NEWS IN BRIEF
Governor announces Cycle Maryland projects at trail opening
Federal, state and local officials – including Gov. Martin O’Malley, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar – held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Bladensburg Waterfront Park, Nov. 4, to mark the opening of a new 1.5-mile section of the Anacostia Trail. The event highlighted ongoing efforts to restore the Anacostia Watershed and improve public access to the Anacostia River, along with two new Cycle Maryland funding programs.
Maryland is investing $10 million in the Bikeways initiative, a project that makes everyday destinations – like workplaces, schools and shopping – easier to reach by bicycle. The Maryland Bikeshare plan, similar to an existing Bikeshare program in Washington, D.C., offers a convenient option for short-distance trips.
The trail leads to a point that will eventually link to the nation’s capital. A groundbreaking for that section is planned for 2012. When complete, the route will include nearly 60 miles of contiguous trails along the Anacostia River Tributary System – 39 miles in Maryland and 20 miles in the District of Columbia. Maryland is allocating $1 million of its Bikeways initiative investment for the missing link that connects to the District.
Tourism industry celebrates past year with annual awards
Both the Maryland Office of Tourism and Maryland Tourism Council paid tribute to members of the state’s tourism industry at the 31st annual Maryland Tourism and Travel Summit, held Nov. 2-4 at the Marriott Inn & Conference Center at UMUC in Prince George's County.
Recipients of the tourism office’s annual awards included:
- Savage River Lodge, located in Savage River Forest, was named winner of the Green/Sustainable Tourism Award for its innovations in building construction, purchasing from local growers and promoting green practices among employees and guests.
- The Tourism Council of Frederick County received the Visit Maryland Award for restoring a 110-year-old warehouse on the property of a former wheel-spoke factory into the new Frederick County Visitor Center. Visitation at the new center is 25 percent above the number of visitors who came to Frederick’s previous center location last year.
- Caroline County Office of Tourism and Dorchester County Tourism each received a Cultural Heritage Tourism Award for their contributions to developing the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway and the proposed Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historic Park.
- The Preservation Society – a group dedicated to the preservation of two waterfront Baltimore communities, Fell’s Point and Federal Hill – received the Economic Engine Award for generating $40 million in economic impact through visitor spending at the annual Fell’s Point Fun Festival.
Maryland Tourism Council awards included these categories and recipients:
- Promotion (continuing campaign) – Watermark’s Harbor Queen cruises, Annapolis
- Promotion (one-time campaign) – Conference and Visitors Bureau of Montgomery County, Maryland (“We’re open!” campaign)
- Best New/Improved Product or Event – Talbot County Office of Tourism’s Restaurant Week
- Best Printed Promotional Material – Allegany County Department of Tourism’s National Road Discovery Program
- Best Electronic Marketing – Prince George’s County Conference and Visitors Bureau’s OneNews
- Best Visitors Guide – Tourism Council of Frederick County’s Destination Frederick
- Best Shoestring Budget – Cecil county Tourism’s “Ask me about Cecil” campaign
- Industry Partnership – Harbor Day at the Docks – A Waterfront Heritage Festival, presented byOcean City Hotel - Motel - Restaurant Association; Ocean City Chamber of Commerce; Town of Ocean City; Worcester County Tourism; and Ocean City
- Impact – Calvert Charles and St. Mary’s counties
- Judge’s – Tourism Council of Frederick County’s new visitors center
- Tourism Advocate of the Year – Rachelina Bonacci, executive director, Howard County Tourism and Promotion
- New Professional of the Year – Kathy Mackel, director, Caroline County Office of Tourism
- Audrey Davenport Hospitality Person of the Year – Melanie Pursel, executive director, Greater Ocean City Maryland Chamber of Commerce
- Tourism Person of the Year – Liz Fitzsimmons, Maryland Office of Tourism
- Educational Development (from Maryland Tourism Education Foundation) – Heather Skipper, director of guide operations, Watermark Journey
Parades, museums, historic sites offer salute to veterans
George Washington called the Maryland regiments that were part of the Continental Army his “Old Line” – a term of admiration that became one of the state’s nicknames. In that same tradition of paying tribute to Maryland’s military veterans, the state’s Office of Tourism encourages travelers to visit the various locations in Maryland where military history resonates during this Veterans Day holiday and the weeks that follow.
Bel Air (Harford County) plans a two-day celebration of veterans, Nov. 10 – 11, which includes a parade on Friday, Nov.11. Also, Leonardtown (St. Mary’s County) presents its 34th annual Veterans Day parade, Nov. 11. Organizers say the parade is the largest such event in the state.
“It is our duty as citizens to recognize America’s veterans for their dedicated service and level of sacrifice, especially on Veterans Day,” says Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown. “We are also proud that Maryland has so many attractions and destinations that are open year-round to honor the legacy of our veterans.”
