To view online go to:

HBO filming political docudrama in Maryland

Gov. Martin O'Malley, on May 26, visits the Baltimore set of Game Change, the HBO film about Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign in 2008. (L to R): Mark Halperin, co-author of the best-selling book Game Change; Jay Roach, director and executive producer of the film; and Gov. O'Malley. The movie stars Ed Harris (McCain), Julianne Moore (Sarah Palin) and Woody Harrelson (Steve Schmidt, McCain's senior campaign advisor). Read how HBO set designers are transforming Baltimore.


Explore Maryland waterways on a paddle trip
The Potomac, Patapsco and Pocomoke are among the best-known of more than 60 rivers that flow through Maryland. These rivers – along with hundreds of creeks that wind across the state's landscape – present an abundance of options for recreation on the water, says the Maryland Office of Tourism.

"As we celebrate National Rivers Month here in Maryland, we recognize the importance of preserving and protecting our many waterways," says Gov. Martin O'Malley. "We are fortunate to be the beneficiaries of precious and vibrant natural resources like the Chesapeake Bay, the nation's largest estuary, along with more than 600 miles of water trails that provide visitors with great recreational experiences in every region of our state.”

“June is a great time to take a ride on a kayak or canoe and paddle your way along some of the most scenic routes in the region," says Margot Amelia, executive director of the tourism office. "Local outfitters can help you get the most out of your trips. They are the experts when it comes to navigating the rivers in their areas."

American Rivers, a national river conservation organization, established National Rivers Month as part of its advocacy campaign for the protection and restoration of rivers. "Getting out in a canoe or kayak is a great way to show your support for clean water and healthy rivers," said Amy Souers Kober, an American Rivers spokesperson. "Healthy, free-flowing rivers give us wonderful recreation opportunities right in our own backyard. Maryland is a leader when it comes to protecting and restoring healthy rivers."


Arts Council plans Maryland Traditions festival
In celebration of Maryland Traditions' 10-year anniversary, the Maryland State Arts Council presents an indoor-outdoor folklife festival at the Creative Alliance in East Baltimore's Highlandtown Arts and Entertainment District, June 18.

The all-day Maryland Traditions Folklife Festival features musical performances, decoy carvers, screen painters, boat builders, arabbers, weavers and craft demos. Among the 16 musical groups (all participate in Maryland Traditions) will be: The Legendary Orioles (doo-wop); Billy McComiskey & Múinteoirí (Irish traditional); Phil Wiggins, Warner Williams and Eleanor Ellis (country blues); The Zionaires (gospel); Carl Grubbs Trio (jazz); and The Soaring Eagles (native American dance and drum). View a story about Maryland Traditions in the current issue of Maryland Life magazine.

9/11 project moves into construction phase
Construction of the 9/11 Memorial of Maryland – to be unveiled on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks – has begun this week. The memorial will be located on the plaza of the World Trade Center in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. A related exhibit will open on the observation level of the building. Construction is expected to continue through August.

The memorial's centerpiece is a 22-foot artifact— three structural-steel columns twisted together— from the collapsed World Trade Center towers in New York. Also, three blocks of limestone from the damaged section of the Pentagon, accompanied by stones inscribed with a narrative and dedication, will rest on the eastern edge of the plaza.

Markers etched in the memorial's stone base will create a sundial effect and note the times when each plane crashed into the towers, the Pentagon and the field in Shanksville, Pa., and when each tower collapsed. The side of the base will be inscribed with the names and birthdates of the 67 people from Maryland who died at the three sites.


Gateway gets re-designation as A&E district
The Gateway Arts and Entertainment District in Prince George's County has been re-designated as an A&E district, effective July 1. Gateway was among Maryland's first A&E districts; it received its original designation in 2002. A&E designations are good for a period of 10 years. During that time, artists and arts enterprises within a district are eligible for tax incentives from the state. To receive a re-designation, an A&E district must re-apply to the state.

“The Gateway Arts and Entertainment District has been a vital force in the revitalization of urban areas in Prince George's County,” said Theresa Colvin, executive director of the Maryland State Arts Council, which administers the state's A&E program. “It has demonstrated how the arts can generate economic power and fuel revitalization. In fact, the Gateway district has helped to increase the county's assessable tax base by $240 million.”

A unique aspect of Gateway is that it includes portions of multiple jurisdictions – Mount Rainier, Brentwood, North Brentwood and Hyattsville. The district runs along the Route 1 corridor.

NPS names superintendent at Fort McHenry
Tina Orcutt (pictured) will be the new superintendent of Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, starting in August, said National Park Service (NPS) Northeast Regional Director Dennis R. Reidenbach. Orcutt replaces Gay Vietzke, who recently became deputy regional director for park operations. As the Fort McHenry superintendent, Orcutt will also be superintendent of Hampton National Historic Site in Baltimore County.

"With the coming bicentennial of the War of 1812, I look forward to telling the stories of those who defended our country and showed we could hold our own even as a young nation," said Orcutt, who is currently superintendent of Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls and Waterloo, N.Y.

Orcutt has been associated with the Park Service for 23 years. Her assignments have included: acting superintendent at Jewel Cave National Monument (South Dakota); chief of interpretation and resources management at Booker T. Washington National Monument (Virginia); the NPS budget office (Washington, D.C.); and chief of resources management and acting deputy superintendent at Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (Maryland). She is a graduate of the University of Maryland.

