Old-timers well remember Sandy Point as the site of a slip that was used by ferries that took 25 minutes to cross the Chesapeake to the Eastern Shore in those pre-Bay Bridge days. Younger people know Sandy Point for its wonderful state park, which offers many good picnic sites and recreation venues for activities that range from jogging and swimming to flying a kite.
Summer is always a good excuse to revisit Sandy Point, although it is popular in the fall and spring, too. This year, there is another reason as well: The park's four-year renovation program, undertaken by the state at a cost of $7.1 million, is nearly completed.
Among new amenities offered at the 1,000-acre state park are a dozen large shelters that opened last summer, additional ballfields, bathhouses, playgrounds, parking lots and concession stands. There is a more convenient launch area for sailboats and 22 power-boat ramps have been refurbished.
This is particularly good news for many of the area's anglers who use the park as the starting point for fishing expeditions.
Other improvements have also been made. Last winter, woodcutters removed several dangerous dead trees and limbs from campgrounds.
Sandy Point has room for about 2,100 vehicles and 9,000 people a day. On beautiful days, its popularity is assured.
"There still seems to be that trend where people are staying closer to home. We have benefited from that trend of people going and spending the day," says Jay A. Cuccia, of the Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks Department.
There is good news for another Anne Arundel County recreation site as well. A long-overdue restoration is about to commence at the 230-year-old London Town Public House and Gardens in Edgewater.
Overlooking the South River, the place is a gem; it just needs some polishing. A representative of the non-profit organization that takes care of the historic site says that the plan is to do the work over the next three years.
Anne Arundel County's waterfront parks function as a kind of environmental release valve. Aside from being places of rest, they give inhabitants a taste of the water and so, perhaps, lift some development pressure off the fragile shores of Chesapeake Bay. If you haven't been to Sandy Point in a while, it's worth a return trip.