The Beauty Around Us

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Posts from the ‘Maryland’ category

On This Day in 2007 – Montpelier Mansion

The date was May 27, 2007.  While visiting relatives in Virginia Bob and I made a day trip to Laurel MD, where I had lived from May 1991 through April 1997.  I still had friends in the neighborhood, where I used to live.  We made the day trip that day to visit my friends.  We had about an hour to spare before we were expected by my friends, so Bob and I visited nearby Montpelier Mansion.

Montpelier200705_001Montpelier Mansion

Montpelier Mansion is one of the finest examples of 18th century Georgian architecture in the state of Maryland.  The original owners of Montpelier Mansion were Major Thomas and Anne Snowden, who welcomed into their home many distinguished guests including George Washington and Abigail Adams.

We walked through a lovely garden.

Montpelier200705_005Garden and Brick Portico

I took a couple close-up photographs of the flowers in the garden.


Montpelier200705_012We saw an artist painting the garden at Montpelier Mansion.

So, there you have it — a look back on one of my memories from May 27, 2007.

Frederick County, MD Covered Bridges and a Waterfall

This is the second of three blog posts about our Winter Weekend Getaway in Shippensburg, PA.

Saturday, January 2, activities included a driving tour of three covered bridges in Frederick County, MD; hiking to Cunningham Falls near Thurmont, MD once in the morning and another time in the afternoon; and lunch at Mountain Gate Family Restaurant in Thurmont, MD. The three covered bridges that we saw were: Utica Mills Covered Bridge, Loy’s Station Park and Roddy Road Covered Bridge.

We began the tour of the covered bridges north of Frederick at the junction of US15 (Catoctin Mountain Highway) and Old Frederick Road. We turned right onto Old Frederick Road, which we followed for 1.5 miles.  We made a left onto Utica Road and arrived at Utica Mills Covered Bridge.

_LG14341 11x15Utica Mills Covered Bridge

We returned to Old Frederick Road and make a left turn. We drove 3.9 miles to a stop sign, located in Creagerstown.  At the stop sign we turned left onto MD550. We drove 0.4 miles and made a right onto Old Frederick Road. We traveled an additional 2 miles and made a left into the parking lot of Loys Station Park.

_LG14344 4x6Loys Station Covered Bridge

Loys Station Park would be a great place for a picnic.  The park includes picnic tables, grills, playground, covered shelters and portable bathroom facilities.

From the parking lot of Loys Station Park, we turned left and drove through the bridge. We drove 0.3 miles to a stop sign, where we made a left turn onto Rocky Ridge Road (MD77). We drove 2.7 miles on Rocky Ridge Road and turned right onto Apples Church Road in Thurmont. We followed Apples Church Road for 1.6 miles to the Roddy Road Covered Bridge.

_LG14354 4x6Roddy Road Covered Bridge

I would like to thank Eileen, author of the Viewing Nature with Eileen blog, who gave me the heads up regarding these three covered bridges.  Thank you, Eileen!  We enjoyed visiting each of these covered bridges!

From the Roddy Road Covered Bridge we drove to Cunningham Falls State Park (William Houck Area entrance), where we followed the Lower Falls Trail to Cunningham Falls.

_LG14358 4x6
Lower Falls Trail to Cunningham Falls

The Lower Falls Trail is the shortest and easiest access to Cunningham Falls.  The trail over rolling terrain is 0.5 miles long and terminates at a platform observation deck that provides a view of Cunningham Falls.

_LG14359 4x6
Cunningham Falls

Located nearby, but not accessible, was another platform observation deck. We wondered how to access the other observation deck, as it appeared to provide a better vantage point from which to see Cunningham Falls.

Cunningham Falls is not the only attraction at Cunningham Falls State Park.  Hunting Creek Lake is located in the park’s William Houck Area as well.

_LG14363 4x6
Hunting Creek Lake

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After taking a couple pictures of the lake, we left Cunningham Falls State Park to go to lunch. We ate lunch at the Mountain Gate Family Restaurant, which was suggested to me by Eileen, the same person who gave me the heads up regarding the covered bridges.  Bob and I each ordered the buffet lunch. There were several foods to select from. We enjoyed our respective meals.

