NEWS IN BRIEF
Restored aqueduct opens at C&O Canal NHP
On a sunny, breezy autumn morning, Oct. 15, the National Park Service held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the completed restoration of the C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP)'s Catoctin Aqueduct, located between Point of Rocks and Brunswick in Frederick County.
"I can think of no other public project in this area where so many – more than 1,000 – citizens, donors and government officials have come together to restore a historic structure," said George E. Lewis Jr., president of the Catoctin Aqueduct Restoration (CAR) Fund.
The Catoctin Aqueduct, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is one of 11 aqueducts along the 184.5-mile C&O Canal NHP, which stretches from Georgetown in Washington, D.C., to Cumberland. On Oct. 31, 1973, two of the three arches of the 139-year-old aqueduct collapsed from the effects of frequent flooding. A footbridge and then a World War II-era Bailey bridge were installed to serve as a passageway over Catoctin Creek for hikers and bikers traveling the C&O Canal towpath. Both the Baily bridge and remnants of the footbridge were removed during the restoration.
"The restoration of this historic aqueduct means jobs, jobs, jobs for Frederick County – jobs in construction that brought us here today, and jobs in tourism tomorrow," said Sen. Barbara Mikulski in a statement released prior to the ceremony.
Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, Md. Sen. Ronald N. Young and C&O Canal NHP Superintendent Kevin D. Brandt were among the speakers at the event. Representatives of Gov. Martin O'Malley, Sen. Mikulski and Rep. Roscoe Bartlett also addressed the several hundred people who witnessed the event.
Most of the funding for the project came through an allocation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, along with funds raised by CAR and The Community Foundation of Frederick County. Corman Construction, based in Annapolis Junction, was awarded the $3.93 million contract. Construction began in the summer of 2010 and ended in late July.
Brooks Robinson immortalized with Baltimore statue
Former Oriole Brooks Robinson thanked the city and his supporters for the statue that will reside at Washington Boulevard Plaza between Washington Boulevard and Russell Street, directly across from the northwest side of Oriole Park.
Robinson played 23 seasons with the Orioles and was the 1964 American League Most Valuable Player and 1970 World Series MVP.
Governor O'Malley thanks baseball Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson for his contributions to Baltimore. See story.
Boat shows spotlight Annapolis as 'America's Sailing Capital'
Two consecutive weekends each fall, tens of thousands of boating enthusiasts arrive in Annapolis to get up-close looks at their dream vessels and mingle with manufacturers and vendors in the boating industry, and each other. They've been coming to the two Annapolis boat expositions – produced by U.S. Yacht Shows – for the past 40 years.
At the U.S. Sailboat Show, Oct. 6-10, enthusiasts strolled through a maze of more than 250 catamarans, yachts and other sailboats secured along temporary floating docks in the colonial seaport. The next weekend, Oct. 13-16, another wave of visitors came into town for the U.S. Powerboat Show, where more than 400 powerboats had taken over the harbor.
Approximately 100,000 visitors come to the shows – people from around the world, says Connie del Signore, president and CEO, Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Conference & Visitors Bureau. They provide a boost of $35 million for the local economy in direct expenditures. With additional indirect spending, she adds, the overall figure is about $50 million.
The boats shows, she says, have the largest economic impact for the county among annual events there. By comparison, two other major events – Commissioning Week at the U.S. Naval Academy and the Renaissance Festival – inject $11 million and $18 million, respectively, into the economy. Del Signore further notes that of Anne Arundel's 80 hotels, "nearly all are booked for these two weeks (of the boat shows)."
Susan Zellers, executive director at the Marine Trades Association of Maryland, says the state has a $2.3 billion boating industry that supports 30,000 jobs. Additionally, 30,000 boats from out of the area – "transient boats" – visit Maryland ports each year, which support another 3,000 Maryland jobs.
Parades, museums, historic sites salute Maryland veterans
George Washington called the Maryland regiments that were part of the Continental Army his "Old Line" – a term of admiration that became one of the state's nicknames. In that same tradition of paying tribute to Maryland's military veterans, the state's Office of Tourism encourages travelers to visit any of the various locations in Maryland where military history resonates during this Veterans Day holiday and the weeks that follow.
Veterans Day parades are an obvious choice. On Sunday, Nov. 6, Brunswick (Frederick County) presents its 79th annual parade – one of the longest-running parades in the state. Known for its railroad heritage, Brunswick is six miles east of Harpers Ferry, Va. Also on Nov. 6, the Southern Maryland town of LaPlata (Charles County) stages its annual parade.
Another Southern Maryland town, Leonardtown (St. Mary's County) has its 34th annual Veterans Day parade on the actual day of the holiday, Nov. 11. Organizers say their parade is the largest such parade in the state. And, Bel Air (Harford County) plans a two-day celebration with its parade and other festivities, Nov. 10-11.
"It is our duty as citizens to recognize American veterans for their dedicated service and level of sacrifice – especially on Veterans Day," says Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown. "It is also gratifying to know that Maryland has a number of attractions and destinations that honor the legacies of veterans throughout the year."
Public invited to share thoughts about Tubman
In 2013, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State will open on Maryland's Eastern Shore. A special feature of the planned exhibits and multi-media displays at the park and along the existing Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway are documented personal stories and perceptions of Harriet Tubman's legacy – as provided by Eastern Shore residents, Tubman relatives, historical researchers and civic leaders.
