A weekend of varied activities is ahead for daytrippers. Begin at Maryland's original settlement at Historic St. Mary's City, where 17th-century re-enactment units from all over the East Coast will gather for the Grand Militia Muster on Saturday and next Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
St. Maries Citty Militia, the settlement's own living history militia group, will act as host for the muster, which is the largest %J gathering of its kind. It includes units from the English Civil War Society, the James Fort Militia from Jamestown, Va., and contingents representing units from the English Civil War. Each unit will set up camp in the fields around the old State House and compete with other groups in pike, musket drill, swordplay, camp cooking and historic costuming. On Sunday at 2:30 p.m., after a review of the troops, awards will be presented to the best units.
Admission is $5 for adults; $3 for seniors; $2 for ages 6 to 12, which includes admission to all the museum attractions.
While in the area, don't miss the St. Mary's County Oyster Festival Saturday and next Sunday at the county fairgrounds near Leonardtown.
Top attractions will be the National Oyster Cook-off Saturday and the National Oyster Shucking Championship Contest Sunday. There will also be non-stop musical entertainment, square dancing, clown shows and pony rides for children, arts and crafts, free oyster-shucking lessons and oysters prepared in every conceivable way, as well as other foods.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $2; free for children. The fairgrounds are two miles south of Leonardtown on Route 5. Call (301) 863-5015.
Battle of Cedar Creek
The Civil War Battle of Cedar Creek will be re-enacted during a two-day living history weekend Saturday and next Sunday on battlefield grounds near Middletown, Va.
It was one of the bloodiest battles of the war and the only recorded instance during the Civil War in which both armies won and lost a battle on the same day. The battle won by the South will be staged Saturday at 4 p.m., and the final victory by the Union army will be re-enacted Sunday at 2 p.m. Confederate and Union camps will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Some 3,000 re-enactors, dressed in period attire, will take part in dress parades, infantry drills, cavalry skirmishes, artillery demonstrations, and signal, medical and engineering corps demonstrations.
Belle Grove Plantation, situated in the midst of the battlefield, was Gen. Philip Sheridan's headquarters during the battle. Throughout the weekend, costumed members of the Frederick Ladies Relief Society will be engaged in household activities and offer first-person impressions of the life of the period.
A $5 admission charge includes parking, entrance to Belle Grove and battlefield activities. Food will be available at the site, and carriage rides will be available from the Visitor Center to the battlefield for a small fee. The battlefield is on U.S. Route 11, one
mile south of Middletown. Call (703) 869-2064.
Reopening of art galleries
Two days of family activities are planned Saturday and next Sunday to mark the reopening of the newly reinstalled Medieval and Early Renaissance Galleries at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The 25 galleries will contain 400 works of art dating from 1100 to 1530, including paintings, sculpture, architecture and the decorative arts.
Reinstallation Family Weekend features activities related to the medieval and early Renaissance period, including workshops, craft demonstrations, musical performances, puppet shows, juggling and children's activities. Workshops will be offered in hats, heraldry, armor and dance. Members of the Society for Creative Anachronisms, dressed as royal courtiers, will greet visitors at the east and west entrances of the museum and present dance and fencing demonstrations, fashion shows and children's games throughout both days. Programs run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. All are free, but some programs require a ticket, which will be available in the West Foyer on the day of the program. Call (215) 763-8100.
Crafts people, peddlers, musicians and dancers will re-create the life of an 18th-century autumn market fair Saturday and next Sunday at the Claude Moore Colonial Farm at Turkey Run in McLean, Va.
Visitors can join in the games, try their hand at candle making, make a potpourri sachet, check out the "latest" hats at the millinery stand and enjoy period food. Entertainment will include a Colonial puppet show, and 18th-century music and dancing. The program will run from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., weather permitting.
Admission is $3 for adults; $1.50 for senior citizens and ages 3 to 12. The farm is at 6310 Georgetown Pike in McLean. Call (703) 442-7557.
Autumn Glory Festival
Many will head for Western Maryland next weekend and the 26th annual Autumn Glory Festival in and around Oakland from Thursday through Sunday.
The weekend kicks off with an Oktoberfest celebration and firemen's parade Thursday evening. Country star Ricky Skaggs is scheduled for two performances at Southern Garrett County Senior High School, at 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Friday. Other top events include the Autumn Glory Grand Feature Parade, the Western Maryland Tournament of Bands, and the Official Maryland State Fiddle and Banjo Championship on Saturday; a car show, air show and square and round dance on Sunday. In addition there will be arts and crafts, an antiques show, gospel and bagpipe concerts, a Tall Tale Liars' Storytelling Festival, turkey dinners and many other activities. For a complete schedule, call (301) 334-1948.
Victorian Week in Cape May
Victorian Week in Cape May, N.J., marks its 20th anniversary with 10 days of tours, workshops, lectures, fashion shows, craft show, Ragtime Gala and other festivities through next Sunday. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts, the event has been named one of the "Top 100 events in North America" by the American Bus Association.
Several new events are planned this year, including a Victorian Arts and Crafts workshop; a mystery tour through the world of Victorian manners, modes and pastimes; Cape May Fish 'N Ships Adventure, which combines a tour of Fisherman's Wharf, a cruise and a meal at a famous seafood house; a living-history presentation at the Cape May Light House, Victorian Homes and Gardens Tours, and a tour of six homes with emphasis on kitchens and dining traditions. Call (609) 884-5404.
Apples and balloons
West Virginia beckons travelers with two big events this week. The Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival in Martinsburg from Thursday through next Sunday is one of the state's most popular fall festivals, offering a 2 1/2 -hour grand features parade on Saturday, a huge arts and crafts show, square dance, grand ball, antique car show, apple contests and foods. Call (304) 263-2500.
During the same four days the Mountaineer Balloon Festival attracts visitors to Morgantown from throughout the eastern United States. They can see as many as 50 colorful hot-air balloons floating above the hills of flaming fall foliage. Musical entertainment, arts and crafts, carnival rides and other activities make this another top fall attraction. Call (304) 296-8356.