Category Archives: Museums and Historic Sites

Point Lookout State Park

11175 Point Lookout Road, Scotland, MD 20687
Phone: 301-872-5688
http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/southern/pointlookout.asp

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MUTCD_RS-063_svg Fishing Area MUTCD_RS-068_svg Hiking Trail MUTCD_RS-044_svg Picnic Site MUTCD_RS-017_svg Pets on Leash MUTCD_D9-3_svg Camping mutcd_rs-054_svg-boat-ramp

Located at the tip of St. Mary’s County at the confluence of the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay, Point Lookout served as a watch post during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.  During the Civil War, it served as a Union hospital and a prison camp for captured confederate soldiers.  There are 143 wooded campsites available; 26 of these have full hook-ups. 31 of these have electric.  One campsite for youth groups is also available; reservations are required for the youth group site by calling the park.  The park features three fishing areas available 24 hours, including a 710 foot pier (24 hour operation May 1-November 30). A valid Chesapeake Bay Sport Fishing license and appropriate stamps are required. Swimming is available from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  Lifeguards are on duty.  The beach area has grills, picnic tables, and a playground.   Facilities include showers and restrooms.  A boat launch facility and fish-cleaning station are available for boaters. Boat rentals and supplies are also available at the camp store.  The Civil War Museum/Nature Center is open seasonally.  Park open daily dawn to dusk April – October and 10AM to 4PM, November – March.  Call for museum hours.  Point Lookout occasionally fills to capacity on summer weekends and holiday weekends.  During these times you will not be able to enter the park, nor will you be able to drive through the park.  You may call 301-872-5688 to check on our visitation volume, however we can make no guarantees that we will not be filled to capacity by the time you arrive.

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Newtowne Neck State Park

Newtown Neck Road, Compton, MD 20627
Phone: 301-872-5688
http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/southern/newtowne.asp

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Cradled by Breton Bay, the Potomac River and St. Clements Bay, this 776-acre property of woodlands, wetlands and agricultural fields recently purchased by the State of Maryland offers low impact recreational opportunities such as biking, walking, birding and fishing. Capt. John Smith explored the waters surrounding the property in 1608. Newtowne was the first settlement in the Maryland province after St. Mary’s City. Its geographic location places it within view of St. Clement’s Island where the English colonists first landed in 1634. Prior to its settlement by the colonists, the Piscataway Indians and their forebears had occupied the site for many centuries. The park is open daily dawn to dusk. Check website for park opening dates.

Greenwell State Park

25420 Rosedale Manor Lane, Hollywood, MD 20636
Phone: 301-872-5688 or 301-872-5389
http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/southern/greenwell.asp
http://greenwellfoundation.org

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Greenwell offers nearly 600 acres, 10 miles of trails, and 2 miles of waterfront along the Patuxent with an accessible 50 foot pier.  Kayak/canoe launch sites, beach and picnic areas throughout.  Wheelchair accessible facilities include the Pavilion and Knott Lodge (an overnight facility for up to 16 guests).  Historic Rosedale Manor, the Chapel and gardens can be reserved for weddings and special events.  Horseback riding programs, summer camps and special events are offered.

Tudor Hall

41680 Tudor Place, Leonardtown, MD 20650
Phone: 301-475-2467  •  www.stmaryshistory.org

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Tudor Hall was originally built in 1744 and was enlarged in the 1760s. This Georgian-style house became the home of Phillip Key, uncle of Francis Scott Key, author of the Star Spangled Banner. Unusual features of the house are the inset portico, the main hall’s hanging staircase, and a “triple fireplace” in the kitchen. Maryland War of 1812 Site. Tudor Hall serves as the research library for the St. Mary’s County Historical Society and also houses the Historical Society’s bookstore with books on genealogy, and local and regional history.

Summerseat Farm

26655 Three Notch Road, Mechanicsville, MD 20659
Phone: 301-373-6607  •  www.summerseat.org

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With a history dating back to the late 17th century, Summerseat is a 120-acre working farm with a Queen-Anne style house, outbuildings including meat and dairy houses, barns and gardens.  Summerseat breeds the only publicly accessible herd of American Buffalo in the region.  The farm has other animals, a vineyard and trails including a Bluebird trail.  Tables and a gazebo are available for picnickers. Check the website for special programs, events, and facilities rental information.

