Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Our Favorite Maryland Field Trips

Our Favorite Maryland Field Trips on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - a Field Trip Inspiration post for the SchoolhouseReviewCrew.com round-up

Time for another Schoolhouse Crew Round-up, and this week we're focusing on field trips. Because homeschoolers love field trips! I've compiled a list of some of the great field trips in our home state of Maryland that we've enjoyed, and now that I've spent some time working on this, I really think we need to make an effort to visit some of these places again - soon!

Maryland earned the nickname "The Old Line State" during the Revolutionary War, when the 400 soldiers of the Maryland Regiment fought a British force of 10,000. Because of their heroics, General George Washington's army was able to escape, and he continued to depend on the brave and disciplined Maryland Line throughout the war. Maryland's other nickname is the "Free State" which was earned in 1919 when Marylanders opposed prohibition because they felt it violated state's rights.

Maryland has also been called "America in Miniature" because its 10,460 square miles includes just about every natural geographical feature, except a desert. Many are familiar with the Chesapeake Bay and all the waterways around the Atlantic Ocean, but Maryland also boasts pastureland and farmland, quarries and iron pits, the Great Falls of the Potomac River,  mountains and valleys, forests, orchards, vineyards, and even sub-Arctic swamp! We live in a region of Maryland that is mostly rural, and the views from my house include farms, forests, and mountains. Quite different from the major urban center of Baltimore and from the Chesapeake Bay area that most people associate with our state!
So let's start with the state capital, Annapolis. If you visit the State House in Annapolis, you'll be able to see the Old Senate Chamber where General George Washington resigned his commission as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. The State House in Annapolis also served as the nation's capital from November 26, 1783 to August 13, 1784, and is the only State House to have this distinction.

Our Favorite Maryland Field Trips on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com
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Maryland's history began earlier though, and a bit further south, at St Mary's City. The Protestant King of England granted a charter in 1632 to Sir George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore, to found a colony north of Virginia. Calvert was a Catholic and hoped to create a safe place for other English Catholics who felt persecuted by the Anglicans. His sons established the settlement after his death, and the new colony of Maryland - named for the Catholic Queen Mary - guaranteed religious freedom for all Christian faiths. The policy was that there would be no official established religion, and this religious tolerance and freedom made the settlement unique in that time period. In fact, Protestants and Catholics alike were encouraged to settle in Maryland. As it happened, the majority of colonists were Protestant, but most of the wealthier families were Catholic. Today you can visit Historic St Mary's City with its living history museum. This was a favorite field trip of ours when the kids were younger. You can see colony life in action, including a working print house, an apothecary, a tobacco plantation, and the state house. There's also a replica of the ship that carried the first settlers to Maryland's shore.
From the High School Lesson Book: St Augustine and St Mary's City on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com



From the High School Lesson Book: St Augustine and St Mary's City on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com
The replica Maryland Dove, a working square-rigged ship.
We named our stay at nearby Camp Flintlock our Most Memorable Field Trip Ever. We stayed in tents, dressed in period costume, cooked over an open fire, gathered and chopped our own wood, learned how to shoot a flintlock rifle, and learned how to throw a tomahawk! 
  
From the High School Lesson Book: St Augustine and St Mary's City on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com


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Another favorite field trip is the National Monument park at Fort McHenry in Baltimore. Here attorney Francis Scott Key wrote the poem The Star-Spangled Banner as he watched the British bombardment of Fort McHenry from a ship in the Baltimore harbor. Key was negotiating for the release of a friend that had been taken prisoner by the British. After 25 hours of bombing, as dawn broke, Key was able to see that the fort still stood, and that the flag was still flying over it. He wrote the first stanza of the poem while still on the ship, and added the other verses later on.

From the High School Lesson Book - The Star-Spangled Banner - a little history lesson about the War of 1812 and the American anthem on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com
The Star-spangled Banner displayed at Fort McHenry.

Fort McHenry - From the High School Lesson Book - The Star-Spangled Banner - a little history lesson about the War of 1812 and the American anthem on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com
View of Baltimore's harbor from Fort McHenry - yes, those are the ramparts!

