Tag Archives: Maryland Outdoors

Scenes from the Sunflower Bloom at McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area



I’m no horticulturalist or anything, but I loves me a beautiful flower bloom. It’s not just the dramatic vistas they create as brilliant bursts of color stretch across landscapes; something about the annual recurrence — the concept of renewal — is at once comforting, uplifting, exciting, and hopeful. (Why, hello, my inner cheeseball.)


This was the first time we went to see the sunflower bloom at McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area in Poolesville, MD. I’d actually never heard about it before and have the Montgomery County Tourism Office on social media to thank for the heads-up this year. It was one of their Instagram posts that alerted me to the peak dates, which are right now through next weekend.

So, this bloom is amazing! The thirty acres of tall yellow flowers is such a happy sight, like a big congregation of smiling emoji sunshine faces. It was a crazy hot day when Owen and I went to see it, but I’m so glad we braved the temps. We didn’t stay too long, about 20-30 minutes, but it was enough time to take in the sublime scene. I recommend wearing hats, close-toed shoes, and sunscreen, and bringing along a bottle of water.

I couldn’t find an exact address for McKee-Beshers, but put the location in my phone GPS and followed the route. It led us to a small parking lot just off River Road, and a sign there confirmed we were in the right place. (There’s no admission, just park and head to the fields.) It’s just a few minutes down the road from Homestead Farms, so I recommend planning a visit there, too, to make the most of your time while you’re out that way. We did some blackberry picking and enjoyed a picnic lunch that we brought along. Just make sure you go soon, because the bloom (and blackberries!) won’t be there for much longer.

The first glimpse beyond the trees

There’s some room to walk among the flowers,but be careful!

A shorty among the tallies

The flip side…sunflowers turn slowly throughout the day, so they’re always facing the sun

Matching bumble bee

Stop and smell, though there’s not much of an aroma

Rising high

Sunflower close-up

Still in the bud stage

Go see them…and have your camera ready!


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Filed under 2017, All ages, Annual, DC, Free, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend

Scenes from a Day at Purse State Park



Owen just returned from a few weeks of sleep away camp, and this is our week to hang out together, as Sasha is busy with Adventure Theatre acting camp, and he doesn’t begin Camp Arena Stage until next week. We spent yesterday at Purse State Park with friends, wandering the shoreline hunting for fossils, picnicking on the beach, and swimming in the Potomac (the kids did, anyway).

A lovely view of the Potomac

We first visited Purse a couple of years ago after my friend Jody heard from a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum that it was a great place to search for fossilized shark teeth and other prehistoric marine life remnants. It’s one of the best adventure tips I’ve received for KFDC — we love visiting and always come home with a good haul of fossil finds, occasionally with some pretty interesting pieces. In fact, yesterday Jody found a very rare pygmy white shark tooth (confirmed on The Fossil Forum)!

Jody’s rare pygmy white shark tooth

You can read more about the locale in Charles County, MD, in this post, which also has logistics for visiting. If you like a little adventure in your beach outing, this is a perfect place to go; it’s actually more about fossil hunting than beaching, but there is sand and surf to enjoy during the warm months — just be sure to check the tide table to make sure there is enough sand! Get a look at it all in these scenes from yesterday.

See it?

Fallen trees add some obstacles (and climbing ops for kids)

The squish of toes in the sand

Crouch anywhere by the water, and you’re bound to find a fossil

More swimming than fossil hunting by these kids – they were so happy the water was warm enough!

Fossilized shells embedded in the cliffside

Can’t beat a beach picnic!

Not the usual wildlife you expect to see at the beach

Sightings of these little guys are more common

Another friendly critter

I always bring a container with a hole in the lid to stash my finds

A peek inside

Getting creative with the full haul at home

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Filed under 2017, All ages, DC, Free, Maryland, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend

Scenes from Flag Ponds Nature Park & Beach

The boardwalk to the beach after a half-mile hike from the car



Happy first day of summer! Images of the beach seem like a perfect way to welcome the new season, so here are some scenes from our outing to Flag Ponds Nature Park yesterday. It was a nice time to be there — the sun was shining, the breeze off the water kept us cool on a hot day, and the water was calm (though unfortunately filled with jellyfish, so we didn’t go much more than ankle deep in it). But it was so nice to enjoy the sun, sand, and, of course, some shark tooth hunting.

You can read more about Flag Ponds Nature Park in this KFDC post. And a few new things to note: The admission fee is now $8/car. And we learned the hard way yesterday that they only accept cash at the entrance (luckily, there is an ATM about a 5-minute drive away). But put it on your summer to-do list. Just an hour’s drive from DC, Flag Ponds makes for a great day trip!

Looking for shark teeth on the shoreline

Colors of summer

Lounging in the sun

Beach goers bring fossil hunting gear here

There’s about a mile stretch where you can hang out by the Chesapeake

Shark teeth and fossil finds

The landscape is different every time we go as inlets change with the tides

The walk there and back winds through a pretty wooded area



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Filed under 2017, All ages, Maryland, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend

Ruddy Duck Adventures Makes Shark Teeth & Fossil Hunting an Amazing Family Experience

A shark tooth find on one of our summer adventures

A shark tooth find on one of our summer adventures



It seems I’m not the only one who gets excited about shark teeth and fossil hunting along Maryland shorelines. When I posted about the pursuit over the summer (here, too), there was a such an enthusiastic response. Some of you had already been and shared bits and tips about your experiences. And even more sent messages to let me know they went on my recommendation and loved it.

So, when Ruddy Duck Adventures in Solomons, MD, introduced me to their Shark Teeth & Fossil Hunting Adventure Packages, I knew it was something I had to share with the KFDC masses. Their adventures sound amazing — these are fossil hunting excursions enhanced.

They day starts on the Chesapeake shores to search for shark teeth and other millions-of-years-old fossils, an expert on hand to help with the hunt and hot cocoa to keep folks comfortable during the cool seasons. The fun continues at the Calvert Marine Museum, where guests can compare their findings with ancient fossils and giant shark teeth. A gourmet lunch is included, as are dinner and a chance to sample local craft beer later.

A megalodon tooth at the Calvert Marine Museum

A megalodon tooth at the Calvert Marine Museum

Don't worry about lunch (or dinner) - it's included!

Don’t worry about lunch (or dinner) – it’s included!

I love that the package is offered through fall and winter for those who enjoy outdoor adventures year-round. (There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.)

Package rates start at $89/adult, and $20/child. This includes a lot — admission to all activities and equipment, lunch, dinner, snacks, bottled water, beer tasting or first wine/beer for adults, and a guide. And it all makes for an amazing adventure for the whole family.

More information about Ruddy Duck Adventures is available on their website.


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Ruddy Duck Adventures, however, I only promote programs, activities, and products that I truly believe in and/or think would appeal to KFDC readers.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Sponsored Post, Weekend