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Fall Foliage and Festival Report: November 18-19

Map showing events with leaves

Welcome to the Fall Foliage and Festival Report for the weekend of Nov. 18-19, brought to you by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Maryland Office of Tourism.

Well the Maryland leaf peeper season is coming to a close. While there are some spots of red and yellow in St. Mary’s County and some oaks peaking in parts of central and southern Maryland, the consensus seems to be the leaves are falling very quickly.

Photo of tree by Sarah Lord

Brilliant color on Bolton Street in Baltimore, photo by Sarah Lord

In Wye Mills hickories are at peak with gums and maples just past. Oaks are variable – depending on the species – with most at or near peak.

There are also a few bright spots where you can see red maples hot as chili peppers. There are pockets of some “yard” October Glory and Red Sunset maples with leaves still turning, but overall experts in the field report peak foliage has come and gone…As such this will be the final Fall Foliage and Festival Report for 2017.

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the changing colors and seasonal autumnal events held throughout the state. The foliage this autumn may not have shone as brilliantly or last as long, but Maryland is still one of those magical places blessed with beautiful lands where we can enjoy all four seasons.

According to the calendar, autumn does not officially end until the Winter Solstice but in Maryland, Thanksgiving Day traditionally marks the beginning of the holiday season, where our attention turns to evergreens and boughs of holly.

From all of us to you: have a happy and healthy holiday season.

Central Maryland is the sight of two premiere events Saturday. The Baltimore American Indian Center will host the 43rd Annual Pow-Wow complete with Native dancing, drums and vendors at Towson University’s University Union Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Don’t miss the Grand Entry ceremonies at noon and 4 p.m.

Photo of a Thanksgiving Turkey parade floatThe streets of downtown Silver Spring will be filled with dancing groups, floats, giant balloons and marching bands Saturday morning when the Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade heralds the start of the holiday season. While there look for the 35-foot high Sustainable Energy Holiday Tree made completely from bicycles.

If you’re in the mood for more low-key nature-based activities, you could Hike to Rockburn Branch with the Mountain Club of Maryland Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. Stops along the trail include a history of the area, tips of the trade and a visit to Rockburn Branch Park in Howard County. The hike will include some stream crossings and hills. Total distance is about 4 miles.

Seneca Creek State Park will host Birding Basics Saturday morning, where you can learn some birding techniques and put them to good use on a short walk. Bring binoculars if you have them. Come back Sunday afternoon to make a nature creation of your own to take home! Stick around for a fun Reptile Encounter at 2 p.m. Meet a living snake, and examine shells and skins from reptiles living in the park! Fun for all ages.

Or you might want to trot over to Patapsco Valley State Park’s Hilton Nature Center Saturday afternoon for Talking Turkeys. If you still have bird on the brain, you can learn more about these native birds at Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area Saturday afternoon for Terrific Turkeys. Learn about domestic and wild turkeys, and make your very own turkey craft.

Photo of turkeys strutting by Lori R. Bramble

Strutting, Photo by Lori R. Bramble

The Eastern Shore has a lot to offer this weekend as well.

Come to Denton in Caroline County Saturday for the 32nd Annual Turkey Trot,  a 2-mile jog, run or walk from Denton Elementary School to Martinak State Park and back. Registration begins at 8 a.m; event starts at 9:30 a.m. Other activities include the Turkey Dinner Relay, crafts, games and refreshments. And don’t miss the Lil’ Pilgrim Wee Walk for children ages 2 to 5. Please bring one or more canned goods and help up support families in need this season.

In Dorchester County the 18th Street Singers will performing Songs about Journeys at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center in Church Creek Saturday afternoon from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. The songs trace the emotional and physical journeys we travel by ourselves and with others. The feelings of loss and hope of reunion as we leave places and people we hold dear, the connections and possibilities we encounter along the way.

Further east in Wicomico County start holiday shopping in Parsonburg Saturday at the Harvest Thyme Craft Fair, a premier craft event with over 60 local artisans, crafters and vendors.

November is Native American Heritage Month and the Ward Museum of Waterfowl Art at Salisbury University is hosting a free Native American Heritage Celebration led by American Indian tribes indigenous to the Delmarva area Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Learn about Native culture on the Eastern Shore from members of local tribes and other Native Americans. This event coincides with third Drop In Art Saturday that features family-friendly crafts, led by members of the Accohannock tribe.

Photo of Wye Mills Lake by Chris Frye

Wye Mills Lake, Photo by Chris Frye

In Southern Maryland, the Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum in St. Leonard is holding a Hide Tanning Workshop Saturday at their Indian Village. With a little knowledge and a lot of elbow grease, deer skins can be transformed into supple buckskins. Participants should wear clothes that can get dirty, pack a lunch, and be prepared for physical activity.

On Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. visit the Hollywood Fire Department and shop for your holiday gifts at their Annual Fall Craft Fair in St. Mary’s County. If you get there early, they will be selling stuffed ham by the pound until it’s sold out. Free admission and parking.

The Union Mills Homestead and Grist Mill in Westminster will host Christkindlmarkt, a German style Christmas Mart Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with drinks, food and gifts available. On Sunday the Westminster Train Show at the Carroll County Agriculture Center will feature a large operating train display along with 200 tables of toy trains and related items.

For more information or to see a full listing of Maryland Department of Natural Resources events and programs, please check out our new interactive calendar. For more information on events around the state, please visit the Maryland Office of Tourism.

Enjoy your Maryland weekend!

“Autumn is the mellower season,
and what we lose in flowers
we more than gain in fruits.”
-Samuel Butler

Did you know?
When the economy was mostly rural, the season we call fall was once referred to simply as “harvest.” In the 1600s city dwellers began to use the phrase “fall of the leaf” to refer to the third season of the year when trees lose their leaves. Overtime that was shortened to “fall” and today gives us a reminder to adjust our clocks: “Spring forward, fall back.”

Photo of fall leaves courtesy of Fran Saunders

Fall Color, Photo by Fran Saunders

Fall Habitat Tip: Leave the leaves!
Leaf litter provides habitat for all sorts of beneficial invertebrates, as well as shelter for eggs, larvae, pupae and even adult butterflies. Leaf litter also helps replenish soil nutrients.