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Help stop the spread of COVID-19 and follow all current directives from your governor and local health officials about wearing face masks and physical distancing.
Local volunteer naturalists will share a variety of natural history topics, point out aspects of the Belle Isle State Park's many habitats (ideal for plant and animal life viewing), and provide you with nature photography tips. The walk will be conducted at a leisurely pace to allow stops along the way to observe and discuss seasonal aspects of what is happening at the park. Free with standard parking or admission fee. Dec. 9, 9:00 am to 11:00 am; Belle Isle State Park, Lancaster, VA. More info and registration.
This year the 99th annual National Park Service tree lighting will be hosted by LL COOL J, joined by Billy Porter, Chris Stapleton, H.E.R., Juanes, Keb’ Mo’, Kristin Chenoweth, Maren Morris, and Patti LaBelle performing holiday favorites alongside the U.S. Army Band Downrange and the Howard Gospel Choir. You will be able to watch the ceremony in the comfort of your own home when CBS broadcasts the ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 5 (8:30-9:30 pm., ET).The illuminated tree is free to visit and will be open to the public from Dec. 4 through Jan. 1. Hours are 10:00 am to 10:00 pm, Sunday-Thursday, and 10:00 am to 11:00 pm Friday-Saturday. More details.
Join an avid Jug Bay birder to learn skills for identifying birds by sight and sound. Novice and experienced birders are welcome on this 2-3 mile walk to explore the forests and wetlands in search of the 250+ species of birds that call Jug Bay home, or migrate through. Bring a spotting scope and binoculars if you have them. Ages 12 and older. Free with $6 per vehicle park entrance fee. Dec. 4, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm; Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, Lothian, MD. More information and registration.
The Lights on the Bay display is a scenic drive along the shore of the Chesapeake Bay at Sandy Point State Park, with more than 60 spectacular animated and stationary displays illuminating the roadway. The proceeds from this wonderful holiday light show benefit the SPCA of Anne Arundel County. $20 per car, with $5 for 3-D glasses. Nov. 21 to Jan. 2; 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm daily. More information.
Explore Leight Park on a cool winter morning in search of our feathered friends. Discover what species are in the park and bring your own binoculars (or borrow ours) to get a closer look.Registration required. Ages 6 to adult, under 13 with adult. $5 per person. Dec. 4, 10:00 am to 11:00 am; Anita C. Leight Estuary Center, Abingdon, MD. More information and registration.
You are invited to the Greenwell Foundation’s holiday horse open house. Visit the horses decked in their holiday finest. And don’t forget your camera to take photos of family members with a “holiday” horse. You can make a day of it by visiting Anabelle, the Greenwell pig, and spend some time with the goats. Pony rides are available for $5, and you can purchase lunch to enjoy while you warm up around the fire pit. Dec. 4, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm; Greenwell Foundation, Hollywood, MD. More information.
Get into the holiday spirit at Mount Harmon’s re-imagined open- air yuletide decorations and greens sale, open-air artisan marketplace and holiday gift shopping, hearth cooking demonstrations, and self-guided open-air yuletide walking tours of beautifully-decorated historic buildings and grounds, featuring the carriage house visitor center, serpentine-walled boxwood garden, colonial outbuildings, and manor house grand outside entrances. There will be a food court with beverages and food available to augment the holiday festivities. Admission: $10, children 12 and under are free. Dec. 4 and 5, 11:00 am to 3:00 pm; Mount Harmon Plantation, Earleville, MD. More information and tickets.
This Dutch Gap Conservation Area guided hike will depart the Henricus Historical Park and explore the 500-acre conservation area along the James River. Find an eagle nest, clues that reveal the story of the land, skunk cabbage, and vernal pools. Have lunch in the hollow, then trek to the bluff that overlooks the James River. This will be an adventurous three-mile hike involving lots of bushwhacking and some stream crossings. Minimum age is 8. Children must be accompanied by an adult; $5 per person. Dec. 11, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. Registration required at least one week in advance. More information and registration.
Feature of the Week
Unlocking the Mysteries of Werowocomoco
November is Native American Heritage Month, but efforts to discover and interpret the rich traditions, languages, and contributions of the original inhabitants of this country continue all year round. In the Chesapeake Bay watershed there is perhaps no better example of this than at Werowocomoco. Werowocomoco, translated from the Virginia Algonquian language, means “place of leadership,” and was, in fact, the seat of Powhatan power. The story of how this once lost and hidden beneath the earth power center came to be rediscovered is fascinating. From the discoveries of a private land owner to the purchase by the National Park Service and joint stewardship with Virginia Indian tribes, this invaluable piece of land will continue to reveal the secrets of the past. And at some point in the future Werorocomoco will be open for us all to visit. Read more about Werowocomoco.

Featured Tips
Gifts for C&O
Canal Lovers
The C&O Canal Association has great gift ideas for fans of this vast and wonderful national park. Enjoy the beautiful vistas of the C&O Canal National Historical Park all year long with the 2022 Annual Calendar, available for $12.95. C&O Canal National Historical Park T-shirts are also available. And for that very special person on your list you can purchase a Canal Quarters Gift Certificate for overnight stays in one of the lockhouses on the towpath.

Head out on the water and learn firsthand the experiences of Captain John Smith's Voyage on NOAA's Chesapeake Bay interpretive Buoy System. CBIBS provides real time weather and environmental information, as well as a glimpse into living Chesapeake Bay History. You can also download the app for your Android or iPhone from the website. Note: some buoys may be offline with no data currently available.

Take a virtual tour of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail from your computer or mobile device! To help you plan your trip before you go, the Chesapeake Conservancy partnered with Terrain360 to bring you virtual tours of the trail’s great rivers. Sit back and virtually explore the Elk, James (sponsored by the James River Association), Nanticoke, Northeast, Patapsco, Patuxent, Potomac, Rappahannock, Sassafras, Susquehanna, and York rivers. Check out some of the Chesapeake’s special places like Werowocomoco, Fones Cliffs, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and Mallows Bay. We hope to eventually bring you a virtual tour of the entire Chesapeake Trail! Explore the Chesapeake's great rivers on our website.

Chesapeake Trips and Tips is a partnership publication of National Park Service Chesapeake Gateways and Chesapeake Conservancy.
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