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Governor Letters

State of Maryland


Parris N. Glendening

State of Maryland

September 30, 1997

Dear Ms. Sarsfield:

Thank you for writing about your Discover America tour. I only wish my wife Frances Anne and I could join you for the full 50 weeks. Perhaps when you arrive in Annapolis we will have the opportunity to meet.

Surely this capital city is one of Maryland's top attractions. Our State House, the same one where General George Washington resigned his commission, is the oldest capital building in continuous use in the country. You and your husband will be thrilled by the photographic opportunities of the capital dome, the surrounding water and the U.S. Naval Academy.

Driving east to west across Maryland will discover a landscape that varies from the beautiful coastal retreat of Ocean City and nearby Assateague Island, to the low, flat farmland of the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland, to the rolling hills of central Maryland, and finally into the Appalachian Mountains of Western Maryland. You have asked for my favorites so here it goes:

Ocean City -- I have vacationed here for nearly 30 years and no visit to Maryland is complete unless you experience it.

Snow Hill -- Before leaving the Eastern Shore, drive south 15 miles or so to Snow Hill on the Pocomoke River. This traditional waterman's town is traversed by one of Maryland's picturesque tidal rivers, famous for its cedar swamps.

Crisfield and Tangier Island -- Just south of Snow Hill you will find the fishing village of Crisfield, and from there the ferry will take you to Tangier Island where long-time residents still speak a unique dialect that has survived television and tourists.

Blackwater Falls State Park -- Travel north along Route 50 and you arrive in Cambridge, on the shores of the Choptank River. Don't miss Blackwater Falls State Park where, in April, the flocks of migrating waterfowl will present many photo highlights. At some point along these tidal waterways be sure to rent a canoe see natural beauty that is inaccessible any other way.

The Chesapeake Bay and Bay Bridge -- The Chesapeake Bay Bridge links Kent Island with the mainland and since the 1950s has made the wonders of the Eastern Shore accessible to millions of tourist who travel across its majestic 5-mile span. From Sandy Point State Park on the western shore you will enjoy unbelievable sunrise views. Then charter a sailboat or fishing boat and enjoy a day on the Bay, the largest such inland estuary in the world and Maryland's greatest natural asset.

Annapolis -- Our capital city, described above, is just a few miles from the Bay Bridge.

St. Mary's City/Solomon's Island -- On the southern tip of Maryland discover another side of the Bay at the point where the Potomac River ends its journey to the sea. You will be surprised to discover St. Mary's City isn't a city at all, but an historic settlement of which only remnants remain. But on this famous site rises St. Mary's College, a tiny public institution rated one of the best college buys in the country and offering spectacular water views. A few miles north brings you to Solomon's Island, at the mouth of the Patuxent River and a stones throw across the water from the Navy's largest air base - the Patuxent Naval Air Station.

Suburban Washington D.C. -- Since I live in College Park, home of the University of Maryland, this is my favorite spot in the suburbs of the Nation's Capitol. Nearby is the Port of Bladensburg from where, in 1813, British troops advanced on Washington D.C.

Baltimore -- Charm City has many highlights, but the Inner Harbor area and Orioles Park at Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles, are my favorites. Maybe you will be on time for opening day as Cal Ripken nears 2,500 consecutive games.

The C&O Canal -- Extending 184.5 miles from Georgetown in Washington D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland, you can walk or bike the entire length, or just stop by Great Falls in Potomac, walk across a footbridge to an island in the middle of the River, and ride a canal boat pulled by mules and staffed by period actors.

Antietam Battlefield - The Battle of Antietam was fought here 135 years ago and the battlefield, located near Sharpsburg in Washington County, provides a strangely beautiful setting from which to relive the bloodiest conflict of the Civil War.

Cumberland -- Westward on Route 68 brings you to Cumberland, Mrs. Glendening's hometown and end point for the C&O Canal. I love Cumberland's old-style industrial facades and clapboard houses clinging to steep slopes.

The Savage River and Deep Creek Lake -- Your travel through Maryland ends in Garrett County where the Savage River offers one of the world's most challenging white water kayaking courses, and Deep Creek Lake spreads its majestic fingers between wooded mountain slopes.

If all of this sounds too much like a travelogue you will have to excuse my enthusiasm. So much has been left out, like Havre de Grace at the mouth of the Susquehanna River, Chestertown, home of Washington College on the Chester River, and St. Michaels and Oxford, two picturesque harbors on the Miles and Tred Avon rivers. But you have just seven days. Good luck on your adventure. I envy you and look forward to hearing more about your travels.


Parris N. Glendening

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