10. Bowling is easier here
- Life in Maryland
Pimlico's Black-Eyed SusanIngredients:
- 1 oz. vodka
- 1 oz. Mount Gay Eclipse Barbados Rum
- 1/2 oz. Cointreau (or another brand of triple sec)
- 6 oz. orange juice
- 3 oz. pineapple juice
Combine ingredients, stir and pour over crushed ice. Garnish with a small skewer of pineapple, orange slice and cherry.
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>9. This is lacrosse central
Boys do it, girls do it, coeds do it and lots of people watch. We're talking about lacrosse, a sport that has entertained Marylanders for decades. The first women's team was established at the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore in 1926. Johns Hopkins University, Loyola and the University of Maryland have made at least one appearance in the NCAA Division I men's championship game since 1989, and Hopkins netted six titles from 1977 to 1987. Appropriate to the state's rich lacrosse tradition, the Lacrosse Museum & National Hall of Fame can be found on the Johns Hopkins University campus, and the Baltimore Bayhawks are one of six professional teams in Major League Lacrosse.
8. Our schools are cool
Without even leaving the state, Maryland coeds can spend four years studying the "great books" they should have read in high school (St. John's College in Annapolis); play on a championship chess team (University of Maryland, Baltimore County); compete for a literary prize worth more than $60,000 (Washington College in Chestertown); or earn the only master's degree in publications design offered in the United States (University of Baltimore).
7. Our rails make great trails
What do you do with miles of railroad tracks that aren't needed anymore? In Maryland, outdoor enthusiasts and conservation groups ripped them up and converted the flat, linear corridors into recreational trails ideal for biking and walking. The paved, 13-mile Baltimore and Annapolis Trail follows the route of the old B & A Shortline Railroad between Glen Burnie and Annapolis. The Northern Central Railroad Trail is a rural sanctuary that skirts the Gunpowder Falls River for 21 miles from Cockeysville to the Pennsylvania border, where it joins the York County Heritage Trail. The 20-mile Western Maryland Rail Trail near Hancock, west of Hagerstown, curves along the Potomac River. Not built on a rail bed but stupendously flat and scenic enough to merit mentioning, the C&O Canal Trail runs 184.5 miles from Washington, D.C. to Cumberland. Hearty souls who want to bike the whole trail can camp at riverfront sites along the way and refuel in quaint towns like Harpers Ferry and Shepherdstown, W.Va.
6. Wild horses drag us away
To the beach, anyway. Maryland is home to Assateague Island National Seashore, a remote barrier island where approximately 160 wild ponies roam. Some people believe the horses' ancestors swam to the island after the Spanish ship that was carrying them sank offshore in the 1600s. Others say they are descendants of horses that were hidden on the island by 17th century owners trying to avoid fencing and taxation laws. Either way, the horses present a good excuse to visit this isolated, windswept island. Trails lead to interesting natural habitats, and the bay and salt marshes are ideal places to canoe and kayak. Many visitors to Assateague camp right on the beach or bay in campgrounds maintained by the National Park Service. Hearty campers can backpack or paddle to two oceanside or four bayside back country campsites.
5. We like to horse around
Wild ponies may roam in Assateague, but you don't have to travel to the shore to catch a glimpse of horses here. Only three states have the distinction of hosting a "jewel" in thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown, and Maryland is one of them. On the third Saturday in May, about 35,000 pastel hat- and suit-wearing sophisticates fill the air-conditioned grandstand of Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course, sip Black-Eyed Susans (see sidebar) and clap gloved hands as their horses cross the wire. Another 60,000 hedonists jam the infield, some arriving well before dawn to secure track-front real estate where they might imbibe, eat, play, nap, imbibe some more, mingle, disrobe, sunbathe (or mud wrestle, weather depending) and, finally, gawk as the Preakness entrants thunder by just feet away. After the crowd dissipates and the debris is hauled away, the only thing remaining on the infield is an iron horse-and-jockey weather vane that is repainted with the winner's colors each year.
4. Our "Bergers" are of the chocolate variety
Generations of chocaholics grew up on Berger cookies, a killer confection heaped with gobs of chocolate fudge. As these chocaholics went away to college, got married and fanned out across the country, they introduced countless others to the sweet, filling, cavity-inducing bliss that Marylanders have enjoyed since Henry Berger emigrated from Germany to Baltimore in 1835. Distribution of Berger cookies is limited, so devotees procure fresh supplies on visits to Maryland or order 15-ounce boxes or two-pound tins online at www.bergercookies.com.
3. Our bay is big and beautiful
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the country, and the intersection of sea and fresh water makes it a fruitful breeding ground for plant and animal life. The shoreline of the bay and its tributaries tops 11,600 miles, more than the entire West Coast of the United States. For the non-ecologically oriented, this translates into a 4,400-square-mile aquatic playground for fishing, swimming, powerboating, sailing, swimming, sunrise- and sunset-watching, and eating a fair share of the 500 million pounds of seafood that are plucked from the bay each year.
2. It's okay to be crabby
You can't go to many corners of Maryland without seeing a T-shirt that reads "I'm Crabby" or "Maryland is for Crabs." Neither of these unofficial slogans tantalizes the emotions the way, say "Virginia is for Lovers" does, but they illustrate how these edible crustaceans are deeply ingrained in the state's identity. From May to October, "picking crabs" is commonplace at backyard barbecues and in crab houses from Hagerstown to Ocean City. First-time pickers often blanch at our ritual of cracking shells, sucking claws and licking fingers. However, the first sweet, succulent bite of steamed crab usually silences the groans.
1. It's easy to get away
Now that we've told you some good reasons to come to Maryland, we'll tell you why you should leave. Major cities, mountains, lakes, the ocean and small towns are all within convenient day- or weekend-trip distance. Visit the free Smithsonian museums and enjoy various ethnic cuisines in Washington, D.C. (less than an hour by car or MARC commuter train); explore colonial history and nosh on cheese steak sandwiches in Philadelphia (one hour by Amtrak and two hours by car or Greyhound bus); people-watch, shop and celebrity hunt in New York City (2 1/2 hours by train, four hours by car or Greyhound bus). And, with your own wheels, you can hit the beach or climb mountains in less than three hours.