Find Your Chesapeake Trips and Tips

View a selection of this week’s events below or sign up to receive the Trips & Tips e-newsletter straight to your inbox.




U.S. Oyster Festival in St. Mary’s County
View exciting shucking competitions, try some tasty oyster recipes, and celebrate St. Mary’s County’s Chesapeake Bay heritage at this authentic oysterfest. Shuckers come from all over the country to compete for the title of US Shucking Champion and Cook-Off competitors also come from around the country and compete in three categories: hors d’oeuvres, soups/stews, and main dishes. There will be lots of food vendors, musical acts on three stages, arts & crafts vendors, children’s entertainment and much more. Admission: $10 each; kids under 12 are FREE; food is pay as you eat. More information is available on the website. Stop by and say hello to the National Park Service’s Roving Ranger mobile visitor center while you’re at the festival! Oct. 20-21, Leonardtown. More details and tickets.

London Town Sins and Secrets
Pirates, murder, and scandal aplenty await you on this adults-only, after-hours tour of Historic London Town and Gardens. Explore the dark underbelly of London’s history. Walk the streets of the long dead seaport, discovering its more salacious stories. Learn about headless chickens, forgotten cemeteries, drunken escapades, sheep pirates, and sailors killed by a fowl!
Bring back alive the tavern atmosphere with refreshments included in the price. $30 for non-members. Oct. 19 and 26, 6pm-8pm; Historic London Town and Gardens, Edgewater. More information and tickets.

Western Maryland Railroad Autumn Express
Enjoy a scenic ride on the rails! This train departs from Cumberland to Frostburg. Dining Class guests enjoy a lunch and a signature dessert of Chef’s choice while riding in our vintage dining cars. Standard Coach general seating is also available. A Snack Bar is available to all passengers. Boarding begins at 11:00am; train departs at 11:30am. This 3 hour excursion includes a 1 hour layover in Frostburg and will return to Cumberland at 2:30pm. Oct. 5-31 daily, except Mondays, 11:30am-2:30pm, Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, Cumberland. Tickets and additional times and dates.

Ghosts of Sotterley
Prepare to encounter both the earthly inhabitants and those not of this earth on this spooky outdoor walking tour production! Terror on the Home Front! Visit Sotterley if you dare, as casualties of wars past, too young to die and too far from home. They won’t stay buried! Join us as a recruit and travel through the trails and woods of Historic Sotterley after dark. Oct. 19-20 and Oct. 25-27, 7pm-9pm; Sotterley Plantation, Hollywood. Advance tickets and more information.

Harvest Day at Hampton
Enjoy ongoing farm activities from 19th century cider-pressing and ice cream making demonstrations, to corn shucking contests and listen to musical performances by National Park Service staff and volunteers as they play period music on the fiddle and banjo. Witness living history demonstrations of the work and life on an Antebellum plantation. Also, join a park ranger for a tour of the farm buildings as she gives voice to those forced into servitude on the Ridgley estate. See specific schedule of events. Admission to the park and all events are free. Oct. 20, 10am-4pm; Hampton National Historic Site, Towson. More details.

Family Canoe Day
Bring the family for a paddle on the Rhode River at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. There are two trips: 9 am-12pm and 1pm-3 pm. Look for wildlife, talk about research, and enjoy time outside on the Bay. Bring a picnic lunch and eat before or after the paddle at our picnic area. Instructors will provide basic paddling instruction, life jackets, and canoes. We’ll look for eagles, otters, muskrats, herons, and more. Children must be 6 years or older, and anyone 16 or younger must be accompanied by an adult. $18 for ages 13-Adult and $16 for ages 12 and younger. Oct. 20, 9am-3pm; Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater. More information and registration.


Haunting on the Lake
October is here, and that can only mean one thing… Twin Lakes State Park’s 8th Annual Haunting on the Lake.
The sun has gone down and the creatures and beasts of the mysterious Goodwin Lake Trail have awoken for a night of fright. Join a trail guide as their dim lanterns give you passage and help you to face your fears. Stare down several different phobias as you make your way through this heart pounding trail. This is sure to be a scream. $5 per person to walk our Haunted Trail. The trail is not recommended for those under the age of 13. Parental guidance is required. Oct. 20, 7pm-10pm; Twin Lakes State Park, Green Bay. More information.

