the chilly days are coming, too, as they school up and begin migrating to their winter quarters. When the masses of baitfish and the famished rockfish meet up, there is a wild time to be had, especially for anglers.

A flock of wheeling, screaming seagulls is the most obvious indication of a rockfish-baitfish collision. Easing up to feeding schools of flashing, feeding stripers and casting lures directly into the meleé will get you instant action, but working the edges will often result in bigger fish.

The really big guys like to stay down current and a little deeper in the water column. There, they quietly and effortlessly sip up the cripples that the smaller schoolies miss in their furious activities on the surface.

The best part is that this action lasts well into November.

2. Revel at the Maryland Renaissance Festival

Travel back in time to the era of knights and princesses, villages and artisans, turkey legs and steak on a stake.

King Henry VIII holds court in the 25-acre Revel Grove each weekend through October 21 at the annual Maryland Renaissance Festival.

The year is 1540, and King Henry is anticipating the arrival of his wife-to-be, Anne of Cleves, whom he has seen only in a portrait. Witness the royal drama, or revel among the lords, ladies, magicians and sword-swallowers. Marvel at glassblowers, who can turn molten sand into creations fragile as soap bubbles, just one of 130 shops. Cheer on jousting knights. Kids festoon their faces with painted swirls and flourishes, while adults join The Pyrates Royale at the White Hart Tavern to toast in autumn. SaSu thru October 21 @ AACo. StateFairgrounds, General’s Hwy., Crownsville: 888-888-8888. www.rennfest.com

3. Catch a Football Game

Say goodbye to summer by declaring hello to football season. From peewee to pro, the Bay area has a team for you. Put on your favorite team’s sweatshirt, pack some sandwiches and a few sodas and be ready to rally — win or lose — around the home team.

Catch an early season game at one of the local high schools and root for the up-and-coming athletes of tomorrow. Find game times and locations at www.viewmyschedule.com by typing in the name of your local school’s team.

For a bigger game, visit the Naval Academy’s 35,000-seat stadium and cheer on the Midshipmen. Tickets at www.navysports.cstv.com. For yet more excitement, wear terrapin red and head west to College Park, where a slew of loyal Terps fans pack the parking lot for hours in anticipation of every home game: http://umterps.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/sched/md-m-footbl-sched.html.

Pro-football fans can visit www.redskins.com for the season schedule, but games are typically sold out long in advance. Try for more easily obtainable Baltimore Ravens tickets: http//ravens-tickets.com for single games.

4. Frolic on a Farm

Hunker down on a hayride. Sip a cup of cider. Pat a goat. Find the perfect pumpkin and the silliest gourd. Select cornstalks for your scarecrow, mums for your garden and apples for crisp sweetness. Catch up with fall at these Bay Country farms, brimming with good food, fancy flowers and fun:

Bowles Farms is the home of the 2007 Cal Ripken Jr. corn maze. 10am-9pm Sa; 10am-6pm Su @ 22880 Budds Creek Rd. Leonardtown: www.bowlesfarm.com.

Spot the giant mum mural at Doepkens Farm. 10am-6pm Tu-Su @ 2957 Davidsonville Rd. Gambrills: 410-721-2739.

Forrest Hall Farm is an orchard of 3,000 apple trees with a corn maze and farm produce for sale. 11am-dusk Tu-Sa (also M in Oct.) @ Avie Ln., Mechanicsville: 301-884-3086.

Mums, activities and corn maze. 9am-5pm M-F; 9am-4pm SaSu @ Greenstreet Gardens, 391 Rt. 258, Lothian: 410-867-9500.

Homestead Gardens Fall Festival features children’s activities and pumpkins; flowers and llamas year-round. Fall festival 11am-4pm SaSu, Sept. 29-Oct 28 @ 743 Rt. 214, Davidsonville: 410-798-5000.

Learn about farming and visit farm animals at Kinder Farm Park. 7am-dusk daily but Tu off Jumpers Hole Rd., Millersville: 410-222-6115.

Knightongale Farm is home of hay-bale spiders and fields of pumpkins to pick. 10am-5pm SaSu thru Oct. @ 3924 Rt. 2, Davidsonville: 443-871-1073.

Papa John’s Big Red Barn features hayrides and Halloween events. 9am-7pm M-Sa; 9am-6pm Su thru Oct. @ 8065 New Cut Rd. (Off I-97, exit 12), Severn: 410-969-8810.

Hayrides, corn maze and more at Spider Hall Farm. 10am-6pm M-Sa; 1-6pm Su thru Nov. @ 3915 Hallowing Point Rd., Prince Frederick: 410-535-5819.

5. Turn Over a New Learning Leaf

Imagine learning as a huge, foreign city. School children are allowed in the city only in the company of guides, who lead them on packaged tours of worthy sights. You, on the other hand, are free to visit at will, following whim, instinct, desire or chance. If you choose to go back to school this fall, go as an explorer.

Enter the byways and monuments of this strange, wonderful city via the catalogues (print and online) of community colleges, county recreation programs, arts, resource and senior centers and Bay Weekly’s 8 Days a Week listings. For starters:

Study history à la Shakespeare at St. John’s College, Annapolis (Tues. Sept. 18 thru Nov. 6: 410-626-2881.

Mold a design into pottery at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Annapolis (Wed. Sept. 26: 410-263-5544)

Learn creative writing to record your life story at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Annapolis (Thurs., Sept. 20 thru Oct. 25, 7-9 pm: 410-263-5544).

Dig archeology for two days Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold (Th Oct. 4 & Sa Oct. 27: 410-777-2325).

Paint a Baltimore screen at Chesapeake Arts Center, Brooklyn park. (Wed., Oct 10 thru Dec 5, 1-3:30pm: 410-636-6597).

Learn Belly Dance Basics at College of Southern Maryland, Prince Frederick (Sat., Sept. 15 thru Oct. 20, 10-11am @ Calvert Senior High School: 301-934-2251).

Bon voyage!

6. Track Fall Migrations

Glimpse this year’s progress in seasons and wildlife by observing the skies and swamps for migratory birds and amphibians. Each autumn, Canada geese return from their tundra breeding grounds, flying in great V’s to our warmer shores.

