St. Marys City Travel Guide

  • Running up to the chapel
    Running up to the chapel
    by DEBBBEDB
  • In the visitor's center
    In the visitor's center
    by DEBBBEDB
  • Walk up to the church
    Walk up to the church
    by grandmaR

St. Marys City Things to Do

  • Spray Plantation

    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...

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  • Scenic Cemetery of Marylands Founders

    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

    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

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  • Outdoor Exhibits

    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...

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  • Historic St. Mary's City

    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 24Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m....

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  • Visit the Chapel and Tobacco Plantation

    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...

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  • Point Lookout

    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...

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  • Hiking at St Mary's City

    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...

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  • So where are the Arc and the Dove

    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...

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  • Walking around the State House

    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...

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  • Public Humiliation for punishment

    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

    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...

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  • Trinity Church

    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...

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  • Marylands First State House

    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...

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  • Role Playing at the Maryland State House

    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 cannonIn addtion...

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St. Marys City Local Customs

  • Scarecrow Statements

    Just north of St. Mary's City on Route 5, there is a house with a little garden. Guarding the garden is a scarecrow. Originally when the scarecrow was put up in 1993, he was just an ordinay scarecrow. But over the years, the gardener has improved the appearance of the scarecrow and improvised interesting poses. The scarecrow was named Ross because...

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  • Chapel Reconstruction

    They have almost completed reconstructing the "Good Brick Chapel" of the 1667 St. Mary's City site on the foundations of the original. Traditional timber scaffolding was used (see second photo), and the bricks that are visible are wood fired from local clay just as the originals were. The mortar that was used has been made from oyster shells just...

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  • The Governor's Cup

    The Governor's Cup is a sailboat race which is run every year on the first weekend in August from the present capitol in Annapolis to the first capitol in St. Mary's City. After the race (which is open to almost any kind of sailboat) the cruiser's anchor at Horseshoe Bend and either party or sleep or both. The race is usually over by Saturday...

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St. Marys City Off The Beaten Path

  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Mattapany is on the Patuxtent River Naval Air Station You can of course drive along the old road. The area may have taken its name from the Mattapanient Indians who lived nearby.

    The sign (which is across the highway from the road) says 'Mattapany Street the first road built by the colonists in Maryland. It led from "St. Marys" to "Mattapany" on the Patuxent River referred to in 1639 as the "Mattapany Path".' At the time the road was built, the site would have been occupied by the Jesuits whose goal was to convert the native people to Christianity.

    The historical Mattapany-Sewell mansion is the oldest flag quarters in the U.S. Navy and as Quarters A has been home to many of the base COs. Nicholas Lewis Sewall, son of Henry Sewall, most likely built the mansion known today as Mattapany-Sewall, around 1742.

    Two different archeological expeditions were done at the site - one in 1981when they were considering where to locate a pipeline and a second one about 10 years later.

    The website on the archeological work says:

    "The manor at Mattapany, specifically called Mattapany-Sewall, was granted to Henry Sewall in 1663 in exchange for 15,000 pounds tobacco. The total area measured out to 1,000 acres, a sizable amount of land even by the standards of the time. At this time, Henry Sewall was a close friend of the Calvert family, and is listed as a merchant and Secretary...at the time of his death, he owned perhaps 8,000 acres. Henry Sewall was survived by his widow and children, Nicholas, Elizabeth, Mary, Anne, and Jane, and to them he left the great majority of his estate, including Mattapany.

    "... In 1661, Charles Calvert (son of the second Lord Baltimore) assumed the office of Governor, having just arrived in the Maryland colony. He lived first at St. John’s in St Mary’s City, and then moved to Mattapany-Sewall in 1666 upon marrying the widow Jane Lowe Sewall. In 1676, Charles became the third Lord Baltimore; he returned to England in 1685 and later died in February of 1715."

    Mattapany Street
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    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

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St. Marys City Sports & Outdoors

  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    by grandmaR Written Jun 17, 2003

    Horseshoe Bend, between Horseshoe Point and Church Point on the east shore and Pagan Point on the west shore is a good big but protected anchorage. It's best to anchor on the south side because if you have a boat with a keel, the current will keep the boat swinging around if you anchor at the north end.

    Equipment: Bring everything you need because there are no services here. You can bring a dinghy in to the St. Mary's College docks, but other than touring St. Mary's City, or going to the post office or church, there's nothing here for the cruisers. There is a gas station and mini mart (Cooks) up the road about 5 miles, and another one in the other direction about 5 miles - that's all.

    St. Mary's College waterfront Church Point Closeup of the point with a cross Trinity Episcopl Church,  St. Mary's City fr. boat Horseshoe bend at the time of the Gov's Cup
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    • Budget Travel
    • Cruise
    • Sailing and Boating

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St. Marys City Favorites

  • Re-enactment

    St. Mary's City was the site of the fourth permanent settlement in British North America, and was Maryland's first capital. Costumed interpreters in recreated 17th-century settings tell the stories of Maryland's first years, when St. Mary's was the colony's capital. Outdoor exhibits include the reconstructed State House of 1676, Smith's Ordinary,...

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  • School and Group Trips

    The big brown sign points to the St. Mary's City Visitor's Center & Museum Shop ("An Outdoor Living History Museum - Maryland's First Capitol 1634-1695") which is open Tuesday to Sunday 10-5 . The small white sign near the ground (under the sign pointing towards Mattapany) says "St. Cecilia Catholic ChurchDaily Mass 7:30 amSaturday Vigil Mass 4:30...

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