For more about Fort McHenry, see From the High School Lesson Book - The Star-Spangled Banner
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While in Baltimore, some other great field trips are the National Aquariumthe Maryland Science Center, the B&O Railroad Museum, and College Park Aviation Museum. Baseball fans may want to visit Camden Yards. For a more artsy field trip in Baltimore, consider the Baltimore Museum of Art The BMA has the largest holding of Henri Mattise's work in the world. Among the other collections are works by various modern artists, works by Georgia O'Keeffe, a collection of mosaic art from ancient Antioch, a beautiful collection of Tiffany pieces, and even a small Piet Mondrian piece (Kennady's favorite). The museum is open Wednesdays through Saturdays, and best of all - it's free!

Baltimore Museum of Art Field Trip on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Baltimore Museum of Art Field Trip on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Baltimore Museum of Art Field Trip on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

For much more, see my post: Baltimore Museum of Art
Baltimore Museum of Art Field Trip on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com
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As you head west, you'll find the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park which is an amazing field trip destination. You can learn about the construction and operation of the canal from the early 1800s, and visit the original Great Falls Tavern and even take a ride on a canal boat towed by mules.

Our Favorite Maryland Field Trips on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Our Favorite Maryland Field Trips on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

From there you can also take a short hike and get a great view of the Great Falls of the Potomac.
Our Favorite Maryland Field Trips on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

For more of the history of the C&O Canal, and information about the park, see my post: From the High School Lesson Book - Canal Transport
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Maryland has a number of Civil War sites to visit, including Antietam National Battlefield and Monocacy National Battlefield. As a border state, Maryland's loyalties were often divided during the War Between the States but it remained with the Union. Its proximity to Washington DC meant that several battles were fought here.
Our Favorite Maryland Field Trips on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Even nearby state park Catoctin Mountain has a pre-Revolutionary and Civil War connection, because the little village of Catoctin Furnace, which had been producing pig iron since 1776. Cannons and cannonballs for George Washington's army were produced by the furnace, and towards the end of the Revolution, an order was placed for ten inch mortar shells, and it is believed that a portion of these shells was used in the Battle of Yorktown.
Our Favorite Maryland Field Trips on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com
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Of course, Catoctin Mountain is also a great destination for camping, hiking, and enjoying nature. Cunningham Falls State Park provides a relatively easy hike up to the falls, or you can enjoy the lake. The Appalachian Trail runs through Catoctin, so you can even hike a portion of that. There are actually a lot of great places all over the state of Maryland for hiking and camping, including Wisp ski resort and Swallow Falls State Park in the Deep Creek area of western Maryland.
Our Favorite Maryland Field Trips on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com
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And speaking of western Maryland, let me wrap up this tour with a field trip that we recently discovered - the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. Beginning in Cumberland, this day trip on a restored train pulled by a historic steam engine takes you through a beautiful area of western Maryland; through The Narrows, the country's first "Gateway to the West". This cut in the Allegheny Front was used by the National Road as well as the B&O, C&P, and Western Maryland railways.

Read all about our trip, and see my pictures at: A Western Maryland Railroad Photojournal
A Western Maryland Railroad Photojournal (Autumn Colors) on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com #railroad #steamtrain
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And these are only the places we've visited! Our state has many, many more field trip treasures that we still haven't explored! What are some of the best field trip experiences you've had in your state? Have you visited any of these destinations in Maryland? Leave a comment and let me know!

Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to read about other Crew members' field trip ideas in the Field Trip Inspiration Round-up, which will be live on Friday, July 8th.

Field Trip Inspiration 2016
This post is linked at the Hearts for Home Blog Hop hosted by Embracing Destiny and nine other blogs.
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2 comments:

Annette Vellenga said...

what an interesting trip through Maryland. :)

Mother of 3 said...

What fun ideas! We travel trough Maryland often but I never really know where to go or what to do. I'm guessing we'll be checking out the fort one of these days!

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