While at lunch I discovered that there was a nature trail from the Catoctin Mountain Park Visitor Center to Cunningham Falls, to the other observation platform that we had seen in the morning. The trail was 2.8 miles round trip. We decided to hike this trail. Oh my! What a hike! The hike was mostly uphill. We climbed over tree roots and rocks.

_LG14367 4x6Catoctin Mountain Nature Trail to Cunningham Falls
I drew an arrow on both photographs to show part of the trail.

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I was very happy, when we reached the boardwalk to the falls.

_LG14371 4x6Bob is on the boardwalk leading to Cunningham Falls.

_LG14378 4x6Cunningham Falls

The view of the falls was nice, but I didn’t feel the view was any better than what we had seen in the morning. You can see the other viewing platform in the photograph displayed above.

Bob left me at the falls, and he took the nature trail back to the Catoctin Mountain Visitor Center. Bob said that I would have had trouble making the return trip on the trail, as it was downhill most of the way and a steep descent in places. Bob drove our car to the handicap parking lot next to the boardwalk and picked me up.

We returned to the hotel around 4:45 pm, where we remained for rest of the day.

Sunset at Rose Haven, MD

I joined the meme, Skywatch Friday, today. It is my first entry into this meme.

In October my husband and I attended my cousin’s wedding at Herrington on the Bay in Rose Haven, Maryland. The wedding was beautiful and was nicely capped with a stunning sunset over the bay.

Go and check out more Skywatch Friday images at the Skywatch Friday Site!

Weekend in Annapolis – Day 3 (Last Day)

We spent the morning and part of the afternoon of Sunday, October 11th, in downtown Annapolis and at the United States Naval Academy. We took the 8:50AM shuttle bus from our hotel to downtown Annapolis. We walked once again to the Maryland State House, where I took another photograph from a different vantage point than that taken on Friday afternoon.


After photographing the Maryland State House, we entered the U.S. Naval Academy via Gate 1 (Prince George & King George Street entrances). Only a photo ID was required for admission to the naval academy. Our first destination was the bay front. We enjoyed the view of the sailboats on Chesapeake Bay and those at the sailboat show. We were happy that we could see the boats and the bay without having to pay $17 each!


After taking in the view of the sailboats we visited Bancroft Hall and walked about the grounds of the naval academy.

QA111876_edited-1Bancroft Hall

QA111893_edited-1Memorial Hall

We saw everything we wanted to see, except the chapel interior and John Paul Jones’ crypt.  Neither the chapel nor the crypt would open until 1:30PM. We were at the crypt, finished with our self-guided tour of the naval academy, at 11:30AM. We opted not to stick around for 2 more hours, thus deciding not to see the chapel and John Paul Jones’ crypt.

QA111908_edited-1U.S. Naval Academy Chapel

We ate lunch at Buddy’s Crabs and Ribs. We had eaten at this restaurant 11 years ago, when we first visited Annapolis. That visit to Annapolis was one of our first dates. The food at Buddy’s was as good now as it was then.

Would you like to see a photograph of Bob and me in Annapolis taken in May 1998? Yes? I thought you would. The picture displayed below was taken at the Annapolis Harbor. It gives you an idea what the harbor looks like when the sailboat show isn’t in town!

Weekend in Annapolis - Day 3 (Last Day)

After lunch we caught the 1:30 PM shuttle bus back to our hotel. We spent rest of the day napping and relaxing in our hotel room. We even ordered dinner delivered to our room — pizza and a side salad.

Weekend in Annapolis – Day 2

My cousin, Vernon, and Wendy were married on Saturday, October 10. The wedding took place on the grounds of Herrington on the Bay, which is a marina resort located in Rose Haven, MD, along the Chesapeake Bay. Rose Haven was approximately a 30-minute drive from our hotel in Annapolis. The wedding didn’t take place until 4:00 PM; however, Bob and I made a point to arrive early so that we could take in the sights of the resort, as well as spend a little bit of time before the wedding ceremony with Vernon and his brother, Randy.

We found Vernon on the grounds of the resort around 2:30 PM. We were able to chat (and take pictures) for about 30 minutes before the professional photographer arrived with Wendy.

QA101651_edited-1Vernon and Randy at Herring Bay Bridal Garden

The formal wedding photographs were taken before the wedding ceremony and took no more than 15-20 minutes.

