WITH BEACH traffic gone and trees ripe with color, South County roadways beckon, especially for day-trippers with a fancy for museums.
The 32-acre Historic London Town House and Gardens in Edgewater is the largest and most ambitious museum in the area. The county-owned complex includes the Colonial-era William Brown House and an archaeological dig.
Director Greg Stiverson presents a busy calendar of fall events, centering first on Halloween and then Christmas. Daily hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays; admission is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for children.
Smaller museums are in Galesville and Shady Side. They are the product of volunteers and their raffles, bake sales, sweat equity and, most significantly, dedication.
Mavis Daly, who helped put together the Shady Side Rural Heritage Society, said the successes in her neck of the woods result from the exertions of relative newcomers. "We've accomplished what we have with a cadre of retired and semi-retired people who seem to think it's important to do something for their community," she said.
What they've done is set up the Capt. Salem Avery House Museum in Shady Side. Parts of the house date to 1860 and include period furnishings and exhibits on local history and culture. It is on East West Shady Side Road and open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays; admission is free.
Nearby, the Galesville Heritage Society operates its Heritage House in the rear of the West River Market on Main Street and has exhibits on local history. The Steward Colonial Shipyard on Riverside Drive was one of the first Colonial shipyards and was burned by the British in 1781. Both are open from 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays, and no admission is charged.
Galesville also includes the Hartge Nautical Museum, in the Hartge family boatyard at the end of Church Lane. The exhibit chronicles the history of one of Maryland's major boat-building clans. It is in a beautiful setting that overlooks the West River. It is open daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. Admission is free.
"We have had the time, the ability, I think, and the interest to make this happen," said Daly. "It's all volunteer work by very dedicated people who come into it with more a more passionate feeling than paid people."
Jan Hardesty calls it "dressing the town." She and scores of other Annapolitans will plant some 4,000 daffodil and tulip bulbs Saturday to ensure a colorful spring. Hardesty, new chairwoman of GreenScape 2000, said 1,000 of the bulbs will be installed along the newly constructed Spa Creek Connector, which runs between West Street and Truxton Park. That is one leg of the Colonial Annapolis Maritime Heritage Trail being established through the city for cyclists and joggers.
GreenScape usually takes place on the third Saturday in April and involves, with significant help from the city, extensive planting and cleanup of parks, all by volunteers.
Alderman Ellen O. Moyer said about 3,000 bulbs are being planted at 20 sites around the city in hopes of their blooming during the Star class international sailing competition in May. She noted that fall plantings preceded the Whitbread Round the World Race two years ago.
"We like to dress up the city for large international events," she said, revisiting a popular metaphor in the bulb-planting crowd. "In fact, the streetscape has been improving generally over the years, making parts of the city parklike."