Founded as the sole Catholic colony in strongly Protestant America, and, in the nineteenth century, one of the most contentious slave states in the Union, MARYLAND has always been unique. Within its small, irregularly shaped geometry, its attractions range from the frantic boardwalk beaches of Ocean City, to the sleepy fishing villages of the Chesapeake Bay and the little-known hamlets of the Eastern Shore. The Chesapeake Bay’s legendary blue crabs and sweet rockfish are another highlight, served by roadside eateries in the Bay’s colonial-era towns.
Maryland’s largest city is the busy port of Baltimore, a quirky metropolis with a revitalized urban waterfront, thriving cultural scene and eclectic neighbourhoods. Western Maryland stretches over a hundred miles to the Appalachian foothills, its rolling farmlands notable chiefly for the Civil War killing grounds at Antietam. Just twenty miles south of Baltimore, picturesque Annapolis has served as Maryland’s capital since 1694 and is best known for its national naval academy. Some of the state’s most worthwhile spots are across the Chesapeake Bay on the Eastern Shore, connected to the rest of the state by the US-50 bridge but still a world apart.Read More
Thanks to TV’s potent The Wire, BALTIMORE has a reputation as a city in deep decline, its glory days of port industry now distant, and its various criminals fighting desperate wars of survival. While it’s true that there are crime-ridden places in town worth avoiding, Baltimore is still among the more enjoyable stops on the East Coast, and its closely knit neighbourhoods and historic quarters provide an engaging backdrop to many diverse attractions, especially those along its celebrated waterfront. The city also boasts top-rated museums, which cover everything from fine arts to black history, to urban archeology, and has been home to everyone from writers Edgar Allan Poe and H.L. Mencken, to civil rights icons Frederick Douglass and Thurgood Marshall.
Maryland’s capital since 1694, ANNAPOLIS has changed little in size and appearance over the centuries, its charmingly narrow, time-worn streets making it among the more engaging small US cities. At the centre of annapolis, overlooking the town’s dense web of streets, stands the stately Georgian beauty of the Maryland State House (Mon–Fri 9am–5pm, Sat & Sun 10am–4pm; free tours by request at t 410/974-3400). The structure was completed in 1779, and for six months between 1783 and 1784, it served as the official Capitol of the US, and remains the nation’s oldest statehouse still in use. The Old Senate Chamber, off the grand entrance hall, is where the Treaty of Paris was ratified in 1784, officially ending the Revolutionary War. A statue of George Washington stands here on the spot where, three weeks before the treaty signing, he resigned his commission as head of the Continental Army. Also on the grounds of the State House is the cottage-sized Old Treasury, built in 1735 to hold colonial Maryland’s currency reserves.