July 19, 2011, Washington, DC: There are places we know like the back of our hands (our homes, our neighborhoods, our favorite blocks) that inevitably matter most to us. But there are other places we may have been only once that — for one reason or another — become meaningful parts of our stories.
Calvert County, Md. is one of those places to me.
Calvert County is where, a year ago yesterday, we were engaged to be married during one of our local excursions. Located about 55 miles southeast of Washington, DC on the Chesapeake Bay, Solomons Island and its surrounding landscape offers ample opportunity for a serene yet active day trip without having to brave the more congested routes west of Washington that are often the assumed weekend escape routes from the city.
Development has not moved southeast toward Calvert County in the same way it has exploded through counties like Loudoun County, Va., about 55 miles northwest of D.C. In 2010, according to the Census Bureau, the population in Loudoun County was 312,000, an 84 percent increase since 2000. In 2010, Calvert County had a population a quarter of that size, with just over 88,000 people – an increase of 19 percent since 2000.
And so the relative quiet makes Calvert County a nice place for a day trip. A hike through Calvert Cliffs State Park out to a beach on the Chesapeake Bay; a stop at the Tiki Bar of Solomons Island for a celebratory drink, and a visit to Running Hare Vineyard for an afternoon of live music and wine tasting were all stops on our excursion that hot summer day last year. They will be stops on my list again as I return to this place that is now part of my story.
I may not know this place like I know my hometowns, but I know I’ll be back for a visit again soon.