Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Learning Through the 50 States - Maryland

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Learning Through the 50 States - Maryland
When we were preparing to move to the state of Maryland about eighteen years ago, I knew almost nothing about it, other than that it was home to the city of Baltimore. And having been through Baltimore, I knew that was where the Baltimore Orioles played and that it was home to the B&O Railroad Museum. What a surprise to find out that there is a lot more to Maryland than the city of Baltimore! Fellow Crew blogger Adena is hosting a Learning through the 50 States link-up, and has invited bloggers to share about their states, so I'm delighted to tell readers a little more about Maryland.

Maryland became known as "The Old Line State" during the Revolutionary War, when the 400 soldiers of the Maryland Regiment fought a British force of 10,000. General George Washington's army was able to escape thanks to the Maryland Regiment, and he depended on the brave and disciplined Maryland Line throughout the war. Maryland's other nickname, "Free State" might sound like it dates to its colonial days or the Revolution as well, but in fact that name was earned in 1919 when Marylanders opposed prohibition because they felt it violated state's rights.

Maryland is also sometimes called "America in Miniature" because its 10,460 square miles includes just about every natural geographical feature, except a desert. This is probably what surprised me most as I got to know my new home state! Of course there is the Chesapeake Bay and all the waterways around the Atlantic Ocean, and its major source, the Susquehenna River; 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 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!
Learning Through the 50 States - Maryland
Great Falls of the Potomac
  If you want to learn state songs, December is the perfect time to practice singing "Maryland, My Maryland". That's because it is sung to the same tune as "Oh Christmas Tree"!
Maryland State Symbols
The Maryland State Flag is one of the oldest in the nation, based on the escutcheon of the first Lord Baltimore's seal, dating back to the 1600s. The black and gold quarters are from the arms of the Calvert family, and the red and white quarters are from the arms of the Crossland family. It is the only state flag based on English heraldry. Maryland is the only state to have a specific guideline regarding the flagpole - if an ornament is displayed on top of the flagpole, it must be a gold cross bottony.
Learning Through the 50 States - Maryland
State Crustacean - Maryland Blue Crab
State Insect - Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly
State Dog - Chesapeake Bay Retriever
State Bird - Baltimore Oriole
State Reptile - Diamondback Terrapin
State Flower - Black-Eyed Susan
State Boat - The skipjack (the last working boat under sail in North America)
Learning Through the 50 States - Maryland
Maryland coloring page
 (Go HERE to print this Maryland Coloring Page)
 Try Our Food!
Crab cakes - a patty of seasoned crabmeat, breaded and fried. Can be served on a roll, like a burger, or eaten on its own. Personally, I don't care for any kind of shellfish, so I don't eat these. And I try to avoid making them, if possible. If you don't want to commit to the crabmeat, just get a tin of Old Bay Seasoning and put it on everything. Especially French fries. And use it in every conceivable meat, fish or poultry dish you make as well. You can get Old Bay seasoned potato chips, so for even less commitment, you could try the taste.
Smith Island Cake - a moist yellow cake, in 8 to 15 layers with a cooked chocolate icing. The official dessert of Maryland, and it is to die for!! And requires patience to make all those layers! Much easier to order at a restaurant or from the bakery.

If you visit...
These are some of the awesome places in Maryland that we have visited, but is by no means an exhaustive list!
Historic St Mary's City - the fourth permanent British settlement in North America, founded in 1634. Although founded by staunch Catholics, its basic tenet was religious tolerance and freedom, and the first settlers were about half Catholic and half Protestant. Today you can catch a glimpse of colony life in a living history museum that includes 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.
Learning Through the 50 States - Maryland
Learning Through the 50 States - Maryland
Annapolis,  the state capitol - The Maryland State House is the only one that has also served as the nation's capitol, from 1783-1784.
Learning Through the 50 States - Maryland
Fort McHenry - Now a National Monument, this fort was the one being bombed by the British during the War of 1812, which inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words to The Star-Spangled Banner.
Learning Through the 50 States - Maryland
C & O National Historic Park - You can hike or bike the towpaths, visit the museum and lockhouses (you can even stay in some of the lockhouses overnight!), and ride the mule-towed canal boat.
Learning Through the 50 States - Maryland
There are 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. Antietam was a strategical Union victory and a turning point in the war; and Monocacy has been called 'The Battle that Saved Washington, DC' because the Union troops were able to delay the Confederate march towards the capitol.
Learning Through the 50 States - Maryland
Catoctin Mountain Park - The Appalachian Trail runs through this area of west central Maryland, and it's a beautiful place to hike and camp.
Wisp ski resort and Swallow Falls State Park - both are in the Deep Creek area of western Maryland.
Learning Through the 50 States - Maryland
Did you learn anything new about Maryland? Leave a comment and let me know! This post is linked at Learning through the 50 States hosted by AdenaF. Visit the other states through her link-up!

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