They’re not the only migrators that pass our way. Mass exoduses moving through our area include marbled salamanders traveling 100 miles south, Baltimore orioles traveling 1,760 miles to the western U.S., monarch butterflies and indigo buntings traveling 2,000 miles to Mexico or the West Indies, ospreys traveling 2,500 miles to Central America and purple martins traveling 5,000 miles to South America.

To learn more about wildlife’s annual treks, join bird watching groups or butterfly and salamander surveys at a wildlife research center like Jug Bay Wetland Sanctuary or Patuxent Wildlife Refuge. With the experts, you’ll learn light patterns of our birds and butterflies and spot salamanders moving south in swamps. As well as where and when they go, you’ll also learn how. Purple martins, for example, use the magnetic current of the Atlantic flyway in their migration to Brazil.

7. Make a Clean Sweep

In the carefree days of summer, the house looked after itself. Do the draperies need cleaning, the rugs a shampoo? Are the closets a disaster? Now’s the time. Come Thanksgiving, when all the relatives descend on you, you’ll be glad you did your cleaning early.

Start with the big jobs. Clean out the garage. Touch up worn paint.

Need help? Send the draperies to the dry-cleaner, call on carpet cleaners to shampoo rugs, get windows washed professionally before the holiday rush.

8. Run for Fun

Autumn’s cool weather makes for safer and more pleasant running. Anyone in good health can run — or walk — a short road race. Training and practice runs will help you to a stronger finish. The night before the race, get a good night’s sleep, avoid alcohol and drink lots of water. On race day, stretch before the race to reduce injury. You may register online beforehand or on race day for most events. The entry fee for many races goes to support a good cause, and runners walk away with a T-shirt and a great workout. Find local fall races online at www.Active.com and www.runwashington.com/calendar. Upcoming races include:

5K Walk/Run For The Health Of It: Benefits Ivy Community Charities. 8am Sept. 22 @ Watkins Regional Park, Largo. Entry fee: $30. Race director: 202-270-1208.

HSCC’s 5th Annual Pet Day 5K: Benefits the Humane Society of Calvert County. 8:20am Sept. 22 @ Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, Solomons. Entry fee: $25. Race director: 410-703-6456. Dogs welcome.

Run and 2 Mile Walk: Benefits The Victims Fund. 8:15am Sept. 23 @ B&A Trail, Severna Park. Entry fee: $15/$18 race day. Race director: Judy Feldt 410-222-1740 x3872; www.statesattorney-annearundel.com/fundrun.htmsafeld82@aacounty.org

9. Think Green While Reveling in Fall Color

While fall’s leaves are turning orange, red and brown, you’re thinking green. Celebrate the first day of autumn, September 23, by helping nature get a clean start. Organize an autumn community cleanup.

Pretend it’s a Maryland blackout in September and don’t use your electricity all day and night. Dine by candlelight and play flashlight tag. Cooler temperatures mean you’ll survive without the air conditioner.

Recycling isn’t limited to paper and plastic. Clean out your garage, attic, basement, shed and closets and donate items rather than throwing them away. Or persuade your neighbors to hold a community yard sale, donating the proceeds to charity.

Designate a car-less weekend. Challenge every family member to enjoy the day without using the car. Play games, take a family walk, bike ride or jog.

10. Don’t Curse the Darkness

When darkness comes early, light a candle — more for ambiance than as a reading light. To illuminate your text, switch on a good reading lamp, cuddle up in a comfortable chair and read something more serious than the fluffy books of summer. Dive into the classics.

Albert Camus’ The Stranger is only 150 pages. When the heat of summer is but a memory, the heat of Algiers will warm you up.

Partial to American writers? Stephen Crane’s short story The Open Boat, will appeal to Bay boaters.

Edgar Allan Poe lived and died in Baltimore. On a dreary night, muse over his Raven or The Fall of the House of Usher, great Halloween reading.

Hemingway appeals to the adventurous. In Farewell to Arms, the dangers of war and romance pull you deep into the story.

For the flavor of the South, check out Flannery O’Connor A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories or Eudora Welty’s The Golden Apples.

11. Wait until Dark

As summer’s long days give way to deepening nights, the air turns cool and dry and the heavens beckon.

Thru September, the distinct outline of the Summer Triangle, formed by Vega, Deneb and Altair, holds center stage. But as summer fades, this stellar asterism pirouettes counter-clockwise and exits stage right, replaced by the autumnal constellations Andromeda and Pegasus, Aquarius and Pisces.

Venus rises earlier and climbs higher in the eastern sky before dawn through the remainder of the year. Mars rises around midnight at summer’s end, but by the start of October it shines as bright as any star. Jupiter remains the most prominent evening object through October, appearing in the south at sunset and setting in the southwest around midnight in September. As Jupiter descends in the evening, Saturn reappears in the dawn. By October, the ringed planet has caught Venus. Saturn’s ring system is visible with even a modest telescope, but they tilt toward Earth as the season goes on.

Mark your calendar for the Orionid meteor shower on October 21, the Leonids on November 18 and perhaps this year’s best, the Geminids before dawn December 14.

12. Make Like Summer and Leaf

Ten things to do with fall leaves:

1. Press leaves until dry, tie with strings and hang in a window to create leafy shadow-catchers.

2. Glue leaves to a plain Halloween mask and pretend to be the Green Man or Woman of the forest.

3. Create a leafy Thanksgiving tablecloth by placing leaves on a plain cloth. Use a toothbrush and fabric paint to make spatter outlines. Set the dye according to instructions and enjoy.

4. Discover your local trees by collecting leaves, pressing them and arranging them on poster board. Get to know each leaf as you label it with its Maryland name, genus, species, date and place of collection.

5. Fill a bowl with oak leaves, twigs and acorns for a natural fall decoration.

6. Scent your drawers by placing gathered spicebush (lindera benzoin) leaves under a paper shelf liner.

7. Grind your own filé powder for a winter gumbo by pulverizing dried sassafras leaves in a blender.

8. Rub a leaf with a fabric crayon. Place crayon side down upon fabric, cover with a cloth and press. Remove leaf and embroider fabric leaf print with fun fall colors.

9. Throw a leaf-jumping party. Rake one huge pile and take turns or rake up lots of smaller piles and jump together. Jump alone, with your dog or holding hands with a friend.

10. Sit under a tree and watch the leaves wave good-bye to summer.

13. Buy a Boat

You’ve tried out the water this summer, and now you’re hooked like the fish that didn’t get away. You’ve got to have a boat of your own. Lucky you. Fall’s the season to buy, for two reasons. First, you’ve months of fine boating weather ahead, no matter what kind of craft you covet. Second, prices are at their lowest as not everybody is wise to the glories of autumn and even winter boating on Chesapeake Bay.

Kayaks or canoes make an ideal first step into the water. They’re affordable, easy to get to the water and offer a world of choices: Sailors can buy a kayak that adapts to a sail; fishermen can buy one they paddle by foot, leaving their hands free; powerboaters can buy a boat with a flat stern and affix a little motor.

This is also the season to contemplate the next step up, to a sailboat or a powerboat. In your idyllic summer days on the water, you’ve no doubt seen a boat or two you’d like to know more about. The U.S. Sailboat and Powerboat Shows — coming to Annapolis Thursday to Sunday the first and second weeks of October — show you the latest models of just about every boat you can imagine. Climb aboard, ferret about, question sales reps and compare features and prices. You don’t have to buy on the spot — though the dealers and manufacturer who bring the boats to the show will offer you deals hard to resist.

If you resist, you’ve got all winter to learn about your dream boat. But if you do buy now, you’ve got three or four more months out on the water. Turn to Bay Weekly’s boat classifieds to get started.

14. Bite into Fall

Find dolphin and crocodile teeth at Calvert Cliffs State Park. Known for sharks’ teeth, the small beach at Calvert Cliffs Park also holds fossil coral, whale and dolphin bones and prehistoric crocodile teeth.

Late summer and early fall storms often wash new fossils onto the shore. Crocodile teeth look like sharp hollow cones. The fossilized dolphin teeth resemble little deer antlers since the remaining jawbone forms a rough circle around the tooth instead of the small sailboat curve of a shark’s tooth. Find out more at Maryland Geological Survey’s website, which offers a guide to finding and identifying fossil teeth with illustrations: www.mgs.md.gov/esic/brochures/teeth/index.html).

Calvert Cliffs State Park: Off Rt. 2-4 @ Lusby: 410-394-1778.

15. Pick an Apple a Day

Baked in pie, topped with streusel, juiced into cider or crunched for snacks, apples satisfy our fall fruit cravings. Maryland ranks 20th in U.S. apple growing, harvesting nearly one million bushels a year. As autumn progresses, head to nearby farmers’ markets and farms to sample all these locally grown varieties. See 8 Days a Week for farmers’ market listings.

Early September

Earliblaze: Semi-tart and crisp, these cherry-red apples are delicious fresh or baked into pies.

Gala: A sweet firm, typically golden apple with peach highlights; great eating apple.

Ginger Gold: Canary yellow with a creamy flesh that doesn’t brown when cut; sweet juicy apple beloved for snacking and salads; holds shape well in baking.

Jonathan: A lovely red all-purpose apple; slight tartness and firm texture make these perfect for eating and baking.

Jonared: Smaller red, crisp apples reminiscent of McIntosh; tart-sweet, hard and crispy; a delightful eating apple and great for pies.

Prima: Juicy, sweet, medium-large variety; dark red with yellow undertones; a wonderful eating apple.

Red Free: Glossy red with crisp juicy flesh; sweet flavor makes it a perfect dessert apple.

Mid to late September

Cameo: Red stripes over light yellow set off its crisp white interior; tangy flavor improves with storage.

Cortland: Rosy red skin over very white, crisp flesh; great salad apple as it doesn’t brown when cut; holds texture well when cooked.

Empire: A cross between McIntosh and Red Delicious; delightful eating apple with glassy dark red skin.

Golden Delicious: Pale yellow skin with a sweet mellow flavor; often used in tarts as it holds its shape well in baking.

Jonagold: Jonathan crossed with Golden Delicious; these large, sweet apples are best for eating and baking; short shelf life.

McIntosh: Beautiful red sheen over green; an aromatic, juicy, slightly tart apple beloved for eating and pies.

Melrose: Jonathan crossed with Red Delicious; fruit improves with age; large, juicy and sweet; a favorite for making caramel apples.

Red Delicious: Sweet, mild, best if eaten fresh; less desirable in baking.

Stayman: Firm with a rich, slightly tart flavor; stores well, good for eating and pies; bruise resistant.

October

Braeburn: A newer variety from New Zealand that looks like a Fuji with its pale pink stripes; rich, crisp and delicious; prized as a dessert apple; keeps four months under refrigeration.

Enterprise: Glossy rich red with creamy yellow flesh; firm and crispy for great eating; keeps well and storage enhances flavor.

Fuji: Virginia Rawls Jennet and Red Delicious cross originated in Japan but locally grown with very firm and sweet flesh; lovely red blush over green; a favorite for applesauce, eating and cooking; keeps well throughout winter if refrigerated.

Granny Smith: Green-skinned apple with pinkish highlights; crisp, tart flavor makes it delicious for eating and cooking; doesn’t brown when cut.

Mutsu/Crispen: A greenish apple that ripens yellow; sweet, juicy firm flesh makes this an outstanding cider and sauce variety; excellent eating and cooking.

Pink Lady: Blush over pink with a sweet-tart taste; lovely to look at and eat; stores up to six months refrigerated.

Rome Beauty: Glossy dark skin sets this apple apart; firm, slightly tart and stores well; premier choice for baking and cooking.

Sun Crisp: Real beauty with red overtones on orange; a hard, tart long keeper.

York: Deep red over green with intense sweet-tart taste; holds texture when cooked; stays crisp and sweetens when stored.

16. Bake An Apple Pie

Now that you’ve brought home apples, you’ll be needing ways to eat them. Here’s a classic apple pie recipe.

Filling

8 cups tart apple slices (10 medium apples. Maryland York or Rome are both good for cooking.)

