A fairy house almost as tall as Owen at Annmarie Sculpture Garden
It’s probably evident from many mentions on the blog just how much we love Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center. Located in Lusby, MD, we don’t get out there very often — maybe a couple of times a year — but make a point to see the annual Fairies in the Garden exhibit every summer. The collection of handmade fairy and gnome houses, all contributed as part of a contest, is so delightful. And finding them throughout the grounds, mostly in the woods just off the looping walking path, is part of the fun of viewing them.
A Pegasus-Dragon face-off
We made a trip out to see them last week (coupled with our visit to Flag Ponds Nature Park), and the exhibition was as charming as ever. It’s always neat to see the whimsical combinations of craftiness and creativity.
The rest of the art at Annmarie is always wonderful, too. From the permanent collection of large sculptures to adorable little “tree pops,” we enjoy viewing it all. And the Fairy Lolly remains one of the most enchanting playgrounds around. Even at 11 years old, Owen still enjoy it. (I’m well past 11 and dig it, too!)
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
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!
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).
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).
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.