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Where to Go, What to Know

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Travel staffer Christina Talcott recently visited Camp Merryelande in Southern Maryland. Here is her reporter's notebook.

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DRIVE TIME

About 1 hour and 45 minutes from the Beltway

COST

$176.50 for one night in a cabin

GETTING THERE

From Washington, take Route 5 south toward Leonardtown. Drive about 50 miles to Callaway, then turn right onto Route 249. After about eight miles, cross the bridge onto St. George Island, then make the first right onto Thomas Road. At the sign for Camp Merryelande, turn onto the gravel Camp Merryelande Road.

THE CAMP

At Camp Merryelande (15914 Camp Merryelande Rd., St. George Island, 301-994-1722 or 800-382-1073, http://www.campmd.com), there are 11 rentals, including studio apartment units (starting at $109 for weekend nights, $89 weekdays) and a six-bedroom cabin that sleeps 24 ($579 weekend nights, $459 weekdays). Free activities include fishing or crabbing off the pier, playing volleyball, swimming and beachcombing along the sandy shore. Kayaks and canoes are available to rent for $15 per hour.

WHERE TO EAT

If you bring your own food, you can use your cabin's fully equipped kitchen or use the charcoal grill outside each cabin -- perfect for cooking up what you catch on the pier. If you're partial to restaurants, Evan's Seafood (16680 Piney Point Rd., Piney Point, 301-994-9944) is just a couple of miles west on Route 249. The waterfront restaurant reopened last month under new ownership and serves a crab cake platter for $25. Another nearby option is Bear Creek Open Pit Bar-B-Q (21030 Point Lookout Rd., Callaway, 301-994-1030) on Route 5 just west of Junction 249, where the $11.50 Triple Combo is easily big enough for two: ribs, grilled chicken and andouille sausage chunks, two sides (choice of cole slaw, chili, collard greens, etc.) and a choice of corn bread or white bread.

WHAT'S NEARBY

· Two public parks in Southern Maryland with accommodations and beaches are Breezy Point Beach & Campground in Calvert County (5230 Breezy Point Rd., Chesapeake Beach, 410-535-0259, http://www.co.cal.md.us/visitors/beaches) and Point Lookout State Park (11175 Point Lookout Rd., Scotland, 301-872-5688, http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/southern/pointlookout.html), both of which have campgrounds. Point Lookout also has cabins and a cottage for rent.

· Other area attractions include the St. Clements Island Museum (38370 Point Breeze Rd., Colton's Point, 301-769-2222), a reconstruction of the 1634 settlement at St. Mary's City (18751 Hogaboom Lane, St. Mary's City, 800-762-1634) and Calvert Marine Museum (14150 Solomons Island Rd., Solomons, 410-326-2042).

INFORMATION

For more ideas about lodging, dining and activities in St. Mary's County, call 800-327-9023 or visit http://tour.co.saint-marys.md.us. To learn more about the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and its programs, call 888-728-3229 or visit http://www.cbf.org.


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