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1⁄4 tsp. cloves

1⁄4 tsp. nutmeg

2 Tbs. melted butter

Crust

21⁄4 cups flour (for added fiber make 1 cup whole wheat flour)

1 tsp. salt

3⁄4 cup vegetable oil

4 Tbs. water

To make one nine-inch pie, divide dough into half and roll to one-eighth-inch thickness. Poke bottom crust with a fork before adding filling. Finish with top crust and poke with fork again. Cover edges with aluminum foil to avoid burning. Remove foil for last 20 minutes of baking. Bake at 400 degrees for 60 minutes. (Adapted from Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book)

17. Have it à La Mode

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

3 cups heavy cream

13⁄4 cup whole milk

1 cup sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

Mix, pour into ice cream maker and churn. Scoop onto warm pie.

18. Needle Your Family

Start a vacation quilt and blanket yourself in your family history. You’ll need cotton muslin (one yard makes four 18-inch squares), fabric crayons (available at craft and fabric shops), embroidery floss and needles, plain white paper, an iron.

Using the fabric crayons, have your family draw pictures from your summer vacation on paper. Iron the images onto the muslin squares. Write all words backward.

Embroider over the pictures with colorful thread. Use black and white floss to evoke old-fashioned etchings, bright gay colors for festivals and theme parks or cool greens, blues and browns for woods and water.

Quilt each square as you go or save them each year until you have 30 (single-bed size); then invite family and friends for a fall quilting bee. Tell vacation stories, sip cider and treasure the moments. Quilts become family heirlooms; some end up in museums, like the Northern Anne Arundel County at Banneker-Douglass Museum (Vol. xv, No.12: March 22).

19. Celebrate the Equinox

Our annual rite of passage from summer to fall comes with the autumnal equinox at 4:51am on Sunday, September 23. On this day, the sun — rising at 5.51 am — spends equal time above and below the horizon, balancing light and darkness. Step outside to bid summer farewell as you breathe in the fresh air of a new season.

20. Learn Your Way Around the Cosmos

Celestial programs keep small stargazers and adult astronomers looking toward the heavens. Keep an eye on the changing sky at a variety of programs from star sightings to sun spot viewings.

Southern Maryland Astronomical Society hosts several open viewings, including a daytime public star party and several night observations: humbertjs@comcast.net.

View sun spots Sept. 22. Noon-4pm @ Nanjemoy Community Center, 4375 Rt. 6, Nanjemoy: 301-246-9612

Astronomy Club of Southern Maryland hosts a night of free stargazing Sat. Oct. 13 as the sun sets over Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum: 301-602-5251.

The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore holds special star gazing sessions for parents and children ages six to 12. Girls Night Fri. Sept. 21; Boys Night Fri. Sept. 28. 6-9pm @ 3700 San Martin Dr., Baltimore. rsvp: 410-338-4397; www.stci.edu/institute/conference/youtae.

21. Stuff a Scarecrow

A scarecrow’s pragmatic purpose might be protecting your garden treasures from pesky crows, but these fall friends also welcome autumn to your front porch. In its simplest form, a scarecrow is a cross-stick plunged into the ground, cloaked with a shirt and topped with a hat. But as autumn’s greeter, your scarecrow warrants more creativity.

First, gather your supplies: one pair of nylon stockings, hay or straw, twine, a long-sleeved shirt, a pair of old pants, a hat and any other scarecrow accessories.

Create your scarecrow’s head by filling the girdle portion of the pantyhose with hay. When you’re satisfied with your scarecrow’s head, tie a knot in the top of the pantyhose. Next, fill your long-sleeved shirt and pants with hay, using twine to secure the ends. Position the head on top of the torso, tucking the pantyhose legs inside the shirt and around the front and the back of the hay, tying the legs together at the bottom of the shirt. Stack the torso on top of the pants and fasten together with clothespins. Finally, top your scarecrow with a hat and create a face with markers. Prop your creation on a front porch chair to welcome autumn.

22. Throw a Block Party

Don’t put that grill away just yet. Organize an autumn bash to reconnect with friends and neighbors who were busy vacationing over the summer. Fall’s cooler temperatures and picturesque scenery make for ideal outdoor partying.

A theme sets the tone for decorations, refreshments and attire. Create a harvest theme featuring seasonal foods and beverages like apple cider, harvest brews, apple desserts, squash side dishes, pumpkin ravioli, zucchini or squash breads.

Fall’s popular theme party, Halloween, is not just for kids. Adults, too, enjoy playing dress up for this spooky night. The full moon rises just in time for a party on the weekend of October 27 and 28. Host a pumpkin-carving contest, award a prize for the best ghost story, bob for apples and plan simple crafts for the little goblins.

23. Pick the Perfect Pumpkin

The smallest children find the biggest pumpkins. They run faster than you over pumpkin fields scattered throughout Maryland. The largest variety of pumpkin is the Stock; if you want the biggest Jack-o-lantern on your street, this is your pumpkin. Its average size is 60 pounds, but it can get as big as 100 pounds. To get it home you need to cradle it in a burlap bag with two people holding the ends.

Dick and Jane’s Farm on Route 2 imports these behemoths from the Eastern Shore where the land is flat and the soil sandy.

In Anne Arundel County, Bob Dunlap grows the biggest pumpkins, averaging, 300 pounds and winning him prizes at the county fair.

The average carving pumpkin is the orange Halogen, which weighs eight to 10 pounds. These are best for Jack-o-lanterns, but their flesh is not particularly good for cooking. For the best taste, choose specialty pumpkins, the Cinderella or the Fairy Tale.

24. Bake Pumpkin Bread

Now that you’ve found your pumpkin, turn it into a bread that tastes as good as it smells baking. It’s best still warm from the oven. Pumpkins are generous. Bake and freeze extra loaves.

Just Like Grandma Made It Pumpkin Bread 

3 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

2 cups pumpkin, cooked and pureed

2⁄3 cups water

31⁄3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

1⁄2 to 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two eight-by-four-inch loaf pans. Mix sugar and oil. Add eggs and blend. Add pumpkin and blend. Add water and blend. Combine remaining ingredients, adding slowly. Fill pans equally and bake for one hour or until golden brown.

25. Create Oil Lamps

Prepare for the coming darkness with new uses for seasonal fruit. The small, easy-to-peel Mandarin oranges called Clementines will be arriving soon from Spain and Morocco, stacked in local grocery stores in their familiar wooden boxes. By altering how you prepare this fruit, you can both eat them and turn the rind into oil lamps.

