Calvert County was named after the family of Leonard Calvert. The large territory north of the Potomac River was granted to Sir George Calvert by King Charles I who named it after his Queen, Henrietta Maria. Rejecting the French in favor of his native English, he named it Maryland. George's son , Leonard, established the palatinate on March 25, 1634 at St. Mary's City. Anne Arundel County was named after his lovely wife, Lady Anne Arundel, and Calvert County took the family name of the Lords Baltimore.
Calvert County (pronounced "Culvert" by locals) has remained fairly free of developmental encroachment since the first English colonists settled here in the mid-1600s. One small house, Preston on Patuxent ,was the provincial capital of Maryland from 1654 to 1659, and the important men of the colony gathered here after the fall of Governor Stone. All the records from St. Mary's City were brought to this brick home erected in 1650 by Richard Preston, the "Great Quaker," whose grandson became mayor of Philadelphia. The house is back near the river past winding roads not far from Solomon's Island.
Explore the majestic Calvert Cliffs with 15 million years of prehistoric fossils at Calvert Cliffs State Park. Flag Pond Nature Park offers sandy beaches, and primeval forests. Battle Creek Cypress Swamp Sanctuary off Rt. 506 is one of the northernmost stands of Bald Cypress in North America. Tour this area where Saber-toothed tigers roamed.
At the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons Island, you can explore the lore of the Bay. In the fifteen tank "Estuarium" discover the amazing diversity of life that exists in the Chesapeake Bay and Patuxent River. Then walk outside and watch river otters at play. Walk along the museum's living salt marsh, home to blue crabs, fiddler crabs, herons and egrets. In the field of maritime history you can explore the story of people along the Patuxent River and how its route was used by the British to plunder the nation's capital during the War of 1812. Study 19th century watermen, cannery workers and craftspeople, who worked in the region's seafood and shipbuilding trades. Explore the undersea world of the Miocene Age, ten to twenty million years ago when shallow seas covered southern Maryland. See the fossilized remains of these ancient inhabitants.
Cedar Hill at Mile's End is a living museum of the Maryland culture. It was formerly known as Bigger, after the current owner's ancestor, John Bigger, the first, who patented the plantation on March 12, 1670. Bigger emerged from indentured servitude to accumulate several plantations in present Prince George's, St. Mary's and Calvert Counties. The name Cedar Hill originated in the 19th century. During the tenure of Dr. Thomas Gantt, Cedar Hill was the site of the marriage of the daughter of Captain Edward Gantt to Thomas John Claggett, the first Episcopal bishop ordained in the United States.
Cedar Hill is one of the few examples of cruciform domestic architecture still standing in Maryland. Various authorities date it from 1690 to 1730. The historian who compiled the National Register thought that interior details indicate a date in the early 18th century. A red "rubbed" chimney brick with Bigger's initials may have been created earlier.
The vestibule contains an antique map, an 18th century colored engraving of Pembroke College, Oxford, where the owner was a student, and a 19th century embroidered homily. The main hall contains a portrait of Charles Calvert, seated, wearing red and blue robes, holding a globe-top dividers, a globe and cross staff . The hall hosts a rare early deed to a plantation with Lord Baltimore's seal, two rare early maps and a portrait of Queen Anne. The 18th century standing desk might have been used by a plantation owner. Bigger was the first Treasurer of the King William School, now St. John's College, the third oldest college in the United States.
On the North side of the entrance hall is a paneled parlor with a built-in corner cupboard, a Van Dyke studio portrait of Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I, Maryland's namesake. In the library, is a well-preserved Chippendale desk beneath important early maps of Maryland and an eight dollar bill, printed in Annapolis just before the Revolution.
The present owners have lovingly preserved the formal rose garden and restored old, terraced herb and kitchen gardens. On or near this plantaton in 1696, the Rev. Hugh Jones, father of botany in North America, collected the sampling of native American flowers and plants that make up the oldest such collection in the British Museum. Jones, the rector of Christ Church at Port Republic, appointed Colonel Bigger as one of two executors of his last will.
Cedar Hill, more than many estates, reflects the changes in mores and manners and the diverse economic trends throughout the centuries. It is a private home.