Sotterley Plantation

44300 Sotterley Lane, Hollywood, MD 20636
Phone: 301-373-2280  •  www.sotterley.org

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Overlooking the scenic Patuxent River, the plantation encompasses nearly 100 acres of open fields, gardens, and shoreline.  Sotterley Plantation is the sole surviving Tidewater plantation in Maryland that is fully interpreted and open to the public.  Construction of the now rare “earth-fast” main dwelling began in the early 1700s.  The house grew over time into a rambling residence featuring fine period woodwork.  Highlights include the shell alcoves in the drawing room and the hall staircase. Over 20 outbuildings are part of the site’s 300 plus year evolution including a Customs Warehouse, Smoke House, and an original Slave Cabin dating to the 1830s.  The site also features a museum shop and nature trails.  Accessible by water, call for information.

Piney Point Lighthouse Museum and Historic Park

44720 Lighthouse Road, Piney Point, MD 20674
Phone: 301-994-1471  •  www.stmarysmd.com/recreate/museums

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Climb the oldest lighthouse on the Potomac River, constructed in 1836.  The site was once a summer resort for Washington dignitaries including several U.S. presidents.  Today, a 6-acre park surrounds the lighthouse and keepers quarters with a picnic area, kayak launch, a boardwalk, pier and sandy beach.  The museum details that site’s history and also includes artifacts from the WW II U-1105 Black Panther German submarine which lies just offshore in an area designated as the state’s first Historic Shipwreck Dive Preserve.  A maritime exhibit of historic wooden boats that once plied the waters of the Chesapeake Bay is housed in a separate building.  Accessible by water, call for information.

Patuxent River Naval Air Museum

22156 Three Notch Road, Lexington Park, MD 20653
Phone: 301-863-1900  •  www.paxmuseum.com

The Navy’s aircraft and flight systems have been evaluated and refined at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station since WW II.  The Museum conserves and presents that story, and is the nation’s only official Navy Museum dedicated to naval aviation research, development, testing and evaluation.  Interior exhibits include a propulsion display, unmanned aerial vehicles (including a full-scale mockup of the X-47A Pegasus unmanned combat air vehicle), crew system artifacts, ejection seats, radars, and test instrumentation.  An outdoor aircraft park displays 21 naval aircraft, and features both the X-32B and X-35C Joint Strike Fighter concept demonstrators tested at Pax River.  For a nominal fee, visitors may fly in the sophisticated simulators of the resident Mach Combat™ facility.  There is also a museum store.

Old Jail Museum

11 Courthouse Drive, Leonardtown, MD 20650
Phone: 301-475-2467  •  www.stmaryshistory.org

Underground Railroad Network

Built in 1858 and in use until 1942, the granite block and brick structure retains its original upstairs cells where prisoners were once segregated by gender and race.  The jail keeper’s quarters downstairs house artifacts that relate county history. A canon from The Ark, one of two ships that first brought colonists to Maryland, and later used to defend St. Mary’s City, is displayed on the grounds.  National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Site.  The museum also serves as a county visitor information center.

Historic St. Mary’s City

18751 Hogaboom Lane, St. Mary’s City, MD 20686
Phone: 240-895-4990  •  http://www.hsmcdigshistory.org

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Historic St. Mary’s City is an outdoor museum located on the site of Maryland’s first colony and first capital.  The museum protects one of the nation’s finest colonial archaeology sites.  Decades of research are the foundation of living history exhibits assembled across the landscape.  Highlights include the Town Center, where visitors may tour Smith’s Ordinary, a 17th-century forbearer of the modern hotel, and the Print House, where they will hear the story of the first printer south of Boston.  Nearby, the Woodland Indian Hamlet details the lives of the Yaocomaco Indians who assisted the first colonists.  The Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation is a working farm with first-person interpreters and heirloom livestock.  The Maryland Dove, a working representation of the square-rigged vessel that carried Lord Baltimore’s original expedition to Maryland is moored on the St. Mary’s River, which appears much as it was 375 years ago.  Discover Maryland’s legacy of liberty at the Brick Chapel, a symbol of the colony’s early practice of religious toleration, and the St. John’s Site Museum, which encloses the excavation of the house where the state’s first legislators met.  There is also a Visitor Center with exhibits, a museum shop, and a network of trails.  Accessible by water, call for information.