Cecil's Old Mill
Originally a textile factory and rebuilt into a grist and saw mill. Today, local artisans display and sell handmade crafts and original art. Open March-October, Thursday through Sunday and daily from November until Christmas. Call for hours. Indian Bridge Road, Great Mills MD, 301-994-1510.
Historic Saint Mary's City
Settled in 1634 by the 134 English settlers who accompanied Leonard Calvert across the Atlantic, St. Mary's was the fourth permanent settlement in the Americas. St. Mary's was the Maryland Province's capital until the seat was moved to Annapolis in 1695. The park, situated on the shore of the scenic St. Mary's River, recreates and interprets early life in the colony. While none of the original buildings survive, the archaeological record that is preserved is considered one of the finest in the U.S. The reconstructed buildings, plantation, businesses and state capitol are all accessed via a series of footpaths that meander the river and woods. The route of the PHT chosen for this guide winds right through the city. Additionally, a 3-mile forested loop beginning at the Visitor's Center and walking south down Hogaboom Lane will take you past Godiah Spray Plantation, Milburn Creek, and Chancellor's Point, crossing small trail bridges named after some of St. Mary's most notable 17th century personalities. Towards the end of this loop, you'll pass the Brome-Howard House (c. 1840), a large structure that was actually relocated from the museum grounds of the city. The break in the hedgerow, still visible today, marks the path where the house was transported through the fields. A former plantation, the house is currently a bed & breakfast featuring fine dining and distinctive guestrooms, where both visitors and passerby can enjoy spectacular views of the St. Mary's River below.
St. Mary's Lake
The 250 acre lake is part of St. Mary's River State Park, an 8 mile wooded trail encircles the lake where evidence indicates Native Americans have lived since 3000 B.C. Attentive hikers may indeed encounter arrowheads along stream beds. The lake also offers bass fishing.
The county seat of St. Mary's, Leonardtown offers a dose of small-town charm and an easy-going pace. The oldest incorporated town in Maryland, Leonardtown is host to a few casual eateries, several shops, an art gallery, a health food store, and accommodations, though tired legs may just find the shaded benches in the center of town to be the main attraction. The area surrounding the town is fast-growing, but downtown Leonardtown, still has the illusion of an isolated, southern MD, county seat — only the availability of cappuccino gives it away.