Where: Deale, Md.

Why: Bluegrass, batting cages and pink flamingos.

How Far: About 25 miles from the intersection of Southern and Pennsylvania avenues at the D.C. line, or 40 minutes.

Get to know Deale and you've found a friend. A scenic hop from the city, this comfy waterfront town counts banjo plucking and curve balls as much a part of its Chesapeake heritage as steamed blue crabs and charter boats. Informal jam sessions at Good Deale Bluegrass are a Friday-night tradition. Don't own an instrument? Don't worry -- owner Tim Finch will lend you something to strum, and you may find yourself sitting next to a member of the Swamp Dogs baseball team. Both community pastimes will be showcased June 13 at a Baseball and Bluegrass Benefit Concert at Misty Acres Farm, benefiting the American Cancer Society and a variety of local civic organizations (410-867-2400, www.baseballandbluegrass.com). Gates open at 11 a.m., and Rhonda Vincent, the International Bluegrass Music Association's reigning Female Vocalist of the Year, tops the bill.

The trip to Deale is peppered with places to explore. Start just outside the District line with a spin through Cedar Hill Cemetery, a former farm and one of the area's most picturesque resting places. Next, leave your apprehension in the car and venture into Criminal Ink Tattoos & Body Piercing in Lothian, where you can flip through hundreds of pages of intricate patterns. (Don't leave without asking tattoo artist David "Dough Boy" Snider for a peek at the Buddha on his belly.) Farther east, follow the multicolor sails dotting the pebbled driveway to Greenstreet Gardens, where aside from pink flamingo planters you'll also find an organic soil enhancer made from composted crab shells. And once in Deale, join the hordes who pay a summer visit to resident Jay Goodwin's two-acre garden (5568 Deale-Churchton Rd.). If he's around, ask him to tell the tale of lightning hitting a tree and the dog going bald. You won't regret it.

Suzanne White

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