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Driving Tours

THE HISTORIC “WRIGHT” FLIGHT

MANSIONS AND MILL TOWNS

DC’S WILD & WONDERFUL CONNECTION

SENTRY, CONSPIRACY & THE FLIGHT OF AN ASSASSIN!

THE EARLY MARYLAND EXPERIENCE

HISTORY IN THE MAKING

GOING SOUTH

Special programs, activities, and events are held at our Historic sites throughout the year.


The Historic “Wright” Flight

College Park Aviation Museum
1985 Corporal Frank Scott Drive
College Park, MD 20740
301—864-6029
Additional Resource
Take flight at CPAM! The College Park Aviation Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is located on the grounds of the world’s oldest continuously operating airport. Located in College Park just minutes from the University of Maryland, the airport was founded in 1909 when Wilbur Wright came to give flight instruction to the first military aviators. Your visit to the museum will take you back in time as you discover the many aviation “firsts” that took place at this historic airfield.


Mansions and Mill Towns

Montpelier MansionMontpelier Mansion
9650 Muirkirk Road
Laurel, MD 20708
301-953-1376
Additional Resource
Begin your day with a call at Montpelier Mansion. One of the finest examples of 18th century Georgian architecture in the state, Montpelier was built by Major Thomas Snowden shortly after his marriage to Ann Ridgely. The mansion has hosted a number of notable Americans, including George Washington and Abigail Adams. Restored and furnished as it might have been in the 1830’s, Montpelier boasts an original 18th century summer house, one of only two surviving in the United States.

Laurel Historical Society and MuseumLaurel Historical Society Museum
817 Main Street
Laurel, MD 20707
301-725-7975
Additional Resource
Continue your trek through time to the 19th century with a stop at Laurel Museum. This 1830 mill-workers dwelling houses a collection of artifacts, tools and textiles which depict the growth of a thriving mill town of the early 19th century.


DC’s Wild & Wonderful Connection

National Wildlife Visitor CenterNational Wildlife Visitors Center
US Fish & Wildlife Service, Patuxent Research Refuge
109001 Scarlet Tanager Loop
301-497-5760
Laurel, MD 20708
Additional Resource
Get back to nature! The National Wildlife Visitor Center is one of the largest science and environmental education center in the Department of Interior. This unique U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service facility, located on the grounds of the Patuxent Research Refuge, features interactive exhibits, wildlife habitats, as well as, wildlife-oriented programs.

Established in 1936 by executive order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Patuxent Research Refuge is the nation’s first and only National Wildlife Refuge devoted to wildlife research. With land surrounding the Patuxent and Little Patuxent Rivers between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD, the Refuge has grown from the original 2,670 acres to its present size of almost 13,000 acres.

The Visitor Center provides visitors of all ages with knowledge and appreciation of the role of wildlife research in preserving the earth’s vital resources. Interactive exhibits focus on global environmental issues, migratory bird routes, wildlife habitats, and endangered species recovery efforts. Surrounding forests, lakes and trails provide opportunities for wildlife-oriented recreation, educational programs and group tours. State-of-the-art exhibits demonstrate the value of wildlife research and the importance of making informed choices for the good of our environment.

The surrounding forests, lakes, and trails provide outstanding opportunities for wildlife-oriented recreation, educational programs and group tours.


Sentry, Conspiracy & The Flight of an Assassin!

Fort Washington & The Surratt House Museum
Prince George’s County, Maryland was a sentry for a young, turbulent nation. It was also an infamous component in one of the country’s greatest conspiracies – the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Explore and experience two Prince George’s County sites closely intertwined with our country’s struggle to arrive into “national adulthood.”

Fort Washington Park
13551 Fort Washington Road
Fort Washington, MD 20744
Additional Resource
First, we invite you to explore the historic remnants, of Fort Washington, that has stood as silent sentry defending the Nation’s Capital, for over 180 years. Located on the historic Potomac River, Fort Washington is one of the few remaining Seacoast Forts in its original design and the only permanent fortification built to defend the river approach to the Nation’s Capital.

The Surratt House Museumsurratt house museum
9110 Brandywine Road
Clinton, MD 20735
301-868-1121
Additional Resources—Surratt House Museum, Prince George’s Parks
Next, we’ll visit the infamous Surratt House. Once operated by Mary Surratt, it offers a walk through a page in American history. This simple country home was built in 1852, at a crossroads later known as Surrattsville. By the spring of 1865, that name would be linked to the greatest crime of the 19th century—the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. And, due to her affiliation with John Wilkes Booth, who stopped at Surratt House along his escape route, Mary Surratt would become the first woman executed by the United States government.


