Welcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for the weekend of Oct. 6 and 7, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
What a difference a week makes! In Western Maryland, autumn began with a slow start; however, the most recent field reports are encouraging. Garrett County Forester Melissa Nash says things are starting to change more rapidly, as seen in her photo taken at the Maryland 4-H Environmental Education and Camping Center in Swanton.
“At Deep Creek Lake State Park, the hickory trees are really starting to show bright yellow now. The county is not at peak just yet, but there are still many trees showing good color. The mix of green, red, orange and yellow make for great photography,” reports Ranger Roy Musselwhite.
Rocky Gap State Park in Allegany County remains mostly green, but reds and yellows are beginning to pop on isolated trees, according to Ranger Julia Musselwhite, who sent along a photo by Ranger Dave Best.
Aaron Cook, Washington County forester reports: “The cooler, sunny weather over the weekend seems to have spurred some changes in western areas of the county. Individual pockets of maple, blackgum, and hickory are beginning to change revealing bronze, orange, red, and purple in the midstory wherever these trees are found. Peak color across the landscape is likely still a week or two away.”
In Frederick County, leaves are just starting to change at Cunningham Falls State Park says Ranger Mark Spurrier.
Maryland Fleet Week and Air Show Baltimore this weekend celebrates the rich maritime tradition of Chesapeake Bay and Maryland’s contributions to the defense of the nation. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and other aircraft will be on display on the Martin State Airport tarmac and in the skies over Fort McHenry and Middle Branch, while U.S., Canadian and British navy vessels will be ready for boarding visitors in the Inner Harbor, Fells Point and Locust Point.
In Maryland’s capital, the United States Sailboat Show is taking place through Monday along the waterfront of historic downtown Annapolis. The nation’s oldest and largest in-water sailboat show, attracting more than 50,000 boating enthusiasts from around the world, features new sailboats, sailing accessories, equipment and services, food, live entertainment and more.
Nearby is the Bowie International Festival Saturday, where you can travel around the world in a day enjoying international foods, music, dance performers, and more. Plus, admission is free.
This weekend in Frederick County enjoy Brunswick Railroad Days, a unique festival celebrating the city’s railroad heritage as one of the largest rail yards in the nation. Visit the Brunswick Railroad Museum, enjoy entertainment, food and – of course – trains. On Sunday afternoon enjoy Autumn Tea at the Gambrill Tea Room and the beautiful fall scenery at one of Frederick’s oldest gathering places in Gambrill State Park. Reservation required.
In neighboring Carroll County, the Lineboro Volunteer Fire Department celebrates Bedlam in the Boro in Manchester. The fun goes beyond the super-scary attractions to carnival games and great food!
On Saturday in Harford County, the Darlington Apple Festivalis “all thing apple” plus pumpkins, mums, crafts, entertainment, art, country market, refreshments and more! Saturday night gaze at the stars in Susquehanna State Park. See planets, constellations, and shooting stars (weather-dependent). Meet at the campground contact station. Free for all ages. Just bring a chair or blanket and a reusable mug for hot tea.
Come join staff for a First Saturday Hike at the Fair Hill Natural Resource Management Area in Kent County. This is a 3-mile moderate hike providing a chance to admire the beauty of nature.
In Montgomery County bring the kids to Seneca Creek State Park Saturday afternoon to create a fun pumpkin-themed craft and learn some cool pumpkin facts. On Sunday, the Howard County Conservancy in Woodstock invites you to a Fall Festival. Watch blacksmiths hammering iron in their shop, listen to bluegrass music and explore the historic three-century-old farm. There are children’s crafts and pumpkin decorating. $10/car.
In Southern Maryland the Blessing of the Fleet on St. Clement’s Island commemorates the founding of Maryland and the time-honored tradition of blessing watermen’s boats. This weekend’s event includes tours of St. Clement’s Island State Park, Blackistone Lighthouse and the St. Clement’s Island Museum, live entertainment, free boat excursions, Southern Maryland food, local wine tastings, children’s activities, fireworks and more.
Staying on the Eastern Shore? Get in the spirit of the season at Oktoberfest in the Stevensville Pocket Park on Kent Island Saturday afternoon. Enjoy a cornhole tournament, Root Beer Garden, craft area, food, music and so much more. Free admission! Also Saturday in Caroline County, stop by the Martinak State Park Nature Center for Rock Painting. It’s fun for all ages!
If you’re planning a get-away to this weekend or next, keep in mind that state park cabins and campsites are still available for the fall season. You can reserve one for a fantastic autumn weekend by calling 888-432-CAMP(2267) or parkreservations.maryland.gov.
Enjoy your fall weekend, Maryland!