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Baltimore County Now

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Keyword: fort howard park

Michael L. Schneider, Community Outreach Liaison, Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks

At the risk of giving away my age – I’ll start this blog with another paraphrased punch line from an old TV commercial…

This HOT Baltimore summer, “How do you spell relief?”

B-A-L-T-I-M-O-R-E- C-O-U-N-T-Y –P-A-R-K-S

It’s better than some old medicine – Your relief this summer comes in the form of the many beautiful waterfront parks that can be found throughout our County!

Now, if you are anything like me, your first instinctive response to “waterfront parks” might be, Rocky Point Beach and Oregon Ridge Beach.  And, YES, you would be right!  More on these incredible wet and wonderful places later on in this blog…

But did you know there are lots more waterfront parks in our County than many of us can even begin to imagine – who knew?? 

Waterfront Parks  are, indeed, plentiful and offer so much more than a gentle breeze and beautiful views. We are talking shorelines, fishing, boat ramps, boat rentals (at one particular site) and of course, a variety of other amenities you will love on a hot summer day when you “seek the relief.”  Pavilions, ball fields, playgrounds, trails, multipurpose courts – it is a long list of options for you at these waterfront havens! 

Imagine, sitting on the shoreline looking out on the incredible Chesapeake Bay or one of its magnificent tributaries.  Now, imagine a fishing pole in hand, with a cool drink by your side (are you getting the picture?!)  Or, how about for you Mr. and Ms. Boat Owner – seven, count ‘em, seven boat ramps around the county at Cox’s Point, Inverness, Merritt Point , Rocky Point, Southwest Area, Turner Station and Wilson Point Parks.  Imagine easing out onto the beautiful waters under the clear blue sky seeing magnificent birds flying above you and knowing the bounty of the bay or Patapsco is below you.  Life is good, isn’t it!

Now, back to that fishing…how about doing it in another “jewel” of our County. The Loch Raven Fishing Center  is just “luring” you to come on out (you took the “bait” on that one, didn’t you?!).   Only a 2,400 acre reservoir stands between you and a large - or small - mouth bass, yellow perch, northern pike and a variety of other catches of the day.  You need to know that docking and launch permits for the 2014 season are sold out (talk about your hot ticket!), but there is still the opportunity to rent a boat or canoe and all the fishing gear you will need for a few hours on the water.  Your friends at Baltimore County Recreation and Parks want you to enjoy  Loch Raven Fishing Center  for all it is worth, be certain to read the above link for all of the important facility rules.  If you have additional questions, give the good folks at the Fishing Center a call at 410-887-7692.  This could be “reel” fun!

Of course, there’s always the chance to soak in some fine learning while relaxing near the water.   Destinations like Marshy Point Nature Center feature protected environmental areas whose educational displays and programs emphasize the Chesapeake Bay and its ecosystem.  Imagine your kids (and you!) learning something – and having a great time all the while!

Of course, the “big two” water front areas that folks associate with Baltimore County would be those beautiful beaches of ours – Rocky Point Beach and Park and  Oregon Ridge Beach. photo of Rocky Point beach  Let’s skip the three, four or more hour jaunt down Route 50 and play the part of the beachcomber practically in your own back yard!  Each beach features beautiful sites to see, lots of waterfront and the security and confidence in well trained guards. 

Didja Know…

The Baltimore Sailing Center is located at Rocky Point?  Lessons are offered for individuals and groups.  And over at Oregon Ridge Beach, there is shallow and deep water for swimming  and all kinds of amenities to make your day at the beach a bundle of fun and pretty darned convenient to boot!

Here’s a sampling of some other waterfront fun awaiting you in Baltimore County Parks…

Robert E. Lee Park – canoeing and kayaking on Lake Roland

Fort Howard Park – Fishing and pier

Battle Grove Park - Shoreline

Inverness Park – Fishing and Boat Ramp

Merritt Point Park – Fishing and Boat Ramp

Turner Station Park – Fishing and Boat Ramp

Southwest Area Park – Boat ramp and Pier (access to the Patapsco River)

For more information on the above, and other Waterfront Parks , click here.

And in the name of “good times,” we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Gunpowder Falls State Park  which is located in Baltimore County.  Their telephone number is 410-592-2897.

So there you have it – it is a certainty that it is going to be hot and sticky this summer; and your wild and wet relief really can be spelled out B-A-L-T-I-M-O-R-E- -C-O-U-N-T-Y- -P-A-R-K-S.  In the words of another old-time TV commercial – Oh, what a relief it is!!

By the way – Baltimore County Recreation and Parks office is proud to be honoring its earlier “guarantee” – there has not been one snow flake in the county since we made that promise way back in April!  We kept that promise, now you have to believe our promise that our parks are a great option to beat the heat – and to have a great time!

photo of Redcoats in reenactmentPaul Rosenberger
Dundalk Patapsco Neck Historical Society and Museum, Inc.

