Saturday, March 12, 2011

Calvert County Daytrip---

A few weeks ago Kelli and I decided to spend part of the day gnoshing on seafood, gawking at rays and skates and attempting to be fossil hunters.

We started the day at "Stoney's Seafood House" in Solomons Island, MD.  I'm almost ashamed to say I've ate at Stoney's four times but each time is so excellent I don't have a desire to explore another restaurant in the area.  We ordered buffalo style rockfish (better than many buffalo wings I've had), rockfish gyro and cheesy shrimp and grits.  All dishes were crowd pleasers (Kelli and Joy pleasers, I should say).  After eating while gazing out over an inlet at the bay and feeling sorry for a one legged sea gull, we headed over to our next destination,  The Calvert Marine Museum. 

Although both Kelli and I have been to the museum at least three or four times, we both really love this museum.  The Calvert Marine Museum was closed the day we were there , but we were still allowed to walk around the museum (for free).

The Calvert Marine Museum is one of the best small town museums I've ever visited.  Small town museums that focus primarily and in-depth on their local natural and anthropological history are a treasure in my opinion, and this museum delivers.  There's marine exhibits (and aquariums) on bay life, a large display showcasing the oyster business, boats, and even a couple of otters.  There's also a gem of a fossil display talking about the various fossils found in Calvert Cliffs.  Several rooms are devoted to the fossils.  The museum's presentation is perfect-not dumb downed, but still engaging with a couple of quirky details that makes the rooms oddly endearing.   For example, hidden amongst other displays is a quirky exhibit about fossilized alligator poop that was found in a fossilized shark's stomach.  Paleontologists are unable to tell how the feces got in the shark's stomach so there was a couple of possible scenarios presented.  There was even a couple of alligator feces on display.

After we went through the museum, we headed straight to the Calvert Cliffs State Park.  I had heard that there's quite a few fossils-plus the public is able to take whatever fossils they find.  The "best" part of the State Park are the "fossil beaches" on the Chesapeake Bay.  Most of the beach is covered during high tide though so watching the tide charts at Chesapeake Beach is suggested for a better trip.

Anyway, we walked along the beach for a while and started seeing shards of fossilized shells.  Then we noticed that there was a hillside full of decomposed fossilized clam shells.  After that, we started coming upon a few pretty cool finds.  We spoke to a father and son who informed us the best fossils were right around the mouth of a creek close to us.  Kelli decided to wade in the creek since the temperature was in the "balmy" high 40's and found several really cool fossils.  After that we headed back to avoid hiking in the dark, but not before Kelli exclaimed, "today was pretty much a perfect day!"  Indeed.

Clockwise from top left-Kell with a complete shell, Kelli in the creek, Kelli as we were leaving, the cliffs, Joy, fossil, the beach.

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