St. Mary’s City, MD – Sometimes you find the most amazing things in the most unusual places.

Take Historic St. Mary’s City, for example.

Most come to this site, known for being the location of Maryland’s First Colonial Capital for most of the 17th century, because they’re looking for the history, to see the exhibits, the archaeology at St. Johns Freehold, the Maryland Dove, the Godiah Spray Plantation and the Great Brick Chapel.

Some journey to the location to see where their ancestors came through, looking for closer ties to their own family history.

Also the site of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, St. Mary’s City has a lot to offer.

There is another jewel hidden softly between the historic and profound, a 3.5-mile hiking trail where you can see the forest for the trees.

The hiking trail begins at the Visitor’s Center and winds through old growth forest to Chancellor’s Point, once the site of Historic St. Mary’s City’s own Nature Center, where the Woodland Indian longhouse and exhibit was originally housed.

The longhouse was relocated to its current site in the early 1990s about the same time the Brome-Howard House was moved from the banks of the St. Mary’s River inward to Rosecroft Road where it currently serves as a bed and breakfast and a luscious setting for weddings.

“There are some exciting things coming for the trail,” said Peter Friesen, HSMC director of education. “We’re going to be constructing an ADA path down to the river at Chancellor’s Point with a boardwalk. The paperwork has already started. The project has funding from the National Park Service to help pay for it.”

Friesen added that there will be a kayak access to the river for people to launch, and added there will be some camping sites included in future plans.

“There may be some fees associated with that,” he noted. “We’re still in the process of drafting the policy for camping.”

People still jump in the river at Chancellor’s Point, but Friesen stressed that those who swim in the river will do so “at their own risk.

“As the regulations stand now, the river is technically closed to swimming,” he said, “but obviously, people are going to jump in the water.”

Friesen said that a new exhibit to be erected along the nature trail will be near the Brome-Howard House, one that targets a largely unexplored part of Southern Maryland history: slavery.

“Along the trail you will walk by this building which is the only remaining slave duplex quarters,” he explained. “We have a grant to explore the life of the early population of Brome-Howard House’s slave population, including oral histories and archaeology at the original site.

“That will be open and available to those who are walking the trail,” he noted.

So if you’re into history, beautiful settings, nature and the river, drive down to Historic St. Mary’s.

Bring your insect repellent, because ticks are about. Wear a hat. Take an adventure. Bring a picnic lunch. Take a hike.

Contact Joseph Norris at joe.norris@thebaynet.com