“The diverse range of attractions and destinations in the state affords both residents and out-of-state visitors with opportunities to discover authentic Maryland experiences throughout the year,” says Margot Amelia, executive director of the state tourism office.
“Our state is brimming with history, culture, recreation and sheer natural beauty.”
Each month, the tourism office spotlights a single travel theme. Here are a dozen travel suggestions, which reflect the destinations and events that will be highlighted on a monthly basis in 2013:
January – Winter Fun – Western Maryland’s Wisp Resort, located by Deep Creek Lake (Garrett County), features skiing and snowboarding instruction this month. Also, Jan. 6 is Winter Trails Day at Wisp – children and adults can try snowshoeing and cross-country skiing for free. State Parks throughout Maryland are also celebrating Winter Sports and many parks have warm accommodations featuring wood stoves, and heat.
February – Hollywood on the Chesapeake – The Academy Awards telecast, Feb. 24, conjures up images of Maryland locations featured in the movies. Since hometown directors Barry Levinson and John Waters put Baltimore on the map with films such as Diner and Hairspray, the state has been known as “Hollywood on the Chesapeake”. Most recently, Golden Globe favorite Game Change has made Maryland home. In the recent past, the Eastern Shore town of Berlin (Worcester County) became well known for the romantic comedy Runaway Bride, starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. The Atlantic Hotel, built in 1895, was a prominent backdrop. These days, “Second Fridays” in Berlin showcase the town’s arts and entertainment district.
March – Harriet Tubman Centennial – This month marks the 100-year anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s passing. During a commemorative weekend, there will be a groundbreaking for the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park near Cambridge (Dorchester County) and a ribbon-cutting for a similarly named Tubman Byway that extends 125 miles in Maryland. Jazz musician Marcus Shelby also presents a Tubman musical tribute with a March 10 concert at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort in Cambridge.
April – Chesapeake Campaign- Beginning this month, a number of Maryland towns commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812’s Chesapeake Campaign – a series of British invasions that began with an attack on Elkton (Cecil County) at the head of the Chesapeake Bay. This 200th anniversary serves as a reminder to the history and heritage of North America’s largest estuary. One way for visitors to navigate around the bay is aboard charter boats. A great way to mark the April beginning of the trophy season for Maryland’s state fish, the striped bass (rockfish), is aboard a charter boat with a captain knowledgeable about where the big ones are biting.
May – Wine and Mom – Wine in the Woods, May 18-19 in Columbia’s Symphony Woods (Howard County), is one of the year’s major wine festivals. In addition to being a showcase for Maryland’s increasing number of winemakers, the festival offers two stages of live entertainment, wine seminars, arts and crafts, and of course, an array of wine tastings. For a unique outing for Mother’s Day, consider visiting one of Maryland’s 60 wineries located from the mountains to the ocean.
June – Free Stuff in the Free State – Free attractions abound in the “Free State.” St. Mary’s College of Maryland (St. Mary’s County) presents free, outdoor concerts on Friday evenings during the first half of summer. The River Concert Series, on select dates in June and July, features guest artists who perform with the college’s resident ensemble, the Chesapeake Orchestra.
July – Buy Local – Maryland’s Buy Local Challenge, during the last week of the month, encourages residents (and visitors) to eat at least one item from a Maryland farm each day. Fresh, seasonal items from local sources include products from Maryland wineries and craft breweries. The cluster of wineries along the Frederick (County) Wine Trail accounts for more than half of the state’s wine production. Several breweries are also in this area.
August – Dogs Day of Summer – Since the 2011 passing of Fido-friendly legislation, Maryland restaurants, accommodations and attractions have been working to unleash pet-friendly practices. Tourism officials in Annapolis say their colonial-era town – especially suited for a stroll – is one of the state’s most pet-friendly destinations. Ellicott City has a wine store that even hosts a monthly Yappy Hour.
September – Uniquely Maryland – The Maryland Seafood Festival, the weekend after Labor Day at Sandy Point State Park (Anne Arundel County), is an event with a distinct “Old Bay” flavor. Chesapeake Bay seafood takes center stage amid a celebration that includes a crab soup cook-off, craft beer tastings, chef demos and live entertainment.
October – Horsing Around – Maryland’s equestrian heritage is in the spotlight at Maryland Million Day, Oct. 6 at Laurel Park (Prince George’s County). This one-day stakes program offers purses totaling $1 million. The nominated horses that run in this annual event are the progeny of nominated stallions in the state. Fair Hills International in Elkton features dressage, endurance and stadium-jumping competitions. According to the Maryland Horse Industry Board, Maryland has more horses per square mile than any other state.
November – Art of the Chesapeake – The Waterfowl Festival, Nov. 8-10 in and around Easton (Talbot County), is emblematic of the “art of the Chesapeake Bay.” This annual weekend event, which began in 1971, is a celebration of wildlife art and Chesapeake Bay culture. Festival proceeds benefit conservation efforts across the bay region. More than 300 wildlife artists and artisans participate.
December – Main Street Holiday Shopping – Local merchants and proprietors along Maryland’s nearly two-dozen designated Main Streets offer neighborhood shopping and entertainment throughout the year – especially during holiday time. Main Street development has spurred the revitalization of historical commercial districts. The program has evolved through a partnership between the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and National Trust for Historic Preservation.
To learn more, visit http://visitmaryland.org
About Maryland tourism
The Maryland Office of Tourism is an agency of the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Visitors to the state spent more than $14.3 billion on travel-related expenses in 2011. During 2011, the Maryland tourism industry also generated close to $2 billion in state and local taxes and provided more than 131,000 jobs to Maryland residents.