Cut a Clementine horizontally, like you would a grapefruit. Remove (and eat) sections, leaving the center stem in one half. Let dry, then fill halfway with vegetable oil, leaving top of stem exposed. Place on a small plate or in a shallow bowl to avoid tipping. Light stem for a lovely orange glow.

26. Open a Theater

Curtains are closing on outdoor theatrical venues, but local indoor theaters fling open their doors for the fall season. Five plays offer theater-goers a wide range of productions — from inspirational drama to farcical comedy. For more details see listings in 8 Days a Week Calendar.

Miracle Worker – Thru Sat. Sept. 22. 8pm FSa; 3pm Su @ Bowie Playhouse in White Marsh Park, off Rt. 3 South, Bowie: $18: 301-858-7245; www.2ndstarproductions.com.

Lust ’n’ Rust: A Trailer Park Musical – Thru Sat. Sept. 22. 8pm FSa; 2pm & 8pm Sept. 22 @ St. John Vianney Family Life Center Theater, 105 Vianney Ln., Prince Frederick. $15: 410-326-1401; www.patuxentplayhouse.com.

Incorruptible – Thru Sat. Sept. 29. 8pm ThFSa; 2:30pm Su @ Colonial Players Theatre, 108 East St., Annapolis. $20; rsvp: 410-268-737; www.cplayers.com.

Camelot – Thru Sun. Sept. 30. 8pm FSa; 3pm Su @ Kerr Center for the Arts, Annapolis Area Christian School, 109 Burns Crossing Rd., Severn. $15: 410-440-8488; www.instantseats.com/events/PTC.

The Nerd – Fri. Sept. 28 thru Sat. Oct. 13. 8pm FSa; 2pm Su @ Bowie Playhouse, Whitemarsh Park, off Rt. 3 South, Bowie. $15; rsvp: 301-805-0219; www.bctheatre.com.

27. Visit A Memorial

Visit a national or local memorial during fall holidays and pay tribute to those who honored our nation with their service. The absence of summer visitors and holiday closures for government agencies means lighter traffic and more plentiful parking spaces around town. Visit one far and one near each holiday.

Columbus Day, Monday October 8. The FDR Memorial: West Basin Dr., D.C. (8am-midnight) • The Maryland Veterans Vietnam Memorial: Middle Branch Park, 2825 South Hanover St., Baltimore.

Veterans’ Day, Sunday November 11 (observed Monday November 12). Arlington National Cemetery: Arlington, Va. (8am-7pm thru Sept. 30; 8am-5pm Oco. thru winter) • The Korean War Memorial: Canton Water Park, 2903 Boston St., Baltimore.

Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22. The Lincoln Memorial: 23rd Street NW. D.C. (8am-midnight) • The Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial: City Dock, Annapolis.

Pearl Harbor Day, Friday, December 7. The National World War II Memorial, 17th St. on the Mall, D.C. • The Maryland World War II Memorial, Rt. 450 at Naval Academy Bridge, off 1920 Ritchie Hwy., Annapolis.

28. Get Saucy with Green Tomatoes

If cool fall days and accompanying frost always arrive before your tomatoes have reached their crimson peak, this delicious, uncooked green tomato sauce will keep your taste buds happy.

Spaghetti with Green Tomato Sauce

1⁄3 cup pine nuts

3 to 4 green tomatoes, preferably with some pink blush, very finely chopped

1⁄2 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1⁄4 tsp. crushed red pepper

1 pound dried spaghetti

salt and pepper to taste

2 dozen fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

Toast pine nuts in a small frying pan over medium high heat. Stir fry for 2 to 4 minutes, being careful not to burn them. When golden brown, remove and let cool.

In a wide shallow serving bowl, combine tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and pepper flakes. You can make this mixture 1 to 2 hours ahead and let stand at room temperature. Do not add salt at this point, as it will draw out the tomato juices.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook until al dente, slightly chewy. Just before spaghetti is ready, season sauce generously with salt and pepper and stir in basil leaves. Drain pasta and transfer to the serving bowl. Toss to coat with sauce. Scatter pine nuts on top.

29. Fire Up for Fall

Light up the fall skies with bonfire gatherings. Swap scary stories with friends, sing your favorite camp songs or sit back and enjoy the smell of freshly burning wood. Make your own campfire (and extinguish it carefully) or bask in the glow of a community campfire: North Beach campfire Oct. 27 (7:30-9pm).

30. Connect with a Creek

There’s a special day in late September or early October when you can feel autumn for the first time. On a cool morning, walk along a stream and watch the minnows scatter in the clear water.

Streams or creeks are mysterious places, hard to find under their canopy of trees and the bushes pressing close. Yet it has been estimated that there’s a stream within a half-mile of every person in Maryland. So likely one flows not far from where you live. Search for it. Due to the autumnal rains, its waters will be gurgling briskly. A small bridge is usually the give-away. See if there’s a path, and watch out for poison ivy, turning reddish in the fall.

Can’t find one? Try crystal-clear Battle Creek in Calvert’s Cypress Swamp. You won’t find many mosquitoes as the flowing water discourages their breeding. Instead you’ll find the golden finch, the Carolina chickadee and the tufted titmouse scurrying, singing among the bald cypress shedding their needles.

31. Hit the Trail

Autumn dissolves the blistering heat of summer, taking the sweat out of outdoor exercise. Take your bicycle to the 13-mile Baltimore Annapolis Trail Park.

The linear park — once a railroad providing both passenger and freight service — runs as a paved trail from Annapolis to Glen Burnie. To access the southern end of the trail from Route 50, take exit 27 toward the Naval Academy. Parking is one-tenth of a mile on the right. Park for the northern part of the trail at Marley Station Mall, off Route 2 in Pasadena.

Bring your helmet and water, and join the many athletes also frequent this flat, fast trail. The park includes markers at every half-mile and stop signs when roads intersect with the trail. Fall riders enjoy colorful foliage lining both sides of the path.

