Not a lot of kids grow up on farms anymore. So when families start flocking to working farms to get their yearly dose of fall activities, kids have a lot of questions. That’s why the Cox family decided to open up their Spider Hall Farm to kids and adults who want to know more about the day-to-day agricultural lifestyle, the importance of being a good steward of the land and water, and how to apply school lessons to real-life situations on the farm. Their education center features six lab-style classrooms where guests can learn through interactive lessons, followed by a tour of the farm’s 362 acres, which are filled with tobacco, corn, and grain.
Throughout the year, the farm sells seasonal produce, meat raised in southern Maryland, organic milk and ice cream, and seasonal plants, allowing guests to roam the farm and experience the full circle of where food comes from without moonlighting as a cafeteria lady. When the last of the crops are harvested, visitors are invited to celebrate with the Cox family at the corn maze and pumpkin patch or to come back when the weather gets chilly to pick out a Christmas tree and take a merry horse-drawn carriage ride.
Since 1948, the Layton family has farmed a parcel of idyllic land that has managed to steadily grow in size over the years. As the farm changed hands through three generations, so did the agriculture—both literally, and figuratively. In 2007, Joe Layton and his clan re-evaluated the operation and decided to take a risk: they would plant wine grapes. Three years later, the winery opened its doors, and the fermented fruits of their labor were proof that the risk was worth it. Situated on 1,800 acres amid the lush rows of grapes, the winery is also home to a tasting room, and visitors are invited to explore the facility during daily tours or enjoy walking trails along the property.
Teams of recreational combatants assemble in tactical formations across the fields at Southern Maryland Paintball, using obstacles and fortifications to their advantage as they engage enemies in fast-paced matches. Six fields with three distinct styles present diverse battlegrounds—from the wooden partitions that dot the open space at the Castle field to the menagerie of inflated obstacles and out-of-work parade floats that populate the Airball field. Players that excel in stealthy maneuvers will thrive at the Village field, where tiny huts obscure ambushers approaching from multiple angles. Each match is regulated by an experienced referee who shouts down those who shirk the rules. Southern Maryland Paintball keeps its fields mired in a barrage of colorful ballistics year-round, and also offers nighttime play on lighted fields on the weekends.
Away from the frenetic pace of organized matches, guests can soothe itchy trigger fingers and practice their marksmanship at the paintball-shooting range. Southern Maryland Paintball also encompasses a mini-golf course for those who prefer to compete in a game where their only enemies are subtle slopes and territorial windmills.
Since 1966, Maryland International Raceway has gotten the engines revving of exuberant auto race fans and become one of the premier motorsports facilities in the Washington-Baltimore region. MIR has also appeared been featured on national programs and stations including Dateline, ESPN, Speed Channel, and TNN. The track seats as many as 12,500 spectators and even has a family-friendly section where no alcohol is permitted. Otherwise, guests are free to bring their own beer and smaller coolers to help cheer on their favorite drivers.
Looking to wrap their cerulean pincers around the Atlantic League’s Liberty Division with a dominant second half, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs drown opposing batters under a steady stream of fastballs and outfield dives. Fresh off his career as a Blue Crabs player, first-year manager Patrick Osborn befuddles pitchers with a lineup of crustaceous power swingers that redefines what it means to pinch-hit. Hurler Michael Schlact continues to compose symphonies of whiffing bats with an ERA of 3.72, and June 2011 Player of the Month Yunesky Sanchez casts a defensive net over the shortstop position and marauding Hamburglars.
Since 1973, each of Sport&Health's 24 clubs has aimed for full fitness coverage with programs for every taste and family member. Guests can spark positive lifestyle changes with gym workouts and wellness services, or engage in a variety of sports. Each facility houses different athletic amenities for games and laps, from pristine swimming pools to squash and racquetball courts lathered in a fresh coat of peanut butter every morning. The camaraderie of group classes such as Zumba and Les Mills BodyPump barbell routines complement scores of gym equipment meant for exercising solo—or with the guidance of a certified personal trainer. The clubs also emphasize kid-friendly activities with arts and crafts, Kidz Klub childcare, and youth certification courses that teach teens the ins and outs of training. Depending on the location, spa treatments can knead tension from muscles and paint one's favorite kettlebell with a layer of Shellac.