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July 2015

In This Issue


Tourism and Hospitality Master Planning Gets Underway


New Director of Economic Development


Wedding Book Now in Print


Travel Writers Experience the Best of St. Mary's


Patuxent River Naval Air Museum & Visitor Center Awarded Grant for Exhibits


Religious Freedom and Potomac Corridor Interpretive Plan Awarded Grant


Tourism & Hospitality Industry Meeting


College Class Produces Itinerary and Video for St. Mary's County Tourism


Country Inn & Suites Lexington Park Receives Expedia Award


Sotterley to Open New Exhibit on Land, Lives and Labor


"Pathways to History" Markers Installed


Port of Leonardtown Winery Hits Five Year Mark


Industry Partner Adds Sunset Cruises to List of Excursions


St. Mary's County Museum Division Announces New Marketing Specialist


Historic Sotterley Plantation Announces New Marketing Manager


Add Your Events to the VisitMaryland.org Calendar

Ongoing Industry Meetings

 

St. Mary’s Chamber of Commerce Tourism & Hospitality Advisory Council

Fourth Thursday of the month
8 AM
St. Mary’s County Chamber of Commerce Office, California
Meeting of Council Members. Open to industry stakeholders.
Contact Chamber Office for more information: 301-737-3001


Leonardtown Business Association Meeting

Second Friday of the month
8:30 AM
Various Leonardtown locations
Businesses, organizations and other corporate entities located in Leonardtown meet to discuss ways to promote the Town. For membership and meeting information, contact admin@thelba.org


St. Mary’s County Hotels Meeting

Third Tuesday of the month
1:30 PM
Location varies
St. Mary’s County hotels meet with SMCT to discuss industry topics, programs and marketing initiatives. Contact SMCT for meeting info and location at 301-475-4200 ext. 1404.

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Tourism and Hospitality Master Planning Gets Underway

The St. Mary’s County Department of Economic Development (DED) and the St. Mary’s County Chamber of Commerce are working to create the County’s first-ever tourism master plan. The process will be led by DED's Tourism Division (SMCT). Atlanta-based Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) has been awarded the consulting contract. SAG works nationally and internationally in the areas of economic development and revitalization, hospitality and tourism, and sports and conventions. SAG's tourism planning efforts include projects for Atlantic City, Denver, and Charlotte. The Tourism & Hospitality Master Plan for St. Mary’s County will incorporate a high degree of industry and stakeholder input and is expected to take from six to eight months to complete. A subcomponent of the plan will be a “South County Action Plan” to kick-start tourism growth in the southern portion of the County. Click here to learn more about SAG.
 

 

New Director for the Department of Economic Development

In June, Chris Kaselemis stepped into the position of Director of Economic Development, taking over from Acting Director Robin Finnacom who will now serve as the Department’s Deputy Director. Prior to joining St. Mary's County Government, Mr. Kaselemis worked in Tucson, where he served as the Program Director for the Economic Initiatives Office tasked with accomplishing key strategic objectives for the City. He also led the Planning and Community Development and Comprehensive Planning Division for the City. His experience in downtown revitalization, tourism, and small business development will be put to good use as he helps grow a tourism economy in St. Mary’s.

Wedding Book Now in Print

Magnificent Weddings in St. Mary’s County is now available to prospective brides at local wedding venues, hotels, welcome centers and via request. The book, produced by Alchemi Publications, will also serve as the main marketing vehicle at upcoming wedding shows in the D.C. and Baltimore areas. The publication is the newest component of SMCT’s efforts to increase its destination wedding market share. Click here to view the digital version. 

Travel Writers Experience the Best of St. Mary’s

For five days during the week of June 21, 2015, SMCT, in conjunction with Calvert County Tourism, hosted two freelance travel writers on a tour which focused on "unique" Southern Maryland experiences. Activities included kayaking, visiting locally-owned restaurants, farm markets, and wineries, a Waterman’s Heritage Tour, and a tour of archaeological sites at Historic St. Mary’s City. Click here to view a resulting article on HuffingtonPost.com









Travel Writers touring Macintosh Run and Breton Bay by kayak

Patuxent River Naval Air Museum & Visitor Center Awarded Grant for Exhibits

PRNAM has been awarded a $50,000 matching grant from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority to create exhibits for its new facility. The exhibits will help tell the story of U.S. Navy testing and evaluation at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. The new museum's building will also include a video screening area, the museum shop, and a visitor information center. The visitor center will serve travelers who enter the County via Route 4 from Calvert County. Click here to visit the museum’s website.














Work on the exterior of the new exhibit building is almost complete.

Religious Freedom and Potomac Corridor Interpretive Plan Awarded Grant

The Southern Maryland Heritage Area Consortium has been awarded a grant from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority for $27,910 to begin to collaboratively sign the Religious Freedom National Scenic Byway and four National Park Service National Historic and Scenic Trails that share the evocative landscapes and rich historic sites along the Potomac River in St. Mary’s and Charles Counties. An Interpretive Strategy was created last year that seeks to reconcile all the overlapping stories into one seamless continuous story of the Potomac. The Strategy contained action items which comprise this Phase I Implementation. For more about the Religious Freedom National Scenic Byway, click here.












