As a customer-owned cooperative, SMECO is dedicated to the communities we serve. Over the years, the Cooperative has participated in charitable and civic events and has contributed funds to various programs that have helped improve the quality of life in Southern Maryland. Learn more about the region on our Community Calendar page.

Members Helping Members

Through Members Helping Members, you can help your Southern Maryland neighbors who are struggling to pay their electric bills. Simply sign up to add $1, $5, or $10 to your electric bill each month for the Southern Maryland Tri-County Community Action Committee.

About Southern Maryland

Here are some of the sites and groups that help make Southern Maryland a special place to live.

Thomas Stone National Historic Site

House at Thomas Stone National Historic SiteWhen Thomas Stone signed the Declaration of Independence, he literally wrote himself into American History.

Thomas Stone’s initial career choice was to be a lawyer, which he began in 1765 by circuit (court) riding between Port Tobacco, Frederick, and Annapolis. Like many people today, Stone’s career focus altered during his early 30s, and in 1774 he started participating in local politics. His first appointment was to the Charles County Committee of Correspondence. As tensions mounted between the colonies and England, Committees of Correspondence were part of a vital communication network set up between the colonies to pass news of major events. This office placed him in a position to quickly expand his realm of influence from local to regional. One year later he was chosen as a member of the Second Continental Congress from the colony of Maryland, during which Stone signed the Declaration of Independence and became one of our country’s founding fathers.

Today, visitors to Thomas Stone National Historic Site can view exhibits about the Declaration of Independence and Thomas Stone’s life; they are also invited to learn more about his home life by viewing Haberdeventure, the reconstructed Charles County home of Thomas Stone. When Stone purchased Haberdeventure in 1770, his intent was to build a modest home for his wife and their two daughters. However, before its completion, Stone’s father died and five of his younger brothers and sisters came to live with him, creating the need for expansion.

Haberdeventure passed down through five generations of Stones until the property was sold in 1936. The property remained in private ownership until New Year’s Day 1977 when a fire gutted the central brick section of the house and damaged the west wing. Haberdeventure was authorized as a national historic site in 1978 and was purchased by the National Park Service in 1981. The restored house has been open to the public since 1997.


The site is located at 6655 Rose Hill Road, 4 miles west of the town of La Plata off Route 225. Parking is available at the Visitor Center; there are accessible parking spaces at the house as well.


The Visitor Center has information, exhibits, and a bookstore. Guided tours of the house are offered, 10:00—4:00. There is no admission fee to visit the site.


Memorial Day to Labor Day: Daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Labor Day to Memorial Day: Wednesday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Closed Thanksgiving Day, December 25, and January 1.

For More Information

Thomas Stone NHS is administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.

For written inquiries:
Superintendent, Thomas Stone NHS
1732 Popes Creek Road
Washington’s Birthplace, VA 22443
Phone: (301) 392-1776

Visit the National Park Service’s page on the Thomas Stone National Historic Site

Greenwell State Park

Child on horseback participating in Therapeutic Riding Program at Greenwell
Thumbs up for the Therapeutic Riding Program at Greenwell State Park.
SMECO helps trim tree limbs at Greenwell during the recent Day of Caring sponsored by United Way.

Volunteers keep the “neeeigh-borly” spirit alive and well at Greenwell State Park in Hollywood by supporting a wide variety of programs, including the Greenwell Foundation’s Therapeutic Riding Program. After receiving training, volunteers in this program help disabled children and adults experience the joy of movement on horseback. No horse experience is necessary – simply the willingness to volunteer about two hours per week during our spring, summer or fall riding seasons. Horse-loving volunteers can also help out at Greenwell with barn chores, mending fences, and cleaning tack.

For volunteers who love to spend time in the great outdoors, there are plenty of other opportunities at Greenwell. We’ve got almost 600 acres to mow, so we’d be glad to put you in the driver’s seat of one of our tractors. For those more inclined to small hand tools, we’ll pass out the weed-whackers and put you to work grooming our ten miles of trails. Or, if you feel more comfortable with trowel in hand, then come help us tend our beautiful Victorian Rose Garden and perennial beds surrounding Rosedale Manor House.

Your help is needed indoors, too. Computer whizzes, typing specialists, and filing enthusiasts are needed to help with administrative tasks. Persons with a creative flair can help with marketing, fundraising, and special events. Or perhaps you’d like to help answer phones, greet visitors, or provide rental facility tours.

Wherever you live in Southern Maryland, you’ve got a second home waiting for you at Greenwell. Whether you want to work with horses, adopt a trail, join our Garden Guild, help with a special event, or simply breathe in some good fresh air, we’ve got a place for you. For more information on volunteer opportunities, call (301) 373-9775, or email the Greenwell Foundation. You can also visit the Greenwell Foundation website.