32. Share the Warmth

Help underprivileged or homeless children in our communities bundle up against winter’s approaching chill. Ask your family, friends, co-workers and neighbors to gather their children’s outgrown and unused parkas, hats, gloves and boots. Invite everyone to bring their donations to your house on a specific day and make it a festive occasion. Serve hot cider, cookies and other goodies to further the warmth of giving and usher in the spirit of the upcoming holidays.

Later, deliver a carful of donated clothing to one or more of our local charities, including:

Salvation Army: Annapolis 410-263-4091 or Glen Burnie 410-768-0477

Goodwill Industries: Annapolis 410-269-1302

YWCA Arden House: Arnold 410-626-7800

Safe Harbor: Prince Frederick 410-257-7225

Project Echo: Prince Frederick 410-257-0003

33. Thread Wildlife Treats

Deer, squirrels and birds thrive on summers’ bounty: overgrown foliage, berries, nuts and seeds. When the trees shed their leaves and the grass browns, nature’s feast becomes a scavenger hunt for the next meal.

Help out our wildlife neighbors by making chains of treats. Start with two to three feet of heavy thread and a large needle. Grab a bowlful of treats such as popcorn or dried papaya, pineapple, raisins, apricots or cranberries. Then string away, carefully threading the goodies with a needle. When the thread is full, tie a knot and hang it outside on a tree branch. It won’t take long for critters to scurry and fly to your gift of goodies. Lay back in your hammock or favorite lawn chair and watch the feast.

34. Howl at Halloween

Prepare for All Hallows Eve by crafting a costume, dressing up your dog or using the force when you encounter Darth Vader. Flex your creative muscles and don an original outfit for a night of tricks and treats.

Sign up to sew a costume at the South County Recreation Center. Thread a needle for three weeks starting Mon. Oct. 1 and gear up to make a ghoulish garment. $30; rsvp: 410-222-1515.

Design a dog costume — some favorites from last year include a goofy clown, a Tootsie Roll and a crowd of superheroes — to try for prizes in the best costume contest at the Howl-O-Ween Barkn’ Bash costume competition at Quiet Waters Park. Four-legged competitors win treats and bragging rights at the local hydrant. 11am-3pm Oct. 27 @ Quiet Waters Park, off Hillsmere Dr., Annapolis. $10 fee; $5 each additional dog. All proceeds benefit Quiet Waters Dog Park and beach: www.barkinbash.com.

Take a trip to Lancaster, Penn., and fight the dark side. David Prowse, the man inside Darth Vader’s suit, greets fans and poses for pictures at Jason’s Woods Oct. 5 thru 7. $25: 717-872-5768.

35. Spice Up Fall

Pomanders — fruit studded with cloves — were used during colonial and Victorian times to mask odors. Today, pomanders retain their original purpose as closet fresheners and take on a more decorative role as holiday arrangements. Make your own for yourself or as gifts; the spicy, citrus scent will last for several weeks. The drying process takes four to six weeks, so start soon to have these traditional decorations ready for the holidays. To make four pomanders:

4 oranges, lemons or limes

8 Tbs. cinnamon

1 Tbs. allspice

1 Tbs. nutmeg

2 Tbs. powdered orrisroot

6 ounces whole cloves

Ribbon or raffia for optional adornment

Blend cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and orrisroot. Using a nail, pierce the fruit and insert a clove’s long end into the hole. Repeat, covering the entire fruit or making designs and patterns, but leave adequate space to add ribbon to hang the finished pomander.

Roll the clove-studded fruit in the spice mixture. Place pomanders in a shoebox lined with tissue paper. Sprinkle with remaining spice mixture. Cover and store in a dry place. After four weeks, check for dryness. When thoroughly dried, the pomanders will be light and firm. Shake off excess powder. Add ribbon or other decorations.

36. Simmer Borsch

Tired of the summer salads? In autumn, soup’s on. Farmers’ markets are full of beets, cabbage, squash and green beans. Use your imagination or make borsch, a hearty Ukrainian soup.

For the broth, all you’ll need is a beef bone with some meat, a large onion, two carrots, a handful of parsley, water to fill your pot three-quarters full and salt, pepper, a bay leaf and paprika.

Mix the ingredients together. While the broth simmers for an hour or so, roast three or four beets at 375 degrees. In another large pot, sauté a chopped onion, three garlic cloves and two carrots. Strain the broth into the second pot. Chop the beef, two potatoes, half a cabbage and two fresh tomatoes. Simmer for 45 minutes. Add peeled and julienne beets, parsley and dill. Do not boil. Serve with sour cream.

37. Fall Back

Mark your calendar to turn your clocks back on a new day this fall. Instead of losing an hour at the end of October, this year we fall back on November 4. The extra days of Daylight Savings Time are part of an experiment under The Energy Policy Act of 2005 to see if changing our clocks later also saves energy. The first Sunday in November is now the official end of Daylight Savings Time and the second Sunday in March the beginning.

38. Preserve the Harvest

Ever wish you could put sunshine into a bottle to open on cold winter days? Your ancestors knew how, and you can too do it, too, by canning and freezing this fall’s harvest. Come cooler weather, you’ll admire your rows of canned fruits, vegetables and jellies in their lush rainbow of reds and golds and purples before squirreling them away to basement shelves.

A classic book that will answer all your canning and freezing questions is Putting Food By by Janet Greene. Considered the bible of preserving by loyal fans, this book teaches even the nervous novice how to can, freeze, pickle, dry and cure.

Start putting by your own delicious and preservative-free foods with applesauce. Easy to cook, easy to can or freeze, your own applesauce will put the pale, heartless store-bought brand to shame.

Fresh-Preserved Applesauce

Wash, peel, core and cut apples into quarters or eighths. Put one inch of water or cider in bottom of large kettle and add apples. Bring to a boil and let simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent burning or sticking. When tender, remove from heat. If you like chunky sauce, leave as is; if you prefer smooth, strain through a sieve or food mill. Add cinnamon to taste. Sugar may be added, but taste it first. Typically no sweetener is needed. One bushel of apples, or 48 pounds, yields 15 to 18 quarts; 3 pounds yields one quart.

To can, choose a large kettle for the boiling water bath. It must be deep enough to allow two inches of water above canning jars, plus another inch to keep water from boiling out, and an inch at bottom for the canning rack. (Racks keep jars off the kettle bottom and typically are sold along with canning kettles, but a round cookie cooling rack substitutes well.)