Trinity Church in St. Mary’s City is on the Religious Freedom National Scenic Byway.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Meeting 

Local tourism and hospitality industry members gathered to enjoy breakfast, hear updates on local and state tourism programs, and share ideas on May 20 at the open meeting of the Tourism & Hospitality Advisory Council. The event was hosted by the St. Mary’s County Chamber of Commerce and SMCT and held at Avenue 54 Restaurant in California, Maryland. Thirty-five industry partners attended.














SMC Chamber President Bill Scarafia addresses the industry gathering.

College Class Produces Itinerary and Video for St. Mary’s County Tourism

Together, St. Mary’s College of Maryland students in Professor Liza Gijanto’s spring Anthropology of Tourism class and students undertaking an independent studies project within the College’s Theater, Film, and Media Studies Program, produced an itinerary brochure and video about local African-American historic sites. The projects were supported with a Mellon Grant for Civic Engagement. SMCT will share these great new assets with visitors. Click here to view the video.











An interview with sisters Elfreda Mathis and Janice Walthour is featured in the student video.

Country Inn & Suites Lexington Park Receives Expedia Award

Congratulations to our industry partner, Country Inn & Suites Lexington Park, for winning the Expedia Insiders’ Select Award which recognizes the best hotels available in the global Expedia marketplace as judged by the experiences of Expedia customers. Based on over 2 million reviews, Country Inn & Suites Lexington Park is one of only 650 winners worldwide. Click here to visit the hotel’s website.

Sotterley to Open New Exhibit on Land, Lives and Labor

What were the lives like of those who worked at Sotterley Plantation during the past 300 plus years - the indentured servants, the slaves, the farmhands? A new exhibit, funded in part by the Maryland African American Heritage Preservation Program, is being installed in the historic site’s “corn crib” building, and will open to the public in September. The exhibit includes interpretive panels, some interactive features, and farm equipment displays. Click here to visit Sotterley's website.














Visitors were invited to tour the in-progress exhibit.

“Pathway to History” Markers Installed 

Interpretive markers telling the story of African-Americans in St. Mary’s County since the Civil War were recently installed at the John G. Lancaster Park along the path leading from the United States Colored Troops Civil War Memorial Monument to the United States Colored Troops Memorial Monument Interpretive Center. The Center is housed in one of area’s historic “Flat Top” buildings. The project was sponsored by the Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions (UCAC) with funding assistance from the Southern Maryland Heritage Area Consortium. Click here to visits the UCAC website












One of the series of recently installed markers.

Port of Leonardtown Winery Hits Five Year Mark

The Southern Maryland Wine Growers Cooperative (SMWGC) was formed in 2007 as the region began to transition away from tobacco production. Partnering with St. Mary's County and the Town of Leonardtown, interested farmers and others with a passion for wine developed a plan for grape growing in Southern Maryland. The SMWGC is the first and only agricultural cooperative in the state. Repurposing a former State Highway Administration facility, the Port of Leonardtown Winery opened its tasting room in May 2010. Currently, the winery has 12 cooperative vineyards from St. Mary's, Calvert, Charles, and Kent counties. Since opening, the winery has won over 150 awards, including multiple "Best in Class" awards and many international medals. Today, it is one of the County’s major tourism draws, with over 29,000 visitors in 2014. Click here to visit Port of Leonardtown Winery's website.
 


 









 

Industry Partner Adds Sunset Cruises to List of Excursions

Tourism industry partner Captain Phil Langley of Fish the Bay Charters, located on St. Jeromes Creek in Dameron, began offering 2-hour Thursday Night Sunset Cruises each week during the summer months. Having started in June, these BYOB cruises have already proved popular, and sell out quickly. Fish the Bay also offers watermen heritage tours, lighthouse tours, fishing charters, and other excursions. Click Here to learn more.














Photo taken during a Thursday Night Sunset cruise on the Chesapeake Bay.

St. Mary’s County Museum Division Announces New Marketing Specialist

The St. Mary's County Museum Division announces the hiring of Rachel Harris as its new Marketing Specialist. Rachel will be in charge of promoting the Museum Division's activities and its museums, which include Piney Point Museum, Lighthouse & Historic Park and the St. Clement's Island Museum. Click here to visit the Museum Division's website

Historic Sotterley Plantation Announces New Marketing Manager

Historic Sotterley Plantation welcomes Anna Harrison as its new Marketing Manager. Anna started in July and is already bringing new ideas to the table. She looks forward to highlighting the many facets of Sotterley and continuing to connect this National Historic Landmark to the thousands of visitors who come annually to enjoy Sotterley’s tours, events, and programs. Click here to visit Sotterley's website.

Add your Events to the VisitMaryland.org Calendar

SMCT adds major events listed on the County’s Travel & Tourism Website to the state’s tourism calendar. However, SMCT does not add all events, so please check the Maryland website and add your events if they are not posted there. It’s easy:  1) Visit  visitmaryland.org/events-calendar, 2) Click “Add Event”, 3) Create an account/enter log-in information, 4) Enter your information and click “Save”!
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