Let’s explore two plantations in southern Maryland!
We’ll start with a hike at Chapman State Park, the site of Mount Aventine. Mount Aventine was purchased in 1751 by Nathaniel Chapman, a wealthy Virginia planter, and was conveniently situated to the residences of George Mason and George Washington, close friends of the Chapman family, just across the Potomac River. The current main house is a 19th century Greek Revival-influenced brick house started during the 1840s, and enlarged about 1860 to its present appearance. In addition to maintaining the plantation, the Chapman family ran a ferry landing and wharf that eventually serviced steamboats traveling between Alexandria, Annapolis, Baltimore, and Washington, and a fishery that was one of the largest in the area at the time.
After visiting Mount Aventine, we’ll hop back into our cars for the 15-minute drive to the Thomas Stone Historic Site, the home of Thomas Stone, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He purchased the plantation in 1770, when the soil was already largely depleted due to the cultivation of tobacco, so the plantation only provided subsistence for its inhabitants. The main house is an irregular, 5-part Maryland manor that was built over several stages to accommodate the extended Stone family. Stone practiced law, was a member of the Continental Congress, helped form the provisional government of Maryland, and served in the Maryland State Senate.
Chapman State Park: From the parking lot on Chapman’s Landing Rd, we’ll follow Ferry Place to Mount Aventine. The building will not be open, but the back porch features a wonderful view of the Potomac River. From there we’ll continue almost to the riverfront, where we’ll detour east to visit the Chapman Cemetery. Then we’ll retrace our steps and continue to the shoreline and walk along the Potomac shore to Chapman’s Landing, where we’ll take the old Ferry Trail and Potomac River Trail inland. After exploring the Marsh Trail and returning, we’ll continue up to the Potomac River Trail past an old tobacco barn to Ferry Place, where we’ll retrace our steps to the parking lot.
The hike is about 3.25 miles of smiles, very easy going, with gentle changes in elevation, and should take an hour and a half. The surface is gravel, dirt paths, mown grass and a brief stretch of shoreline.
Google map: http://tinyurl.com/oawrxos
Thomas Stone Historic Site: From the Visitor Center, we’ll exit out the back and walk along the trail to the family cemetery, then continue along the trail hugging the tree line southwest and then north to the main house, Habre de Venture. After a ranger tour of the house, we’ll continue along the road to the northwest to visit the horse barn, tobacco barn and corn crib; then turn south to follow the trail in a big counter-clockwise loop back to the Visitor Center, passing a tenant farmhouse along the way. Before leaving we’ll make sure to catch a glimpse of the farm pond near the Visitor Center and enjoy the reflections of the autumn leaves.
The hike is about 2 miles of smiles, very easy going, with gentle changes in elevation, and should take about an hour, including the ranger’s pitch at Habre de Venture. The surface is gravel, dirt paths, and mown grass.
Google map: http://tinyurl.com/o59vxr9
How to get there: We’ll meetup at King Street Metro Station for carpooling, drive to Chapman State Park, and continue from there to Thomas Stone Historic Site.
• How to get to King Street Metro Station:
- Metro: King Street Station is on the Blue and Yellow Lines.
- Driving: From I-395, take VA-7 / King Street east about 2.8 miles. Take the first right after passing under the railroad (Daingerfield Street), and an immediate right onto Diagonal Road. From US-1 / Richmond Highway, follow King Street west 0.5 miles, take a sharp left onto Daingerfield, and the first right onto Diagonal Road. Sunday parking at the Metro Station is free, as is parallel parking around the neighborhood streets.
• How to get to the Chapman State Park from King Street Metro Station: Turn right to exit the parking lot onto Diagonal Rd and take the first right onto Duke St. Drive 0.4 miles on Duke St and take the ramp on the right to VA-241 S/Telegraph Rd / ramp to I-95/Capital Beltway/Eisenhower Ave. Continue on VA-241 S/Telegraph Rd about 0.5 miles, then merge right onto I-495 E/I-95 N to Baltimore and drive 3.5 miles into MD over the Wilson Bridge. Take exit 3A, follow signs for MD-210 S/Indian Head Hwy, and drive south along MD-210 S/Indian Head Hwy for 17.6 miles. Turn right onto Mt Aventine Rd, turn left onto Chapmans Landing Rd, and the park entrance is on the right at 5637 Chapmans Landing Rd, Indian Head, MD 20640. Driving time is about 30 minutes; see https://goo.gl/maps/iDj9u73EPPE2
• How to get to Thomas Stone Historic Site from Chapman State Park: Exit the parking lot to the right and drive west 0.8 miles on Chapmans Landing Rd. Take a slight right onto MD-210 S and drive 0.3 miles, then turn left onto MD-225 E/Hawthorne Rd and drive 7.3 miles. Turn right onto Rose Hill Rd and drive 1.2 miles. The entrance to the park is on your right. (6370 Crain Hwy, La Plata, MD 20646). Driving time is about 15 minutes; see https://goo.gl/maps/oa8EhGHdDK22
What to bring: Water, comfy shoes and your furry friend if desired (leashes, please). Sunscreen, cool shades, insect repellent, and a light jacket are recommended, depending on the forecast and your druthers.
Weather: The forecast is sunny with a high temperature of 70 degrees. Updates here: http://tinyurl.com/pkjmagy
Advisory: As a reminder, this is an adult group, and you are ultimately responsible for your own safety and well-being during events. No one under 18 years of age is allowed at this event, either as members or as guests, to include babies in carriers and/or strollers.
Administrative stuff: There are restrooms at both Chapman State Park and at Thomas Stone Historical Site. (The former are portable).
After the hike: For those wanting a bite after, there's a BBQ place nearby called Slab O' Ribs. Not much to look at, outside dining on picnic tables, but the reviews of the food on both Yelp and Google are 4.5 stars.
• Chapman State Park, 3452 Ferry Pl, Indian Head, MD 20640,[masked]: http://tinyurl.com/pqcfvsw
• Chapman State Park trail map (pdf): http://tinyurl.com/p2hzcvx
• Friends of Chapman State Park, http://tinyurl.com/ooowyez
• Mount Aventine at the Maryland National Register Properties: http://tinyurl.com/nm7mmsd
• Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage Prediction Map: http://tinyurl.com/mfzx75n
• Thomas Stone National Historic Site, 6655 Rose Hill Rd, Port Tobacco, MD 20677,[masked]: http://tinyurl.com/plny6l8
• Thomas Stone at Wikipedia: http://tinyurl.com/q7twvcw
• Photos of Habre de Venture at the Library of Congress: http://tinyurl.com/q7brpgp
• Slab O' Ribs, 3360 Livingston Rd, Indian Head, MD 20640,[masked]