The Maryland Office of Tourism and Maryland Park Service – in partnership with Dorchester County Tourism, Caroline County Tourism, and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture – have scheduled a variety of sessions between mid-October and mid-November for gathering this information as part of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Interview Project.
Two of the Eastern Shore sessions, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., are open to the public:
- Saturday, Nov. 5, South Dorchester High School (Music Room) in Cambridge
- Sunday, Nov. 6, Museum of Rural Life in Denton
For more information and to reserve a space, call: 410-228-9224 for the Cambridge session; or 410-479-2055 for the Denton session.
Tourism officials follow PRIDE to promote Maryland
Representatives of the Maryland Office of Tourism and Visit Baltimore traveled to New York and Washington, D.C., to discuss plans for three heritage commemorations in Maryland with prominent media outlets, tour operators and meeting planners. The outreach coincided with the Pride of Baltimore's II port of call visits to those two cities.
The group promoted the activities related to the 150-year anniversary of the Civil War, which started this year and will continue during the next several years in conjunction with the anniversaries of different Civil War events.
They also discussed the upcoming War of 1812 bicentennial commemoration activities in Maryland including a maritime festival including international tall ships and the U.S. Navy. And, the new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park on the Underground Railroad Byway scheduled to open in 2013, the 100-year anniversary of the passing of Tubman, the celebrated "conductor" of the Underground Railroad.
In New York, the group met with the Wall Street Journal; Frommer's travel guide; Travel Mom; Travel + Leisure; and Departures magazine. Meetings in Washington, D.C., were held with the Huffington Post; The Washington Post; U.S. News & World Report; and Washingtonian magazine.
Visitation to web site rises; industry jobs up
The latest issue of the Maryland Tourism Monitor — the Office of Tourism's monthly report on measures for visitation, marketing, and leisure and hospitality jobs — is available online.
Among its findings: The number of web site visitors to Visitmaryland.org has grown 7 percent this fiscal year, an apparent result of an increase in online advertising. And, the number of jobs in Maryland's arts, entertainment and recreation sectors has risen by 5 percent – adding 2,300 jobs in the state.
Register **NOW** online for Maryland tourism conference
The 31st annual Maryland Tourism and Travel Summit (MTTS) will be held Nov. 2-4 at the Marriott Inn & Conference Center at UMUC in Prince George's County. Registration is available online. Call the Marriott at 301-985-7300 and mention MTTS to reserve rooms.
MTTS speakers include Brett Petit, senior vice president of marketing, Six Flags Theme Parks (trends in theme park and family travel); Berkeley Young, president, Young Strategies (destination marketing); Hannah Paramore, president, The Digital Agency (keynote: online marketing expertise); Tanner Latham, freelance writer and multi-media storyteller (public relations insights); and Amy Showalter, The Showalter Group (grassroots organizations).
Both the Maryland Office of Tourism and the Maryland Tourism Council will present awards at the conference. Categories for the tourism office awards are: Green/Sustainable Tourism; Visit Maryland (promotion of the state as a travel destination); Cultural/Heritage Tourism; and Economic Engine.
Maryland firm's '1812 flags' raise funds for nonprofits
In time for Veterans Day, Marylanders can purchase commemorative 15-star, 15-stripe American flags that are modeled after the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the National Anthem following the all-night British bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1814.
An official announcement about the flags will be made, Tuesday, Nov. 8, in Havre de Grace at F.W. Haxel, the manufacturer of the flags. F.W. Haxel has been a family-owned and operated Maryland company since it was established in 1935.
The flags have the official Star-Spangled 200 bicentennial logo and are available in two versions on the company's web site: a printed nylon flag ($20); and a limited-edition, sewn nylon flag with appliqued stars ($73.50). Proceeds benefit three nonprofit (501c3) organizations: The American Flag Foundation, Friends of Fort McHenry and The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House.
Maryland Historical Society opens 1812 exhibit
The original manuscript of The Star-Spangled Banner – with Francis Scott Key's penned corrections – is on display as part of the Maryland Historical Society's new exhibit, With Broad Stripes and Bright Stars, a collection that focuses on Baltimore's role in the War of 1812.
Other items in the exhibit include Rembrandt Peale's portraits of four of "Baltimore's Defenders of 1814" – Samuel Smith, George Armistead, John Stricker and Isaac McKim. Also on display is the "Etting Cup," a blackened tankard that was etched with the signatures of the militia men who were at North Point and Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore.
Society officials say this exhibition is a sneak preview of an extensive War of 1812 collection. For more information, call 410-685-3750.
'Annapolis by Candlelight' offers tour of historic Murray Hill
Follow the luminaries along a tour of private homes in downtown Annapolis that offer architectural styles dating from the late 1800s onward. Tours run Nov. 4-5, 5 to 9 p.m. Proceeds support Historic Annapolis Foundation programs. Admission is $25 in advance for volunteers and members; $30 for nonmembers. All tickets purchased Oct. 31 or later are $35. Call the foundation at 410-267-8146 for details.
Fishing advocacy group hosts yearly rockfish tournament
Thousands of recreational and professional anglers – from Maine to North Carolina – compete in the 19th annual Chesapeake Bay Fall Classic, the bay's largest rockfish tournament of the season, Nov. 19-20. Last year's event featured 205 boats in the competition and nearly $80,000 in cash and prizes. The Fall Classic is the last event in the 2011 Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association tournament series, which includes The Championship and the Tuna-ment. It's the final time that members and captains can receive points for the 2011 MSSA Captain of the Year contest. Online registration available. Call 410-255-5535 for more information.