Eastern Shore group convenes Tubman conference
Choptank Region History Network presented its Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Conference, June 3-4 at Chesapeake College in Cambridge. The event, which drew more than 125 participants, included presentations, workshops and area tours.

Camila Clark, public relations manager at the Maryland Office of Tourism, moderated a panel discussion about how local businesses can tap into the expected surge of tourism along the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway in 2013, the 100-year anniversary of Tubman's death. Representatives of the tourism offices in Dorchester and Caroline counties also participated in the conference.

On Sept. 14, Eastern Shore residents will gather in Washington, D.C., for Harriet on the Hill Day and meet with members of Congress to discuss both Tubman's legacy as the preeminent conductor of the Underground Railroad and the economic value of the proposed Tubman national parks. The four senators from Maryland and New York have introduced legislation to authorize two parks – one on Maryland's Eastern Shore where Tubman, a Maryland native, was active with the Underground Railroad, and another in Auburn, N.Y., where Tubman spent her later years as an advocate for women's rights.

Photo: Camila Clark, Maryland Office of Tourism; Renee Gordon, The Philadelphia Sunday Sun; and Pamela “PJ” Thomas, Pathfinders Travel magazine

Learn about international marketing with CRUSA
Capital Region USA (CRUSA) – the nonprofit tourism-marketing coalition that represents Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. in international markets – rolls out its new marketing plan at a CRUSA partner's meeting, July 6 at National Harbor in Prince George's County. CRUSA officials will present the latest research on the international market, new integrated print and electronic marketing opportunities, tour-operator partnerships and other related information. Register online for this event, which includes a networking lunch.


Memorial pays tribute to Marylander who became president
Following two years of planning, fundraising, and design and construction, the John Hanson National Memorial was recently installed in the plaza of the Frederick County Courthouse in Frederick. Sculptor Toby Mendez's statue honors Hanson, the Frederick resident who – by a vote of Congress – served as the nation's first president (1781-1782) under the Articles of Confederation.



Flying on the ‘wild side' at Ocean City
It's “the year of extreme flight” for the annual Ocean City Air Show, June 11-12 along the beach near 16th Street. Watch the F-22 Raptor Demo Team in action. This year's line-up includes F-18 Super Hornet and A-10 Warthog demo teams. The Saturday night beach party features U.S. Navy Seals jump teams and a B-2 Stealth Bomber flyover. View the show's host hotels in Ocean City.  

Get a beehive at annual festival in Baltimore
HonFest – the Baltimore street festival that has grown from Baltimore's Best Hon pageant in 1994 to a two-day celebration of local culture along The Avenue (36st Street) in Hampden – returns June 11-12. Event includes pageants, musical entertainment, arts and crafts, and food vendors. Be a part of the first-time “HONdreds of HONS Pixture,” Saturday, June 11 at 4 p.m.

Learn what archaeologists discovered in Bladensburg
The Anacostia Watershed Society hosts a joint presentation by the Maryland State Highway Administration and the University of Maryland regarding the archaeology of Bladensburg, Wednesday evening, June 15 at the George Washington House in Bladensburg. To RSVP, call the society at 301-699-6204 (ext. 109), or send an e-mail.

Historical Annapolis house hosts concert
The William Paca Garden Concert Series presents jazz pianist Lafayette Gilchrist, June 23. Gilchrist, a Baltimore-based artist, was an apprentice of jazz musician Carl Grubbs in the Maryland State Arts Council's Maryland Traditions program. The colonial William Paca House and Garden is open daily for docent-led tours. It was restored by Historic Annapolis.

Civil War exhibition opens on Kent Narrows
Queen Anne's County has opened a new collection of Civil War exhibits at the Chesapeake Exploration Center in Chester at the end of Piney Narrows Road. The exhibition, National and Local History of the Civil War in Queen Anne's County, depicts life in the county 150 years ago. Visitors can view the display daily with free admission. The exhibition will also feature speakers, re-enactments and Civil War-related events. It runs until July 30. Chesapeake Exploration Center is along the county's Cross Island Trail.

Heritage Days Festival returns in Western Maryland
Downtown Cumberland hosts the 43rd annual Heritage Days Festival, June 11-12. Special events and attractions include: Allegany Museum exhibit on National Road bicentennial; Western Maryland Scenic Railroad excursions; Allegany County Arts Council's Plein-Aire exhibit at the Saville Gallery; Queen City Region Antique Car Club show; and tours of 18th-century tunnels below Emmanuel Episcopal Church. The festival also offers live entertainment each day.

AFI screens ‘largest documentary festival of its kind'
Silverdocs – the seven-day documentary film festival presented by the American Film Institute (AFI) and the Discovery Channel – returns for its ninth year at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, June 20-26. The festival runs concurrently with the five-day International Documentary Conference, which draws more than 1,200 filmmakers, educators, broadcasters, business leaders, distributors, private and public media, and funders from established and emerging media markets. Voucher packs and passes for the festival can be purchased online.

Send 'Tweetable' deals for re-Tweeting
Maryland hotels, restaurants and attractions can send news about their specials or packages to the Maryland Office of Tourism for broadcast on Twitter. Messages must adhere to Twitter's standard for length: no more than 140 characters in total. A web address that offers more information should be a part of each message.

Notice of “Tweetable” deals will go to the more than 3,500 followers of the tourism office's Twitter account, TravelMD. Send tweets for specials to Liz Fitzsimmons.