BALTIMORE (January 7) - The New Year is traditionally observed by making resolutions that include lists of things we would like to do in the coming months. Some may be life-changing, once-in-a-lifetime, bucket list-worthy items; others are simple and easily achievable. Many are tied to emerging trends.
“A new trend going into 2014 is wellness tourism, which encompasses activities designed to improve health, happiness and productivity,” says Margot Amelia, executive director of the state tourism office. “Maryland’s diverse attractions and special events dovetail nicely with this trend and with standard New Year’s resolutions to get closer to family, find work to life balance, become healthier, spend less and save more, get organized, learn something new, and enjoy life to the fullest.”
So, in the spirit of the New Year, here are a dozen travel suggestions. See how many resolutions you can check off with each activity:
January – Winter Fun – January is “Learn to Ski or Snowboard Month” and Western Maryland's Wisp Resort, overlooking Deep Creek Lake (Garrett County) is the place to take lessons. Alternative snow-day activities include snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. For even more adrenaline-pumping fun, hold on tight with your sweetheart on the mountain coaster, race the wind during a guided snowmobile tour, or glide through the tree canopy on a wire and a prayer.
February – Winter Weekends – Hearts and flowers abound this month, and what better way to celebrate your special romance than a weekend at one of Maryland’s many bed and breakfast establishments combined with a visit to a local winery or brewery? For ultimate convenience, some of our B&B’s also have vineyards on their property; visit Crow Farm in Kent County or Woodlawn Inn in St. Mary’s County.
March – Rivers and Trails – As snow and ice retreat from the landscape and daffodils appear, it is time to shake off any lingering cabin fever. Lace up your hiking boots or tighten your bike chains and map out your route along any one of Maryland’s rails to trails. These paved trails are motor-vehicle free and especially kid-friendly. The 184.5 mile C&O Canal is another cyclist/hiker favorite where many sections of the towpath offer unparalleled views of the mighty Potomac River.
April – Chesapeake Charters - North America's largest estuary, the Chesapeake Bay, is a veritable playground. A great way to mark the April beginning of the trophy season for Maryland's state fish, the striped bass (rockfish), is aboard a charter boat with a captain knowledgeable about where the big ones are biting. Or, crab with a commercial waterman whose family has done the same for generations. Paddlers can navigate several water trails mapped out on the Chesapeake Bay and her tributaries for those who prefer to go under their own steam.
May – Horsing Around – The eyes (and stopwatches) of the racing world are upon Maryland every third Saturday of May for the running of the Preakness Stakes, the second jewel of the Triple Crown, yet you can find horse-related events and attractions in every month. Visit Assateague Island National Seashore to photograph the wild horses that wander freely through the sandy dunes, cheer on your favorite knight at Medieval Times, or choose your own mount from riding stables located throughout Maryland.
June – Free Stuff in the Free State - Admission to many of Maryland’s world-class museums and attractions are free of charge, as are many special events, fairs and festivals. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding in 2014, the Baltimore Museum of Art houses impressive collections of fine art and sculpture. June brings the start of the outdoor concert and movie season, including the River Concert Series in St. Mary’s County.
July – Buy Local - Maryland's Buy Local Challenge, during the last week of the month, encourages residents (and visitors) to eat at least one item from a Maryland farm each day. Find fresh fruits, vegetables, grass-fed beef, and yes, even dairy-made ice cream, on Maryland’s Best website. Want to learn more about farming both past and present? Visit The Accokeek Foundation at Piscataway Park in Prince George’s County, the Carroll County Farm Museum in Carroll County, Outstanding Dreams Alpaca Farm in Caroline County, or the Howard County Living Farm Heritage Museum.
August – Culinary/Crabby Maryland – Come the dog days of summer, picnic tables around the state are covered in brown paper and our official state crustacean - spicy steamed crabs. Join up with a few (hundred) of your friends (and friends you haven’t met yet) at crab feast events throughout the state in August, beginning with the world’s largest (Annapolis Rotary) on August 1. Grab a seat at the top of the bay at the Havre de Grace Seafood Festival August 8, mosey down to National Harbor on the Potomac River for the Crab and Beer Festival August 16 and mark your calendar for the Maryland Seafood Festival September 6-7.
September – Star-Spangled Spectacular – Oh, say can you see that Maryland is the birthplace of two of the foremost symbols of American freedom, the national anthem and the flag? Baltimore welcomes patriots from all over back to the city for a star-spangled 200th anniversary commemoration of this decisive War of 1812 battle that will include tall ships, Navy grey hulls, the Blue Angels and an unparalleled fireworks display. Learn more about Maryland’s role on the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail.
October – A&E Districts – Soaring music, Old Masters or brightly colored contemporary works, gripping theatrics: October is National Arts and Humanities Month across the nation, and Maryland museums, performance venues and art galleries join in the joyous celebration of creativity. Many of these venues are located in one of Maryland’s 22 designated Arts & Entertainment Districts.
November – Main Streets – Main Streets across Maryland may look slightly different from each other, but the feeling of genuine hospitality remains the same. The Main Streets are often located on one of Maryland’s 18 scenic byways. In addition to an abundance of year-round festivities and events, Maryland’s 26 Main Streets also offer numerous historical and cultural attractions, locally-owned shops and boutiques, art galleries, bookstores and antiques.
December – Seasonal Events – ‘Tis the season to be jolly, and Maryland’s special events are a perfect way to light up your holidays. Lighted boat parades, drive-through light displays, open houses, craft fairs and concerts fill the calendar with good cheer.
About Maryland tourism
The Maryland Office of Tourism is an agency of the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Visitors to the state spent more than $14.7 billion on travel-related expenses in 2012. During 2012, the Maryland tourism industry also generated $2 billion in state and local taxes, and provided more than 135,000 jobs for Maryland residents.