The Former School House of Solomons Island
Evelyn M. Cook, the proprietor of the Grey Fox Inn and her husband, Roger, own a house near Old Drum Point Road, which was the town school house from 1909-1933. It is on the county Register of Historic places just as the Grey Fox Inn is listed, and an occasional apparition is connected with this old home. At one time, the parcel of land was 52 acres and extended from Old Drum Point Road to the corner stone of St. Paul's Church before a real estate tycoon acquired and subdivided it. A Mr. Humphrey, one of the oldest residents of Solomons, said that he went to school there. Edna Dare one of the most beautiful women in the county lived in the house. She also drove the mail truck and would be over one hundred now. A Mr. Gardner told Evelyn, the present owner, about a man named Alfred who would now be in his seventies who once lived there and could have been Edna's son.
One night, about eighteen years ago, Evelyn was awakened by the sound of hinges creeking, as if a drawer were being pulled open. Soon she heard her son call from the room opposite.
"Mom, there's a man in my room!" he cried.
Evelyn peered around the corner of her room out into the hall to her son, Roger's room and saw a man in dungarees opening a drawer. She couldn't see him well from the waist up. He was tall, but above the belt, his body was wraithe like. The bureau in Roger's room was an antique and had brass pulls that made hinge-like noises when opened.
Evelyn tried not to look at the apparition directly and just looked at it peripherally. She was afraid he would vanish if she looked at him too intently. He vanished anyway. He appeared to walk through a window space and later, Evelyn found, through historical research, that the window had once been a door.
Another time, trying to get a sense of how the living room might have been furnished, Evelyn selected and placed an antique rocking chair in the living room, next to the window. She thought it might have been a cozy place for an older person to sit in days gone by. A few days after the chair was placed in the living room, her daughter Melissa said that she thought she had seen her mother sitting in the chair, but Evelyn was in another room at the time.
"Mom, how could you be in two places at once?" she inquired.
Apparitions or not, Evelyn and her family enjoy this old house, where they are comfortable and at peace.
Backcreek B&B - Solomons - Calvert Co.
Back Creek Inn B&B
A perfect setting for 20 years in the heart of Solomons, Back Creek Inn welcomes you by sea or by land. Located in historic southern Maryland, the inn offers a unique blend of old traditions and modern conveniences. The seasonal gardens take on an English style flow with roses, lilies, bee balm, azaleas, tulips and the state's own black-eyed susans. A walkway lined in lirope, leads you into the commons area with two walls of windows overlooking Back Creek and a pair of Adirondack chairs on the lawn.
The main house, built in 1880, offers four rooms, featuring queen size beds and private baths. Two rooms, located on the second floor, Chamomile and Tansy have water views. The use of different herbs for naming the rooms was chosen because of the innkeepers' love of gardening. After purchase of the inn in 1987, an addition was completed to offer guests suites with porches and private exterior entrances. Peppermint (with water view) and Thyme (with a gas fireplace) feature king size beds, refrigerators, flat screen televisions with DVDs and CD players. The seventh accommodation to select is the cottage, Lavender. This option has a king size bed, gas fireplace, flat screen television with DVD, VCR, refrigerator, microwave, massage tub and separate shower.
For both the business traveler and those wanting to stay in touch through cyberspace, wireless internet is available. Government and corporate rates are offered, and meeting space is available. The inn will cater a gourmet lunch for your event or picnic basket to make your experience in Solomons successful and memorable. Bikes are available, and kayaks can be delivered for launching from the inn's pier. You never need to get into your car until you leave, since fine dining, an art gallery, shops, the maritime museum and Solomons river walk are just a stroll away. The inn is closed December 22, 2007-January 3 2008.
INNKEEPERS: LIn Gauchat and Carol Pennock. ADDRESS: 210 Alexander Lane, Solomons, MD. 20688-0520, P.O. Box 520, PHONE: 410 326-2022 ROOMS: four rooms, two suites and a cottage. MEALS: Gourmet breakfasts and treats. NEARBY: restaurants, galleries, shops, biking, kayaking, sailing, maritime museum.
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