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May 12, 2011

Five things to do outdoors this weekend

Looking for adventure, bragging rights, a better sense of Maryland history? Step right up and try one of these outings this weekend. 

1) Built in 1930, the stately Woodmont Lodge in Washington County has been visited by seven presidents who loved to fish the nearby Potomac River and Babe Ruth. Now you can visit the lodge from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday during an open house. Volunteers from the Izaak Walton League will describe the history of the lodge, DNR staff will discuss the early days of conservation and wildlife management and conservation organizations will have displays. The lodge is at 11761 Woodmont Road, off exit 77 of I-68. For information call 301-842-2155. While you're out there, stop in Hancock and walk the width of Maryland along Pennsylvania Avenue--it will take you about 30 minutes to walk the 1.7 miles.

2) Fear the turtle no more. Visit the Terrapin Institute during its open house on Saturday, noon to 3 p.m. and see terrapins up close, take a tour of the facility and take home something from the native plant sale, fishing display, and toursBring a picnic lunch and hang out. The institute is at 6311 Neavitt Bozman Road in Neavitt. More: 410-745-8359 or

3) The National Sailing Center and Hall of Fame in Annapolis is playing host to one of the Chesapeake Bay's best-known vessels this weekend: the Sultana, a 51-foot replica of a Revolutionary War-era schooner, will arrive Saturday afternoon from St. Michaels and will depart on May 20.

4) On Saturday, stretch your legs on a 7-mile hike in Patapsco Valley State Park's Hilton Area with the Howard County Sierra Club. Bring lunch and water. Meet at 9:15 at the parking lot behind the Hilton Area Nature Center, just inside the Hilton Avenue entrance on the right. Details from James Perschy: 410-964-1902 or

5) On Sunday, take a walk on the Loch Raven Dam and learn how a structure built in the 1920s was renovated. Just north of the bridge at the Pines Area on Loch Raven Drive the Department of Natural Resources Scales and Tales program will display rescued animals and naturalists will talk about the critters in the watershed, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. At 10:30 and 12:30, join a guided hike in the woods around the reservoir. Details: 410-396-3500.

Posted by Candus Thomson at 7:00 AM |
About Candus Thomson
In a world of paper vs. plastic and candy mint vs. breath mint, my early memories involved a debate about the merits of freshwater vs. saltwater.

On the one hand, a great uncle’s fishing cabin on the Susquehanna River beckoned, but so did family gatherings on the Jersey Shore.

The correct answer, thankfully, was, “both.”

As The Sun’s outdoors writer for more than a decade, I’ve fished across Maryland in one day, hiked the width of the state in one hour, camped overnight in the median of I-95 to experience the wildlife between the fast lanes and chased mountain bikers in a 24-hour marathon race.

Those are some of the highlights. I’ve also fallen in a raging Gunpowder River during a trout survey (photo available upon request), had a shark spill its guts on my clothes and been stuck in a sub-freezing Vermont wilderness with men armed with flintlocks and hatchets, shuffling along on ancient wooden snowshoes.

And, in my travels I’ve met lots of you, who share a love of the outdoors and the good times and mishaps that go along with it.

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