QA101656_edited-1Wendy and Vernon

QA101677_edited-1Vernon and Wendy with their Families at Herring Bay Bridal Garden – East Beach

Soon after the formal wedding photographs were taken the bridal party went inside the Historic Yacht Club. I stayed at the bridal garden, watching the final preparations. Flowers were brought in and hung on shepherd hooks at each row of seats; a basket full of wedding programs was placed on a table; and the Chuppah was decorated.

[NOTE: “The Chuppah (hoop-pa) represents the home that Vernon and Wendy will establish together. The Chuppah is open on all sides so that family and friends will always feel welcome in their home.”]

QA101695_edited-1The Chuppah

The guests started to arrive at 3:45 PM. The wedding ceremony began promptly at 4:00 PM.  This was the first Jewish wedding that Bob and I attended.

Escorted by her parents, Wendy entered the Herring Bay Bridal Garden; soft music was playing in the background.

QA101726_edited-1Wendy, escorted by her parents

Vernon, who was at the Chuppah with the rabbi, the best man, the groomsmen, the maid of honor and bridesmaid met Wendy at the first row of guests.

QA101725_edited-1Vernon at the Chuppah

QA101728_edited-1Vernon escorted Wendy to the Chuppah, signaling the start of the ceremony.

QA101729_edited-1Vernon escorts Wendy to the Chuppah

The wedding ceremony began as a few moments were taken to remember all of those loved ones who are no longer with us to share in this special day. After this moment of remembrance, the Rabbi said blessings over the wine. Vern and Wendy drank the wine from the same cup, “symbolizing that married life halves bitterness and doubles sweetness”. Then came the exchange of vows and rings, followed by the signing of the Ketubah.

[NOTE: The Ketubah is the legal marriage contract. It is one of the oldest elements of the Jewish wedding ceremony and has played a significant role in the Jewish wedding for over 2,000 years. It describes the couples responsibilities and commitment to each other. The Ketubah is traditionally signed during a private ceremony just prior to the wedding services. However, Vernon and Wendy have chosen to sign it as part of their service so that their guests can hear the words and witness the signing of this very special document.”]

The Ketubah was signed by Wendy, Vernon, two witnesses and the Rabbi.

QA101751_edited-1Wendy, signing the Ketubah

After the Ketubah had been signed, the Rabbi recited the Seven Blessings.

[NOTE: “There are seven traditional blessings in a Jewish wedding ceremony. They are a biblical tradition that began in the days of Abraham and Sarah. They wish the bride and groom happiness, love, companionship, and peace.”]

After the Rabbi had recited the Seven Blessings, Wendy and Vernon were pronounced husband and wife. Vernon was told that he could kiss the bride.


At the conclusion of the wedding ceremony, Vernon stomped on a glass, shattering it.


[NOTE: “There are many interpretations of this {breaking the glass} tradition, but two are most significant. The first is to remember the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. The second is a reminder that relationships are fragile and must be treated with great care, love, and mutual respect, lest they break apart.”]

Once the glass was broken, guests shouted, “Mazel Tov!” (“Congratulations!”).” After breaking the glass, Vernon and Wendy and their wedding party walked away from the Chuppah. The time had come for dancing, celebration and dinner.
The wedding reception was held in the Historic Yacht Club. We congregated first in the Island Room, where we congratulated the newly married couple and enjoyed a tasty selection of Hors d’oeuvres, drinks and conversation. The selection of Hors d’oeuvres included seasonal fruits, melons and berries; a variety of cheeses served with gourmet crackers and flat breads; crab dip served hot with French baquettes, filet mignon canapes and coconut fried shrimp. The Island Room is softly lit and has quiet nooks surrounding an open central square. The open central square has an overlook from above, which makes a great place to watch the bride and groom’s first dance. We did this, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Soon it was announced that dinner was ready. We moved from the Island Room, upstairs to the elegantly decorated Chesapeake Room. We picked up our name tag from a table at the top of the stairs. Each couple had an assigned table, which was identified on the name tag. We sat at table 3 with three other couples. Dinner was served buffet style and included Caesar Salad, rolls and butter, Prime Rib of Beef, chicken breast topped with crabmeat, red potatoes, and green beans with almonds. Dinner was delicious.

QA101781_edited-1Vernon and Wendy at our table

The Harbour Deck on the second floor offered an expansive view of the bay and harbor. We enjoyed a beautiful sunset while eating dinner.


