Do you read Katiedid? I did and I do! She's challenged a couple of bloggers to a quiz: Name five things you love about your state.
First, let me state my state: It's Maryland - America in Miniature. It was given that nickname by the National Geographic in the 1920's. Maryland has mountains, an ocean, the Chesapeake Bay, big cities and small villages, history and current culture. The weather ranges from blizzards in the winter to hurricanes in the summer. In between, we have great seasons.
So, in no particular order, here are my five things that I love about Maryland:
1. The Chesapeake Bay. There used to be a beer commercial when I was little and the words said something about being brewed on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in the Land of Pleasant Living. There are so many associations that go hand-in-hand with life on the Bay, such as sailing, eating crabs and oysters, visiting friends who have summer houses along the shores and crossing the Bay Bridge to get to the Eastern Shore and then the beach. The total shoreline of the Bay and its tributaries is more than 11,000 miles. While I have not sailed along all 11,000 miles, I've seen more than my fair share of creeks, rivers, islands and points... and loved them all.
2. The History of Maryland. I am 12th generation in Maryland on my mother's side and when I travel around the state, I can see reminders of my family's history here. At the church where my father is buried, members of my mother's family also rest. But they've been there since the 1700's. One of my great, great great grandfathers is buried at the same place as Edgar Allen Poe.When I went to school along the Bay in Southern Maryland, one of the plantation houses where my mother's family lived, is still standing. It gives you a huge sense of where you fit in the world to be able to trace your roots so far back.
3. Baltimore. It's not just The Wire. Let me repeat that: It's NOT just The Wire.It's a big small town. When I moved back from the UK, I went to the Target and Starbucks the next morning. I hadn't even been home for one day, and ran into three people within an hour of my first shopping trip home. I have friends who I've known for my entire life and friends I've known just since I came home. Baltimore's a place where you know where you fit. It's also southern enough that everyone's very friendly.
4. Little places and open spaces. Regardless of where you are in Maryland, there are amazing little places like villages and towns, and also vast open spaces (not like Montana or anything, but big for the east coast). Historic towns like Chestertown and Easton dot Maryland's Eastern Shore, but don't make the mistake of thinking they're hick towns! Open spaces like Blackwater Wildlife Refuge are home to numerous of pairs of nesting bald eagles. (Do you know that a group of eagles is called a kettle?) The country north of Baltimore is home to a rich tradition of hunt racing, including the Maryland Hunt Cup, the winner of which is automatically invited to the Grand National at Aintree, England.
5. John Waters. His mother and my mother went to school together and I remember hearing my parents discussing John's latest adventures in commando film-making. His sister went to the same school as I did, and I remember hearing that he made her be an angel and stand on their roof. His more recent movies are much more mainstream, but they are still filled with subversive hints, if you know where to find them. He's hilariously funny... I nearly drove off the road one night when I was listening to an interview with him on the BBC. He's around Baltimore a lot and still lives, works, shops and hangs out here, if you know where to find him.
I hope you've enjoyed your little tour of Maryland - American in Miniature!