Cool Off, Chill Out, Get Away

Annapolis Arts Week offers a myriad of arts, music, performance events, food and festivals June 3-11.

As the weather warms and days lengthen, it’s time to take a break. No time for a cross-country trip or an international jaunt? Try some cultural, arts and just plain fun venues in your own backyard.

• Have you ventured into Ellicott City lately to see its rebirth from last year’s devastating flood? The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company wants you back in Ellicott City to make a day of it. Founded in 2002, CSC has a theater near the Inner Harbor, with a second venue in the historic ruins of the Patuxent Female Institute above Main Street. its current season ends with “The Fantasticks” through May 21 at the Calvert Street theater and “The Tempest,” June 16-July 23, outdoors at PFI park.

“We perform in the ruins of a historic boarding school and transform it into a beautiful outdoor performance space,” artistic director Ian Gallanar said. “We perform the greatest plays ever written, and ‘The Tempest’ fits into that category. We have fun performing it, and we hope our audiences have fun too.”

“We want to make our summer production of ‘The Tempest’ a call to come back to Main Street,” spokeswoman Jean Thompson said. “Come to the show, have a picnic with us, but buy your food on Main Street, have a drink, then come up the hill to the play. Make it an Ellicott City day.”

• You may think you know Annapolis, with its boat shows, Army vs. Navy rivalry, political pugilism and pubs, but this year, Bob Adams, spokesman for Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County (VAAAC), said there are two new reasons to head to the state capital for a day on the Chesapeake Bay. Annapolis Arts Week Kicks off June 3 for more than a week of festivals, block parties, live music, performing arts, exhibits and classes through June 11.

“Annapolis Arts Week provides a snapshot in time of the depth and breadth of Annapolis’s thriving arts and entertainment scene,” VAAAC president and CEO Connie Del Signore said. Arts Week festivals include the Annapolis Arts & Wine Festival, Paint Annapolis, the First Sundays Arts Festival and the Annapolis Irish Festival. Check out dozens of live music and theatrical shows around town, arts district block parties and the weekly Dinner Under the Stars on West Street off Church Circle.

In July, Travis Pastrana and Nitro Circus Live ride into town. “Travis is a local icon who’s an American professional motorsports competitor and stunt performer who has won championships and X Games gold medals,” Adams said. “Annapolis is the only stop in the area for this year’s tour.”,

• Forget about the world in a cool concert hall listening to our own Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. This spring, the BSO’s season winds down with classical, popular and film favorites. The May 12-14 slate includes Mozart, Haydn, the BSO premiere of Detlev Glanert’s “Frenesia” and Strauss’ “Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks.” Also this weekend, the Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestras. May brings “E.T.” to the BSO, with “Movie and Music: E.T. The Extraterrestrial In Concert.”

The BSO’s annual fundraiser for youth education programs, the 40th Annual Symphony Decorators’ Show House (this year at Mayfair mansion), runs through Sunday, May 21, featuring area designers. June brings programs featuring Gershwin, Bach, Christopher Theofanidis’ “The GAME” and Saint-Saëns’ “Organ Symphony.” Educational and children’s programs also run in May and June.

“The next few months at the BSO really have something for everyone,” BSO associate conductor Nicholas Hersh said. “Bring the whole family for some old favorites and maybe a new discovery or two.” Summer schedule coming soon.

• Love live music, but looking for something outside? Check out Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia. Nestled on 40 preserved acres, the venue celebrates its 50th anniversary this summer with a concert featuring Jackson Browne, Willie Nelson & Family, Father John Misty and Grace Potter. The summer lineup has an eclectic array of artists, featuring icon Paul Simon, classic rockers the Steve Miller Band, Icelandic trio Sigur Rós, modern rockers My Morning Jacket, folk band Fleet Foxes, monster guitar player Carlos Santana and outlaw country artist Sturgill Simpson. Bluegrass jamband Greensky Bluegrass on July 22 plays the first concert at the Chrysalis-Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods, a new venue on the property.

• Cool off beyond the Baltimore-metro area with day trips to Carroll County and Pennsylvania.

The Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster offers exhibits, wine fests, living history demonstrations, genteel teas, food truck days and Fourth of July fun. This summer (May 26 – July 14), the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit “The Way We Worked” explores Americans at work and includes related events at Taneytown and Sykesville museums and the Union Mills Homestead.

On May 14, and monthly throughout the summer, enjoy the Secret Garden wine, music and arts festivals. May 20-21 brings Blacksmith Days, the Deep Creek Fiddler’s Convention is June 3, and a food truck gathering rolls in June 11 with food and entertainment. There are Flag Day celebrations June 14 and food, fun and fireworks on the Fourth of July. On July 8, The Common Ground on the Hill Music & Arts Festival presents headliner Guy Davis. The fest features traditional music, programs and workshops as well as arts and crafts, food and exhibits.

The Message in a Bottle tea is the perfect getaway July 21-22, with a three-course Victorian tea in the Carroll Tea Room and a farmhouse tour. Watch out for Steam Show Days on Sept. 7 and the Maryland Wine Festival Sept. 16-17. carrollcountyfarm

• What better way to spend a day than indulging in everyone’s favorite warm-weather treats: iced tea and ice cream. The Turkey Hill Experience is an hour from Baltimore in Lancaster County, Pa. The colorful, interactive exhibit runs visitors through the tea- and ice-cream-making processes.

Step into a vintage milk truck, milk a mechanical cow and chill out in a walk-through freezer. Have you ever wanted to invent your own ice cream flavor? You can do that and even design your own packaging. In the Taste Lab participate in Ice Cream 101, then taste your unique creation (reserve ahead). You’ll need to market your ice cream, so step into the studio and make your own commercial. Tea lover? Black, oolong, green and white are explained in the tea exhibit, from farming and selecting to sampling aromas and blending your own. Last but not least, cool off at the end of the tour with — what else — unlimited free samples of ice cream.

“The Turkey Hill Experience is an interactive museum that is fun for all ages,” spokeswoman Andrea Nikolaus said. “The excitement starts when you walk through our doors, and we guarantee you will have that same feeling when you leave.”

Susan C. Ingram is a local freelance writer.

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