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Weekly Shhhout-Out


Roaming librarians file dispatches from the world of information.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Curious Places

The Red Sands Maunsell sea fort in the Thames estuary, off the north coast of Kent by Russss on Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons License

One of the joys of reading a book is to be able to travel anywhere in time and space inside of your mind. By extension, the library is the best TARDIS ever--full of books and electronic resources with facts about history geography and space, as well as stories that can take you back in time and beyond this universe.

Want a map of a historical time period? Visit the “historical” tab of our Maps LibGuide. You can find roadmaps on that same LibGuide, or information on how you can make your own maps. From our links to the Gale Virtual Reference Library, you can go to the Encyclopedia of Food and Culture or the Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World or books about travel in other countries, and much more.

Weird Maryland cover

There are many travel books in our libraries but, because of my penchant for the strange, one of my favorites is Weird  Maryland: Your Travel Guide to Maryland’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets. If you don’t know about the Goat Man, you will after you read that book. If the book is checked out, however, after you’ve put your hold on it, go look at a fun website, Roadside America. There you’ll find links to the weirdest tourist attractions across the United States, from the World’s Largest Office Chair to the Miracle Horny Toad of Eastland Texas. If you want to find giant lumberjacks and Dinosaurs, this is the place for you. You can search by state, or by themes such as "Pet Cemetery" or "Big Fruit". They will even point you to hotels near these marvelous sites.

If your tastes are focused on neon lights however, you might want to visit The 10 Most Important examples of Neon Signage and watch the videos.

  

You may enjoy perusing the copies of National Geoographic in your local library, but pull a seat up to one of our public access computers and look at their website. There you can not only find the beautiful photos you have come to expect, but also stunning videos of places and people around the world. Check out the daily news features, too. Of course. If you want something a little more obtuse, navigate to Atlas Obscura. On that site you can read articles on such things as figurative coffins in Ghana, explore an attractive index of unusual places, or click for a random selection and find yourself in The Boiling Lake or The Heidelberg Thingstatte, a Nazi edifice built on a sacred mountain site used by various German cults. This website sponsors local events if you want to join up with other fans in real time and space.

One of my interests is abandoned places—crumbling inner-city houses, mental institutions fallen into disrepair, graffiti-splattered warehouses by the side of railway tracks. I used to think this was something peculiar to me, brought on by my early childhood surrounded by bombsites left over from World War II, but no, there are fans all over the Internet creating websites, blogs, tumblr pages, and indexes such as those on Web Urbanist and The Huffington Post. Dereliction seems to be a great inspiration to photographers, producing some stunning photographs on pages such as 25 Bone-Chilling Photos of Abandoned Places, 10 Creepy, Beautiful Modern Ruins, and 30+ of the Most Beautiful Abandoned Places and Modern Ruins I’ve Ever Seen. A website called Abandoned Places, created by an amateur urban explorer, takes things one step further by leading the participant on archeological journeys, sometimes as if one is a traveler in the future. It’s a surreal combination of reality and fantasy within an innovative framework of links.

But if you prefer to stick closer to home, there are abandoned places in Maryland also. Maybe I'll run into you at one of those some day.

Inside the Glenn Dale Hospital, Maryland. By Firsttoscore on Wikimedia Commons. Released to Public Domain.

AnnetteAnnette K.

CATEGORIES: Annette K. , Architecture , Abandones Places , Photography , History , Geography , Travel , Maryland
POSTED: 9:30:00 AM |

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Maryland, My Maryland

Every month has a holiday or two some well-known and some obscure. In March, for instance, we have: National Pig Day and Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, simultaneously! And who could forget the Ides of March? Not Julius Caesar! (There is an Ides in every month, you know; right in the middle of each one.)

March also contains Dentist’s Day and Panic Day – but not at the same time.

National Pi day is 3.14, of course (think about it), but since 1918 March twenty-fifth has been Maryland Day – commemorating the settlement of the proprietary colony of Mary Land in 1634.

State House dome with flag in foreground Click on the flag to hear our State Song from Music Online.

