Nature is front and center here. Four rivers wind through fertile farmland that stretches down to the water as it did in colonial days. Historic London Town and Gardens provides opportunities for exploring woodland gardens, taking in 13,000 years of history at its new multi-million-dollar exhibit, or watching archaeologists unearth the past at the largest ongoing archaeological dig in Maryland.
Environmental research is a top priority at the nearby Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC). After stopping by SERC’s Reed Education Center, take the time to explore the Java History Trail. The 1.5 mile wooded pathway recounts the history of the 368-acre site from the days of the Piscataways to 1963, when the Smithsonian purchased the land.
Arriving by boat? The Four Rivers Heritage Area's Landings brochure outlines how best to access a host of historic sites by water. Anne Arundel County's Parks and Recreation website contains a comprehensive listing of docking options.
Try tying up at the county pier in Galesville on the West River. It’s close to restaurants, shops, and the Galesville Heritage Museum. The Society of Friends in Maryland held their first meeting in Galesville in 1656, just four years after the village was founded. A Quaker Burying Ground sits at the head of Main Street. The Hartge Yacht Yard and Museum tell the story of boat building through five generations of the Hartge family.
Located on the opposite side of the West River, Shady Side was once home to a fleet of commercial watermen. The Captain Avery Museum – on the National Register of Historic Places – recounts the life and times of one such waterman.