Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Crossing the Old Line

Magnet # 228:  Map of Maryland

Material:  Wood, Laminated Paper

Purchased By:  Me

Maryland celebrates its anniversary of being the 7th state added to the United States in 1788 today. Yep, it was one of the 13 originial colonies and, unlike the rest, it was intended to be a haven for Catholics in the New World. The Spanish were the first Europeans to arrive in the area, and John Smith was the first explorer from England to venture there. It was the second Lord Baltimore of England who sent the first major group of settlers to the area and although most of them were Protestants, Catholics were elevated to the highest positions of authority. Also, a great deal of convicts were shipped to the colony. Conflict broke out when Puritans began coming to the area from Virginia after it made Anglicanism its official religion. Eventually, they revolted against the ruling Catholics, beating them on the battlefield and outlawing the practice of Catholicism in the colony, a law that would stand until 1776. Wealthy Catholics had to worship in secret and many of that faith's churches were burned down. Maryland also found itself in conflict with Pennsylvania over just where that colony ended. Charles II's attempt to settle it didn't work, and the two colonies went to war in the 1730s.  Finally, King George II managed to arrange a cease-fire between the colonies.  Both sides agreed to have a survey made to establish the line.  The Mason and Dixon's Line, named for the two surveyors, finally resolved the feud. Maryland didn't see much action during the Revolutionary War, but in the War of 1812 several battles took place in the new state, including the British naval attack at Fort McHenry.  The Americans won this fight, which inspired the creation of "The Star-Spangled Banner."  It would go on to become the national anthem while Maryland developed into an important center for industry and shipping.  Its residents are some of the wealthiest in the nation and Baltimore's harbor is one of the country's largest.  Life seems to be going well for the Old Line State.

I've been to Maryland a few times over the years, including a couple of times with my family when I was growing up. And, of course, last year I ventured up there on my own during my Mid-Atlantic trip. I stayed the the state's two largest cities, Annapolis and Baltimore and had pretty different experiences in each. What can I say, I loved the laid back, down-home feel I experienced in downtown Annapolis. I was able to stay at a really nice, historic hotel that was a brief walk away from Chesapeake Bay and the State Capitol. I also felt very safe as I made my way there from shop to shop, thrilled with the many souvenir stores I found. And yes, this magnet was purchased at one of them. Baltimore was another story. I'm not a big fan of huge, industrialized cities and I did get a little nervous about it from the very beginning. And when someone warned me about how dangerous the city could be, I only got more cautious, but perhaps that's good, as my stay there was a safe one. I did stay at a nice, very large hotel with a great shuttle service and, thanks to it, I was able to see one of Baltimore's biggest tourist destinations - the Inner Harbor. This was one place that felt much safer than the rest of the city - there was a visible police presence and it made me breathe a little easier. And I did encounter some very friendly folks in Baltimore. I'm not sure if I'd go there again, but I did have a good time all in all. It might be that big cities are just not a great fit for me. I even got to see another part of Maryland on my trip over to Delaware. As soon as I crossed Chesapeake Bay, I was on what's referred to as the Eastern Shore of the state. From what little I saw, that part is pretty densely populated and filled with farms. It was a rather scenic drive, as the leaves were changing for fall. I even saw a pumpkin patch, but I'm not sure if it was in Maryland or Delaware at the time. There's much fewer people on that side of the state and traffic on the road was light - a welcome break from what I'd experienced on I-95. It was nice to get a view of that part of the state, if only to compare it to the busier cities of Maryland.

There is truly a great deal to be seen in Maryland, and I imagine I'll be back there someday.  I'd still like to see Fort McHenry near Baltimore and Assateague Island off its coast sounds like an interesting place.  It's home to rather small herd of wild horses that have lived there since the 1600s.  It's also a great place to see a large amount of very interesting birds, like kestrels, merlins, ospreys, and even bald eagles.  And let's face it, I can never have my fill of the delicious blue crabs for which Chesapeake Bay is so famous.  Someday, I'll make it back to the Old Line State - fortunately, I have plenty of magnets from there to tide me over until them.


  1. Of course, some important people were born in Maryland - you didn't mention that!

  2. I'm not quite sure who you mean. Babe Ruth? Francis Scott Key? Thurgood Marshall? David Hasselhoff?