Take a Day Trip to Historic St. Mary's City
Historic St. Mary's City is one of the nation's most amazing hidden gems. The United States National Park Service says that historic Saint Mary's City may be the most intact 17th century English town surviving in the nation.
It is well worth meandering through historic Saint Mary's City for an afternoon to discover the wealth of history from the 1600s that this site holds right here in southern Maryland. You may even find yourself coming back time and again to discover more details and secrets that you didn't catch the first time.
The background of Historic St. Mary's City
St. Mary's City was almost completely abandoned after colonies in Maryland left it to move the capital of the state to Annapolis in 1695. With time many of the abandoned buildings in Saint Mary's City collapsed and were taken over by nature.
Most of the development along the waterfront in St. Mary's City was owned by one family that farmed topsoil. The family left the colonial town center foundations hibernating under crops until they were found again by archaeologists in the 1960s.
At the time of discovery local residents in the farming community joined together with the state governments to get the area designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1969. The town has been a continuing discovery of excavation and rebuilding.
Finding Historic St. Mary's City
One interesting thing to note when you are pulling up directions to get to this fascinating spot that holds a rich history is that you will not be able to pull it up by asking your maps application on your phone.
Asking your phone to get you to Historic St. Mary's City may result in being guided to the post office that is surrounded by the state college. The true authentic Historic St. Mary's City that was founded in 1634 is found at the top of the hill overlooking the Saint Mary's River.
Some points of interest in Historic St. Mary's City
When people think of visiting historic areas in Maryland they think of Mount Vernon, Annapolis, and of course old town Alexandria. But Saint Mary's City has about 100 years on all of these spots. It holds much more history.
Historic St. Mary's is like a large park and you are able to take a self-guided walking tour through this small 17th century town. There is a fee to enter and you can pay at the visitor center at 18751 Hogaboom Land or at the Farthing's Ordinary (closed on Sundays).
The brick Catholic church
The brick chapel of Historic St. Mary's has been around since 1667. The pieces of it were rebuilt to complete the building to its original glory. It took seven years to build the first original structure and 14 years to reconstruct the walls and the roof after the ruins were found in the 1960s. The interior of the church is still being restored. It is said that there are about 500 people buried under and around the church as was customary for churches to have graveyards back then.
Local volunteers dressed in Period Costume
There's so many great people living in Southern Maryland and those who live in and around St. Mary's are all too happy to share the rich history of the area. In Historic St. Mary's City, you can find local volunteers dressed up in costumes from the time period in which the town began. They are happy to re-create what life was like back in the 1600s when the town began.
The trail to the bluff
There's a paved walkway along the bluff that overlooks the St. Mary's River that will lead you down to the dock where you can find the Maryland Dove. This is a tall ship replica that is exactly like what sailors would have traversed waters on in the 1600s. The ship was constructed further south at the Maritime Museum and recently brought back up to Saint Mary's
As you walk down the path you will pass a working farm, tobacco fields from back in the day, an old print shop, and an Indian Hamlet. Visitors are able to step into historic buildings allowing you to get a direct and up close experience.
This is a recreation of a colonial inn on the other end of historic St. Mary's. It is located at 47414 Old State House Road.
Extending Your Tour
There are some more sights to see beyond the official Historic St. Mary's area they include the current post office, college, Trinity Church, city center, etc.
There are hidden historic gems all over southern Maryland. This is one of the oldest and a great family afternoon trip.
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