Summer is around the corner. With that comes a renewed sense of anticipation, hope and the possibilities of an adventure. The escape you have been craving is within reach--from sailing the high seas to a gastronome’s delight, we offer a glimpse of adventures that await, and hopefully, we will inspire you to make your great escape.
Come Sail Away
Schooner Woodwind Annapolis Sailing Cruises
You know what they say– sailing takes you away! And boy, do we need it now after the year we've had. If you want to escape, consider hopping aboard one of the two beautiful Woodwind Schooners in Annapolis Harbor and setting sail in the Chesapeake Bay for a few hours or even the weekend.
"My passion is sailing and being out on the water. There's nothing like that moment when the engine is cut--when the wind grabs the sails, and the boat is only propelled by the wind. It's so peaceful and forceful at the same time, working as one with nature. That never gets old," says Jennifer Kaye, captain and owner of her family business, Schooner Woodwind Annapolis Sailing Cruises.
"This business provided a way for my parents to share their love and passion for sailing with others, and when I graduated from college, I joined them. It's a dream to do something you love with your family. We have operated for 28 years from our spot in front of the Marriott Waterside," she says.
"Each of the custom-designed schooners are 74 feet in length, have a 64-foot mast, and the four sails have up to 1800 square feet of sail– larger than most apartments," laughs Jennifer.
Before Covid, Schooner Woodwind Annapolis Sailing Cruises scheduled themed weeknight recurring events. Jennifer says that she hopes that the state will lift Covid restrictions soon so they can get back to their weekday-themed sunset sail entertainment. Look on the website to see when they will feature: History Mondays, Beer Tasting Tuesdays, racing Woodwind l and Woodwind ll on Wednesdays and the local music series on Thursdays.
Annapolis Sailing Cruises can be romantic or kid-friendly. Sunset is a favorite and most popular time to sail on the Woodwinds, departing the docks between 5:30 and 6:30, depending on the season. It's worth the wait to see the setting sun cast a warm, colorful glow over the water and Annapolis. It's an unforgettable sight. And while taking in the view, you might want to raise your glass of bubbly in a toast to a picture-perfect ending.
The ships carry a selection of beverages for purchase, including local and independent craft beers, wine and bubbly. Woodwind can also be chartered for private or corporate events, for reunions and birthdays, with full catering options. SchoonerWoodwind.com
Go Climb a Tree
Tree Trekkers Outdoor Aerial Adventure and Zipline Park
Up for something a little more physically challenging? Imagine climbing trees to heights of 65-feet, and zipline soaring– wind in your hair– through the cool, green canopy of the forest. Or navigate across from one tree to the next using cable-suspended swinging stairs that wind you toward a platform high in the trees. You can do that and more at Tree Trekkers Outdoor Aerial Adventure and Zipline Park, one of the largest in the nation, and here in our backyard.
Built on 30 acres of protected forest, this seven-acre aerial park offers something for all ages. Although it may appear daunting, beginning the adventure with the easiest course will build skills and add confidence when advancing to more challenging courses. There are 14 courses ranging from easy to double black diamond, which requires skills comparable to an American Ninja Warrior course.
"Guest safety is paramount, and so are utilizing precautions when it comes to Covid," Ashley Schweinhart, site and marketing manager, says. "And we have procedures in place to ensure guests have a safe visit."
"Guests can bring their food and drinks and take advantage of the picnic tables placed throughout the park," says Ashley. "We have three pavilions within the park that are for rent. Those are great for birthday parties and other gatherings,"
Prefer not to climb? Take advantage of the walking trails throughout the park, where you may follow your climber to take photos. And should you encounter Bigfoot along the way, don't be afraid. Big Foot is Tree Trekker's mascot memorialized in a five-foot-tall statue.
"We have a statue of Bigfoot and one of Baby Bigfoot that guests love to take photos alongside. They get such a kick out of it!" laughs Ashley. TreeTrekkersMD.com
Grab a Taste of History and Cuisine
Savor Gettysburg Food Tours
What is more fun than a road trip that offers delicious tastings along with an expert-led tour? Take the scenic drive north up US 15 to experience the walking and narrated Savor Gettysburg Food Tour in the historic town of Gettysburg.