Use quart jars (seven inches tall) or pint jars (five inches tall) for sauce. Fill kettle halfway with water, and bring to a boil; have a teakettle of boiling water available. Fill sterilized hot quart or pint canning jars with hot applesauce, leaving one inch of room at top of jar. Clean rims and cover with sterilized brand-new lids then screw on bands. Using tongs, place jars on rack in boiling water bath. Be sure they do not touch. Add enough boiling water from teakettle to bring water to two inches above jars. Let boil for 20 minutes (quarts or pints) and remove using tongs. Admire before squirreling them away to basement shelves.

To freeze, ladle hot applesauce into pint or quart freezer bags. Leave a half-inch of headroom. Seal and freeze.

39. Snap the Bay

Set sail with a camera to save the Bay on film. Sail, paddle, row or motor along the Bay’s coastal waterways and discover endless picturesque views of shorelines, creeks and rivers that are rarely photographed. Use a panoramic camera or wide-angle lens to create unique portraits of Maryland’s waters. Take a favorite image to a print shop and have it blown up poster size for an original work of art.

Daylight, twilight or moonlight, anytime is a great time to be clicking along on Chesapeake Bay.

40. Pick Fall’s Fat Crabs

The mid-Chesapeake blue crab population dropped off over summer. The heat, drought and poor water quality chased the crabs into the upper Bay. But now, as water temperatures drop, the rains return and fall weather patterns emerge, crabs will experience a new urge to travel and feed up. They will go on the move again returning to the mid-Bay by fall.

Blue crabs need a good supply of fat before they bury themselves in the Bay bottom for winter hibernation. They will not shed again until next year, so the crabs of autumn will be full to bursting.

The blue crabs you’ll get during the next month or so will make you forget all about the poor season we’ve had up till now. Don’t miss out.

You needn’t miss our if you’re not a crabber. This same abundance will make crabs at seafood stores, crab trucks and restaurants plentiful, delicious and, likely, not so expensive as this summer.

41. Be A-Maized

Navigate a maze of maize throughout October, winding and weaving through intricately mowed corn. Instead of cheese at the end of the maze, find a cup of warm apple cider for your reward.

• Sept. 29 thru Oct. 31: Spend October weekends at Greenstreet Gardens in Lothian, traversing tricky trails of corn — this year in the shape our state flower, the black-eyed Susan. Special spooky flashlight tours available for the corn crazed-wanderer. SaSu: 410-867-9500.

• Oct. 6 thru Oct. 28: Trail through the paths at Knightongale Farm in Davidsonville, where pumpkins, straw spiders and man-eating hay bales lurk. 10am-5pm SaSu: 443-871-1073.

• Oct. 6 thru Oct. 28: Take a six-acre jaunt through the twists and turns of Billingsley House’s cornfield in Upper Marlboro. Later, get a bird’s eye view of the maze to discover its shape. noon-5pm: 301-627-0730.

42. Keep Summer’s Adventures Alive

Remember your 101 Ways to Have Fun journal you kept this summer? Re-read the notes you jotted down and the photos you snapped from summer adventures. Sort through them as you begin to piece it all together and write the bits and pieces that make up your summer story.

Create a reflective environment with the phone unplugged, a candle burning, a pen and pad or a laptop. Then, let your mind travel back in time and re-live your summer adventures. Maybe this was the summer you decided to turn your home environmentally friendly. Or you saw the Bay in a new light. Maybe you tried wind surfing for the first time or volunteered at a local charity.

Let your senses do the work: while wind surfing, remember the bright sun, the cool Bay mist and the salty sea air? Practice free-verse. Include the kids in the reminiscing. A different perspective helps keep the creative juices flowing. Tie them in with favorite childhood memories. 

43. Find Fall Foliage

As crisp air settles in, the summery green canopy along highways, byways and creeks promises a rich autumn spectacle. Will this year’s trees be dazzling with fiery reds and sharp golds, or blanketed in muted russet and tawny amber — a quiet flannel in the crisp October air?

Late summer rain and sunny cool fall days create the right mixture for the most vivid colors. We’ll have to wait and see, especially after this summer’s drought.

Finding fall foliage, whatever its color, is as simple as walking out the door.

Look down. What lies in the carpet at your feet? Perhaps pointy oak leaves in butterscotch gold; sweet gum stars ranging from lemon yellow to deep burgundy; four-eared tulip poplar, heart-shaped redbud or mitten-shaped sassafras in goldfinch saffron.

The understory dogwood transforms to cranberry sherbet; vines of poison ivy add burnt orange. Overhead, the multi-leaved hickory brushes the sky with egg yolk. The jagged-edged beech and alder leaves add their own yellow glow, while the stately sycamore with its puzzle-piece bark turns quickly from quiet yellow to brown.

Like a curious child, look for the most intriguing leaves; for the maples sporting patterns in crimson, green and honey-gold to squirrel home and press between sheets of wax paper as you capture a swirling delirious moment and hold it in your hand.

Find the best foliage viewing, plus upcoming festivals and events at Maryland DNR’s Fall Foliage Hotline: 800-leaves-1.

44. Coil an Autumn Wreath

Clean out those vagrant honeysuckle, wild grape and ivy vines from your garden, then twist them into decorative wreaths. Strip off the leaves and coil the long stringy vines three or four times around in a circle. Wind the last three feet around the coil to secure, tuck in the ends and let dry. When dry, add decorations. Use dried berries or fruit for a fall wreath, lollipops and ribbons for a birthday, or fill your wreath with dried grasses, sunflower heads and millet sprays for a special treat for the birds. Start soon while the vines still have their leaves so that you can avoid poison ivy.

45. Roast Your Roots

Cold weather calls for warm food. For a soothing supper after braving the brisk air, roast a medley of root vegetables. Butternut squash, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets and celeriac melt to perfection inside a crispy brown exterior. Vary the recipe according to the vegetables you have on hand and enjoy.

Roasted Vegetables

Assorted root vegetables — butternut or other winter squashes, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets, rutabaga, celeriac — cut into small sticks or cubes. Eight cups serves six.

