Saturday, August 31, 2019

Learn about Life on the Chesapeake at the Calvert Marine Museum

If you visit Solomons Island, MD -- and you really should go check it out -- you should visit the Calvert Marine Museum.

At the Calvert Marine Museum you'll learn about maritime history on the Chesapeake Bay, the area's paleontology (and there's quite a bit of that!), life working on the water in the Chesapeake Bay, and local estuarine life of the Patuxent River and the Bay. 

The museum presents several exhibits, including an extensive collection of historic working boats (if you've ever wanted to see an historic bugeye, this is where you'd go for that! There's a beauty in those boats that's worth seeing. 

In addition, you can climb up into the Drum Point Light, which has been restored to how it would have looked during its working life.

A high point of the museum are its several aquatic exhibits, including an outdoor habitat for the North American river otter, and indoor aquarium exhibits for the sting ray, skates, the non-native lionfish, and numerous other species native to the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

In 2018, the museum introduced its new "Dinosaurs of Maryland" exhibit, which explores the diversity and history of Maryland fossils (and fossil hunting), which makes it a good pairing with a hike to nearby Calvert Cliffs and fossil-hunting for ancient shark teeth.

Drum Point Lighthouse
This historic lighthouse is a screwpile light, with a traditional cottage on top -- one of only three remaining from the original 45 that once served the Chesapeake Bay region. It functioned as a lighthouse until 1962, when it was decomissioned. Sadly, then it fell victim to vandals and neglect, until finally it was moved to its current location in 1975. 

Now, it's restored to the time period of early 20th century, and is one of the museum's main attractions!

You can easily spend a couple hours exploring the exhibits, climbing up into the lighthouse, marveling at the fish, laughing at the otters, and learning about the hard life as a waterman working on the Chesapeake Bay. 

Kids will love it too -- this is a great place to bring the little ones, there's so much to grab their imaginations and spark an endless curiosity.

Getting there: 14200 Solomons Island Rd S, Solomons, MD 20688

Hours: Daily, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; closed major holidays.


Follow the MidAtlantic DayTrips on FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterest, and LinkedIn.

The Residence Inn by Marriott Fulton at Maple Lawn, a Dog Friendly Hotel in Howard County MD

Having a kitchen is convenient when we have an active itinerary planned!

Traveling with our furry best friends can be a challenge, so it's nice to find a hotel that's dog friendly and comfortable!

The Residence Inn by Marriott Fulton at Maple Lawn is both comfortable and dog friendly, and brand spanking new -- its grand opening was just in June, so it's got the newest and latest and greatest of everything.

Our weekend stay was hosted in its entirety by Residence Inn by Marriott Fulton at Maple Lawn. This did not influence the tone of this article; often when we travel on our jaunts we chose to stay at Residence Inns because they are both dog friendly and comfortable for multi-day stays. 

And Newt, our coonhound puppy, loved it! (For the record, there's a nice, well-lit grassy area in the parking lot area that offers a great place for our pups to do their business, with poop bags to pick up after them).

We also loved it, because it was comfortable for us and our traveling pup. There's a lot to do in the immediate vicinity, so it was easy to fill our days with daytripping activities such as hiking in Maryland's largest state park, Patapsco River State Park, on one day ...

Cascade Falls, in Patapsco Valley State Park

... and going bike-riding with our coonhound puppy the next along the C&O Canal.

Nearby Columbia offers four lakes that are fun to explore, plus bike paths that run throughout the city.

Centennial Lake offers strolls around the lake.

If you're into kayaking, there're several nearby lakes, including Centennial Lake and Lake Elkhorn in Columbia, where you can happily spend an hour exploring, or just a little further away is one of my favorite places to go kayaking, Piney Run Lake.

Ellicott City is a quaint town about 15 minutes away that offers quaint boutiques and excellent restaurants.

Baltimore's Inner Harbor is only a 30-minute drive from the Residence Inn by Marriott Fulton at Maple Lawn.

Maple Lawn, MD is ideally situated between Washington DC and Baltimore, making it an easy drive to both, although admittedly, easier to Baltimore, which is only 20 minutes away.

But at the end of a long day, if you're not up to going far, there are good restaurants within a 5 minute drive -- or even walking distance -- of the Residence Inn by Marriott Fulton at Maple lawn.

Dine in cozy elegance at Ananda.

A fresh take on meat samosas at Ananda.

During your stay, check out the nearby restaurants, such as Ananda, which offers upscale Indian cuisine;

Lib's Grill offers a nice place to hang out, with an adjacent dining area as well as a dining patio when the weather is good.

Lib's Grill, which offers inspired American fusion cuisine ...

Garlic crusted NY strip with avocado mousse hit the spot at Lib's Grill!

... Ranazul, an international Tapas restaurant, has something for everyone...

Ranazul's small plates allow the opportunity to try a variety of dishes.

Salmon medallions with grilled pineapple was one of the dishes we tried at Ranazul!

... Houston Coastal, which specializes in traditional Maryland seafood dishes and ...

Surf and turf at Houston Coastal

... Steelfire Kitchen, an all-American burger joint.

Deviled eggs with sugar-coated bacon and pecans was a delicious start to a meal at Steelfire Kitchen!

Getting there: The Residence Inn by Marriott Fulton at Maple Lawn is located at 11800 W Market Pl, Fulton, MD 20759


Follow the MidAtlantic DayTrips on FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterest, and LinkedIn.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Staying in Victorian Elegance at Haddonfield Inn

Located in one of the oldest towns in North America, the Haddonfield Inn was built as an elegant, Victorian home between 1868 and 1875 and was one of 80 new dwellings built in Haddonfield during this time. It is nestled in a neighborhood of elegant Victorian homes, like itself.