Deltaville Maritime Museum Art & Seafood Festival
The 14th Annual Holly Point Art & Seafood Festival will be offering art, seafood, festival food, model trains, a classic car show, live music, area maritime and history exhibits, restored workboats, creek cruises, nature trails, gardens: in short, fun and interest for each the whole family. The F.D. Crockett will be on the dock for tours and the Explorer Society will be showing off the Museum’s replica of John Smith’s 1600’s shallop, used to map and explore the Bay. Try your hand at tonging for oysters at our oyster reef off our dock. Check out the crab shedding tank. Free admission. Oct. 21, 10am-4pm; Deltaville Maritime Museum, Deltaville. More details.

Mount Vernon Fall Harvest Family Days
Enjoy fall activities with the whole family at Mount Vernon! Take a horse-drawn wagon ride, make corn husk dolls, and witness 18th-century dancing, farrier (blacksmithing), and wheat-treading demonstrations. Play early-American games, walk through a straw bale maze, and listen to 18th-century music. Included in regular admission. Fall Harvest Family Days takes place rain or shine. Oct. 20-21, 9am-5pm; Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, Mount Vernon. More details and tickets.

Night of the Living Museum
Enjoy a “wild” night of spooky animals, trail walks, pumpkin carving, pirates and princesses at the Virginia Living Musuem. This is a non-scary Halloween event for families with kids ages 12 and under. Kids of all ages, come in costume as your favorite character or wild animal.  Trick-or-treat throughout the museum as you walk through themed galleries filled with characters and themed decorations! Enjoy live animal shows featuring fierce and not-so-fierce Halloween critters.. Discover pumpkin carving secrets.. Learn the ways of spiders large and small as well as other creepy crawlies in the lab. Visit the tooth fairyland, magical cave and pirate cove.  Take a nighttime hike along the outdoor boardwalk and see the new Dinosaur Discovery Trail by night! Make creepy crafts and play Halloween games. The Wild Side Cafe and Wild Things Museum Store will be open all evening. Oct. 19-20, 5:30pm-8:30pm; Virginia Living Museum, Newport News. Tickets and more information.

Fall Harvest Festival
Enjoy pumpkin carving and painting (pumpkins will be for sale), candle dipping, apple pressing, face painting, 19th century children’s games, an apple slingshot, a candy maze and more. Wagon rides for $3/person or $8/family run every hour from 1pm to 6 pm. Enjoy the sunset and sip hot cider by the bonfire at 6:30 pm. And this year the Farm Use String Band will be on site to play old time music! When darkness falls, take a spooky trail at the amphitheater. Enjoy the “Adventures on the James Games” series 5K run through some trails at the park. Oct. 20, 1pm-9pm; James River State Park, Gladstone. More details.

Lower Appomattox and Pocahontas Island Hike
Take a three-mile hike (1.5 miles up and back) along the Appomattox River Heritage Trail with the Dutch Gap Conservation Area guide. Find stone arches and old canals that reveal the rich history of this area while enjoying the views of this state designated scenic river. Afterwards, have lunch at the local eatery in historic Petersburg, then take a short stroll to learn about the intriguing history of Pocahontas Island. Departs Henricus Park Visitor Center. $20. Must reserve by Oct. 18. Oct. 25, 9am-3pm; Henricus Historic Park, Chester. Registration and more information.


Drink Your Apples: Roeder’s Tavern Cider Making
Join living history staff and volunteers to make cider at White Hall Tavern on Potomac Street. This time-honored tradition produced the most popular 19th century beverage for man, woman, and child. Harpers Ferry’s White Hall Tavern proprietor, German immigrant Frederick Roeder, brought his brewing and baking expertise with him to America.  Roeder’s 1860 tavern offered patrons a fine assortment of distilled and fermented beverages. This popular fall beverage was to be enjoyed far into the dark and cold winter days that were ahead. Included with park entrance fees. Oct. 20-21, 11am-4pm; Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Harpers Ferry. More details.