Included in Your Online Relocation Package for Anne Arundel County, Maryland - Home of Fort George G. Meade, NSA, Northrop Grumman, BWI, and the U.S. Naval Academy.
What does Charles Dickens' classic tale about the French Revolution, England and spying have to do with working at Northrop Grumman, USNA, Fort Meade, BWI or anywhere else in Anne Arundel County, Maryland? Well, absolutely nothing - except the title of the book is so perfect for anyone living near the two great cities of Baltimore and Washington - I just had to borrow it!
The ambiance, history, and things to do in a city like either of these are enough to fill years of weekends with places to visit and things to do. So how do you decide? Focus on Baltimore first and then Washington next year? Do something in Washington one weekend and Baltimore the next?
IN WASHINGTON, D.C. you will probably never run out of national monuments and museums to visit. I was born there, and lived most of my life within an hour of D.C. - Yet I can't keep up with the constantly changing exhibits and activities that are available to residents and tourists alike!
You can easily participate, in your own way, as history comes to life every day in the Nation's Capitol - During December, for example, you and your family might become Santa's Helpers, Laying wreathes at Arlington Cemetery; this Spring, you could be there for the first ever opening day of baseball at the new Washington Nationals' Park on the Anacostia River, with a view of the Capitol, where our nation's laws are created, debated and passed (or not); or you may be in the crowd at that same stadium on April,15, when Pope Benedict XVI visits the United States for the first time.
This summer, perhaps we will cross paths at the weekly parades at the Marine Barracks, D.C., or at the National Fireworks display, with the Washington Monument in the background in real life, instead of on T.V. Next January, you can hop on board the MetroRail with neighbors to head downtown for the Inaugural Parade of the next President of the United States.
Whereas other people travel hundreds or thousands of miles to the annual Cherry Blossom Festival to see the blooming cherry blossoms surrounding the Tidal Basin, you'll drive right past them en route to visit friends in D.C. or Northern Virginia; or you could be seated next to someone familiar-looking at a diner, during breakfast, only to realize it's someone you saw on T.V. last week - maybe a Congressman, Senator, or the interviewer himself. ('Truth is, you could find yourself in a fender-bender with one of them on your way to a business meeting at the Pentagon!)
You may attend Sunday Mass with your family at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception alongside locals, Catholic University students, and tourists alike; and your children will probably have field trips to visit the various Smithsonian Museums or special exhibits at the National Geographic Museum, such as the current Frogs, a Chorus of Color, The Holocaust Museum is a must-see exhibit, and it's possible you will find a family member or friend's name engraved on the wall at the Vietnam Memorial.
World-renowned entertainment is available in D.C., as well - including the New York City Ballet on February 27, Dolly Parton on April 28, Van Halen on March 9, Kenny Chesney and LeeAnn Rhimes on May 9, and Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus March 27-30. I'm guessing there are probably about ten or more events to choose from each week.
I can't begin to even touch on the many thing to do and see in Washington, D.C., but let me promise you that living in Anne Arundel County guarantees you easy access to it all , at your own pace and convenience.
(Note: I love this photo, used on my website with authorization of photographer Mike Lynaugh, taken after 9/11 when the Washington Monument was dark for security reasons. In most photos of July 4 fireworks in D.C., you'll see the monument lighted.)
BALTIMORE, known as Charm City, is less than an hour from D.C., but worlds away when it comes to personality. Chances are, Baltimore will be a pleasant surprise for you, with its own long list of things to do and see!
Of course, there are the Baltimore Ravens and Baltimore Orioles to attract you downtown, and your children's school singing group might just be performing the National Anthem before a game, as mine did.
During your first visit to the Inner Harbor, it would be fun to explore the city from a "duck's eye view", traveling on land and water in one vehicle to see the city by land and sea (you actually splash into the famous Inner Harbor!). Ride the Ducks is a fun tour that gives you an opportunity to scope out all there is to do and see here, including The National Aquarium and the Maryland Science Center.
At the Aquarium,"Weird Wonders" and "Chills & Thrills" are just two of the aquariums you'll visit, and you'll want to see one of the fifteen 90-minute shows in the Pier 3 Pavillion, as well as visit the 4-D Immersion Theater. At the Maryland Science Center,you will experience a "please touch" environment and real time connections to real time science at exhibits on Dinosaurs. Planet Earth. The Human body. Outer space. Chesapeake Bay life. and Science that Sir Isaac Newton never imagined. There are live demonstrations all day every day, and an IMAX theater. As local residents, these are places you can visit again and again with your family.
There are dozens of shops to explore and restaurants to try at the Baltimore Inner Harbour, and you can take a break for a ride on the Carousel, located between Rash Field and the Maryland Science Center.
You will experience a sense of history in Baltimore, too, with a visit to Fort McHenry (think Star Spangled Banner), Port Discovery, the National Museum of Dentistry, the Civil War Museum, and America's first museum to celebrate Black History in life-size wax figures. And remember that Baltimore's Pimlico Race Track is home of the Preakness, the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown in horse racing, complete with a parade in downtown Baltimore.
Lots of entertainers visit Baltimore, too - often the same that you'll see in D.C., such as the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus next month, but not always. In the next few weeks, you can hear Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood on February 29 or see The Color Purple on May 1; you can watch the Monster Jam on March 3, WWE Backlash on April 27, or High School Musical tonight, at the Hippodrome Theater.
Again, so many more things to do and see that I can't begin to list them all - and again, you will enjoy an amazing experience, living so close to it all in Anne Arundel County, MD.
(Note: Photo taken by my daughter Susan at the Preakness Parade when our friend, Kelly George, was Miss Preakness 2004.)
When you found out you'll be relocating to this area, I'm sure your first thoughts were "Where will we live?" or "How do I tell the kids?", just like anyone faced with relocation. As you learn about all there is to do and see in this area, I hope you're starting to get excited about making your home in Anne Arundel County. Even after living in this area most of my life, I'm still discovering (and re-discovering) all that life has to offer in Maryland. I consider myself so privileged to grow up here, as your children will have the opportunity to do.
Again, Welcome to Anne Arundel County - neighbor to two of the greatest cities in the world, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.