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Published on : Monday, July 8, 2013
“Tourism is all about buying local,” says Margot Amelia, executive director of the Maryland Office of Tourism. “It’s a maxim that resonates in our state, especially when you consider all of Maryland’s signature things to see, do and eat. Certainly, travelers can experience the best of our state with a ‘buy local’ approach that allows them to enjoy Maryland’s authentic treasures.”
Amelia recommends dining on Chesapeake Bay seafood, selecting Maryland wine and beer, acquiring the work of local artists (from the bay to the Appalachians), and traveling along the state’s four Civil War trails, six wine trails, and even an ice-cream trail with seven dairy farms.
The tourism office spotlights a “buy local” perspective every July to coincide with Maryland’s annual Buy Local Challenge, July 20-28. Challenge participants – residents and visitors – agree to eat at least one item from a Maryland farm or producer each day. The week-long event promotes the benefits of having fresh, seasonal food from local sources – a practice that supports family farms and sustainable food production, according to the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, the group that established the Challenge six years ago.
Ideas for trips into Maryland’s five regions with examples of events and attractions reflecting local flavor are below. To find locally sourced products and produce, the Maryland Department of Agriculture has an online directory of farmers’ markets in the state. True Blue is a program, which is managed by the Department of Natural Resources, which certifies if the crab in your cake or soup is from Maryland, and the University of Maryland Extension maintains a state agriculture web site that includes descriptions of Maryland farms by the products they offer.
Antietam Highlands Wine Trail – The trail opened in April with four wineries (counties indicated): Distillery Lane Ciderworks (Frederick), Knob Hall Winery (Washington), Orchid Cellar Winery (Frederick) and Red Heifer Winery (Washington). Three more wineries are expected to open on the trail, according to the Maryland Wineries Association.
Artist Studio Tour of Garrett County – This annual weekend, July 27-28, is an opportunity to meet 22 artists at seven locations and view their work: pottery, wood-work, fused glass, jewelry, handmade paper, recycled wood art, paintings and photography. Tour includes artist demonstrations. For more information and a brochure, call or e-mail the Garrett County Arts Council, 301-334-6580.
Mountain City Traditional Arts Center, Frostburg (Allegany County) – A showcase for local Appalachian art, the center has demonstrations, hand-crafted items for sale, artwork on display, classes and workshops, and occasional performances. It was established jointly by the Allegany Arts Council, Folklore & Folklife Programming at Frostburg State University and the Frostburg Main Street Program.
The Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center, Frederick (Frederick County) – The Gift Gallery in the main lobby offers the work of local artists who are Delaplaine members: jewelry; wood, metal and paper items; paintings; ceramics; and fiber arts. Located in the 100-year-old Mountain City Mill along Carroll Creek, the center runs arts classes and presents more than 50 exhibits each year in eight galleries. Events also include lectures, films, workshops and art trips.
Farm Tour & Harvest Sale (Montgomery County) – Visitors along the tour can become familiar with the local products available at 13 farms in the county, July 27-28. Farms in this 24th annual event – including orchards, an animal sanctuary, alpaca farm and a vineyard – are open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The county also has nearly two-dozen farmers’ markets.
National Colonial Farm, Accokeek (Prince George’s County) – Located in Piscataway Park along the Potomac River – directly across from George Washington’s Mount Vernon – the farm provides a glimpse of life for an ordinary family on a tobacco plantation in the 1770s. The Way of Food – a monthly series that looks at Maryland food traditions during the past 300 years – features sausage and apples, and dressing a pork loin with onions, July 20, noon to 1 p.m.
Baltimore Farmers’ Market and Bazaar – Held every Sunday morning below the Jones Fall Expressway at Holiday and Saratoga streets in downtown Baltimore, this is Maryland’s largest producers-only market. It has 46 farms and producers, and 44 concession operators. The bazaar portion offers crafts, jewelry, clothing, handbags, rugs, pottery and stained glass.
Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City (Howard County) – The fourth annual Feastival, July 16, kicks off the county’s Farm-2-Table Restaurant Weeks (July 17 – Aug. 5) with food from local farms and restaurants and the screening of several short films about the benefits of eating locally produced food. (A $5 donation helps families in need buy food at farmers’ markets.) Clark’s Farm – operated by seven generations of the Clark family in Howard and Anne Arundel counties – offers farm-raised beef, pork, chicken and lamb, along with produce and cut-your-own flowers and herbs.
Waterman’s Heritage Tours, Annapolis (Anne Arundel County) – Working the water. It’s a time-honored way of life on the Chesapeake Bay. If you’ve wanted to know more, to get an inside look, to meet the people and go on an adventure, this is the place to begin. There are tours that take place throughout the Chesapeake Bay and on the land, as well as speakers and presentations about the world of the Chesapeake waterman.
Maker’s Market at Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center, Solomons (Calvert County) – Held the first Saturday of every month through the summer and into December, the market features handmade, homemade and homegrown items. Selection includes crafts, hanging baskets, organic skincare products, produce, cut flowers, baked goods, batik and fleece apparel, soaps and candles, herbal teas, and folk art. Annmarie has an outdoor collection of world-class sculpture. Studio classes for a range of arts disciplines are available at the arts center.
Patuxent Wine Trail (Calvert, St. Mary’s and Prince George’s counties) – A collection of eight wineries are part of this Maryland wine trail – the only one that runs in a true linear direction, up and down the Southern Maryland peninsula. Vineyards have emerged here where tobacco once was the dominant crop. The wineries (by county) follow:
Calvert County: Cove Point Winery, Lusby; Fridays Creek Winery, Owings; Running Hare Vineyard, Prince Frederick; and Solomons Island Winery, Lusby.
St. Mary’s County: Perigeaux Vineyards and Winery, St. Leonard; Port of Leonardtown Winery, Leonardtown; and Slack Winery, Ridge.
Prince George’s County: Romano Vineyard and Winery, Brandywine.
Southern Maryland Trails: Earth, Art, Imagination – This free, 128-page book is “a guide to all things handmade, home-grown, locally harvested and authentically Southern Maryland.” (Details about the four trails are available online.) The guidebook is one of the programs of the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC), the organization that established the Buy Local Challenge in Maryland.
Chesapeake Wine Trail – A collection of 11 wineries across the Eastern Shore region offers opportunities to explore scenic countryside near the bay and along the way to the beach. Here are the wineries by area with counties noted:
Upper Shore: Dove Valley Winery (Cecil); Mark Cascia Vineyards (Queen Anne’s); Crow Farm and Vineyard (Kent); Tilmon’s Island Winery (Queen Anne’s County); Terrapin Station Winery (Cecil County)
Mid-Shore: Layton’s Chance Vineyard and Winery (Dorchester County); Little Ashby Vineyards (Talbot County); St. Michaels Winery (Talbot County)
Lower Shore: Bordeleau Vineyards and Winery (Somerset); Costa Ventosa Winery and Vineyard (Worcester); Great Shoals Winery (Somerset County)
Taste of Cambridge Crab Cook-Off, Cambridge (Dorchester County) – This free-admission street festival, held in the revitalized waterfront district, runs July 13, 5 to 10 p.m. Festival includes a crab-picking contest with professionals from area crab houses. Tickets to the Crab Cook-Off allow visitors to sample crab dishes prepared by local chefs.
Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury (Wicomico County) – Affiliated with Salisbury University, the museum interprets wildfowl art – a traditional art form associated with Eastern Shore maritime communities. It also preserves the legacy of Crisfield natives Lemuel and Stephen Ward, who for more than 50 years, created waterfowl decoys. The brothers were influential in the evolution of decorative bird carvings.
Tags: Maryland Tourism