St. Marys City Things to Do

  • Running up to the chapel
    Running up to the chapel
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  • In the visitor's center
    In the visitor's center
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  • Costumed docent
    Costumed docent
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Most Recent Things to Do in St. Marys City

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    Spray Plantation

    by Tom_Fields Updated Nov 3, 2009

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    Tobacco was the first big, lucrative crop in the American colonies. Maryland and Virginia thrived through the brisk trade in this commodity. In fact, for many years it was used as a form of currency. It was the economic basis for a way of life here.

    The Spray Plantation, with inhabitants dressed in period garb, offers a look at the lives of typical Maryland tobacco farmers of the mid-17th century. The guides are in character, and are glad to show you around. They're friendly (and so is their cat). You can see the crops they grew for their own sustenance, where tobacco was cured (hung up in wooden sheds), and their modest homes.

    The Spay Plantation Curing tobacco The garden The cat plays with a small lizard
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    Scenic Cemetery of Marylands Founders

    by littlesam1 Updated Oct 26, 2009

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    The cemetery behind the Trinity Church is a very beautiful walk. Many of the graves date back to Marylands historical beginnings. Its location just behind the church with the hills and the waterfront behind it make it a great place for photographs and walking.

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    Visitor's Center

    by grandmaR Written Oct 15, 2009

    The Visitor's Center is a little sparse - most of the exhibits are outdoors. You CAN get a free audio tour with your admission ticket, but you have to leave a credit card or driver's license. They also have wagons (for children) and a wheelchair with the same requirements.

    Mostly the Visitor's Center shows a bit about the life in the colony

    Visitor's Center Outside of the visitor's center Cutaway of the Dove Chart showing years of varoius colonies Reconstruction from skull of Anne Calvert
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    Outdoor Exhibits

    by grandmaR Updated Oct 15, 2009

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    Almost all of Historic Saint Mary's City Exhibits are outdoors. Open seasonally, from the middle of March through November, visitors are welcome to enjoy the grounds, interpretive signage, an audio tour. There is the Woodland Indian Hamlet, and you walk a trail from the old reconstructed 1676 State House building to the Great Brick Chapel (also reconstructed). The Town Center includes Smith's Ordinary, a re-creation of an ordinary or inn typical of Maryland in the last quarter of the 17th century, Cordea's Hope, a storehouse, and the Print House.

    One of the most interesting places is The Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation (the family is fictious, but is based on fact). In addition to finding out how families lived and farmed in those days, nearly all the small children will be interested in the animals. Nearly every household had hogs and some cattle which foraged in the woods for food. They also usually raised chickens which were kept in hen houses at night to protect them from predators

    You do have to visit the Visitor's Center first to pay your admission.

    Seed tobacco flowers Barn from the road Plantation house and garden Chickens Inside a tobacco barn
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    Historic St. Mary's City

    by grandmaR Updated Oct 15, 2009

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    We went to St. Mary's City when we first moved here 35 years ago, but we haven't been again until 2009 when we had a visiting grandchild. This illustrates my theory that if I don't visit places where I live when I first move there, that I won't get them visited.

    Fall Season 2007 - September 18 through November 24

    Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. $10.00 adult, $8 seniors (60+), $6.00 student (13-18 years or college ID), $3.50 ages 6-12, Child (5 and under) free. Audio tour rentals are an additional $3. On Sundays, living history exhibits are closed

    Holiday 2007 - November 28 through December 23
    The Shop at Farthing's Ordinary will be open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Visitors may watch the museum's introductory video at the shop, rent an audio tour ($3/unit), view interpretive signage on site, and enjoy museum grounds while the living history exhibits are closed.

    Holiday 2007 - November 28 through December 23
    The Shop at Farthing's Ordinary will be open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Visitors may watch the museum's introductory video at the shop, rent an audio tour ($3/unit), view interpretive signage on site, and enjoy museum grounds while the living history exhibits are closed.

    Winter Season 2008 - January 9 through March 9
    The Shop at Farthing’s Ordinary will be open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Visitors may watch the museum's introductory video at the shop, rent an audio tour ($3/unit), view interpretive signage on site, and enjoy museum grounds while the living history exhibits are closed.

    Spring Season 2008 - March 11 through June 14
    Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

    Summer Season – June 18 through September 14
    Wednesday - Sunday, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

    Fall Season 2008 - September 16 through November 29
    Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

    Holiday 2008 – December 3 – December 21
    The Shop at Farthing’s Ordinary will be open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

    Dove and church point from Horseshoe Bend Framing the past exhibit Dove from the water Trinity Church from the water
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    Visit the Chapel and Tobacco Plantation

    by DEBBBEDB Written Oct 15, 2009

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    We went to the Visitor's Center first. According to the lady there, there were two groups of kids - 8th grade and fourth grade. We saw the 8th graders at the Indian settlement area. They were from Calvert County. We also saw a private school bus from Odenton, and some kids from St. Michaels, a Catholic school in St Mary's County at the tobacco farm. My daughter enjoyed the animals at the tobacco farm. And we also visited the newly reconstructed chapel - she ran ahead of us on the path.

    Costumed docent In the visitor's center Running up to the chapel Looking at a display in the chapel Eighth graders in the Indian section
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    Point Lookout

    by Tom_Fields Written Jun 26, 2009

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    On the southernmost tip of Maryland, where the Potomac River empties into the Atlantic, lies Point Lookout. It's a place of both scenic and historic value.

