The part of Central Maryland close to the Chesapeake Bay is a multifaceted land. The capital city of Annapolis and the metropolitan area of Baltimore are replete with historical and cultural attractions, entertainment possibilities, dining experiences, fishing opportunities, sailing and yachting adventures, and guidance for visitors. Their location on the Chesapeake Bay has helped these cities grow to prominence.
But the proximity of areas of high population to the highly sensitive waters of this valuable estuary also is cause for concern. The watershed of the bay includes not just the urban area in and around Baltimore but also that of Washington, DC, just 25 miles west of the bay. Researchers in state-of-the-art facilities continually seek ways to enable so many people to enjoy the benefits of the bay without destroying its ecosystems.
Despite urbanization, the cities and the surrounding counties of Anne Arundel and Baltimore have out-of-the-way treasures—places of inestimable beauty, sometimes subtle, often memorable. Estuarine rivers such as the West, Rhode, South, Severn, and Magothy are like miniature versions of the great Chesapeake. Every cove and marsh has its own collection of grasses, flowering plants, amphibians, fish, birds, mammals, and insects.
Fog settling in a pine forest can be as rewarding as a shimmering sunrise backlighting a tall sailboat. There are piers where a piece of meat on a string dropped in the dark water will produce a blue crab. There are wetlands where the only sound is the rustle of wild rice swaying in the wind, and there are trails where horseback riders and joggers share the outdoors with youngsters on roller blades and skate boards.
What attracts many to this part of the Chesapeake is the combination of the estuary’s beauty and the benefits and pleasures of city life. A vacationer can dine on the finest seafood and sleep in the plushest inn after spending the day fishing the bay, hiking a preserve, or exploring a marsh in a sea kayak. One could do worse.
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