How about a terrific wallow in all things Maryland, in honor of the occasion? Books and audio books about Maryland, Maryland people, places and history? Books by Maryland authors? Crab cake recipes? The potential is endless!

book cover for Other Wes Moorebook cover Sisters of FortuneFrederick Douglass memoir

Maryland authors such as:  (click on the author photo to see our holdings of their works)

Laura Lippman
Laura Lippman, creator of Tess Monaghan, Baltimore's own Reporter-turned-PI
Nora Roberts
Did you know that Maryland is the lifelong home of New York Time multi-Bestseller and oft-award-winning Romance author Nora Roberts?
Tom Clancey Southern Maryland is the home of the originator of the techno-thriller genre -  Tom Clancy
Stephen Hunter Along with Pulitzer Prize-winner Stephen Hunter
Mary Downing Hahn

And for the kids and 'tweens, two authors who not only live in Maryland, but who do not hesitate to set their stories here, too.

Mary Downing Hahn  

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Why don't you check one of these out at your nearest branch, pour a glass of milk and settle in for a great read with a Berger's (made in Maryland) cookie or two. What a great place we live in!

Chocolate over shortbread decadence

CATEGORIES: Maryland , Holidays , Literature , Jan D. , writers
POSTED: 10:00:00 AM |

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Looking Towards Summertime Treks...

I can’t stand cold weather. I don’t know about you, but Winter is a tough time; being a native Washingtonian doesn’t make it any easier. I’m counting the days until June, until we get 90 degree heat and a minimum of 110% humidity.
Or at least, this Friday’s anticipated balmy 70 degrees will be a welcomed change.
What’s a person to do during those awesome hot days of Summer?
When was the last time you explored some of Maryland’s wonders?

Sharpsburg:
Antietam National Battlefield, site of one of the most pivotal and devastating battles in the Civil War, is in Sharpsburg. After 12 hours of savage fighting on September 17, 1862, 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or left missing -- it was the bloodiest day of the war. About 87,000 Union troops commanded by Gen. George B. McClellan had intercepted 40,000 of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s invading Confederate troops. The Union victory led to Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
Three national parks and two state parks are within a dozen miles of Sharpsburg. The 184-mile long C&O Canal towpath passes near the town.

Cumberland:
Located in a river valley in “Mountain Maryland” – the Appalachians in Allegany County – Cumberland is an historic town (27 listings in the National Register of Historic Places) that has evolved into a vibrant arts community. A new Arts and Entertainment District is the cornerstone of a revived downtown section.

National Harbor:
Located on the banks of the Potomac River, the Harbor has an assortment of entertainment venues and panoramic views of the Washington, D.C. monuments. And if you’re looking for outdoor fun, the Capital Region has ample opportunities for hiking, biking, boating and golf.

Benedict:
A chief port on the Patuxent River, Benedict was one of the first designated ports established by the 1683 Act for Advancement of Trade. Storehouses flourished near the wharves and ship building began earnestly in the late 1600s. Between 1817 and 1937, steamboats carrying freight and passengers stopped at Benedict en route to Baltimore and ports on the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers.
Benedict was the landing site in August 1814, for 4,500 British troops who marched to the nation's capital. After capturing and burning the city, the troops returned to Benedict carrying their wounded and supplies. Two of the British soldiers who died were buried at Old Fields Chapel cemetery in Hughesville.
During the Civil War, Camp Stanton was established in Benedict for recruiting and training a black infantry to serve in the Union Army.

Cedar Island Wildlife Management Area, Somerset:
Because of its nearly 3,000 acres of tidal marsh, ponds and creeks, black ducks flock to the island located in Tangier Sound near the town of Crisfield. Other tidal wetland wildlife species are also attracted to the area, but its attraction for black ducks is legendary. In the 1960s, wildlife biologists became concerned about the black duck, which seemed to be declining in numbers. Loss of habitat was thought to be the primary cause. Today, black duck populations are on the mend and Cedar Island WMA is one of Maryland's best winter habitats for these beautiful birds.

Enjoy the sights, sounds – and heat!

CATEGORIES: Maryland , Travel , Andrea C.
POSTED: 8:00:00 AM |
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Last edited: 11/6/2007