Among those destinations are Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg (Washington County); College Park Aviation Museum, College Park Airport (Prince George’s County); Patuxent River Naval Air Museum, Lexington Park (St. Mary’s County); National Museum of Civil War Medicine, Frederick (Frederick County); and Historic Ships in Baltimore.
Harford County firm offers 1812-era flags
With Veterans Day approaching, F.W. Haxel – a Havre de Grace-based manufacturer of flags and related items – is offering 15-star, 15-stripe American flags for purchase. The flags evoke the original Star-Spangled Banner – the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the National Anthem following the all-night bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1814.
Harford County Executive David Craig, Cecil County Commissioner President Jim Mullin and Havre de Grace Mayor Wayne Dougherty addressed a news conference at Haxel’s plant, Nov. 8, which launched the sale of the flags. The officials also announced the formation of the Upper Bay 1812 Steering Committee, a group that will work to educate visitors and residents about the impact of the War of 1812 on the region during Maryland’s upcoming bicentennial-commemoration period.
Haxel will give a percentage of its proceeds from the flags to three nonprofits: American Flag Foundation, Friends of Fort McHenry, and Star-Spangled Banner Flag House. The flags have the official Star-Spangled 200 bicentennial logo and are available in two versions on the company's web site: a printed nylon flag ($20); and a limited-edition, sewn nylon flag with appliqued stars ($73.50).
Tourism professionals get heritage-tourism training
Jennifer Jones, tourism development manager at the Maryland Office of Tourism, received her designation as a Journey Through Hallowed Ground (JTHG) Certified Travel Ambassador. Graduates of this program have participated in a four-hour training session taught by JTHG staff and passed a written exam.
The designation process is intended to make frontline tourism professionals more familiar with the national parks, Civil War battlefields, Main Street communities and historic sites located in the JTHG National Heritage Area – a region that spans four states (Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia) along a 180-miles-long, 72-miles-wide swath that stretches from Gettysburg, Pa., to Monticello in Charlottesville, Va.
JTHG Partnership developed the ambassador program to take advantage of the expected upswing in heritage tourism related to the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. A $236,000 federal matching grant from Preserve America helped to create the program.
Eastern Shore festival celebrates wildlife, bay lifestyle
Easton hosts the 41st annual Waterfowl Festival, Nov. 11-13. The event – a wildlife art and sportsman’s exposition that runs at 12 venues around town – features wildlife paintings, sculpture, carvings and photography, along with collectible decoys and sporting gear. It also has championship “calling contests,” decoy auctions, craft and food vendors, and fly-fishing and dog demonstrations. Proceeds benefit wildlife conservation. Free parking and shuttle service are available. Order tickets online.
Fishing advocacy group hosts yearly rockfish tournament
Thousands of recreational and professional anglers – from Maine to North Carolina – compete in the 19th annual Chesapeake Bay Fall Classic, the bay's largest rockfish tournament of the season, Nov. 19-20. Last year's event featured 205 boats in the competition and nearly $80,000 in cash and prizes. The Fall Classic is the last event in the 2011 Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association tournament series, which includes The Championship and the Tuna-ment. It's the final time that members and captains can receive points for the 2011 MSSA Captain of the Year contest. Online registration available. Call 410-255-5535 for more information.
Art exhibits in Frederick commemorate Civil War sesquicentennial
Landscape paintings of Civil War battlefields – Antietam, Gettysburg and Monocacy – as they look today are on exhibit at The Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center in Frederick. The exhibit, Hallowed Ground: En Plein Air, runs to Nov. 27. Also at The Delaplaine this month is a display of mixed-media art journals that relate to the Civil War, Union: The Courier Journals 1861-1865. Call The Delaplaine at 301-698-0656 for more information.
Tap into global market with CRUSA’s international sales missions
Capital Region USA (CRUSA) – the international marketing arm for the regional tourism industry in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. – offers sales missions abroad led by CRUSA’s overseas marketing representatives. The missions are designed to take advantage of the upswing in overseas visitors coming to the U.S. (During 2010, foreign visitors spent a record $1.53 billion in the Capital Region.) Trips allow tourism professionals to sell their destinations and products to travel-trade and media outlets through personal sales calls, training sessions and client events. For more information, e-mail Matt Gaffney or visit CRUSA online.
Visit Maryland’s birthplace for glimpse of a colonial kitchen
Discover how Maryland’s first settlers celebrated the end of the harvest season at Hearth & Home in Early Maryland, Nov. 25-26, in Historic St. Mary’s City. Help churn butter, shuck beans, grind corn and see what else was required to prepare a family feast in the 17th century. Visitors who bring a non-perishable food item for the Southern Maryland Food Bank get $1 off admission. Historic St. Mary’s City is considered to be one of the best-preserved sites of a colonial British settlement in North America.