After dinner we watched Vernon and Wendy’s first dance from the overlook of the Island Room.


We made our way down to the Island Room in time to see Wendy dance with her father.

Everyone was then invited onto the dance floor. Those who danced looked like they were having a good time. I enjoyed watching, and photographing, those who were dancing.

Vernon and Wendy cut the cake around 7:30 PM. They did not smash the cake into each others’ faces. Instead, they carefully fed each other a piece of cake.


After the cake cutting ceremony we witnessed a dance in which the bride and groom were lifted up on chairs by the guests and whirled around.


A short time later we witnessed another traditional Jewish dance in which the bride’s parents sit on chairs and the guests dance around them. This dance was performed because Wendy was her parents last child to wed.

Vernon and Wendy’s wedding contained many beautiful customs and traditions. Bob and I were very glad to be a part of Wendy and Vernon’s special day. Congratulations Vernon and Wendy!

*** Please note that those portions of this blog in blue typeface were obtained from Vernon and Wendy’s wedding program. ***

Weekend in Annapolis – Day 1

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, we spent the weekend of October 9th in Annapolis, MD. We stayed three nights at the Best Western Annapolis. When I made our hotel reservation I was not aware that the United States Sailboat Show was being held October 8-12, followed by the United States Powerboat Show on October 15-18. According to information on the Internet, the United States Sailboat Show is in its 40th year and the United States Powerboat Show is in its 38th year. Both shows are the oldest and largest, new in-water boat shows in the world. The Powerboat Show and the Sailboat Show attract more than 50,000 boating enthusiasts from around the world to the Annapolis waterfront. I guess we were lucky to get a room for the weekend. After we checked in, I overheard a man and woman inquiring as to the availability of a room. There were no rooms available at Best Western. In fact there were very few rooms available anywhere in or near Annapolis, unless you wanted to pay $400+ per night. Wow, we didn’t even spend $400 for three nights!

We checked into the Best Western Annapolis around 2:30PM. At 3:50 PM we caught a shuttle bus to downtown Annapolis. As a convenience for its guests, many of whom were in town for the sailboat show, our hotel provided complimentary shuttle bus service to downtown Annapolis all weekend long. It was nice not to have to fight traffic to get downtown. Also, riding the shuttle bus eliminated having to find parking in downtown Annapolis, which was running at a premium ($20 and up for all-day parking).

We soon learned that the entire waterfront was not visible, as it was blocked off for the sailboat show.

Annapolis Waterfront

Admission to the sailboat show was $17.00 each, a fee that we did not wish to pay. After all we were neither looking to buy or sell a sailboat nor was there a sailboat in our dreams!

Instead of walking along the waterfront, we visited the Maryland State House until it closed at 5:00PM. The Maryland State House is the oldest state capitol still in continuous legislative use and is the only state house to have ever served as the nation’s capitol.

Maryland State House
(as seen from Thurgood Marshall memorial)
the Maryland Federalist
You can read all about the Maryland Federalist by clicking here.

The Continental Congress met in the Old Senate Chamber from November 26, 1783, to August 13, 1784. George Washington came before Congress during that time to resign his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. In addition the Treaty of Paris was ratified, which marked the official end of the Revolutionary War.

Old Senate Chamber
(front view)
Old Senate Chamber
(back view)
the new House Chamber
the new Senate Chamber

We caught the 5:30PM shuttle back to our hotel.

There were several restaurants located across the street or within a mile of our hotel. We chose to eat dinner at Boston Market. I ordered a chicken pot pie with fresh fruit and corn bread. Bob ordered 1/2 chicken with two sides and corn bread. Both of our meals were good.

We returned to our hotel after dinner. We spent rest of the evening in our room relaxing.

From Autumn to Summer

Bob and I are on vacation this weekend. We’re attending the wedding of one of my cousins. He is being married south of Annapolis, MD, along the Chesapeake Bay. We left our home in NW Pennsylvania at 7:00 this morning. It was rainy; there was a chill in the air. The further East we drove the better the weather. We just checked the weather conditions at home — cloudy and 54 degrees. Here in Annapolis, it is in the 80s and sunny at 6:00 in the evening!

I will post details of our weekend, along with photographs, once we get home.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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