Spring 2014

Ghost battlefields

War of 1812 sites hiding in shadows of today’s development

Out & About the Chesapeake

Out & About the Chesapeake

Ned Smith Center for Nature & Art Festival

Lighthouse Adventure Cruises

Chesapeake People

Virginia Forest Zipline

5th annual Watermen’s Appreciation Day

Richmond Splash & Dash on the James

Revolutionary London Town

The Pride of Baltimore II

MD Seafood Festival

Staff and Wire Reports
Explore Harriet Tubman Country

Explore Harriet Tubman Country

Bike offers freedom to go beyond ‘road closed’ signs

Land is not only more complex than we know. It is more complex than we can know but endless fun in the trying.

Explore just a single patch of farm field and woods on different days, in different seasons, with a birdwatcher, a developer, a historian or a soils scientist, a farmer, a child, a beagle. So many countries you’ll see, and no way to see it whole — like looking directly into the sun.

Tom Horton
Rappahannock River Valley

Rappahannock River Valley

Refuge’s tracts part & parcel of its diversity

Visitors to the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge may experience this linear refuge in any number of ways, depending upon who — or what — they are.

For some, the refuge represents outdoors recreation opportunities for all ages and all abilities provided by the access to water and wildlife — a respite from our on-demand digital age.

But for the animals, birds, amphibians and fish that live year-round in its wetlands, forests and fields, or migrate here to breed in the spring and summer or find food during the winter, it is a refuge from the encroachment of human development.

Leslie Middleton
Fones Cliff-hanger

Fones Cliff-hanger

Fate of bird area tourism hangs in the balance

Capt. John Smith may, or may not have been the first “tourist” to see Fones Cliffs on the Rappahannock River; there were Spaniards in the Chesapeake before him. But he was the first that we know of who wrote about them.

On Aug. 19, 1608, Smith and a dozen crewmen sailed up the river past the cliffs. They were not well-received.

Joel Dunn
Ad for rainbarrel depot
Swell shells

Swell shells

Fossil hunting a pleasant pastime around the Bay

If you pull a fan-shaped shell from a stream in southeastern Virginia this summer — especially if that stream lies east of Interstate 95 — pay attention.

You may have found the trace of an ocean ecosystem that covered the Virginia coastal plain 4.5 million years ago.

Officially known as the Chesapecten jeffersonius, this scallop shell became the state fossil of Virginia in 1993. Lauck Ward, curator emeritus at the Virginia Museum of Natural History, helped to name it.

Lara Lutz
Slow steam ahead

Slow steam ahead

Boats await those seeking crabbing’s idle pace

Drive up to Schnaitman’s Boat Rentals in Wye Mills, MD, and it’s as if you stepped back in time.

Even on a windy day, the Wye River is calm. Couples from New Jersey and Pennsylvania idle away the day in skiffs and rowboats, crab traps and lines overboard, hoping to catch some dinner. When they do, they bring it in, and Schnaitman’s steams up the catch — some of the fattest, prettiest crabs one’s likely to see in a long time.

Rona Kobell
From urban eyesore to awesome escape

From urban eyesore to awesome escape

Water tours reveal Anacostia’s evolving reputation

The driver of our pontoon boat cut the motor as we ducked into a marsh branching off the Anacostia River.

Here, the murmur of the city gave way to chirping birds and the greening landscape of Kenilworth Marsh, the only freshwater tidal wetland on the river that has remained largely intact over its complicated history.

Whitney Pipkin
War of 1812’s ghost battlefields

War of 1812’s ghost battlefields

Sites hiding in shadows of today’s development

Everyone lives on the landscape, in one form or another. Some pause long enough to look at it; a few spend their lives looking deeply through its surface to see what others miss.

Ed Seufert is in the last category. I met Ed during my latest wanderings on the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail. I wanted to trace the Battle of North Point, where the British launched an attack on Baltimore during the War of 1812. A Baltimore native and re-enactor for the War of 1812, Ed agreed to be my guide.

Lara Lutz
Halfway house for hikers

Halfway house for hikers

Museum celebrates Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail was conceived in the 1920s as a getaway that would allow East Coast city dwellers to flee to the trail, and trailside communities, to recover from their stressed lives.

Nearly a century later, it appears that’s needed more than ever. Between 2 million to 3 million people hike a portion of the 2,180-mile dirt path each year. There, they can explore forests, watch wildlife and scan mountain vistas — often within a couple of hours from urban centers such as Richmond, the District of Columbia and Baltimore.

Karl Blankenship
When the Chesapeake restoration effort began, scientists and policymakers raised red flags on the problem: continued rapid growth could easily counter any potential gains from ecological improvements. Twenty-five years later, the clean-up effort lags and the topic of growth receives little serious engagement. Even those who express concern about the true costs of growth tend to accept it as unavoidable reality, treating growth as an unquestioned force of nature that must be “accommodated.” Questioning traditional concepts of growth is avoided among political leaders and environmental groups, and little is taught or discussed in the region’s academic institutions. This makes it critical to re-examine concepts of growth, or the acclaimed bay’s restoration — and quality of life in the region — may be jeopardized.

Spring 2014