NEWS IN BRIEF
Md. officials urge national monument site for Tubman
Gov. Martin O'Malley – along with Maryland's Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, and Rep. Andy Harris – recently called for the creation of a 480-acre national monument site on the Eastern Shore to honor the life and legacy of Harriet Tubman, the Maryland native who – as the best-known conductor of the Underground Railroad – helped to ferry enslaved people to freedom during the years leading up to the Civil War.
"Federal recognition of Harriet Tubman, one of our nation's great freedom and equal rights heroes, is long overdue," said Gov. O'Malley. "A national monument designation will further our commitment to share Harriet's courageous life story and legacy of justice, and protect the rural landscape of her birthplace on Maryland's Eastern Shore."
Establishing a Tubman National Monument in Dorchester County would protect several properties within its boundaries that have strong links to both Tubman and the Underground Railroad. The national monument site, adjacent to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, would also include the Harriet Tubman State Park Visitor Center that is scheduled to open next March, marking the 100-year anniversary of Tubman's passing.
"A national monument designation will also raise the profile of sites along the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway," said Christian Johansson, secretary, Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Developed by the Maryland Office of Tourism in partnership with the tourism offices in Dorchester and Caroline counties, the Tubman Byway was named one of the nation's best scenic driving tours by the Federal Highway Administration.
The proposed national monument would be a unit of the National Park Service, and according to state officials, could advance legislation introduced in Congress – this session and the one preceding it – that creates a Tubman national park in Maryland. This bill passed the Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee, but has not been considered by the full House and Senate.
Arts Council allocates 268 organization grants
Gov. Martin O'Malley has approved nearly $11 million in matching grants to help support the general operations of 268 arts organizations and ongoing arts programs for fiscal 2013, upon the recommendations of the Maryland State Arts Council. The level of funding is consistent with fiscal 2012.
According to an economic-impact study of the arts in Maryland during fiscal 2010, organizations that receive these grants account for nearly 11,000 full-time-equivalent jobs, and generate $1 billion in local economic activity and $36.5 million in state and local taxes.
The 268 grant recipients include 24 arts councils in Maryland's 23 counties and Baltimore city. Grant amounts vary with the size and scope of the organizations.
Heritage-tourism grants to help fund 63 projects
Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA) has awarded 63 matching grants, totaling $2.7 million, to help fund heritage-tourism projects and activities across the state. The grants go to nonprofits, local jurisdictions and heritage-tourism organizations.
"The Maryland Heritage Area Program's targeted investments help preserve the best of Maryland's historic sites and towns, unspoiled natural landscapes, and enduring traditions," said Gov. Martin O'Malley, "and in doing so create more livable and economically sustainable communities."
MHAA, created in 1996, oversees 12 locally-administered, state-certified Heritage Areas. Each area has a distinct focus or theme that links to buildings, districts, archaeological sites, museums, parks and natural landscapes. Themes also exemplify an area's traditional lifestyle, as manifest in its food, music and art.
View a complete list of grant recipients in this release from the Maryland Department of Planning.
Enjoy the show, and the game, too, at minor-league parks
"A hot dog at the ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz," Humphrey Bogart once said.
For families who come to minor-league baseball games, hot dogs are just the start of what can be an entertaining experience – at family-friendly prices. The mascots, amusements, fireworks shows, food and drink specials, and proximity to the players are standard fare at minor-league games. And, so are the seemingly endless array of giveaways and special events.
"We have an impressive number of baseball destinations – especially when you consider how many minor-league teams play in the state," says Margot Amelia, executive director of the Maryland Office of Tourism. "Add in our other baseball attractions and museums, and the Baltimore Orioles, and you can see why Maryland is a great place to enjoy what has traditionally been our national pastime."
Read more about Maryland's minor-league teams and some of their special events, along with a few other baseball attractions.
Summer restaurant weeks continue into August
Maryland's Buy Local Challenge Week, which runs to July 29, calls for a commitment to eat at least one thing from a local farm every day during the week. Howard County's restaurant week, Farm-2-Table, which goes to Aug. 6, blends the "buy local" theme into its summer restaurant week. Participating restaurants offer locally-sourced ingredients – meat, produce and wine – from nearby farms.
Hagerstown Restaurant Week (Washington County) returns Aug. 5-18 for its fifth year with two dozen participating restaurants. Baltimore (City) Restaurant Week, July 27 – Aug. 5, features an array of participating eateries in Inner Harbor, Harbor East, Little Italy, Federal Hill, Mount Vernon, Hampden and other areas. Baltimore County Restaurant Week, Aug. 10-19, includes three dozen restaurants. And, Carroll County Restaurant Week returns for its second year, Aug. 19-26. Restaurants participating in these weeks offer prixe-fixe menus for dinner, and in many instances, for lunch, too.
Submit nominations for Maryland Tourism Awards
Nominations for the 2012 Maryland Tourism Awards — as selected by the Office of Tourism and the Maryland Tourism Development Board — will be accepted until Sept. 24. Award categories are: Green/Sustainable Tourism; Visit Maryland (promotion of the state as a travel destination); Cultural/Heritage Tourism; and Economic Engine.
