My husband and I took our three grandchildren, (ages 3, 5 and 9), to historic St. Mary's City, located south of St. Leonard's, in Southern Maryland. Our 9 year old granddaughter is interested in history and we thought she would like the see the site of the first settlement in Maryland, our home state. We visited on a Wednesday and had the site to ourselves. The visitors center has a small but informative museum and film. Our first stop was the native village with three reconstructed native buildings. The park guide at the site was wonderful with the children and we spent an hour learning about games, building the huts and building fires. The children could handle everything, and tried on the lobster back helmets worn by the English and the fur capes worn by the natives. The site has paved walking paths and our 5 year old granddaughter had fun following the map to each restored location. The restored buildings are located on the original foundations. At the town center costumed interpreters explained about life in the early settlement. Since we were the only visitors, it felt like we were getting a private tour. The staff were wonderfully friendly and paid special attention to talking directly to the children. The highlight of the visit was climbing aboard the Maryland Dove which is a replica of the type of ship used by the first settlers to travel to Maryland. The children were allowed to explore the ship with no restrictions except climbing the rigging. Although we thoroughly enjoyed the lack of crowds, we felt it is a shame that such a wonderful historic site, that is as important to Maryland history as Jamestown is to Virginia should not have a greater visitor base. In addition to the restored area, the site has a working plantation that we did not have time to visit due to time and hunger. We had to travel back to St.Leonard's to get lunch. On our next visit I will take a picnic lunch so we do not have to leave the area.
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