Maryland

Pumpkin Picking At Shlagel Farms

IMG_8628 This week in New York, we experienced the first snowfall of the year. A brief and glittery show of wonder, it drew our attention to things to come.

How is it that autumn seems to slip so quickly into ether? The smell of leaves, replaced by angular barren trees, biting wind, holiday carols and the inevitable dark descent into the slushy biting winter.

So before I begin posting about holiday getaways and wintery escapes, I'd like to give one more ode' to autumn- crispy, colorful, aromatic, earthy, winsome, autumn.

One of my favorite farms to visit in October is Shlagel Farms in Waldorf, Maryland. A working farm in its 101st year of operation, a trip to Shlagel Farms is as informative as it is picturesque, family friendly and engaging.

The main house at Shlagel Farms. This family owned and operated farm has been in operation for over a century!

There are a ton of kid friendly activities at Shlagel Farms. From a corn kernel sandbox, to a petting zoo, to a playground and mini-maze, there are many ways to entertain finicky little-ones.

It's so much easier to clean corn out of your child's hair and clothes then sand!

I spent a lot of time looking into this turkey's eyes. He was such a gentle steady soul.

I love wild mushrooms. I think they're so beautiful.

And of course, the belles of the ball- the pumpkins!

 

Shlagel Farms

12850 Shlagel Rd, Waldorf, MD 20601

(301) 645-4554 

 

 

The Historic Sites and Landmarks in Brandywine, Maryland

Driving down the dusty dirt roads of Brandywine, Maryland, one gets the impression that not much happens here.

Established in 1873 as a railroad town, not much has changed since. It's a slow place, decidedly rural, sandwiched between two suburbs, one affluent, the other declining.

The Village of Brandywine, once defined by the railroad and a vast expanse of tobacco plantations, is undergoing a transformation. Once barren plantations are being developed into gated housing communities. Grandiose mansions adorn sprawling land that once housed modest farmhouses, barns, and shacks.

Brandywine is well on its way to becoming a mega-suburb. However beneath all of the new development and suburban shine, there lies a deeper story. Brandywine is home to  historic sites and landmarks that bear testament to its founding and early vision.

The site of a bloody slave rebellion in 1739, home to Francis Scott Key and John Wilkes Booth, Brandywine, Maryland has played host to a slew of significant historic moments and individuals.

If you should find yourself in Brandywine, Maryland, off of US route 5 and 301, you may find these sites fascinating:

Woodville Colored School

21500 Aquasco Road, Brandywine, MD

Built on two acres of land purchased by James Gray, a former slave, this one story, three room school served as the first school open to blacks in the area. Built by the Freedmen's Bureau in 1868, the Woodville Colored School was in operation until 1955.

Hidden behind two country homes, the school and its surrounding land is eerily vacant. I was free to explore and poke around. I was disturbed that this historic landmark was left unkempt and unguarded. A piece of history like this should most definitely be preserved and perhaps turned into a museum.

St. Thomas Methodist Church

18810 Aquasco Road, Brandywine, MD

Built in 1868, the St. Thomas Methodist church is a single story rural meeting house style church. I really had to search to find this property. It was down a winding dirt road, behind a farmhouse. There was no marker on the main road. How this structure is still standing, I have no idea.

It is dilapidated but completely beautiful with it's still intact stained glass and immaculate detailing (particularly around the windows). Why this church isn't preserved and used as a museum or presently as a church I completely don't understand. Come on Brandywine, where is your historical preservation society?

To the left of the church is an old cemetery with tiny headstones dating back to the early 1800's. It was a sacred quiet place that seemed forgotten by time. Standing on the property, you can almost imagine how it must have looked in the late 1800's, with the rolling green hills in the back and the clear blue sky above.

Chapel of the Incarnation

14070 Brandywine Road, Brandywine, MD

Built in 1916 by architect William J. Palmer, the Chapel of the Incarnation functions today as a church. It is a stunning Spanish colonial structure, slightly out of place amongst the old Victorian farm homes that stand guard over much of Brandywine Road.

 

You really can find some beautiful gems in the most unexpected of places. Brandywine, Maryland is one such unsuspecting locale.  This post is for Brandywine, a town in the midst of transition from rural to suburban, a town in need of historical preservation to ensure that her special places and quiet beauty are celebrated and appreciated.

Do you know of a small town with unsuspected history and charm?

Spring In Brandywine, Maryland: A Photo Journey

The Town Mouse said to his friend: "You live here the life of the ants, while in my house is the horn of plenty. I am surrounded by every luxury, and if you will come with me, as I much wish you would, you shall have an ample share of my dainties."  The Country Mouse was easily persuaded, and returned to town with his friend. On his arrival, the Town Mouse placed before him bread, barley, beans, dried figs, honey, raisins, and, last of all, brought a dainty piece of cheese from a basket. The Country Mouse, being much delighted at the sight of such good cheer, expressed his satisfaction in warm terms and lamented his own hard fate.

 Just as they were beginning to eat, someone opened the door, and they both ran off squeaking, as fast as they could, to a hole so narrow that two could only find room in it by squeezing. They had scarcely begun their repast when someone else entered to take something out of a cupboard, on which the two Mice, more frightened than before, ran away and hid themselves. At last the Country Mouse, almost famished, thus addressed his friend: "Although you have prepared for me so dainty a feast, I must leave you to enjoy it by yourself. It is surrounded by too many dangers to please me." – The Country Mouse and the Town Mouse

 

Despite spending the majority of my time in New York, I am at heart a country mouse. While I enjoy the sophisticated pleasures and conveniences of city living, I am most at home strolling barefoot over a carpet of moss and grass, gazing at stars in a midnight sky, falling asleep to the hum of insects and waking up to a chorus of birds.

 

When crazy New York gets the best of me (and that is quite often), I like to retreat to my home in Brandywine for a dose of balance, perspective and old fashioned country charm.

 

I had so much fun experimenting with my camera to churn out these old fashioned photographs. Sorry, no actual house photos.