Lori Mitchell, tour director of Savor Gettysburg Food Tours, says, "There is so much to see and experience in our town. People here in Gettysburg want to share our history and what we have with others. Because of our history, the landscape, nature, and the battlefields, people return here again and again. There is so much more to discover, and the food tour is a wonderful way to get to know more of our town's history and the people who live and work here."
As guests wind through the neighborhoods in town, their senses come alive as the guide relays the events that define Gettysburg; the historic battle that raged through the main streets; the families and lives that marked the town. Their heroic and tragic tales are recounted between the stops for samplings.
"It's similar to a progressive dinner and a really fun way to get an insider's view," Lori says. "The tour is an easy one-mile walk, stopping at six to seven restaurants, over three hours. We rotate the restaurants each season because we have many returning guests and so many wonderful restaurants here. This season, homemade shepherd's pie, delicious pizza, bold Thai, savory Chinese and caliente Mexican foods are some of the samplings we have in store for our guests. We call it our Epcot of Gettysburg since Gettysburg represents a melting pot of all types of cuisines." SavorGettysburgFoodTours.com
Get Your Throw On
Stumpy's Hatchet House
Get your throwing arm in shape and head over to Stumpy's Hatchet House for a fun and unusual evening out. Who knows? You may find this is the activity you have been searching for to get all that pent-up energy out!
"We call it hatchet therapy," says Sarah Simpson, general manager of Stumpy's. "People are frustrated and tired of sitting at home and looking at social media. They come in to enjoy this simple, organic experience of throwing a hatchet at a board to make it stick. And when it does, there is a whole lot of energy released as they jump up and down screaming.
"We use a camping hatchet which is a weight that works for just about everyone. Experts called "AXEperts" work on the floor, providing safety training and showing the guests how to throw. They pop by and check-in helping the guests find their throw. Most find it by the end of the time they're here. We do our best to teach everyone how to do it," she says.
Stumpy's is a casual, comfortable environment where guests can throw axes, hang out with friends, and have a drink and snacks. There is a BYOB policy for wine and beer, and guests can bring in food. Staff will even provide iced buckets for those who have brought beer and want to keep it nice and cold.
"We have lots of open space that allows for social distancing and eight "pits" where groups of up to six can throw hatchets at the target. Whether you come with one friend or a group, it still feels like you have your own space. Our large rear area is perfect for groups of up to 25 where we hold events such as bachelor and bachelorette parties, birthday parties and team building, but we're still waiting to book our first wedding," Sarah says laughingly. StumpysHH.com/FrederickMD
Go Up on Roof
Brewer's Alley Rooftop Terrace
There is something exciting and glamourous about a view from the top. Perhaps it's the lure of being a casual observer of the city and the people moving about below or the chance to gaze at the stars. Whatever the draw, rooftop bars are having their day, and the trend isn't slowing.
Brewer's Alley owner Phil Bowers says of the rooftop terrace and bar, "It all started with the renovation of the former puppy patio space. It just made sense to turn the roof above it into a bar with seating. Our customers have loved both of those spaces as they are always full when the weather cooperates," says Phil.
"With patio heaters for winter and a breeze in the summer, it is a fun vibe up there," says General Manager Jaime Ellis-Ade. "It feels like you're vacationing on an island with a cocktail, but you're on a rooftop in Frederick. We have a full menu and serve Brewer's Alley small-batch seasonal and new creation beers, specialty and seasonal cocktails, and, of course, our Tito's sangria." Brewers-Alley.com
Sculpt a Masterpiece
Frederick Clay Studio
Feel like throwing something, but hatchets aren't your thing? How about throwing a little clay? If you would like to give it a go, Frederick Clay Studio has got you covered. From beginner to advanced, the studio offers classes that will have you going from novice to "Hey, this is pretty good!"
Co-owner and teacher Cassidy Stoner says, "We are a teaching studio with around 75 students per week. Working with adults only, we help them learn the art of pottery making. Since re-opening, we started an introductory three-week class on the basics where students learn to throw, trim and glaze, and, in the end, they have some pieces to take home."
"It is so fun– and really almost therapy," she adds.
Julian Patellis, co-owner, agrees, "It is very much like therapy. You are relaxing and learning while you are creating." FrederickClayStudio.com