Travel With Terri: USA 101

Maryland 101: Historic St. Mary’s County!

St. Mary’s County is only one and a half hours from Washington, D.C. Yet, it is worlds apart. Dotted with farms that have been handed down generation to generation. This southern tip of Maryland has more to offer than first meets the eye. From a nod to the Amish culture to a strong military history, travel to St. Mary’s County may be just the what the doctor ordered.

St. Mary’s County is the southern most point in Maryland off the Eastern Shore. It is located where the Potomac and Patuxent Rivers meet the Chesapeake Bay.

Historic St. Mary’s City

Have you ever put a wool sweater in the dryer? You know what happens, a perfectly formed miniature of what you had comes out at the end. It seems that we all hold our mistake in our hands and brainstorm which kid will now fit in to the sweater that we once adored. On the flip side, if you took the Williamsburg experience and threw it in the dryer, you would wind up with Historic St. Mary’s City. And that, my friends might be the best mistake you’ve ever made.

This living museum tells the history of the first settlers in the area who arrived in the year 1634. This puts its events just after Jamestown in 1607 and Williamsburg in 1632. Visitors can explore the church, state house, a working farm, a native american settlement and more. Check in with the printer and learn to write with a quill or try your hand at swabbing the deck on a replica ship. Other great historical locations include:

The Plantation at Historic St. Mary’s City
Scenic drives are a must in SMC

Pax River Aviation Museum

A little know fact: Patuxent River Naval Air Station is home to Test Pilot School where most every astronaut cut their teeth on advanced aviation. This huge base at the point where the Patuxent and Potamac Rivers meet is page one in the Space Race story.

The base has a great museum that explains how Pax River played this important role in promoting naval aviation through the years. The small but mighty building is perfect for military junkies who like to peruse the plane park to get up close and personal with aircraft and give one of the simulators a go. Easy to manage and lots of fun, it’s will worth the visit.

The PRNA Museum is full of aviation and space history.

Get Your Shop On!

Southern Maryland is just starting to find its identity in the tourism industry. A big part of that is realizing the local treasures that appeal to visitors. To that, lots of little shops have started popping up that speak to that local charm.

Old Sheppard’s Field Market

For a sampling of tons of local vendors ranging from metalwork to organic meat, step in to this fun gaggle of booths at the old market. Browse and shop away then head toward the back to the Brugarten for a drink and relax in the fun atmosphere.

The Vintage Source

If it’s the third Saturday of the month, locals will tell you that The Vintage Source is the place to find all of those hidden gems serious shoppers look for. From antique dressers to vintage glassware, the stock changes and the finds are innumerable. Other local shops include:

Leonardtown Square

Smack dab in the middle of St. Mary’s County is Leonardtown Square. Ringed with restaurants and little shops that truly represent the local character. Over the past few years, the square is experiencing a little bit of a revival. A few standouts are the local speakeasy, a great old school diner, a chocolatier, and for a bit of silly fun, check out the Escape Room. Just off the square, there’s great pizza at the Slice House and an incredible Asian fusion cafe called Jessie’s Kitchen. The bonus? Just a stone’s throw away is the small wharf where you can enjoy the water.

The Square is one of St. Mary’s County’s charming stops and is growing with lovely restaurants and shops.

Patuxent Adventure Center

Grab a kayak or a paddle board down at the wharf and make your way through the reeds and waterways which will wind you to the Port of Leonardtown Winery. Win-win. The Port of Leonardtown is among four wineries in the county and all contribute to the Sotterley Plantation Wine Fest, a local favorite.

For more details on anything we’ve mentioned, including addresses, directions, and hours of operation, check out Visit St. Mary’s County.

Travel With Terri: USA 101

Washington D.C. 101: Four Seasonal Picks For Our Nation’s Capital

Have you done it? Lots of us have. We get up one sticky morning in the heat of the summer and trek into the big city to look at lots of white marble. We walk from the tidal basin to the capitol steps and try to see everything in between. Our Washington D.C. is brimming full of some of the most amazing moments in our country’s history. And why not enjoy them? After all, the more we learn about our nation, the better we understand what it needs to thrive. But I wonder if a humid marathon to see everything in one day is really worth it. Washington DC has a lot to offer any traveler regardless of the time of year.  Here are three fair weather favorites:

Washington D.C. in full bloom

The Cherry Blossoms:

If you are going to explore those monuments, let Mother Nature be your guide! Every year, from late March to Early April, the Tidal Basin and National Mall are in full historical bloom as the cherry blossoms welcome in the warmer weather. There is something enchanting about this snowstorm in Spring and makes that epic walk even better. The bonus of learning about “Hanami” (the art of flower watching) and the story behind the trees makes it that much more enjoyable.

The National Geographic Hall:

Just a short walk from the Mall, this mini museum is a gold mine of an exhibit. NGS has done a stellar job of creating a digital environment to immerse you in whatever experience they have up and running. The first one I saw was The Tomb of Christ and it was epic! The walls come to life and the story is laid out so well. The virtual reality glasses make the experience even better. In addition to this main exhibit, there is another more traditional exhibit hall and a third covering the life of the National Geographic Society. The current exhibit is based on Jane Goodall and looks to be just as amazing!

TSNY Trapeze Class:

Located by the Navy Yard and in the shadow of the Nationals stadium, TSNY has daily flying classes for kids of all ages that let you soar through the air with the greatest of ease. They are experts at having you safely up and going and enjoying two adventurous hours. With rigging both inside and out,there is room for everyone, weather permitting. A bonus is the wonderful array of waterfront restaurants just around the corner along the Anacostia Riverfront.

Washington D.C. is home to one of TSNY's trapeze schools

The Marine Barracks at 8th and I:

It may seem obvious to some that there are a ton of military moments all over Washington, D.C. More importantly, you can enjoy them. While most visitors would say that the best place to get a little military interaction is over at Arlington Cemetery, I say hold on! Uber on over to the Marine Barracks on the corner of 8th Street and I Street on any Friday in the Summer. Here you can enjoy the weather and watch one of the oldest military traditions in our country. The Marines invite civilians to watch the Summer Drill and Concert Series. With narration included, anyone will be in awe of America’s finest and oldest command. It’s a can’t miss Friday night like no other!

city landmark building architecture
Photo by Hugo Magalhaes on

So, go. Say hello to George, Thomas, Abe, and Martin. Check out planes and rockets at the Air and Space Museum. Then go and find someplace that is a bit off the top ten list, off the beaten path. Washington D.C. has so much to offer! Go, enjoy it!

We Can Answer…

  • What are the most interesting things to do in Washington, D.C.?
  • What can I do in Washington DC on a rainy day?
  • What are some things to do in Washington DC that are not on the Mall?
  • What are some unique places to go in Washington DC?