By Bob Tagert
Solomons Island, MD
“From the White House to the Light House” is a popular phrase because you can literally get on Route 4 (Pennsylvania Avenue) in front of the White House and take it all the way to Solomons, Maryland – the home of Drum Point Lighthouse. Once outside the Capital Beltway you will soon run into a less populated environment. Old wooden barns and roadside vegetable stands will begin to appear. By now, fields have been plowed and the new crops will begin to appear. As you continue south on Route 4 you will pass through the towns of Upper Marlboro, Dunkirk, Huntington, and Prince Frederick. Each town has its own charm with Prince Frederick being the largest town. After passing through Prince Frederick you will come to Broomes Island Road, which will lead to Stoney’s at Broomes Island-which sits on Island Creek and looks out on the Patuxent River.
Making your way back to Route 4 and then heading south, you will arrive in Solomons in about 20 minutes. The Patuxent River and Back Creek border Solomons Island. The Patuxent River empties into the Chesapeake Bay about two miles east of the island. The abundance of water makes Solomons an ideal water paradise. There are small boats to rent for fishing. Kayaks, canoes and paddleboards are available for rent as well, and the calm waters of the creeks are an ideal place for exploring.
Originally called Bourne’s Island (168010, then Somervell’s Island (1740), Solomons takes its name from 19th century Baltimore businessman Isaac Solomon, who established a cannery and oyster business there shortly after the Civil War. In the 19th century, shipyards developed to support the island’s fishing fleet. The Marsh Shipyard built schooners and sloops but became famous for its bugeyes, the forerunner of the skipjack. In the War of 1812, Commodore Joshua Barney’s flotilla sailed from here to attack British vessels on the Chesapeake Bay. The deep, protected harbor has been a busy marine center ever since.
During World War II, because of its deep water and short beaches, the island was chosen by the Allied command as the site for training amphibious invasion forces. The lessons learned at Solomons proved invaluable on D-Day, at Tarawa, Guadalcanal and in numerous other military operations. Coincidentally, many of the servicemen who trained at the Solomons base in Maryland were sent to fight in the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean.
The Annemarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center is a Smithsonian-affiliated forested sculpture park where creations by major sculptors are on exhibit. Most sculptures are on loan from the National Gallery of Art or the Hirshhorn Museum. The site is both a family-friendly place with educational activities for children and a host of world-class professional artwork, including pieces by Picasso, Matisse and Miro.
As you come on to the island (15 feet of water pass between the river and the creek), the first restaurant you will come to on the left is Stoney’s Kingfisher’s. I have good friends here on both sides of the bar and it is a good stop for that crab cake. A short distance down from King Fishers is Stoney’s new addition…the Striped Rock, named after Maryland’s number one sport and game fish, the Striped Bass or “Rockfish”.
While Solomons is an easy day trip, my recommendation is that you make arrangements to spend the night. There is a Hilton Garden Inn, a Comfort Inn, a Holiday Inn and several cute B&B’s nearby. If you stay the night and are looking for a good breakfast, two of my favorites are Anglers Inn behind the Comfort Inn on Back Creek or Hidden Harbor on the east side of Back Creek on the Calvert Marina property. The Striped Rock also serves breakfast. All have outdoor dining and wonderful views.
Space is running out for me to go on, however, there are lots of other sites to see and activities to take part in both on the way to the Island and on the Island! For information on what is happening in and around Solomons, check out ChooseCalvert.com! Bring on the sun!