September 2nd, 2008

little review

Poem for Tuesday

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We spent the first day of September having a last-day-of-summer at the beach in Solomons, which is about an hour and a half from where we live. When we arrived, we went to The Captain's Table, a restaurant overlooking the water which has the best cream of crab soup we've ever had, and that includes in Baltimore and the Delaware beaches. Then we went to nearby Calvert Marine Museum, a terrific local facility with several buildings. The main one has a tank of skates, rays and small sharks; a pit to dig for shark's teeth and other fossils found locally (I found a megalodon tooth for Adam); a big exhibition on the natural history of Calvert Cliffs, with fossils from mastodons, sabertooth tigers, extinct sharks and many other animals; an exhibit on Chesapeake Bay ecology and invaders like the mute swan and snakehead; and a history of local ships and shipping, with exhibits on the War of 1812, local steamboats, fishing in the bay, pleasure cruising and the industrial age.

Outside, the museum is home to Drum Point Lighthouse, which has been restored inside as it looked when it was a working lighthouse housing a family. There's also a small watercraft shed with historic fishing and cruising boats. And there are a pair of otters in a large outdoor enclosure, plus a boardwalk that circles the salt marsh that begins at the rear of the museum, from which one can see shore birds, fiddler crabs, periwinkles, fish, turtles and dozens of other animals that vary by the day and time. Once we had made our way through the entire museum, we drove to Flag Ponds Park, which has nature centers and pond hikes but our major interest was the half-mile wooded trail to the beach along the bay. The park is in the shadow of Calvert Cliffs, so the beach is a great place to find shark's teeth and other fossils as well as to swim. We spent about an hour and a half there before coming home and facing another week of school!

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You can see 2005 photos of the museum here -- more to follow. I'm going to follow Barack Obama's example and stay out of Sarah Palin's family business, but I must say that the news today (when one could find news around the Hurricane Gustav, Hurricane Hanna and Tropical Storm Ike coverage) reminds me of a variation on an old joke about the rhythm method: What do you call people who teach their children abstinence-only sex education? Grandparents.