When most people think of Maryland, they think of seafood and sea shores. What they might not know, is the state has the second oldest pet cemetery, a trail that can give visitors an experience of what the Underground Railroad might have been like, and was home to Edgar Allan Poe. It’s these little known pit stops and destinations that make each state unique. Keep reading to find out more about Maryland!
Edgar Allan Poe’s Grave- Baltimore
Edgar Allan Poe’s burial history is almost as creepy as his stories! When Poe died in 1849, he was initially buried in an unmarked grave for several years. George W. Spence took on the challenge to find a simple headstone for the body. He decided on a basic sandstone with not the author’s name, but the number 80. Soon, rumors began spreading that no one was taking care of the sight, so Poe’s cousin Neilson ordered a proper stone and promised to look after the grave. The headstone was involved in a train wreck and Neilson decided not to order another, so all the evidence we have of what would be Poe’s headstone is nothing but a simple sketch.
It was several years before the grave got a proper headstone. Donations were taken and more than half the cost came from a man named George Childs. Shortly, a fancy monument was created by George Frederick, the man who built the Baltimore City Hall. Unfortunately, there are still mistakes. Poe’s birthdate reads January 20th instead of the 19th, and the monument was too large for the burial site, so Poe’s body had to be moved to a larger area. Almost a year later, his final resting place was celebrated and in attendance was the high society of Baltimore. If you thought it ended there, think again. In 1913, another stone was laid on top of his original burial site, but that stone was placed incorrectly. It was quickly moved, but it’s reported that it still isn’t in the right spot.
Aspin Hill Pet Cemetery- Spring Hill, Maryland
Here is the final resting place for an array of domestic animals and exotic pets. Known to be the second oldest pet cemetery in the United States, the Aspen Hill Cemetery began in 1920 when dog breeders Bertha and Richard Birney purchased the 8 acres to build a kennel to breed dogs. At first, the land was just used to bury their own pets and the pets of close friends, but word of the place quickly spread. Soon, others wanted a place to bury their pets, too.
At the beginning, the graves were simply marked with basic and simple stones with the name of the pet, family and the accurate dates of living. Later on, fancier stones became common. Large statues, rock walls and a mausoleum for a dog named Mickey are among the more elaborate markers. And it’s not just cats and dogs one can find here at the cemetery. You can expect to find monkeys, birds, goats, hamsters, frogs, goldfish, turtles and snakes. The place became so popular that as of right now, about 50,000 pets are buried there and for some owners, the idea of ever leaving their pets is unbearable, so about 30 human burials took place here as well.
The Enchanted Forest Pine Tree Maze at Clark’s Elioak Farm- Columbia
When houses started to become more popular in the early 2000s, Martha and Nora Clark didn’t give in to selling their land. Instead, they kept farming and eventually opened a petting zoo. Their 540-acre farm has been family farm land since 1797, and just like most farmers, they struggle to keep costs low because of oversea competition.
The zoo soon expanded and the Clarks began to add other events, like pond tours, ecology lessons, hikes and animal care. They also had seasonal events, like hay rides and open pumpkin patches, and holiday events throughout the winter season. But in 2005, the zoo took an interesting turn. The Clarks started to collect storybook buildings and rides from Maryland’s amusement park the Enchanted Forest. Though the park itself is closed, you can still see some of its items at the Clarks’ zoo.
The Enchanted Forest Pine Tree Maze at Clark’s Elioak Farm now is host to so many buildings and structures that were saved from the amusement park. Some include Mother Goose and her gosling, Papa Bear, two massive lollipops, gingerbread men, and even the mice that helped Cinderella.
Geppi’s Entertainment Museum- Baltimore
Geppi’s Entertainment Museum is a place that can offer a feeling of nostalgia or a sentimental feeling for several generations. Pop culture has been around for decades, but it will always mean something different to each generation. Grandparents can visit with grand-kids, or parents can visit with their kids and they’ll all look in the past physically together, but each pop culture piece may transport them back to another time.
When you start touring the museum, you’ll find an exhibit on Baltimore’s earliest residents in the early 18th century. Keep moving ahead and you’ll see the change in pop culture through newspapers, television and eventually the internet. This 16,000 square foot museum really has something for each family member that might take them back to a special time or place that may had forgotten about.
Underground Experience Trail- Ashton-Sandy Spring
The town of Sandy Spring, Maryland was settled in by a group of Quakers in the 1720s. Later in 1777, members of the church chose to outlaw other members that owned slaves, then a group of free African Americans settled beside the Quakers in the area. These two groups would soon come together to make their town a major stopping point on the Underground Railroad, a secret escape way for fleeing slaves from the South to make their way to the North.
The Montgomery County Parks System began The Underground Trail Experience because they felt they needed to celebrate the town’s involvement in the massively historic movement. The actual hike begins at the Woodlawn Manor, a plantation whose owners were shunned from the Quaker Church for refusing to give up their slaves. The trail continues through dense woods and hollow trees that were probably used as pit stops for food. There were also huge rocks that were more than likely used as trail markers for the slaves. Ahead visitors will find a spring, hence Sandy Spring, and then end up at a 300-year-old white ash tree that stood in the middle of the community and would have been another stopping point for slaves to rest before they continued on their journey towards freedom.
Ladew Topiary Gardens- Monkton
As one of the most amazing topiary gardens in the United States, the Ladew Topiary Gardens is the home to acres and acres of plant life and even a whole fox hunt made entirely of shrubbery. It was actually fox hunting that started the idea of this English-inspired garden. The Ladew gardens and estate were established by a rich man named Harvey S. Ladew in the 1930s. Ladew, being a huntsmen, was amazed by English culture, specifically fox-hunting. So much so that when he created the gardens and his estate, he made sure that they were right beside a hunting club. He decided to purchase well over 200 acres in 1929 and turned them into the gardens they are today. Because he loved English design as well, he designed the garden to have 15 room-like areas that are designated to display a certain color or theme of the plants. For example, one area may have just roses while another “room” may have all kinds of just purple plants. The garden also has several fountains and pools that are surrounded by full and luscious shrubbery that looks like they came straight from an English castle.
For any visitors wanting to know more about Ladew himself, his house is open to the public so they can learn more about his personal life and his travels.
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