You know it’s a great event when you’re talking about next year before you even reach the parking lot. That is the Solomons Maritime Festival held at the Calvert Marine Museum. It was over, people were packing up, and my girls were stopping friendly volunteers as they tried to haul their exhibits out the door, asking questions and stalling because they didn’t want to leave.
Free and family friendly, kids of all ages (yes, parents too) can build their own wooden boat for a $2 donation, handle local bay life including eels, paddle a row boat around the water, and maneuver remote controlled sailboats which is harder than it looks. Those are just the outdoor activities. There are many more inside including knot tying and several crafts.
The woodworking and boat building shops are open. In the woodshop, Skip showed us his hand-carved and painted decoys, and a wooden sign he’s making for the museum. In the small craft shop, they’re building new boats and restoring old ones. The volunteers will explain as much or as little as you want to know.
The historic Drum Point lighthouse is open during the festival. Climb up inside and see the tiny quarters that the lighthouse keeper once lived in. At the dock below you can take a free 30-minute ride on the historic Wm. B. Tennison that takes you to the mouth of the bay and back. Bring your camera and a sweater. It can be chilly out on the water, but so beautiful, you’ll want to take pictures.
I loved the cooking demonstrations that taught local favorites like soft-shell crab, crab cakes, and Maryland stuffed ham which I’ve always wanted to learn. They also taught shucking oysters and steaming crabs. Food is sold near the pavilion, but stalk the cooking demos and you’ll get some delicious free samples.
Live bands perform all day, but we didn’t even get over that way, nor did we get inside. Three hours isn’t enough. It barely gave us enough time to do the outdoor activities (building a toy boat takes a while) and to walk around the boat show.
Adults will enjoy this festival too, but it’s a clear win for kids. Once again, the Calvert Marine Museum has outdone itself. We’ll be back next year!
Calvert Marine Museum