Going stir crazy…

So here we are about seven months into this Covid mess. There seems to be no end in sight. The whole thing is rather depressing. No eating out, no theater and no concerts at Strathmore to enjoy. All my favorite model train shows have been cancelled. My birthday trip in April to Tallinn (Estonia) was cancelled. We had also planned to go to Budapest and Krakow in October, which, of course, is not going to be happening. “First world problems!”, like a friend of mine would say.

We have never had a “lock down” here and were always able to drive around. So just to get out of the house we have been looking to do things in our own “backyard”. To our great surprise we discovered that Maryland, Virginia and the District have a host of state parks, national historic places and protected areas, all within an easy drive. Some we knew about, but most of them we had no idea that they even existed.

I just wanted to share a few photographs of some of the places we visited. For more detailed information about each one of these areas, please click on the highlighted link:

Chapman’s Landing State Park and the Mount Aventine mansion in Charles County, Maryland:



The street approach to the Mount Aventine mansion


The mansion from the Potomac River side


View of the Potomac River and part of the grounds from the mansion. On the other side of the Potomac is Virginia.


The Potomac River is tidal at Chapman’s Landing.


Cacti growing on the mansion grounds. I had no idea they survived our Mid-Atlantic winters and grew wild around here.


Point of Rocks Overlook and Park in Frederick County, Maryland:

This is a park and green space mostly along the C & O Canal and the Potomac River. The main attraction is the river overlook. Be aware that this is quite a climb. The trail is not kept up very well and will present some difficulties to the less than perfectly mobile hikers. Point of Rocks itself is a small village which had some significance during the construction of the C & O Canal and the building of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad during the early 1800’s. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is now part of the CSX Corporation and Point of Rocks is on the main line from Baltimore/Washington DC to Chicago. The rail station at Point of Rocks is on the Register of National Historic Places and is still being used by the MARC Commuter Rail Martinsburg, West Virginia to Washington DC service. It is also a popular spot for railfanning.


The Point of Rocks Rail Station


A very short freight train going West through the Point of Rocks station


The US Route 15 bridge across the Potomac River into Virginia


A lone kayaker on a rain swollen Potomac


Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland:

This is another 50 acre oasis in the middle of Montgomery County’s suburban sprawl. The site of the former Stadler Nursery is now a botanical garden, showcasing readily available and suitable plants for the Mid-Atlantic Region. It is subdivided into various gardens like the Aquatic Garden, the Rose Garden and the Fragrance Garden, among others.

Entrance is free, save for some special events like the “Garden of Lights” during the Christmas season. Parking is plentiful.


Even electric vehicle charging is available. Our Jaguar, affectionally called “The Cat”, being charged.



Part of the Japanese Garden



A water scuplture



A bloom in the Rose Garden


All photographs by Bradford Wing and Ralf Meier. (iPhone 11 Plus, iPhone X, Sony RX 100 M7) ©2020


  1. colin brierley says:

    Good one boys. How do you get on with the electric car ?.

  2. Ann says:

    Thanks for the post! Really appreciate the suggestions of places to visit.

  3. Brad says:

    Nice get-away places!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Nice blog entry

  5. Gil Gerald says:

    Hi, Gil here; thanks and this was very informative.

Please feel free to leave a comment or reply. You do not need to enter your email address or web site.