On their two-year quest to visit all of Maryland’s twenty four counties on an awesome road trip through each, Diane and Jeff Caslow, visited Calvert County on a hot August day.

More From Diane’s Travelogue

Calvert County is one of the oldest counties in Maryland, first as part of Charles County in 1650, separated from Charles in 1654 and named Patuxent County, and finally named Calvert County in 1658. It has been hard to choose what to explore in each county, but Jeff had been waiting for Calvert County so he could bring his canoe for a paddle at a special place on the Patuxent River. So off we went on a hot August day, canoe on top, and map of Calvert County sites as our guide…

Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum

There is a canoe and kayak launch in Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum, a beautiful 560-acre state park and museum located along the Patuxent River in St. Leonard. There are many archaeological sites on the property, documenting 9,000 years of human occupation, with current excavation and research being done. We did not stop at the museum on this visit, as we headed straight to the canoe launch. Jeff, a knowledgeable Maryland history buff was my narrator for our canoe trip along the shore of the Patuxent River to the mouth of St. Jerome creek.  He narrated the battle of St. Jerome Creek during the War of 1812. Hard to imagine over 200 years later as all was quiet and peaceful on our paddle.

William B. Tennison Boat, Calvert County, MD.

William B. Tennison Boat, Calvert County, MD.

Solomon’s Island

Our next stop was Solomon’s Island, “originally called Bourne’s Island in 1680, then Somervell’s Island by 1740, and finally Solomons in the 19th century named after Isaac Solomon, who established a cannery there after the Civil War. In the 19th century, shipyards built schooners and sloops but became famous for the bugeyes, the forerunner of the skipjack.”  We headed to lunch at The Lighthouse Restaurant and Dock Bar followed by key lime pie at the Lotus Kitchen, picked up an art print at Solomons Art Gallery, and stopped to check out the Lore Oyster House.

The Calvert Maritime Museum is a great place to understand some of the rich maritime history of the area. There is a narrated boat ride on the William B. Tennison, a Chesapeake Bay bugeye built in 1899 and converted to an oyster buy-boat in 1906. Drum Point Lighthouse is on the grounds of the museum, and is one of three surviving Chesapeake Bay screw-pile lighthouses.


Instead of heading to Calvert Cliffs for some fossil hunting, something we did on a past trip to Calvert County, we went in search of the oldest continuously working lighthouse in Maryland, Cove Point. We travel off the main road, into what looks like a community that had been built up in the area, and dead end into the lighthouse. There is a narrated video of the history of the lighthouse and a map showing all of the lighthouses that used to dot the Chesapeake Bay. Before we leave the area, we find an example of an early church, the Middleham Chapel, built in 1748 and still in use today.

Prince Frederick

Prince Frederick has served as the county seat of Calvert County since 1722, when officials chose a plot of land known as “Williams’ Old Field” as the spot for the new county courthouse. The town was burned in 1814 as part of the War of 1812, and then again in 1882 when a massive fire destroyed most of the town and the courthouse. The courthouse was rebuilt on the same spot.

We took a short walk in the town center, which was fairly quiet as most of the activity is out on Route 4. However, we see some pretty architectural details on buildings along the main street adapted for continued use as law offices.Before we headed for our final stop of the day, we took at detour to Friday Creek Winery in Owings, housed in a 1920s restored tobacco barn. The owner’s son is the host for the afternoon for anyone stopping by for a tasting, telling us of the history and how his family got into the wine business. We were happy with our purchase of their rose wine, perfect for a hot summer day.

Chesapeake Beach and North Beach

Chesapeake Beach was established as a resort community at the end of the Chesapeake Beach Railway, a rail line from Washington, DC. Between steamer ships from Baltimore and trains from Washington reaching its peak in the 1920s until the end of the railroad. Today, along with North Beach, it is a busy vacation spot, with little left of the original buildings. We headed to the Chesapeake Beach Railroad Museum, where the docent gives us a history lesson of the area. We explore the diorama, and we can marvel at what used to be here; hotels, dance hall, roller coaster, board walk and other amusements typical of the late 18th and early 19th century. North Beach, just north of Chesapeake Beach, was incorporated in 1910 and a popular place for gambling in the early years. Now, like Chesapeake Beach it attracts people interested in water sports and life on the bay. We took a walk along the boardwalk and found the typical treat before leaving town, some ice cream, for the ride home.

On to our final county, Baltimore City, and then that will wrap up a two year adventure exploring Maryland!