The Early Maryland Experience

Darnall’s Chance & the Billingsley Manor
The seventeenth century marks the beginning of American history. Prince George’s County celebrates the birth of Maryland’s seventeenth century history with the legacies offered by two interesting sites.

Darnall’s Chance House MuseumDarnall's Chance
14800 Governor Oden Bowie Drive
Upper Marlbor, MD 20772
301-952-8010
Additional Resource
A short drive through Maryland tobacco country will take you to Darnall’s Chance [House Museum]. Originally constructed around 1704, this unique house is the oldest structure still standing in the county seat, Upper Marlboro. Appropriate period furnishings transport the visitor to the early days of Maryland history: a surviving brick burial vault is a rare example of an 18th century underground brick burial chamber. Darnall’s Chance is also presumed to be the birthplace of John Carroll, first Roman Catholic Bishop of America.

Enjoy lunch at one of old town, main street establishments such as the Olde Towne Inn.

Billingsley House Museum
6900 Green Landing Road
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
301-627-0730
Additional Resource
Next…Make you way through Upper Marlboro, the county’s history seat, to Billingsley Manor, patented in 1662. Billingsley has experienced 27 owners in 325 years, but its name has always remained the same. The manor offers a rare opportunity to step back to Maryland’s very beginning, and stands as a constant reminder of the history and heritage of a succession of Maryland citizens.


History in the Making

Greenbelt Museum & the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Just a stones throw from Washington, DC, Prince George’s County has long enjoyed a close relationship with the Federal Government on all levels of life. The ability to step into the past and future has always been a park of the County lifestyle.

Greenbelt Museumgreenbelt museum
10-B Crescent Road
Greenbelt, MD 20770
301-707-6582
Additional Resource
During the Great Depression of the 1939s, the Federal Government planned “green town” as model garden communities for middle income families—as part of the New Deal. Greenbelt , Maryland is one of those towns. Visit the Greenbelt Museum, an original 1937 residential unit which represents this ingeniously planned community. Varying exhibitions interpret life in Greenbelt through the years.

Enjoy lunch at one of the nearby restaurants in Greenbelt.

Next stop…In keeping with Prince George’s tradition, you next stop will be a step into the future – the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Visitor Center @ National Air & Space Administration
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Soil Conservation Road
Greenbelt, MD 20771
301-286-9041
Additional Resource
Established in 1959, the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is NASA’s first major scientific laboratory devoted to the exploration of space. Visitor Center tours highlight satellite control, spacecraft construction, and communication operations.


Going South

Belair Mansion & Stable Museum, Darnall’s Chance, and the
Patuxent Rural Life Museums
Enjoy the rolling fields and farmlands of southern Prince George’s County. Since the seventeenth century, Maryland farmers have tilled the fertile soil, raised thoroughbred horses and plied the waters of the Patuxent River.

Belair Mansion & Stable Museumbelair mansion
2835 Belair Drive
Bowie, MD 20715
301-809-3088
Additional Resource
Your first stop will be Belair Mansion & Stable Museum. Begun in 1745 as the home for Provincial Governor Samuel Ogle, Belair was the home of America’s first thoroughbred race horses. The racing legacy continued through the 20th century with the Mansion’s ownership by the Woodward family, long noted in thoroughbred racing circles. Belair Farm became the home of a number of noted American thoroughbred racers, including Gallant Fox and Omaha, father and son winners of the sports famed Triple Crown.

Darnall’s Chance House MuseumDarnall's Chance
14800 Governor Oden Bowie Drive
Upper Marlbor, MD 20772
301-952-8010
Additional Resource
Next stop…A short drive through Maryland tobacco country will take you to Darnall’s Chance [House Museum]. Originally constructed around 1704, this unique house is the oldest structure still standing in the county seat, Upper Marlboro. Appropriate period furnishings transport the visitor to the early days of Maryland history: a surviving brick burial vault is a rare example of an 18th century underground brick burial chamber. Darnall’s Chance is also presumed to be the birthplace of John Carroll, first Roman Catholic Bishop of America.

Patuxent Rural Life Museumspatuxent rural life museum
Patuxent River Park
16000 Croom Airport Road
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
301-627-6074
Additional Resource
And finally…Before heading home, you’ll pay a visit to the Patuxent Rural Life Museums at Patuxent River Park. A legacy to Prince George’s County’s rich agricultural history, the museum house exhibits and over 1,000 19th century tools and farm implements. Rural Life Museums feature two museums, a log cabin, blacksmith shop, and a 1923 Sears Catalog house. The Henry Duvall Tool Museum has implements, household items, and trade tools from the past. The Tobacco Farming Museum features exhibits about the history of tobacco in Maryland.