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Chesapeake Light Craft and the Business of Building Boats


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  • 1805 George Avenue - Annapolis
  • Maryland 21401 - United States
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A Nation Divided

Walking the fields where Blue met Gray, you'll gain a new appreciation for the Civil War's tragedies and triumphs."

Some of the most pivotal clashes of the Civil War were fought on Maryland soil. Start your trip with an eight-and-a-half-mile driving or cycling tour of Washington County's Antietam National Battlefield, site of the bloodiest one-day battle in American history. On September 17, 1862, General Robert E. Lee pitted his 41,000 men against a Union force twice that size; by nightfall, more than 23,000 soldiers were dead, wounded or missing. Today, more than 350 monuments decorate the battlefield.

Visit the Boonsborough Museum of History, which contains items from both the Antietam and Gettysburg battles. Then have dinner in nearby Hagerstown, the site of several smaller battles and a launching point for still others. In fact, in 1864, the city was threatened with destruction by a Confederate general unless a $20,000 ransom was paid.

Travel southeast to Frederick County, where a crucial battle to prevent an invasion of Washington, D.C., was fought on July 9, 1864. At Monocacy National Battlefield, you'll see where a small Union force of 5,800 managed to stall the advance of a Confederate army of 18,000 for a full day. The rebels eventually won the field, but the battle lasted long enough to allow troops to assemble to protect the capital.

The Barbara Fritchie House and Museum in nearby Frederick is a reconstruction of the original home of the sassy heroine immortalized in a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier for the wit and courage she showed while heckling rebel soldiers as they passed through town. Also in Frederick is the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, where the harsh realities of 19th-century battlefield medicine are examined, as well as the compassion exhibited and advances made by medical personnel on both sides.

Carroll County remained relatively untouched by the battles which raged around it, but it played an important part in the days leading up to the Battle of Gettysburg. Retrace the paths of the Union and Confederate armies as they moved toward that monumental encounter on the "Roads to Gettysburg" driving tour. This 25-stop journey includes a mini-tour detailing Corbit's Charge, a cavalry skirmish that prevented Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart's men from reaching Gettysburg in time to deliver critical support to Lee's forces.

Both Union and Confederate troops bivouacked at Union Mills within the same day on their way north. The Union Mills Homestead, a clapboard farmhouse, still stands today. The family that built the home, the Shrivers, sent men to fight on both sides of the war.

Stroll Charming Annapolis

The colonial era comes alive amid the streets and historic homes of Maryland's capital.

Maryland's three-century-old capital city is a blend of perfectly preserved Colonial, Victorian and Federal architecture that gently rises along the shores of the fabled Chesapeake Bay and Severn River. Start your journey with a tour - either self-guided (with an audio tape featuring Walter Cronkite), by minibus, or led by a Colonial-era costumed guide.

You'll soon be immersed in one of America's most enchanting cities. From the magnificent William Paca mansion and its two acres of gardens to the majestic Chase-Lloyd, Charles Carroll and Hammond-Harwood houses, you'll find that much of Annapolis has remained intact since the growth that followed the city's becoming the state capital in 1695. The historic City Dock has been in use for more than three centuries, and the grand Maryland State House boasts America's largest wooden dome constructed without nails.

Part of the city's unique charm comes from the fact that it's home to two celebrated institutions of higher learning. Start the back-to-school portion of your journey at the United States Naval Academy, which has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception in 1845, but always stayed true to age-old traditions. At the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center, you can pick up a map or join a guided tour to learn about the rigorous life of a midshipman. Then go to the Naval Academy Museum to learn about John Paul Jones and other legendary naval leaders and tour the amazing model ships and naval memorabilia collected over the centuries. Massive Bancroft Hall, one of the largest dormitories in the world, is home to all 4,000 students. Stop at the Herndon Monument, which is ascended each year by the first-year "plebes" - a task made more challenging because upperclassmen slather the obelisk with slippery lard.

Just a short walk away is a school of an entirely different sort: St. John's College. The third oldest college in the nation counts Francis Scott Key among its alumni and bases its curriculum solely on literary classics known as "The Great Books."

London Town, one of Maryland's early settlements, never grew to become a full-fledged city. But remnants of the past remain, and you can explore them yourself at the Historic London Town House and Garden, which is now home to the state's largest on-going archaeological dig. Overlooking the South River, the land looks today much as it did when the home was built. Spend the morning roaming eight acres of beautiful gardens and woods that surround the house.

Nearby, on the West River, the restored Capt. Salem Avery House will introduce you to the life of a 19th-century Chesapeake Bay waterman. Then get your own sea legs on and spend the afternoon on the Bay aboard one of the many tour boats that ply the waters of this natural wonder - and sail past a man-made wonder, the awe-inspiring Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Along the Shore

Between Bay and ocean lies a landscape blessed with small-town charms and filled with unforgettable moments.

The city of Salisbury, at the heart of this peninsula, presents a picturesque collection of colonial homes and inns along the Wicomico River. Visit the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art and discover the region's rich traditions of decorative carving. Head to the free Salisbury Zoo and see animals from all over the western hemisphere, including alligator, bison and jaguar. Tour the city's historic homes and mansions that line the Wicomico, then sample some of Maryland's world-renowned seafood at a Salisbury restaurant.

After a leisurely breakfast, head for nearby Crisfield, a port town that has barely changed since the 1800s. From there, you can arrange to cruise to Smith Island, where the natives speak an ancient-sounding English much like that of the area's original settlers.

Then make your way into Maryland's only seaside county, Worcester. Stop in Snow Hill to see the Furnace Town Historic Site, featuring the 19th-century Nassawango Iron Furnace, or head to see the renowned historic architecture of the town, which was founded in 1642.

Your Lower Shore adventure next leads to the Assateague Island State Park and National Seashore and the famous wild ponies roaming the beaches. As the afternoon fades, head for one of the region's most popular resort destinations, Ocean City. Its expansive sand and historic boardwalk are perfect for long, slow walks. Kids of all ages will thrill to a ride on the restored, 109-year-old, hand-carved carousel, only one of ten of its type still in operation in the United States. Grab some ice cream and find a spot to settle in and relax with the sounds of ocean waves lapping at the shore.