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Out & About the Chesapeake

Follow in John Smith's Wake.

Now you can explore the Chesapeake Bay as Capt. John Smith did it — by boat. But you'll have the advantage of an expert guide who has "hindsight." Let John Page Williams take you on a journey along the waterways traveled by Smith and discover the special places Smith described and how remarkably the same — or different — these places are today.

"A Boater's Guide to the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail" is for boaters of all types of vessels and skill levels. Whether one paddles, sails or motors, whether one is a novice or a veteran boater, you'll find the information needed to follow in Smith's wake along the mainstem of the Bay and all the rivers he traveled.

Even non-boaters will enjoy John Page Williams's engaging way of weaving history, geography and practical information for seeing the Chesapeake Bay. The Boater's Guide is also loaded with links to trail access points and resources where one can learn even more.

"Boater's Guide" is a joint project of the National Park Service, the Chesapeake Conservancy and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. In this first guide to the United States' first national water trail, Williams, an expert on the Chesapeake, suggests itineraries for each area explored by Smith and tells what one needs to know to explore these areas.

"Boater's Guide" is intended for online viewing and downloading. Download the entire document to enjoy all of the interactive features designed to help navigate specific areas of the guide. Or download and print individual river sections to take along while traveling the trail.

To find the guide, visit and click on "Boating Adventures."

New app aids Chesapeake explorers.

The "Chesapeake Explorer," a new smart-phone app scheduled for release in mid-September by the National Park Service, will allow travelers to carry detailed information about the Bay's natural, cultural and recreational opportunities with them as they explore parks, museums and historic sites along the region's trails, byways and water routes.

The app aggregates information about national parks, state parks, Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network sites, as well as sites along three national historic and scenic trails. It also provides information about the locations, hours and admissions of these places.

People can use the app's geo-location feature to identify nearby national parks and trails that suit their particular interests, and tag favorites. The device also sorts locations by activity so someone can easily identify places to bicycle, boat or see waterfowl.

It suggests thematic tours to explore, whether by bicycle, car or on foot, and helps users build customized tours. It also includes detailed

information about the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail and the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.

The app is free and will work with both iPhones and Android devices. A website, is scheduled to be operating by mid-September and will provide information about the app and links to sites where it can be downloaded.

Traitors or merely terrified?

The conflicts during the War of 1812 were not confined to the battlefields. They resulted in strife within the communities where British troops were stationed. Some residents resented the foreign presence while others provided them aid, either as spies or navigators. Did they do so because they supported the British cause, or because they were afraid? What would you do? Fight them in the hope of keeping your farm and family intact? Join them and pray that you have chosen the winning side?

A new exhibit at Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum near St. Leonard, MD, "Farmers, Patriots and Traitors: Southern Maryland and the War of 1812" forces visitors to ask themselves these questions while learning about the conflict that engulfed the Bay region.

The exhibit, located in the park's Exhibit Barn, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays, as well as during special events at the park. In addition to informative panels, it features artifacts and images that help bring the exhibit to life, such as an antique musket and a short film providing War of 1812 facts.

The park will also feature its annual War of 1812 re-enactment and fair on Sept. 22.

For details about the exhibit or re-enactment, visit

VA field guide for Civil War soldiers

The Civil War raged up and down the length and breadth of Virginia 150 years ago as soldiers in both blue and gray marched through its fields, climbed its mountains, forded its rivers and swamps, and supplemented their rations with its plants and game.

Today, visitors at the Living Museum in Newport News, VA, can learn more about the animals and plants the troops encountered and the geographic regions that shaped war strategy in Old Dominion.

A free guide takes visitors through indoor and outdoor exhibits that tell — in the combatants' own words from Civil War diaries, letters and reports — how those animals and plants were used in the war, and how the armies dealt with the challenges they faced in different habitats.

For example, at the museum's cypress swamp exhibit, the guide relates the misery of fighting in marshes where "wounded men who slumped to the ground disappeared in water." It points out holly and tulip poplar trees that provided soldiers with tonics and fever remedies, and describes how the copperhead snake became a political symbol.

The "Walking Guide to Civil War Plants, Animals and Geography" is available in several formats. Printed guides are available at the museum. Visitors with smart phones can access QR codes at various exhibits to hear audio of the period quotes. The audio is also available as podcasts.

Time to migrate to Waterfowl Festival.

The 42nd annual Waterfowl Festival takes place Nov. 9–11 in historic Easton, MD. Nearly 20,000 visitors are expected to visit this Eastern Shore tradition that pays homage to the annual migration of geese through the Atlantic Flyway and supports wildlife conservation throughout the region.

The thousands of geese that fill the skies during the event each year are a vivid reminder for visitors of the festival's mission.

As the original and premier wildlife art and sportsman's expo in the country, the Waterfowl Festival will display world-class painting, carving, sculpture and photography in six galleries.

Outdoors enthusiasts will find vendors offering everything from big-game adventure trips to the smallest fishing lure in the always popular Sportsman's Pavilion.

Highlights include this year's featured artist, Mark Eberhard and his painting "Sunday in the Park"; the "Legends of the Shore" plein air painting collection by artists John and Suzie Seerey-Lester; and a fine sporting arms exhibit presented by Avon Dixon Insurance Agency. Perennial favorites such as the Delmarva DockDogs® competition and Retriever and Fly Fishing demonstrations return.

Visitors can sample Maryland wines, local delicacies and traditional Eastern Shore fare at the Tasting Pavilion. The Wildlife Marketplace and Festival Shoppes provide regional gifts.

Children can learn how to cast a line at the Kids' Fishing Derby and learn about wildlife at interactive nature activities. They may paint a miniature decoy and more at the Kids' Art exhibits.

Proceeds from the festival support the preservation of the Eastern Shore's outdoor heritage. Since the Festival's founding in 1971, more than $5 million has been invested in wildlife conservation and education projects throughout the Delmarva Peninsula.

General admission tickets are $12 for all three days. VIP packages are available. For a schedule of events and other information, visit or call 410-822-4567.


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Staff and Wire Reports

Various sources contributed to this story


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