Herb McMillan For Anne Arundel County Executive
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“Nationals October 2019

Must-Visit Hidden Attractions and Entertainment Spots for Maryland Locals

| December 10, 2021, 06:00 PM

From the furthest ends of the Eastern Shore to the highlands and valleys of the Catoctin Mountains, Maryland is well-positioned for many natural attractions right in our own state and some that are not too far of a drive. People who have grown up in America’s ninth smallest state fully understand how easy it is to take this state for granted. But after a few road excursions, and yes, even being stuck in the Bay Bridge traffic, it’s easy to see why Maryland, despite its small size, is a favorite destination for tourists every season and has gorgeous spots often overlooked by the locals.

Now that the weather is turning colder and COVID restrictions are lifting, you may consider booking a trip or perhaps a weekend getaway. Everyone knows about walking down the beach, wandering around the waterfront, or seeing some of the city’s attractions, but let’s look at some lesser-known attractions and some that are a short drive away!

Here’s a list of the top destinations every Marylander should experience!

 Ladew Topiary Gardens

If you’re looking for a secret garden, you’ve found the perfect place. There are plenty of things to enjoy within the 22 acres of the Ladew Topiary Gardens in Monkton—founded by the huntsman Harvey S. Ladew in the 1930s.

On the premises, there are 15 garden spaces and various detailed topiaries. The Iris Garden, with 770 plants of Iris species, a koi pond filled with vivid fish and exquisite lilies, and a gigantic reconstruction of a Chinese sailing ship, is perhaps the most stunning attraction.

The Great Smoky Mountains

While not in Maryland, the Great Smoky Mountains are one of the best places to visit if you plan a road trip and want to see beautiful scenery. From the magnificent Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Dollywood, there are many things to do in Pigeon Forge on a family vacation. For outdoor enthusiasts, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a paradise. The park includes spectacular waterfalls along woodland paths, hard climbs, and scenic roads. There are also several educational exhibitions, such as historic structures built by early explorers, like those at Cades Cove.

Suicide Bridge Restaurant

In Maryland’s summer season, catching crabs is a rite of passage for the local population. However, there’s an often-overlooked crab deck on the Eastern Shore in Hurlock that shines the brightest, despite its unattractive name: Suicide Bridge Restaurant.

You’ll find not just the best crab imperial or blue crabs grilled and coated in Old Bay, but also a turn-of-the-century paddle wheeled boat that rides down the Chop Tank River and offers an all-you-can-eat Maryland crab buffet table.

Terrapin Beach Park 

This natural park offers a 3.25-mile shell walking track that runs through floral meadows, wetlands, tidal lakes, forests, and beautiful beaches. The trail provides a unique vantage position for observing a wide range of birds, animals, and plant species. This underrated park on Kent Island has everything. And it is a lot less crowded than Sandy Point State Park which sits directly across the Bay!

Bring your bike to explore the trails, see the hidden cemeteries, or just relax on the beach while admiring the views of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

American Visionary Art Museum

The American Visionary Art Museum is the country’s only museum dedicated to visionary, self-taught artists. Housewives, farmers, the disabled, the homeless, and the doctors have all created masterpieces in three historic buildings, all inspired by the fire within.

‘The visionary’ embodies ambitions, losses, hopes, and goals that were put into powerful pieces of art using everything from carved trunks to stitched rags, tattoos, and toothpicks. This must-see Baltimore landmark portrays original thinking, humor, and artistic intuition. The American Visionary Art Museum, which exhibits the work of self-taught artists, pushes the boundaries of what it means to be an artist. This welcoming location for “outsider” art is ideal for those who enjoy walking to the beat of their own drum.

George Peabody Library

Reading a book in a university or public library can be suffocating, if not boring. The George Peabody Library at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, on the other hand, offers a unique reading experience, to put it in simple terms.

The library, built in 1878, on George Peabody’s directions, was meant to benefit Baltimore residents. Multiple levels of the library overlook the core space, which is enclosed by a large open-air atrium. The interiors are decorated with patterned marble floors, and a crisscross skylight illuminates the massive room throughout the day—which is why this location is also known as the Cathedral of Books.

Liquified Creative Annapolis

National Cryptologic Museum

Surprisingly, this museum lets you take as many photographs inside as you like, but not outside — it doesn’t want to be discovered.

The National Cryptologic Center is situated hidden in the woods in Fort Meade, adjacent to the National Security Agency, in which most cryptology work is done currently. The museum first opened its doors to the public in 1993 and is the only one of its kind in the intelligence agencies, covering both the history and heritage of the National Cryptologic Museum and the National Security Agency.

Among the fascinating things on exhibit are a 1960s surveillance satellite, the TUNNY Cryptographic apparatus, a voice-encrypting telephone used by many heads of state, and an unending number of declassified articles and books on cryptology.

Lawyer’s Winterbrook Farms

If you thought Transformers was purely a movie, think twice! The Lawyer’s Winterbrook Farm in Thurmont, Maryland, not only grows wonderful corn and pumpkins, but it also contains many huge Transformer-like robots, some of which welcome you at the entrance door.

Jan Lawyer founded the farm—surrounded by magnificent corn mazes and handmade pumpkin cannons—which is currently maintained and managed by his children and is open to the general public for tours.

Black Walnut Point 

Tilghman Island is a small fishing community on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Visiting this place will make you feel like you’ve just arrived at the end of the world, where you can see sunrise and sunset over the water on the very same day.

Black Walnut Point, the island’s southernmost point, is a favorite site for catching rockfish and collecting a few crabs. Visitors will enjoy wandering along the carriageway and trails, which provide spectacular views of the Chesapeake Bay and the western shore. Osprey and bald eagles, both of which nest in the area, can be spotted among many other bird species.

So, Start Preparing to Explore Maryland and Beyond

There we have Maryland and beyond’s most exciting attractions. It may be a small state, but don’t be fooled by its diminutive size! It’s jam-packed with intriguing and distinctive attractions that, will turn any road trip into a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Lights On The Bay 2021

Category: Local News, NEWS

About the Author - Stephanie Maris

Stefanie is a local blogger and social media content marketer from Maryland and most recently a wife and a mother. She has an unhealthy obsession with puns, sarcasm and caffeinated beverages.

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