As you explore all that the region has to offer -- numerous quaint towns filled with boutiques and a variety of restaurants, breweries, wineries, and historic sites -- the Haddonfield Inn provides a comfortable haven after a busy day. In fact, nearby Collingswood and Haddonfield itself host numerous music, book, arts, and other festivals -- Haddonfield Inn, a 10-minute walk from downtown Haddonfield, is perfectly located.

In 1889, George E. Nyle purchased the home and remodeled it to the Queen Anne style.

By 1915 the house had become a rental property, and by 1919, it became a nursing home and hospital -- in fact, several guests have mentioned that either they or older family members were born there. In 1950, it became a halfway house for mental patients and then a boarding house for transient workers.

The houses's decline continued, and in the 1960s and 1970s, housed hippies, students, prostitutes and laborers. The neighbors had problems with some of the residents -- the police knew the property well.  People lived in every room - even the laundry room. The home had acquired "permastone" grey asbestos siding; the exterior was decrepit. The turret and the porch threatened collapse.

In 1984, the building's fortunes began to rise. In 1984, Mark and Christine Lenny, longtime residents of Haddonfield who had restored other Victorian properties purchased the property and immediately set to work to restore and renovate. The permastone was removed.

The porch and the turret that supported it were saved from collapse and inside, the entire house was re-plastered, painted, and refurbished. The new Queen Anne Inn opened in May 1988: it had 11 guest rooms with 4 shared baths and a resident innkeeper.

Haddonfield Inn graciously shared the recipe for Tangy Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon
Tortilla Chips -- check my FB page or Instagram to see the recipe! It's delicious!!

In June 1991, the current innkeeper, Nancy Chorpita, purchased the inn and seven years later, closed the inn for a year so it could undergo additional major renovations.

Other Victorian homes on the street are also undergoing renovation and restoration.

Now, guests enjoy Victorian elegance and comfort in eight rooms with private baths, and the Haddonfield Inn, as it's called currently, also allows its owners to live onsite on the third floor. Breakfast is cooked in the roomy kitchen and served in good weather on both the porch and in a cozy and cheerful breakfast nook. Breakfast is served in good weather on both the porch and in a cozy and cheerful breakfast nook.

This elegant stone-clad Victorian adorns the neighborhood -- and is one of my favorite houses in the neighborhood.

Getting there: 44 West End Ave, Haddonfield, NJ 08033


This inviting nook in the lovely Dublynn Room invites you to relax in comfort!

Follow the MidAtlantic DayTrips on FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterest, and LinkedIn.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Rediscovering the Arts and Crafts Movement at the Moravian Pottery

A wall of tiles in Fonthill Castle.

No visit to Doylestown, PA would be complete without a visit to the Moravian Pottery & Tile Works, adjacent to Fonthill Castle, which local archeologist, collector, creative genius Henry Chapman Mercer designed and built. In fact, both the Moravian Tile Works and Fonthill Castle came out of Mercer's genius.

By 1897, handmade objects were being discarded in favor of new machine-made goods. As an historian and an archaeologist, he sought to collect and preserve the outmoded material of daily life in America, before it was swept away by the Industrial Revolution. That included the old ways of creating things.

A fireplace mantle in Fonthill Castle, depicting the European discovery and settlement of America.

Born in 1856, Mercer had the vision to realize that industrialization was rapidly changing both how things were made, but also our knowledge of how to make things by hand -- the "old ways" of doing things. A proponent of the Arts and Crafts Movement, Mercer was intrigued by Pennsylvania Dutch red-glazed pottery methods -- artistic techniques that were rapidly disappearing -- and taught himself the skills and techniques. He was less successful as a potter than as he was a tile maker, and he soon turned his talents to manufacturing tiles.

Floor tile within Fonthill Castle.
He directed the work at the pottery from 1898 until his death in 1930.

The tiles were almost an instant hit, and a bare five years after he started the tile works, Mercer was tapped to provide floor tiles and mosaics for the Pennsylvania State Capitol building, which was being built in Harrisburg.

Fonthill Castle served as both his home and showcase for the tiles made a few hundred yards away.

The above two photos show detail from tiles above a fireplace in Fonthill Castle's great hall.

Now a living history museum, the Moravian Tile Works is maintained by Bucks County Department of Parks and Recreation. Like Fonthill Castle, and the Mercer Museum, which Mercer also built, the building housing the Moravian Tile Works is a cast-in-place concrete structure.

A factory kiln.

Today, handmade tiles are still produced in a manner similar to what Mercer developed. Tile designs are reissues of original designs.

Old tools, such as this wheelbarrow, are preserved in the factory museum.

When the Bucks County Department of Parks and Recreation took over the tile works as a working museum, all tiles made by the museum were impressed on the obverse with a stylized "MOR," the words "Bucks County" and the year of manufacture.

As you tour the museum, which is a combination video presentation and self-guided tour, you learn that the reproduction tiles made today still use Mercer's original molds, clay that is obtained locally and has properties similar to those of Mercer's original source, slips and glazes that closely follow Mercer's final formulations.

Getting there: 130 E Swamp Rd, Doylestown, PA 18901

Hours: Open daily 10 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.; closed selected holidays.

Old techniques are still employed to create tiles (which can be purchased in the Tile Works shop).

Newly made tiles.

Follow the MidAtlantic DayTrips on FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterest, and LinkedIn.

Made possible by Visit Bucks County