NEWS IN BRIEF
New transportation bill passes
Recent passage of the wide-ranging federal transportation package has essentially eliminated the National Scenic Byways Program for the next two fiscal years, from Oct. 1, 2012 to Sept. 14, 2014. The new legislation provides some funding for byway-related construction – turnouts, overlooks and viewing areas – through a newly created Transportation Alternatives (TA) program, yet it does not offer funding for the array of marketing activities associated with developing these projects.
Also, funding categories tied to previously-existing programs, such as Transportation Enhancements (TE), have been moved into the TA program. The program consolidates 12 current eligible funding activities into six new groupings. TA projects across the nation will now vie for funding from a pool of approximately $780 million, a 35 percent reduction from the $1.2 billion allocated previously for TE projects and similar programs.
The new transportation package does maintain current funding levels, or $85 million a year, for the Recreational Trails Program through the end of fiscal 2014. However, individual states may opt out of the program by request of their governors.
It additionally eliminates funding categories for bicycle/pedestrian safety and education, transportation museums, and the acquisition of scenic and historic easements.
In Maryland, stakeholder groups connected with byway projects have received more than $15.5 million in Federal Highway Administration funds since 2002 for technical and financial assistance. Those funds – matched by millions of local and state dollars – helped to plan, develop and promote the state's collection of 18 byways. Six of the Maryland byways have been named as America's Byways, a federal designation that considers them to be among the best driving tours in the nation.
Buy local to discover Maryland's 'authentic treasures'
During the last week of July, participants in Maryland's annual Buy Local Challenge agree to eat at least one item from a Maryland farm each day. The Challenge promotes eating fresh, seasonal food from local sources – a practice that supports family farms and sustainable food production, according to the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, the group that established this event five years ago.
A "buy local" perspective also goes beyond eating fresh produce and other products from area farms, says the Maryland Office of Tourism.
"Buying local is investing in Maryland's signature products, attractions and events," says Margot Amelia, executive director of the tourism office. "Travelers can sample the best of Maryland and enjoy Maryland's authentic treasures with a multi-faceted 'buy local' approach."
She recommends dining on Chesapeake Bay seafood, selecting Maryland wine and beer, acquiring the work of local artists, and visiting places along the state's collection of Civil War trails, five wine trails (each featuring the wineries of a particular region) and a new ice-cream trail (includes seven dairy farms).
View events and attractions in Maryland's five regions that reflect local flavor. Also, see an online directory of Maryland farmers' markets.
Green Travel invites restaurants, attractions as partners
Maryland Green Travel (MGT) now offers a re-designed application – open to accommodations, restaurants and attractions – that is more streamlined and user-friendly, according to Catherine Batavick, MGT program manager. The all-in-one application allows restaurants and attractions to become MGT partners for the first time.
MGT is a voluntary, self-certification program that recognizes tourism businesses committed to improving their operations in order to reduce their environmental impact. Partnering with MGT, said Batavick, helps businesses evaluate their procedures, set goals and take specific actions towards environmental sustainability.
The program was developed through a partnership of the Maryland Office of Tourism, the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Maryland Tourism Council in support of Maryland's Smart, Green and Growing initiative.
Since its launch in November 2009, MGT has welcomed more than 100 travel partners who are either in the lodging sector or in the Department of Natural Resources' clean marina program. The first several restaurants to affiliate are Galway Bay in Annapolis, Shenanigan's Irish Pub in Ocean City and Blue Wind Gourmet in the St. Mary's County town of California. Each partner gets a "green" profile in the MGT section of the Maryland Office of Tourism's web site.
1812 tour opens in Annapolis with ceremony at USNA
A new Annapolis walking tour of sites that have historical ties to the War of 1812 opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA), July 6. Gov. Martin O'Malley, Vice Adm. Michael Miller (U.S. Naval Academy superintendent) and Annapolis Mayor Joshua Cohen cut the ceremonial ribbon.
The tour has 10 stops – five are at the Naval Academy, including the Academy museum. Other locations on the tour include St. John's College, Maryland State House and Historic Annapolis Foundation. Starting April 2013, the tour will also feature Seas, Lakes & Bay: The Naval War of 1812 – a free exhibit of artifacts from the war at Mahan Hall on the campus of the Naval Academy.
Support for the tour comes from prominent American businessman William I. Koch, who has also provided items from his collection of maritime paintings and artifacts related to the War of 1812 era for Seas, Lakes & Bay.
Maps of the walking tour are available at the USNA Visitor Center, USNA Museum, Maryland State House, Historic Annapolis Foundation and the Annapolis Visitor Center. Both the USNA Visitor Center and Annapolis Tours by Watermark offer guided walking tours.
In addition the Naval Academy, these organizations have helped to establish the tour: Annapolis Tours by Watermark, City of Annapolis, Historic Annapolis Foundation, Main Streets Annapolis Partnership and The Maryland State House Trust. Historian Ralph Eshelman also assisted.
Contest features Deep Creek Lake getaway as prize
The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce and Maryland Office of Tourism have coordinated a Deep Creek Lake getaway package that will be awarded to the winner of a drawing that is open to visitors of the tourism office's web site, VisitMaryland.org.