1 cup small onions, peeled

10 to 12 cloves garlic, peeled

4 Tbs. olive oil

3 sprigs rosemary or thyme

Salt and pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet or low-sided roasting pan with parchment paper to keep vegetables from sticking.

Cut the high-moisture veggies like potatoes, squash, turnips and parsnips into larger pieces, about one-inch cubes or sticks; slice slow-cookers like beets, celeriac and rutabagas into smaller sizes.

Spread the cut vegetables, onions and garlic one layer deep into the prepared pan. Use a second pan as needed.

Add herbs, and drizzle on olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste, and toss to coat vegetables evenly. Place in oven and roast for 50 minutes. Turn two or three times. When vegetables are tender and browned, remove and serve warm.

46. Toast Pumpkin Seeds

When you carve your Jack-o-lantern, don’t throw away the seeds along with the goopy pumpkin guts. Instead, toast pumpkin seeds — packed with minerals like magnesium, manganese, iron, copper and zinc — for a healthy and festive snack.

First, remove pulp from the seeds by rinsing them under running water and picking out the stubborn seeds with your fingers. Spread evenly on a paper bag, drying overnight. Coat seeds in butter or olive oil, place on a cookie sheet and toast in a 160-degree oven 15 to 20 minutes. Season to your liking with salt, onion or garlic powder. Sprinkle on salads for a crunch or munch by the handful.

47. Brew Spiced Cider

Simmer your own version of this classic fall treat. Visit an orchard — try Boyer Farms in Severn — or local farmers’ markets (listed in 8 Days a Week), and pick up a gallon of fresh cider.

Bring cider to a boil on the stovetop or in a Crock-Pot. Add a dozen cloves, a few cinnamon sticks and half a cup of fresh orange juice. Let simmer for half an hour. Pour into a mug and garnish with a cinnamon stick. For a sweeter version, add three tablespoons of honey or a peeled orange, cut into segments, while the concoction is warming. If you’re looking a for a little extra kick, add a cup of your favorite red wine or a few shots of brandy.

48. Go Wine Tasting

Autumn’s cooler weather makes visiting a vineyard or attending a wine festival all the more enjoyable. Mid-September through October is prime harvest time in Maryland, when sugar levels in grapes are prime. Many vineyards allow visitors to pick grapes in the annual harvest. Maryland wineries — which produce 450,000 bottles of wine per year — often host wine tastings, winery tours, vineyard tours and picnic areas for guests. Check out these Chesapeake-side vineyards:

Fridays Creek Winery: 3485 Chaneyville Rd., Owings: 410-286-WINE; www.fridayscreek.com

Cove Point Winery: 755 Cove Point Rd., Lusby: 410-326-0949

Solomons Island Winery: 515 Garner Lane, Lusby: 410-394-1933

Terrapin Station Winery: Elkton: www.terrapinstationwinery.com. This vineyard is working to save the diamondback terrapin by turning a family farm into a vineyard.

Maryland Wine Festivals offer a variety of wines in one location:

The Maryland Wine Festival:

Sept. 15 & 16: 10am-6pm Sa; noon-6pm Su. $20 w/age discounts. Carroll County Farm Museum, Westminster, Carroll County: www.marylandwinefestival.org

Riverside Wine Fest at Sotterley: Oct. 6-7: noon-6pm; $20 w/age discounts. Sotterley Plantation, Hollywood, Md.: www.sotterley.org

Vintage Jazz Wine Festival: Oct. 20-21: noon-6pm SaSu; $10 w/age discounts. Linganore Winecellars, Carroll County: www.linganorewines.com

For more information on Maryland’s Wine Trails, Events and Vineyards check out: http://marylandwine.com/index.html.

49. Salt Roses for Winter

Capture the last roses of summer in a colonial potpourri or rotten pot.

Start by gathering a wide-mouth jar, five to 10 cups rose petals, two cups Kosher salt, 1⁄2 cup ground cinnamon, 1⁄4 cup whole cloves

Gather full-blown roses when they start to lose their petals. Add a handful of petals to a jar, then sprinkle with a tablespoon of kosher salt. Add more petals and more salt. Keep layering petals and salt until the jar is half full. Cover lightly and let sit four weeks. Next, stir in the cinnamon and cloves. If you use a Mason jar, punch a few holes in the lid with a can opener to allow the fragrance to escape; a ginger jar has holes already in its lid. Stir the mixture gently to release the odor. Your potpourri will save your roses’ fragrance for years.

50. Sample Local Oysters

We New Worlders are lately discovering what Old Worlders have never forgotten: Local food tells a story of place, flavor and craft. Like rootless people, food can lose its history. Terroir, the word for food enriched with the added value of history, is a quality that’s easy to come by in Chesapeake Bay’s distinctive cool-weather crop: the oyster.

Oysters by their nature grow in place; they are not mobile. Historically, their place has been reefs of their own creation. In today’s troubled oyster environment, artificial reefs and other human-made contraptions often replace native beds, and seed may be lab grown. Nonetheless, the oyster grows in, with and from its waters.

Your assignment this season, should you choose to take it, is to learn to recognize the distinctive flavors of Chesapeake oysters.

Of course that means eating lots of them … raw. Raw oysters on their own half shell. Oysters unsauced or seasoned except perhaps by a grain of salt and a squeeze of lemon. Oysters close to their source of origin.

You can still know your oyster in Chesapeake Country, where oystermen — though endangered as the species they harvest — preserve their historic craft. Many still sell their oysters directly, near where they’re caught, so you can learn the pedigree of the oysters you’re about to eat.

Of course if you buy direct, you’ll also have to learn how to shuck your oyster. Ask for a lesson from the waterman from whom you buy.

Many Chesapeake restaurants still pride themselves on serving Bay oysters. Ask before you order where their oysters were harvested; you may even learn by whom.

Don’t miss the National Oyster Shucking Championship at the St. Mary’s Oyster Festival at the County Fairgrounds October 20 and 21. That weekend is an abundant occasion to study the flavor of local oysters, for oysters raw and many other ways are standard fare at this fair. Ask before you eat, for some years Bay oysters must be supplemented with cousins from other East and Gulf Coast waters.

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