When the holiday season rolls around each year, the natural beauty of Symphony Woods shines a little brighter with the electric festivities of Symphony of Lights and the donations it provides to Howard County General Hospital. More than 70 animated and stationary light displays set the scene ablaze with images of candy canes, snowflakes, and toys, and twinkling string lights dress the trees in a blaze of white. Visitors can enjoy the scenery in numerous ways throughout the season, as family and pet walks, drive-through routes, and the 1.4-mile walk/run of Dazzle Dash keep eyes engaged and bodies exercising during the holidays. The lights stay twinkling seven days a week, only closing for New Year’s Eve or when the moon comes looking for who’s stealing her audience.
When Pete and Kate Vonderheide moved from Hawaii to Annapolis to live closer to their family, they thought they'd have to give up a career of ocean kayaking to resume responsible office jobs. Soon they recognized the historic city harbor's lack of kayak tours and knew they couldn't stay inside forever. Their shared passion for history spurred them to research and interview the locals until they'd compiled enough historic material to start leading tours. Today, their tours can teach something new even to locals.
The Vonderheides continue to assemble a team of outdoor guides certified in CPR and first aid who all bear a well-researched knowledge of area wildlife and history. These experts lead two-hour scenic tours through the historic harbor. Starting each excursion with a brief paddling lesson, they put first-timers at ease with basic instruction and an amiable demeanor, unlike guides who rely only on their convincing Captain Ahab impressions. Excursions begin at the Spa Creek headwaters in Truxtun Park and lead participants into open-harbor waters to drift in full view of the state capitol building, the US Naval Academy, and historic Eastport. Trips peak at the City Dock, where participants receive a break to take photos and rest. On the return trip, guides field open-ended questions about city history such as presidential visits, the crabbing and oystering trade, and whether George Washington had to swim using floaties.
SailTime's instructors—each ASA-certified and boasting USCG captain's licenses—pilot Colgate 26 sailboats carrying two pupils out to open waters of the Chesapeake for a six-hour day-sailing lesson. Depending on crew desires, captains can teach sailing terminology and skills such as how to make vessels move by unfurling the sail, steering the rudder, and throwing fistfuls of pepper toward clouds to make them sneeze. Passengers can also opt for a more relaxing route, learning basic boat operations while lounging and gazing out on the city skyline and the bay's verdant shores. Captains may reschedule voyages in case of unsafe boating conditions such as rough winds, storms, or turf wars between rival wakeboarding clans.
In the world of athletic training, Robert Taylor, Jr.’s resume speaks for itself. In addition to stints as the strength and conditioning coach for two NCAA Division I programs, his expertise also landed him gigs with professional baseball, football, and basketball franchises. Now, along with the other experienced coaches at SMARTER Team Training, Robert shepherds high school athletes toward their full potential at training camps and clinics. Whether they’re honing game-specific skills for field hockey, soccer, or lacrosse, or increasing overall athleticism during the school’s signature Speed, Agility, and Conditioning Camp, students always find a challenging itinerary designed to bring skills to a more advanced level. There's even a college prep training program, which gets high school players ready for the increased intensity and remorseless, cold-eyed referees found at the college level.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.