Defenders Day Features Walking Tours

Take a walking tour at Fort Howard Park during Defenders Day celebrations September 7 & 8, and learn about how the area has more history than the Battle of North Point!

Dundalk Historical Society volunteer Ray Scott will explain how Fort Howard is also historically significant for reasons other than the British landing in 1814. From 1898 until 1927, this property was an Endicott Period Coast Artillery installation that housed as many as 18 huge artillery guns purposed to protect Baltimore from attack by enemy naval vessels attempting to enter the Patapsco River.

The weapons at Fort Howard included two 12-inch disappearing rifles and eight 12-inch mortars. All of those guns could rain massive, 1000-pound explosive shells on any spot in the Chesapeake or the Patapsco within a 10-mile radius of North Point.

Walking tours of Fort Howard's old coast artillery gun emplacements are scheduled for 11 AM and 2 PM each day. The tours will begin at the Fort Howard History tent next to Battery Stricker. 

Dundalk Historical Website Features Complete Defenders Day Info

The Dundalk Historical Society and Museum, Inc., has launched its new website – – to publicize Defenders Day 2013 events, reach a wider audience and make everyone aware of just how much the Society can offer the community. Defenders Day 2013 is featured prominently on the new site. Find the complete schedule and more information at

One of the biggest priorities of the site is to gather email addresses for a mailing list. You can register by accessing the Contact form on the Support page of the website or through the Society’s official Facebook page (don’t forget to “like” the page).

Defenders Day Isn’t Over When It’s Over

Once Defender’s Day 2013 observances end, other events will lead up to the bicentennial celebration. There will be a special event in Dundalk at 7 PM on Thursday, Oct. 17, when the U.S. Naval Academy Concert Band performs at the Dundalk Middle community auditorium on Dunmanway. Admission and parking are free.

The event is presented in partnership with the Baltimore County Office of Promotion and Tourism and the Star Spangled 200 Committee. For more information about the Defenders Day celebration, call the Historical Society at (410)284-2331, or visit

Canadians Represent the British at Defenders Day 2013

Almost 200 years after the British invaded the North Point peninsula, new arrivals will take their place in an attempt to do the same. Dozens of re-enactors from Ontario, Canada, will stand in for British forces during the 199th anniversary celebration of Defenders Day, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, September 7 and 8, at Fort Howard Park.

This year, Defenders Day events will expand to two days in anticipation of next year’s bicentennial celebration. There will be lots of activity over the weekend at Fort Howard Park, highlighted by about 90 re-enactors who will do battle twice on Saturday and once on Sunday.

“We’ve enhanced the whole event from top to bottom,” said Harry Young, who has chaired the event for the last nine years. “We’ll have three battle re-enactments, more volunteers and more sponsors than ever before.”

Defenders Day at North Pointby Jay Doyle
 Project Manager, Baltimore County Department of Planning

Enjoy Defenders Day at North Point – Baltimore County’s signature annual salute to its War of 1812 heritage – this Sunday, Sept. 2nd, at the beautiful waterfront treasure known as Fort Howard Park, 9500 North Point Road. This daylong affair features two reenactments of the Battle of North Point, which took place the day before the bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1814.

Gates open at 10 a.m., with the first reenactment commencing at 1 p.m. and the second at 4 p.m. A strong contingent of living history interpreters will be on hand as will strains of   period music. Recently, the Fire Museum of Maryland began exhibiting at the event, this year being no exception. The intrepid firefighters will have a true, 1812-era pumper truck on display, intriguing to children and adults alike.

The Battle of North Point began in pre-dawn hours when British royal marines and infantry disembarked from ships, landing at various points along the southern tip of the North Point peninsula. This year’s event plans a new maritime feature to depict this dramatic aspect of the battle. On land, British invaders in “red-coat” attire will face off against Maryland militia units such as Asquith’s Rifles and the vaunted “Dandy Fifth” Regiment. Thundering cannon fire will echo through the trees. Odds are British General Robert Ross will take a direct hit and stoically draw his last breath on Baltimore County soil as he did 198 years ago.

We salute Defenders Day Chairman Harry Young and his loyal band of steadfast volunteers with the Dundalk-Patapsco Neck Historical Society who put on a splendid show every year. Bring your appetite. Consider purchasing commemorative items and souvenirs from the historical society, Friends of Todd’s Inheritance and other civic organizations eager to promote the War of 1812 bicentennial and their good causes. Representatives from the National Park Service and the Baltimore County War of 1812 Advisory Committee will be in attendance.             

Information:  Jay Doyle, 410-887-2483

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