Gardens, parks, and history beckon you to the top of the Chesapeake Bay
Experience the best that northeastern Maryland has to offer as spring comes to Harford County, Md.
At the renowned Ladew Topiary Gardens, there’s something in store for visitors of all ages. Inspired by extensive travels to England and Italy, Harvey Ladew re-created an exquisite topiary garden of his own. Sprawling more than 22 acres, the gardens include fountains, vibrant flowers, and a butterfly house, which all capture the essence of his visits to Europe.
Families can explore the mysteries of Maple Magic at Ladew, Feb. 20–21. Guests will enjoy a guided hike and learn the step-by-step process of making maple syrup. Come hungry and ready to enjoy the tasty delights of homemade Ladew syrup, maple candies, and a pancake snack.
In the springtime, you’ll see a colorful array of tulips, azaleas, shrubs, and flowering. On May 7, visitors can enjoy the eighth annual Garden Festival, showcasing rare perennials and offering a selection of garden ornaments for sale. Although the gardens are filled with perennials throughout the seasons, the best time of year to see the most blooms is usually during the beginning of May.
The Manor House of Harvey Ladew and the gardens will officially reopen to the public
April 1. Ladew Topiary Gardens has been recognized as one of the Top 5 gardens in North America by the Garden Club of America and given the distinction as one of 10 incredible topiary gardens around the world by Architectural Digest.
Check out the parks
Just 90 minutes from Washington, D.C., Harford County is home to some of the area’s finest hiking trails.
Lush, expansive views and beautiful scenery are just a few of the best reasons to visit places such as Susquehanna State Park, one of the most cherished state parks in Maryland. Visitors can enjoy a wide array of recreational pursuits, including fishing, flat water canoeing, and camping. Susquehanna State Park also includes 15 miles of winding trails, through creek bottoms and across hay fields. These horseback-friendly trails offer beautiful views of the Susquehanna River Valley.
In addition to Susquehanna State Park, the county includes other of Maryland’s most prized natural areas, such as Gunpowder Falls State Park, Rocks State Park, and Falling Branch Falls.
Today, Gunpowder Falls State Park is one of Maryland’s largest, encompassing more than 18,000 acres in Harford and Baltimore counties. Falling Branch Falls, or Kilgore Falls, is Maryland’s second-highest free-falling waterfall. There are miles of pet-friendly developed hiking trails in the parks, including paved trails, which provide easy access to some of the most scenic views.
Take a short day hike or spend a relaxing late afternoon enjoying the sunset. Or, for a more relaxing visit, just sit back and enjoy the scenery along the beautiful scenic drives in these notable state parks or along the area’s scenic byways.
Authentic history, too
History buffs will appreciate Jerusalem Mill Village, an 18th-century testimony to the community’s earliest industries and one of the most intact mill villages in Maryland. The atmosphere makes for a perfect setting for historical reenactments and storytelling events. Volunteers and historical interpreters create an accurate portrayal of traditional life from the 1770s through the 1930s.
Throughout the year, visitors can enjoy family-friendly live action Civil War-era demonstrations and battle reenactments. The Colonial Craftsmen, a special artisans’ weekend, is a must for those who appreciate unique handmade items. You can even watch vintage baseball played with 1860s rules about once per month, from March through August. The McCourtney Building is one of the more popular tourist sites, while the gristmill was later revamped to become the Gunpowder State Falls Park headquarters and visitors center.
The region’s rich maritime heritage is on display at the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum and the Decoy Museum. You’ll learn all about the generations of inhabitants, from the earliest Native Americans to European Colonial history. For those with a penchant for folk art, the Decoy Museum allows visitors to appreciate the beauty of decoy making and waterfowling traditions at the top of the Chesapeake Bay.
Harford Co. Tourism: visitharford.com