"If I lived here...." I spent an afternoon saying that to myself. If I lived here, I'd go riding across the fields every day (I don't ride, so I'm not sure where that daydream fantasy came from).
If I lived here, I'd go kayaking along the Patuxent River.... If I lived here, I'd hang a hammock between two trees and enjoy the view and river breeze, with a glass of wine and a good book.
Most of us can only daydream about living on a place like John Phillip Greenwell Jr's farm. But his legacy to the State of Maryland ensured that lots of people for generations to come, will be able to spend an afternoon on the property that once was his farm and do some daydreaming of their own.
Greenwell donated his 166-acre farm to be used as a public park. Although Greenwell lived in Washington, D.C., and traveled the world, he treasured his time back on his farm in St. Mary's County. He granted the farm, which he called "heaven on earth" to Maryland on the condition that the park would be accessible and inclusive to people of all ages, races, abilities, and disabilities. The state subsequently purchased an additional 430 adjacent acres, creating the almost 600-acre Greenwell State Park.
Greenwell State Park is only about 20 miles from D.C. and just over 60 miles from Baltimore but vastly different from other Maryland state parks, so it's worth checking out. The park is essentially typical southern Maryland farmland that follows along the western shore of the Patuxent River.
We rambled along the different trails -- we started out on the Green Trail, found ourselves on the Grey Trail, walked along the River Trail, looped back to the Red and Yellow Trails before heading back to the car. It was a nice easy walk -- not a hike that will cause you to workout and sweat. (I eschew sweating.)
The second cove visits open fields separated by hedgerows and stream valley woodlands predominate. These open fields offer a welcome change of view. A delightful surprise includes two historic barns far from anywhere for hikers to discover. Antique farming equipment is scattered inside, and for the implements that aren't readily apparent to those of us who don't hail from a farming heritage, there are also helpful information sheets explaining what they were used for. We were the only ones in the barn -- it was fun to poke around it and explore the different spaces of the barns, imagining what it might have been like when these were actively used.
The Greenwell Foundation, which Greenwell founded, also brings wounded warriors being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and their families, to stay in the Greenwell Lodge, so they can enjoy the idealic beauty of the park.
Hours: Greenwell State Park is open from sunrise to sunset every day of the year.
Dogs: Of course!!
Website: www.greenwellfoundation.org or http://dnr2.maryland.gov/ publiclands/Pages/southern/greenwell.aspx
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