The awards pay tribute to individuals, organizations, businesses or governmental agencies that have significantly contributed to the efforts of the tourism office and board to boost jobs and economic impact in Maryland's tourism industry, and enhance the state's image to travelers. Winners will be announced at the Maryland Tourism and Travel Summit, Nov. 15 in Cambridge. For more information, call or e-mail Jennifer Jones, 410-767-6296.
Tourism tax-code revenue up more than 8 percent
The latest issue of the Maryland Tourism Monitor — the Office of Tourism's monthly report on results for marketing, tourism-related sales taxes and leisure and hospitality jobs — is available online.
Among its findings: Sales-tax revenue from tourism tax codes grew 8.2 percent over last year — more than 60 percent above the 5 percent rate of growth for overall sales-tax revenue through May of this fiscal year. Additionally, with an increased advertising budget, the tourism office has seen 57 percent more web-advertising responses, 7 percent more print-advertising responses and more than double the number of broadcast responses compared to the same time period last year.
Calvert Marine Museum staff host the ribbon-cutting: Doug Alves, director; Richard Dodds, curator of maritime history; and Vanessa Gill, director of development
Restored quarters at Cove Point Lighthouse open to guests
Following years of fundraising and renovations, the lighthouse keeper's home at Cove Point Lighthouse in Calvert County will soon be available as a vacation rental. A ribbon-cutting was held July 20 to reveal the restored structure. The Calvert Marine Museum operates the site. Built in 1828, the Cove Point Lighthouse is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay. Both the Cove Point and Drum Point lighthouses will be open for tours on National Lighthouse Day, Sunday, Aug. 5, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Cove Point is free.)
Two receive appointments to tourism board
Gov. Martin O'Malley, on July 1, made two appointments to the Maryland Tourism Development Board. J. Matthew Neitzey, executive director of the Prince George's County Convention and Visitors Bureau, received one appointment. He will represent the Maryland Destination Marketing Organization (MDMO) on the board. And, John Fieseler, executive director of the Tourism Council of Frederick County, was re-appointed by Gov. O'Malley for a second term. Fieseler also represents MDMO on the board.
Olympians train at Montgomery County pools
The road to London for U.S. Olympic divers went through Montgomery County. For four days in mid-July, prior to their overseas departure, the 11 divers trained at the Eunice Kennedy and Sargent Shriver Aquatic Center in North Bethesda, and Germantown Indoor Swim Center. Team members also visited patients at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda. Montgomery County Recreation operates and manages four indoor swim centers and seven outdoor pools.
Submit tickets for online contest
Visitors to the Maryland Office of Tourism's Facebook page can now enter a weekly contest, Ticket Tuesday, to win tickets to attractions across the state. The tourism office is looking for tickets to use in the giveaway. Recently, tickets to the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Sports Legends Museum garnered more than 250 entries in five hours. The tourism office promotes Ticket Tuesday through its social-media outlets. Attraction and event managers can participate by e-mailing Bryan Barnes.
NPS trail reveals story of War of 1812
Sen. Ben Cardin and Rep. John Sarbanes will be among the speakers at the launch of the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, Monday morning, July 30, at the foot of Broadway in Fell's Point – a Baltimore neighborhood known for its ship-building activity during the War of 1812 era. The trail is a 560-mile land and water route that reflects the history of the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake Bay region. It connects historic sites in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and traces American and British troop movements during the war.
Gen. Lee's 'lost orders' on display at Monocacy
The original copy of Gen. Robert E. Lee's "lost orders" – in which he outlined strategy for his Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War's Maryland Campaign in 1862 – will be on display at the Monocacy National Battlefield Visitor Center for three months, starting Aug. 1, on loan from the Library of Congress. Lee prepared Special Order 191 while camped at Best Farm (several miles south of Frederick) on Sept. 9, 1862. Four days later, Union troops found the missing instructions in an envelope with two cigars. Union Maj. Gen. George McClellan had possession of Lee's orders that evening. The two armies clashed at South Mountain on Sept. 14, and at Antietam on Sept. 17.
Bladensburg encampment at Riversdale depicts 1812 era
Re-enactors portraying British and American troops from the War of 1812 gather on the lawn at Riversdale Historic House Museum in Prince George's County, Aug. 11, between noon and 4 p.m., in a simulated encampment reflecting the days before the 1814 Battle of Bladensburg. Admission is free. This annual event also features children's activities, live music and period-inspired refreshments. Tours of Riversdale, a Federal-style mansion, built between 1801 and 1807, are available for a small charge. Call 301-864-0420 for details.
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.
Pro skateboard, BMX athletes back at beach
The Dew Tour – an action-sports road show – returns to Ocean City for the second straight year, Aug. 16-19. With a towering vertical ramp, skateboard bowl and bike motocross (BMX) riders soaring in the air, the weekend event should be easy to find along the south end of the beach. This year's edition introduces a surfing competition. Admission to all events, including beach concerts, is free. A limited number of Premium Pass tickets, which offer reserved seating, may be purchased online.
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) or by calling 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.