Tag Archives: DC Area Wineries and Vineyards

Make a Great Day of it with Ruddy Duck’s New Adventure Packages

ruddyduck_SUP-sunset

As much as I enjoy planning our excursions around DC and surrounding areas, sometimes it’s really nice to have the logistics coordinated for me. Especially when the day’s outing is devised by people who really know a locale and its best offerings, and have first-hand insight on how to make the most of it all.

This is what I appreciate most about Ruddy Duck Adventures, the Calvert County tour company that offers all-inclusive day trips around the Solomons, MD, area. They provide an itinerary that includes fun activities and great dining, plus all the instruction and gear needed; all guests have to do is drive. And they plan the adventures with local knowledge and ardent zeal for all the area has to offer, making the trips as authentic as they are enjoyable. We know this from experience, their Fossil & Shark Teeth Hunt easily a KFDC favorite last year.

Ruddy Duck Adventures has just expanded their selection of tours, introducing two new packages that combine several activities to make for fantastic day-long excursions. And a great thing about these new adventures, is that they can be family outings (depending on the ages of your children) or unique grown-up outings (think daytime date or moms’ day out). Even better, they are offering KidFriendly DC readers a special 10% discount on bookings for a limited time!

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The Paddle Package is perfect for those who like active recreation, especially on the water. Start with kayaking around Solomons Island. After working up an appetite, enjoy a tasty lunch at the cozy Ruddy Duck Brewery. From there, swing by the Solomons Island boardwalk for ice cream, shopping, and great views. That will give you some rest time before the next activity: stand-up paddle boarding! Finally, wind down the day with dinner, including amazing Potomac views, at the Ruddy Duck Seafood & Alehouse. No prior experience is necessary for any of the paddling, and all instruction and gear is included.
Cost: $129/person ($20/kids ages 5-11).

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The Gardens & Grapes Package lets you savor the area in a more relaxed and artsy way. Start by exploring the beauty of nature and art at Annmarie Sculpture Garden. Then, drive just down the road to Ruddy Duck Brewery & Grill for a yummy lunch. From there, head to award-winning Port of Leonardtown Winery for a delicious wine tasting. That segues right into the next activity, wine and cheese aboard a Chesapeake skiff for a relaxing human-powered boat tour. Top it all off with dinner, including amazing Potomac views, at the Ruddy Duck Seafood & Alehouse.
Cost: $109/person ($20/kids ages 3-11).

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The original Fossil & Shark Teeth Hunt is also available for $89/person ($20/kids ages 3 and up). When you consider all that is included with all of the packages — the activities, instruction & equipment, two meals, snacks, admission fees — you’re getting a pretty amazing deal, not to mention there is also the KFDC 10% discount. And you can consider it for a special occasion, as a friend of mine did when her family opted for (and loved!) the Fossil Hunt Package a couple of weeks ago to celebrate her birthday. Though anytime you go and share a unique and wonderful experience is going to be special.

For more about Ruddy Duck Adventures and to book your adventure, visit the website — and be sure to use the code KFDC at check out to get your 10% discount. You can also read about our experience on the Fossil & Shark Teeth Hunt.


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Ruddy Duck Adventures, however, I only promote programs, services, and events that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.


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Filed under Art, Exhibit, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Sponsored Post, Weekend

Savor a Day at Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard

Cheers to a perfect day at Sugarloaf!

Cheers to a perfect day at Sugarloaf!



You know those days that are just kind of perfect? Schedules line up, the weather is sublime, everyone is in good spirits, there’s a dose of spontaneity, the stars seem to align…and something about it all just feels extra special.

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We had one of those days recently. It was over Labor Day weekend, after the second week of school, which Owen missed because he was out sick (after not missing a single day last year, go figure). Anyway, it was the first day he was really feeling better, and we were all ready to get out and enjoy the beautiful day.

As we were deciding what to do that morning, my friend Margaret texted asking what we were up to. We threw out a few ideas, and I mentioned Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard, which I’d heard about from my friend Besa of Mom in DCity.

Long story short: Within a couple of hours, we were at the Dickerson, MD, locale enjoying the lovely scenery, awesome company, picnic lunch, relaxed family-friendly vibe, and a couple of bottles of the house special.

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So, a vineyard may not be the first type of place that comes to mind when you’re planning a day out with the kids. But one visit to Sugarloaf, and you’ll understand why it’s a great option for a family outing.

For starters, they welcome children. Our crew was among many with kids in the mix, and they even have a designated Play Area for running around, kicking balls, tossing Frisbees, and other kinds of all-ages fun. (2018 Update: The website now says no balls, Frisbees or yard games, but it also says children are welcome.)

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There are a few areas where you can set up camp for the day. We opted for one of many big round tables with umbrellas for shade in an open grassy space between the parking lot and grape fields, behind the big red barn. A wine tasting tent is also there, and you can sample a variety for $10. A level below that area is a patio with more tables. It’s closer to the road, but also where live music is performed — a guy on guitar entertained the crowd for hours that day. Behind the patio and next to the Play Area is a long stretch of grass, and folks are invited to bring blankets and chairs to hang out there, too.

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The barn is at the center of it all — that’s where they make and sell wine and snacks, and indoor seating is available. Crackers, cheese, and summer sausage are the only munchies they have for sale (all of it the packaged, grocery store variety), but you can BYO food for a bigger picnic. That’s just what we did — a couple of coolers full of food made for a nice feast and nibbling throughout the day. Of course, we also purchased wine — outside alcoholic beverages are not permitted — and they also offer sangria by the glass.

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There is terrific hiking nearby, and many folks actually make a stop at the Vineyard a reward after summiting Sugarloaf Mountain, located less than a mile away. It’s about a six-mile hike total up and down the mountain; we decided to skip it since Owen was just back to good health. Something to save for next time, as I hear it’s a great hike with fantastic vistas from the top.

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Along with the picnic, we played games with the kids in our field, threw a Frisbee in the play area, spent some time on the patio listening to the music, and just relaxed, hung out, and savored the day.

A perfect day, at that.

Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard is located at 18125 Comus Road in Dickerson, MD, less than an hour’s drive from DC. Hours are 12-6pm daily, and last call is at 5:30pm. Admission is free, but plan on spending anywhere from $19-30 per bottle of wine or $6 a glass for sangria. There are some tips and policies to be aware of before you go, which you can read here. Sugarloaf occasionally hosts special events, including a Grape Stomp coming up October 3-4 and 11-12. And, generally, fall will be a great time to go when you can enjoy both the foliage and the fun.

Wait, it gets even better! On the way back to DC, we stopped at Honey Pig in Germantown. If you haven’t been to the authentic Korean barbeque, I highly recommend going. The food is delicious, and it cooks on a grill right in the middle of your table. Plus, kids love the variety of fruity drinks and Korean pop music videos playing on TV’s around the restaurant.

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Honey Pig in Germantown is located at 19743 Frederick Road. There are also a few other locations around the area.


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Filed under All ages, DC, Farm, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Outdoor, Weekdays, Weekend