Volume 16, Issue 39 - September 25 - October 1, 2008

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Finding Southern Maryland:

New Trails Guide Points the Way

Reviewed by Margaret Tearman

If the year of eating locally has you seeking connections to your place on Earth, you’ll find plenty in the 2008 Southern Maryland Trails guidebook. In its third year, the 136-page book is billed as “your guide to all things handmade, home-grown, locally harvested and authentically Southern Maryland.”

It is an apt billing. The guide is packed with maps, itineraries and destinations. Colorful photographs tempt and trivia educates. A handy pull-out map is included, perfect to stash in the car for a spur-of-the-moment adventure.

Southern Maryland has its history in tobacco farms and the Bay. But times have changed. The once-rural landscape has sprouted suburban communities. The region’s agricultural roots struggle to keep hold in the shadow of subdivisions and big-box retailers. The guidebook, produced by the Southern Maryland Agricultural Commission, helps farmers and local businesses develop a new economy as the region moves away from tobacco.

Today a new Southern Maryland is merging with the old. Ripe for discovery — or re-discovery — it is a region rich with art, history, nature and the people who cherish it. The guide book encourages visitors to take the long way around — and gives plenty of reasons to do so.

One of four themed trails, the Barnwood and Beach Glass loop is a back road tour of St. Mary’s county. The “lazy loop” winds through quiet country landscapes dotted with weathered barns to the shores of the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. Stop along the way to get lost in a corn maze, visit an oyster ranch, browse art galleries and walk off a locally grown lunch in one of the many wooded or waterfront parks.

The Turnbuckle Hop starts off with breakfast on Main Street Annapolis, then leaves the bustle of the state Capital for quieter roads. Follow the trail to pick a pumpkin, pet a llama, snack on home-made ice cream and bird-watch on the Patuxent. At days end, rest your tired toes over dinner on the water.

With more than 150 things to do, places to see and people to meet, Southern Maryland is ripe to explore. With the 2008 guidebook in hand, it is time to hit the trail.

What are you doing next weekend

Get your copy at Southern Maryland visitor centers and partner sites: www.somdtrails.com.

© COPYRIGHT 2008 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.