Where: Havre de Grace, Md.
Why: Sweet treats, comic-shop Americana and mega-power mowers.
How Far: About 70 miles from College Park, or 75 minutes.
Some folks race cars. Other, more iconoclastic types, wage wheel wars with lawnmowers. Yup, lawnmower racing is a real-for-sure sport, and one that's being showcased today during the Steppingstone Museum's annual Summer Fun Day. At the event, held on the site's 10 sprawling acres, 30 or so lawnmower jockeys -- male and female -- drive souped-up mowers up to 70 mph around a traffic-cone-studded course. This pastime may not infringe on NASCAR's turf in terms of popularity, but it has its own association (www.letsmow.com) and a passel of regional devotees who compete as part of the Tri-State Mower Racing Association (the states in question being Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania). Catch the races from 1 to 3 p.m., and while there, you can also take part in less-fierce battles, including sack races and an ice-cream-eating contest.
Your trip starts in a Beltsville sweet spot -- Raulin's Bakery, a mom-and-pop shop that opened in 1937 and remains beloved for treats such as chocolate-coconut doughnuts and gooey eclairs. Next, head to Chuck's Comics, where new and vintage copies of "Uncanny X-Men" vie for space with hundreds of Funko retro bobble heads (Tony the Tiger, Betty Boop, Bazooka Joe).
If you're bringing the kids, hit the Baltimore Coin & Currency Convention, where 12-and-unders get a handful of money upon arrival (and who doesn't want that?). And on the way home from the races, pop in to Poor Boys Country Market, an independent general store and garden center in Parkville. It sells Pappy's XXX White Lightnin' Barbecue Sauce (made with Kentucky bourbon) and 30 types of tomato plants -- just be careful not to mow 'em down after you plant 'em.
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