Established in 1637, St. Mary’s County, Maryland, became the first permanent settlement in the state and home to the first state capital. It is also where Lord Baltimore provided religious freedom for any Christian sect—a first of its kind in the New World. Join Chesapeake historian Hayden Mathews for a day in St. Mary’s County exploring its storied history.
Begin with a visit to Sotterley Plantation on the Patuxent River for insight into the land, lives, and labor that shaped this corner of the region from the 18th through 20th centuries. After lunch, visit Historic St. Mary’s City with Peter Friesen, education director for the city’s historic commission. The city was the original state capital and now is part living history museum and part archeological treasure trove. Stops include the Brick Chapel, constructed in 1667 and a symbol of religious freedom, and the St. John’s Site Museum, where you get to look into the fully open excavated site of the St. John’s house, built in 1638. Afterward, take time to explore on your own.
A box lunch is included.
Know Before You Go
- The tour departs by motorcoach from downtown Washington, DC with a designated secondary pick-up outside the city. Content delivered by the study leader on the way to the destination, after the secondary pick-up, is an integral part of the study tour experience. Meeting the group once the tour is en route is discouraged.
- Tour participants meet at and leave by bus from the Mayflower Hotel, Connecticut Ave. and DeSales St., NW, with a pick-up stop at the Oxon Hill Park & Ride, 6700 Oxon Hill Road, at 8:25 a.m.
- Registration for this tour will end by 2 p.m. ET on Thursday, October 19, 2023.
- Smithsonian is a mask-friendly environment. Masks are strongly recommended to be worn on buses at all times and may also be required at various indoor sites.
- For additional tour information: