When you live in Southern Maryland, you’re surrounded by history. From the first state capital site at St. Mary’s City to the beautiful mansions of Prince George’s County, the region’s rich past makes it easy to make history part of your wedding day.
Here is a sampling of the historic sites in Calvert, Charles, St. Mary’s and Prince George’s counties. This is by no means a complete list of historic locations -- if there’s someplace you’ve dreamed of holding your wedding, call and ask! You may also get more ideas by visiting the homepage of each county’s tourism department:
Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum, St. Leonard. Jefferson Patterson Park, which occupies 560 acres along the Patuxent River, is the state's history and archaeology museum. It was the site of the largest naval battle in Maryland history during the War of 1812 and home of the state's first attorney general. The park's spacious pavilion -- a converted steer barn -- is available for rental, and there is a courtyard nearby for ceremonies. Find more information at http://www.jefpat.org/.
Port Tobacco Courthouse, Port Tobacco. Picture yourself saying your vows and then walking out of a 1700s-era courthouse. If that image appeals to you, check out the Port Tobacco Courthouse, which is a reconstruction of a 1729 courthouse that burned down. Port Tobacco was settled in 1634 and was Charles County's first county seat. Find out more by calling 301-934-4313.
St. Mary's County
Greenwell State Park, Hollywood. Greenwell's Rosedale Mansion and its grounds sit on the southern bank of the Patuxent River and can provide an intimate setting for your wedding and reception. The Greenwell Foundation manages the site and the therapeutic riding program housed there. You can have your ceremony inside the mansion or outside in the rose garden adjacent to the house. A nice perk at Greenwell: a 17-bed lodge on site that is available for rent. For more information, visit http://www.greenwellfoundation.org/.
Historic St. Mary's City, St. Mary's City. If you're really into history, this living history museum might be the place for you to step back in time and celebrate in a colonial setting. The museum recreates life in Maryland's first capital, which was the fourth permanent settlement in British North America. Rental options include the 1676 State House or the Victorian-style Margaret Brent Garden and Gazebo. Find more information at http://www.stmaryscity.org/Rentals.html.
Olde Breton Inn, Leonardtown. High above Breton Bay, the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay sits the Olde Breton Inn, a historic house built as early as 1670. It was once the home of priests in the Society of Jesus during the early settlement of Maryland. The site can be an all-in-one location: ceremony, reception, caterer and rentals. Visit http://www.oldebretoninn.com for more information.
Sotterley Plantation, Hollywood. With gorgeous views of the Patuxent River and a variety of venues on site to choose from, Sotterley Plantation offers more than 300 years of history to your wedding day. Prepare for your day in the Spinning Cottage, marry in the formal colonial gardens and celebrate with a reception in or near the restored barn. Couples can also choose the Mansion Portico or Custom’s Warehouse for their festivities. Find more information at http://www.sotterley.org.
Summerseat Farm, Mechanicsville. A traditional Southern Maryland plantation, Summerseat Farm is a working farm. Its history has been traced back to 1732, and the Georgian-style home, gardens, and resident buffalo, sheep and other animals provide a beautiful backdrop for your wedding. Smaller events can be held inside the home. For more information, visit http://www.summerseat.org/.
Prince George’s County
Belair Mansion, Bowie. Samuel Ogle, provincial governor of Maryland lived in this plantation, built in 1745 and enlarged in 1914. The mansion is filled with art and has been restored. For more information, visit http://www.cityofbowie.org/museum/rental.asp.
Visit http://www.pgparks.com/places/elegantsettings.html for detailed information on the sites listed below.
Adelphi Mill, Adelphi. Located on the Anacostia River, this mill is the oldest and largest mill in the D.C. area. The two-story stone building was built around 1796 and can accommodate medium-sized events. You must live in Prince George’s or Montgomery county to rent this facility.
Billingsley House, Upper Marlboro. If you're planning a small wedding, look into this brick home, built around 1740 and situated on 430 acres overlooking the Patuxent River and the Western Branch.
Darnall's Chance, Upper Marlboro. With space for small events inside the 1742 home, Darnall's Chance can also host larger events outside. There is a lighted patio on the home, which once belonged to a well-to-do Scottish immigrant and his family.
Dorsey Chapel, Glenn Dale. Completed in 1900, this little chapel was once the spiritual center of the African American community around the turn of the century. It's small -- maximum 50 people -- but if you're planning an intimate ceremony, it might be just right.
Montpelier Mansion, Laurel. Walk the grounds of this mansion, and you might feel like royalty. The home, built between 1781 and 1785, sits on 70 acres of land, and its original owners once hosted George Washington and Abigail Adams. The site can accommodate indoor and outdoor weddings.
Oxon Hill Manor, Oxon Hill. This 49-room mansion, built in 1929 for FDR's undersecretary of state, can accommodate large receptions indoors. The 55-acre lot also has gardens, a reflecting pool and a large terrace.
Newtown White Mansion, Mitchellville. The Newton White Mansion sits next to the Enterprise Golf Course on nearly 600 acres of land. There is space here for large events indoors and opportunities for tented outdoor events.
Prince George's Ballroom, Landover. Built in 1923, this art deco-style ballroom opens onto a patio and overlooks the Prince George's County Youth Golf Training Center. It sits on 140 acres of parkland and its spacious ballroom can hold large events while providing plenty of room for dancing.
Riversdale, Riverdale Park. This stucco plantation home was built between 1801 and 1807 in both Flemish and American architecture styles. It has space for small weddings.
Snow Hill Manor, Laurel. Built in 1755 and rebuilt after fire in 1798, this brick plantation home sits on 15 acres of land. There is space for small events indoors, but larger, tented events can be held outside the two-story home.