    The sea and river seem to stretch on forever. During the Civil War, this was a POW camp for the Union Army. The Hammond Hospital treated thousands of sick and wounded soldiers. The lighthouse is available for public tours, but only on certain specific dates. See the website for more details.

    There are also hiking trails, fishing, and boating facilities. Be sure to visit the Confederate war memorials on the way.

    The lighthouse Looking up the coast from Point Lookout Monument to Hammond Hospital Memorial to Confederate POW's held here
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    Hiking at St Mary's City

    by Tom_Fields Written Jun 24, 2009

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    You can begin your visit to St Mary's City at the Visitors Center, near the southern end, or at Farthing's Ordinary at the northern end. Either way, here are a few highlights.

    The restored State House has a courtroom, meeting rooms, a secretary's office, and offices. In front are stocks, where miscreants were punished. It's a the north end.

    The Chapel stands on the original site. Archeologists discovered the remains of the town's earliest residents here, just a few feet below the ground.

    The Calvert family founded Maryland; to this day, the state flag displays their coat of arms. George Calvert had been given a land grant in the American colonies by King James I, for his outstanding service. A Catholic, he named his new colony Maryland for the Virgin Mary. His home is being explored by a team of researchers.

    William Nuthead set up the first print shop in the new colony, in 1685. It's also been restored, with a replica printing press.

    The Maryland Dove and the Ark brought the first settlers to Maryland in 1634, landing at St Clements Island. A replica of the Dove is docked on the Potomac River.

    The Yaocomaco Indians, the area's aboriginal inhabitants, welcomed the settlers with their more advanced technology. Some brave souls even moved into the Indian villages. One such village is recreated here.

    Mathias de Souza, the colony's first black resident, came as an indentured servant of the Jesuits. He later became a free man, and attended a meeting of the Maryland Assembly here. This made him the first Afro-American to participate in a legislature in the American colonies. A small plaque memorializes him.

    The State House The Chapel The Nuthead Printing House Archeological dig at the Calvert House The Maryland Dove
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    So where are the Arc and the Dove

    by littlesam1 Updated Nov 14, 2007

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    Historically the Ark and the Dove brought 140 settlers to the shores of St. Mary's County in 1634. The is a relica of the boats on the waterfront just behind the State House. The can be viewed and tours are available. However on the day I was here I walked down the path to see the boat and there was no boat. There was a sign saying the boat is located here. There was descriptions, and a place to stand in line to visit the boat. But there was no boat! I have no idea where it was or why it wasn't there. It might have been out on a goodwill tour for the State of Maryland, or may have been someplace getting repairs. There was no sign or information about its whereabouts. So some forty years after learning about the Ark and the Dove in elementary school, I finally get to St. Mary's City, and I still have not seen the boat.

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    Walking around the State House

    by littlesam1 Updated Nov 14, 2007

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    Walking around the State House you will find the river front and a small path leading down the the landing where the relica of the Ark and the Dove are located. There is a fee to tour the State House and to walk through the historical area. I arrived in mid afternoon on a Sunday and was able to walk around the historical area without paying the fee, as it was late and they were getting ready to close for the day.

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    Public Humiliation for punishment

    by littlesam1 Updated Nov 14, 2007

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    The colony of Maryland did not have capitol punishment. Instead, much like the Pilgrims at Plymoth Rock, the colonist used public humiliation for punishement. There is a historical walk around the State House building. Here I found this example of stocks used for punishment.

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    One of the oldest churches in Maryland

    by littlesam1 Updated Nov 14, 2007

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    Historically the Trinity Church is the oldest church in Maryland. However the current building was built in 1829. Bricks from the original state house were used to build the church building. The history of this church as connects to the Civil War prisoner of war camp I wrote about in my tips on Point Lookout State Park in Maryland. The minister of the church during the Civil War period in Maryland was alledged to be be a southern sympathizer. Maryland was a Union State but was very divided by the war. The pastor was forbidden to minister to the Civil War prisoners at the Point Lookout Prisoner of War Camp.

    Check out my tips on Point Lookout State Park for more informatin on the prisoner of war camp and the memorial to the prisoners.

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    Trinity Church

    by littlesam1 Updated Nov 14, 2007

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    Trinity Church dates back to Maryland's origins. The original Trinity Church was erected on Trinity Chreek in 1638. It was moved to a location in St. Mary's City in 1642 however the exact location is not known today. There is a lot of history connected with the original church and the colony of Maryland. Founded by Catholics the colony later became lead by Anglicans. The church today today is an Episcopal Church which is part of the Anglican Church.

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    Marylands First State House

    by littlesam1 Updated Nov 14, 2007

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    The replica of the original Maryland State House in St. Mary's City is located on a beautiful hill side over looking waterfront. I am told that the house standing today contains bricks and stone from the original state house, although I have not found any facts to prove this point. On the weekends you will find actors dressed in traditional colonial garments doing enactments and leading tours of the historical area.

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    Role Playing at the Maryland State House

    by DEBBBEDB Updated Oct 9, 2007

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    I took the older children down here to experience Maryland History. Special events scheduled on weekends from March through December offer visitors unique opportunities to work alongside professional archaeologists, churn butter, watch a militia drill, or shoot a bow and arrow. The picture shows my son giving the signal to fire a cannon

    In addtion to the reconstructed State House of 1676 (where I got to play Margaret Brent), there are Smith's Ordinary, and the Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation, a working colonial farm, tell a unique story about the colony that became Maryland.

    My son giving the signal to fire a cannon
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