Entrants have a chance to win a seven-night stay at a three-bedroom cabin, courtesy of Long and Foster Resort Rentals. The package includes admission to several attractions at Wisp Mountain Resort: the Mountain Coaster (a hybrid of an alpine slide and roller coaster); the Flying Squirrel Canopy Tour (a tree-top challenge course); and the mountain-top, man-made whitewater course at Adventure Sports Center International. Gift certificates to Copper Kettle Popcorn Factory and Lakeside Creamery will also be provided.
The contest, tourism officials say, was inspired by an episode of the television show Getting Away Together, which was filmed last year at Deep Creek Lake.
Free outdoor movies offer casual entertainment
Watching movies on a big screen outdoors has become a summertime tradition in numerous communities across Maryland. The experience allows viewers to enjoy food, drink and good company in a variety of casual settings while seeing the stars under the stars.
"These movies offer visitors an evening of entertainment and a taste of local culture," says Margot Amelia, executive director of the Maryland Office of Tourism. "With "˜Flicks from the Hill,' for instance, they can visit the American Visionary Art Museum prior to the movie, for free. In Little Italy and at National Harbor, it's easy to carry out food from one of the area restaurants or dine at one after the show. And in Bethesda, the series takes place in the Bethesda Arts and Entertainment District."
Here are a dozen locations across the state that offer free outdoor movies. In some instances, viewers can purchase food and drink on-site.
Poets-in-residence prepare anthology of students' work
The Maryland State Arts Council has released an anthology of poetry by Maryland students that was created in conjunction with the Council's Artists-in-Residence Program, which promotes arts education in public and private schools through workshops taught by visiting artists, namely visual artists, musicians, playwrights and poets.
Titled Voices Fly, the online anthology draws on the in-school experiences of Virginia Crawford and Laura Shovan, two poets who have more than 20 years of combined experience in teaching their craft to students. It includes a series of teaching exercises designed by the two poets. A limited-edition print version of the anthology was sent to selected schools.
Gov. Martin O'Malley, in a message published in the anthology, writes: "Learning through the arts teaches young people to use many different mediums to communicate ideas. Students who can express concepts through poetry, dance, drawing or song have a competitive edge in the creative economy of our future and help enrich our communities."
AiR workshops often surprise classroom teachers, Crawford says of her experience as a poet-in-residence. "I've seen children dive into language through poetry when other sorts of writing have not caught their interest."
Frederick, Westminster host Civil War events
Civil War encampments will be staged at Rose Hill Manor Park in Frederick, July 14-15, and at Union Mills Homestead in Westminster, July 21-22. The Rose Hill Manor Park event recalls encampments by Confederate soldiers in the fall of 1862 and by Union troops in the summer of 1863. Re-enactors stage the 1862 Battles of Sharpsburg at 2 p.m. on both July 14 and July 15. Admission is $3 for each spectator. At Union Mills, visitors can watch or attend formation and weapons inspections, tactical drills, and other living-history demonstrations and talks. Admission is $3 for each vehicle. Tours of Shriver Homestead and Grist Mill are also available for a small fee. Carroll, Frederick and Washington counties make up Maryland's Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area.
Artscape returns with Roadside Attractions
Artscape — the largest, free outdoor arts festival in the U.S. — runs July 20-22 along Baltimore's Mount Royal corridor and North Charles Street in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District. The weekend event, which originated in 1982, is expected to draw 350,000 visitors. In addition to more than 150 exhibitors, Artscape presents a line-up of entertainment that includes theater, opera and dance performances, along with street performers and vocal artists on three stages.
New this year is Roadside Attractions – an interactive, performing- and visual-arts installation that spans a quarter of a mile on Charles Street. It's sponsored by Maryland's Department of Transportation, Highway Safety Office, Motor Vehicle Administration and State Highway Administration.
CRUSA plans seminar for global-marketing plans
Learn about Brand USA's international marketing campaign and how to participate in Capital Region USA's marketing plans for 2013 at the Capital Region USA Goes Global 2013 International Summit, July 24 at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Northern Virginia. Call or e-mail Kimberly Petersen, 804-562-0168, for registration information.
Spurs, Reds bring international soccer to Baltimore
M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens, hosts an international soccer match, Saturday, July 28 at 1 p.m., between two popular teams in England's Barclays Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur Football Club and Liverpool Football Club. The two teams have never played in this region of the U.S. before. Tickets, which start at $36 for an end-zone seat, are available online through Ticketmaster. Groups of 20 or more can call the Ravens Ticket Office, 410-261-RAVE (7283), to acquire discounted tickets. The match is the first part of a day-night doubleheader for sports fans in Baltimore. At 7:05 p.m., the Orioles play the Oakland Athletics at nearby Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Grand Prix of Baltimore tickets on sale
Tickets for the Grand Prix of Baltimore — Labor Day weekend — are available on the race's web site (www.RaceOnBaltimore.com) through Ticketmaster or 1-800-745-3000. Last year, more than 150,000 fans attended the first-ever Grand Prix race in the city.
General admission tickets are $15 for Friday, Aug. 31, $50 for Saturday, Sept. 1, $55 for the day of the race, Sunday, Sept. 2. A three-day general admission ticket is $85. Reserved seat packages, which include reserved seating on Saturday and Sunday, are also available. Single-day reserved tickets go on sale July 15. Paddock passes — $40 for one day, $65 for three days — give fans access into the Baltimore Convention Center to see race cars and crews.