This Maryland town was established as a tobacco port in 1706, and today the area’s market mainstay is municipal business as the county seat of Prince George’s. But scratch the surface of the approximately half-mile town and its unincorporated outskirts, and you’ll find a mix of familiar faces, atypical enterprises and tranquil settings.
Grab a shopping cart - you'll need it. Opened in 2008, this bustling indoor Amish market features 13 vendors from Lancaster, Pa., selling a mind-boggling variety of wares, from jams and jellies to doggie bowls and rocking chairs. White-capped women hand-roll dough at Sadie Ann's Soft Pretzels & Ice Cream. Across the room at Stoltzfus Poultry, customers line up along a glass counter displaying fresh turkey legs and Cornish hens.
It's not every day one is invited to stand in a sound bowl, but that's just what Ginger Marcus (pictured) does for first-time visitors to her personal development studio. "Within about three strikes I've got your attention," she says, referring to the light taps she makes with a padded mallet against a metal bowl, creating gentle tones and soft reverberations. This is a glimpse of Marcus's five-year-old venture, Relax With Sound, in which the 38-year-old offers sound massage and meditation sessions to help clients decompress.
In these shiver-shuddering temperatures, a 12-acre body of water may not sound enticing. Would-be anglers, however, should bookmark this destination for when warmer days arrive. The pond, annually restocked with trout, is a decent fishing spot (a Maryland fishing license and trout stamp are required). Sound too fishy? Take a stroll on a boardwalk that lines the water. Birders can be on the lookout for winged visitors, such as ospreys and herons.
Don't mind the mannequins; they're about to head out. "They're ready to go to a party," museum director Susan Reidy says of the blank-faced quartet in 18th-century garb staged as if they're playing cards and drinking tea. The parlor is one of five rooms re-created within the former Georgian mansion - turned into a museum in 1988 - to appear as it would have in the mid-18th century, when Lettice Lee (a blood relation of Robert E. Lee) resided here, giving visitors a glimpse of Prince George's County's earlier days.
Opened in 2008, the eatery has become a neighborhood joint - well, if said "neighborhood" is composed of the Prince George's County employees who toil in the nearby administration building and courthouse. "Once we've seen you once or twice, you become part of the family," says chef and owner Donnell Long. The affable chef can't take more than a few steps without being greeted by customers.
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