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Maryland is My State

Maryland is My State
by Jennifer LB Leese

Established on April 28, 1788, Maryland is one unique little state. Its long history has made it a great place to visit. Where else can you see crab racing and contests in oyster shucking, colonial mansions, and painted window screens? I'll tell you where--nowhere but in Maryland. Known as "America in Miniature," Maryland offers plenty to do and see.
Maryland is home to legendary Babe Ruth and to the country's first cathedral, finished in 1821. Francis Scott Key wrote the national anthem on a boat in Baltimore Harbor.
The state's nickname, "The Old Line State," came about when 400 soldiers from Maryland held a line of defense against a British force of 10,000. Their bravery impressed General George Washington, who praised the "old line" for helping his troops escape danger.
Maryland may be ranked 42nd in size among the states, but visitors and residents are never hurtin' for something to do.
HAGERSTOWN-founded in 1762 by German immigrant Jonathan Hager, has evolved into a modern city that maintains an outstanding transportation and communication network, a strong and loyal workforce and enviable tourism statistics. Hagerstown possesses many recreational facilities, cultural opportunities, and special activities for people of all ages. There are many reasons why Hagerstown is more than just a place to live.
Hagerstown community festivals include: Western Maryland Blues Fest on June 3-5, 2005, Augustoberfest set for August 13-14, 2005, and Harvest Hoedown on October 8, 2005.
Be sure to visit the Hagerstown Suns (minor league baseball) located at Municipal Stadium, 274 East Memorial Boulevard, for a fun-filled vacation.
WASHINGTON COUNTY-is located in West Central Maryland, bordered by Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. The land includes low rolling hills, cultivated valleys, woodland, and is 500-800 feet above sea level. There are nine separate communities within Washington County.
Whether your passion is history or hiking, golf or gourmet dining, fine art or fishing, boating or bridges made of stone, Washington County is for you. Those fascinated by Civil War battlefields or songbirds, antiques or architecture, feather beds or full country breakfasts, shopping in quaint towns or gliding down snowy slopes, you'll find your thrills here in Washington County, Maryland. Our county fulfills everyone's adventure whether it is wandering down winding country roads among fragrant orchards, misty mountain forests, lush farmland and rushing streams.
Washington County is mixed with parks, monuments and museums that tell America's story. This historical legacy includes the only remaining French and Indian War fort, the Appalachian Trail, 18th century mills, 19th century stone arch bridges, the C & O Canal, and early railroads.
Established in 1776 and named for General George Washington, our county's history reflects the history of our nation. Among our many historical sites are: a fort built in 1756 for use during the French and Indian War, a city founded by a German immigrant in 1762, a highway, a canal, and later a railroad that helped to open up the frontier and further westward expansion. These treasures and many others shelter Washington County's place of honor in American history. Our 458 square miles contain 3 National Parks, 7 State Parks, 14 County Parks, and numerous city and town parks. However, perhaps our greatest treasures are 24 graceful stone arch bridges built between 1819 and 1863.
One of the most important Civil War battles took place in Maryland. On September 17, 1862, Union and Confederate soldiers fought a deadly battle at Antietam Creek in Sharpsburg, Maryland, 10 miles from Hagerstown. By the end of that terrible day, more than 23,000 Americans had been killed or wounded. So much blood fell to the ground on a sunken road so quickly that it formed a blood stream--known as Bloody Lane. The battle was the bloodiest day in American history. Today, visitors stop by the Antietam National Battlefield, turned national park in 1890, and find peaceful, lush green fields.
Other than Hagerstown, Washington County cities include: Boonsboro-founded in 1792 by George and William Boone, Clear Spring-with the historic Nation Pike running through the center of town, Funkstown-a quiet residential town, Hancock-named for ferryman Joseph Hancock, Jr., who ferried travelers, Keedysville-home to bestselling author, Nora Roberts, Sharpsburg-home of the Antietam Battlefield, Smithsburg-a settlement that may have existed as early as 1787, and Williamsport-founded by General Otho Holland Williams, a friend of George Washington and considered as a potential site for the fledgling nation's new capital.
Because of Maryland's mild temperature-you're sure to have a relaxing, non-stressed experience. Summer temperatures vary from mild to extremely hot and the winter temperatures are extremely cold-mostly in the mountains of western Maryland. Maryland's weather is not especially dry, nor is it especially wet--it's just right. The average annual rainfall is around 41 inches, peaking in July and August when thunderstorms hit the area once every 5 days.
Aside from the history Maryland possesses, the state has several, brag-worthy, famous firsts. In 1803, Thomas Moore, an engineer from Maryland, invented the first refrigerator. On May 24, 1844, sent by Samuel Morse, the message, "What hath God wrought" traveled over the first electromagnetic telegraph line that ran between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Moreover, in 1851, Jacob Fussell, a Baltimore dairy farmer, started the first ice cream factory in the United States.
It is known that the first humans came to present-day Maryland about 12,000 years ago, even though historians don't know much about them. A few famous people from Maryland include: Mystery author Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), Abolitionist Frederick Douglass (1817-1895), and Underground heroine Harriet Tubman (1820-1913).
Maryland also boasts the beautiful land of the Chesapeake Bay, home of the blue crab and labeled as North America's largest estuary (where the sea and river meet).
Maryland's flag is the only heraldic banner (A flag bearing a design that features a coat of arms, sometimes carried as a battle standard.) among the state flags, displaying the coats of arms (a shield that indicates peoples' ancestors and heritage) of two English families.
Camp David is a presidential haven deep within western Maryland's Catoctin Mountain Park. The camp was named after President Dwight Eisenhower's grandson David. The camp has been a presidential getaway since the 1930s. Presidents have been known to meet with national and world leaders at Camp David, and important documents have been signed there, such as in 1978 when President Carter met with the leaders of Israel and Egypt, who agreed to the historic peace settlement known as the Camp David Accords. For security reasons, tourists are unable to visit Camp David, but they can hike the park's trails and enjoy the same peaceful beauty that President Bush thinks highly of.

If you live in "My State," then you know it doesn't get any better than this. If you are visiting "My State," enjoy and take plenty of pictures!

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