Thursday, December 24, 2009

In the Burbs: Arnold, Maryland

Arnold, Maryland is an unincorporated area in the Baltimore/Annapolis suburbs with a population of about 23,000, located along the Magothy River. It’s a place with lots of big 1970s style colonials on hills and cliffs overlooking the river and the creeks that flow into it. The Baltimore-Annapolis bike trail passes through the area along the former route of the now defunct B&A Railroad.
The town is named for Arnold’s store, owned by Thomas Arnold, a prominent local citizen in the latter half of the 1800. Mr. Arnold donated land for the Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church which is still an active congregation today, and then started the store which the town was named for. Unfortunately the store apparently no longer exists. In 1997, a group of students at Magothy River Middle School decided to do a project on the history of their town, and the result is preserved in a delightful website: By interviewing older residents, they learned that electricity didn’t arrive in Arnold until the 1930s, and the area consisted mostly of farms and a 4 room school until after WWII. They note that the cemetery behind the Asbury M.E. church contains many tombstones with the name Arnold. One of Thomas’s sons, John was buried on the property adjoining his home instead, giving rise to some local lore: “There are many stories about why John Arnold is not buried with the rest of his family in the Asbury cemetery, but we will never really know. As the stories go, it is said that John Arnold requested to be buried right near his house so he could always keep an eye on his young widow Rebecca. Other stories say that he was buried with his money, and if you kept quiet while digging for it, you would be able to get it, but if you spoke, it would sink deeper into the earth. “
Above: Asbury M.E. Church, looking like a Christmas card; the Magothy River; and docks and boats along Mill Creek in Arnold.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

snowed in

Well, I have the entire weekend off for only the 3rd time since July 1, and we got a delightful 20 inches of snow for the occasion. I love snow, and would have been royally pissed to be stuck at work during this. Chowder likes snow too but he isn't so crazy about it being up to his shoulders and prefers for Mommy to break him a trail. Expect a future post with gratuitous pictures of my house, neighborhood and dog in a foot and a half of snow.

Back on the virtual walk, minus the snow, we have made it across the long, long bridge, and now find ourselves in Sandy Point State Park. This 768 acre park is where the western end of the bridge touches down, located at the site of a former ferry for the Chesapeake Bay Ferry System. The ferries ran from the 1920s until the day the bridge opened. That summer the ferries closed and the park opened. In the summer the park features a beach, hiking, fishing, crabbing and picnic facilities. There is also the historic Sandy Point Farmhouse, not currently open to the public but visible from the main road. Too bad I can't find any pictures of it. Reportedly it is on the National Register of Historic Places and dates back to a time when the property was a seaweed farm. This time of year, we're just in time for Lights on the Bay, a drive-through display of holiday lights along the shore sponsored by Anne Arundel Medical Center. $14 per car but free for virtual walkers.