Calvert Marine Museum

The Drum Point lighthouse

At the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons, Maryland, visitors can explore how our prehistoric past, natural environments, and maritime heritage come together to tell a unique story of the Chesapeake Bay.

In the Exhibition Building, visitors can touch 20-million-year-old fossils taken from Calvert Cliffs, discover the ever-changing world of the bay, and learn how humans shaped and changed this region over time. In the Treasure from the Cliffs gallery, experience the ancient Miocene environment that existed in this area 8 to 20 million years ago. See hundreds of fossils from Calvert Cliffs and learn what these ancient clues teach us about our prehistoric past. See the recreated shark skeleton of Megalodon, a 37.5-foot super predator, and a whale skull discovered in a cliff after Hurricane Isabel.

In the 15-tank “Estuarium” you can explore the rich diversity of life that thrives in the brackish waters of the Chesapeake Bay and the fresh waters of the upper Patuxent River. Watch the river otters, Bubbles and Squeak, as they frolic and play. Learn about skates and rays in the Secrets of the Mermaid’s Purse exhibit. See live snakeheads in the new Eco-Invaders exhibit and discover what happens when plants and animals that don’t belong are introduced into the environment.

Explore the story of people who settled along the Patuxent River from the 17th-century colonial period to the present in the maritime gallery, Maritime Patuxent: A River and Its People. Learn about colonial planters who packed their tobacco to be shipped by water, and follow the entrepreneurs, watermen, packing house workers, and craftsmen as they reshaped the economy of the region through the seafood and shipbuilding trades.

In the Discovery Room, children can identify and take home a fossil, climb a lighthouse and operate the light, hoist a sail in the seaworthy skiff, and touch horseshoe crabs, diamondback terrapins, or sea stars in the touchtank.

The recreated shark skeleton of Megalodon at the Calvert Marine Museum

Experience maritime history by taking a cruise on the Patuxent River aboard the historic bugeye, Wm. B. Tennison, built in 1899. Then stop to tour the Drum Point Lighthouse, a cottage-style, screwpile lighthouse that dates from 1883. Stroll the marsh walk to see great blue heron, osprey, water snakes, fiddler crabs, and periwinkles in their natural habitat. On weekends, try your hand at rowing, or watch members of the model boat club race their radio-controlled models.

The museum also includes important historic buildings off site. Within walking distance of the museum is the J.C. Lore Oyster House, built in 1934. This historic landmark tells the story of oysters and the people who thrived by harvesting, processing, and distributing them to the world. Located 10 minutes north of the museum is Cove Point Lighthouse, Maryland’s oldest continuously operating lighthouse, built in 1828. The grounds are open daily from May to September from 1 to 4 p.m. to tour, and the Keeper’s home is now available to rent for a 3-, 4-, or 7-day family vacation.

The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission fees are $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and military with valid I.D., $2 for children age 5 to 12, and free for children age 4 and younger. One-hour cruises aboard the historic Wm. B. Tennison run Wednesday through Sunday, May through October, at 2 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday in July and August, there is a 12:30 p.m. cruise. The cost is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and those with a military ID, and $4 for children age 5 to 12 years old. For a complete listing of museum activities, events, and programs, please visit the Calvert Marine Museum website or call (410) 326-2042, ext. 17, for more information.

Historic St. Mary’s City

Costumed interpreters in the garden by the Old State House

Take 800 acres of the most beautiful landscape in the mid-Atlantic and wrap them in waterways. Assemble clues left by long-past inhabitants to recreate a new world of long-ago times. Call the result a museum and invite all of your best friends to visit. While there, break every museum rule you can think of—run, question, touch, climb on-board, explore, get your hands dirty and your feet wet. If, in the process, you learn a bit about life in the time of change that was 17th-century Maryland, remember these lessons as the most fun education you could ever imagine.

Welcome to Historic St. Mary’s City. This museum commemorates the fourth permanent English settlement in North America and Maryland’s first capital. More than three and a half centuries ago, 140 English settlers sailed across the Atlantic in search of religious freedom and the chance for a better life. On the edge of the New World, they planted a colony and the seeds of ideals that form the foundation of our modern democracy. This town was the capital of the Province of Maryland for 60 years. When the seat of government moved to Annapolis in 1695, the town of St. Mary’s quickly disappeared. By the time of the American Revolution, little of Lord Baltimore’s capital was left but memories of its former importance.

Early in the 20th century, interest in the old capital revived. Historical research and archaeological excavations began to uncover the 17th-century settlement. Because the old city had remained relatively undisturbed over the years, the area is one of the finest 17th-century colonial archaeology sites in the nation. Decades of research are the foundation of exhibits assembled across the landscape. Recreated structures in the town center, a Woodland Indian hamlet, a tall ship, a tobacco plantation complete with livestock, and costumed interpreters bring the past to life. Special exhibits in the Visitor Center, informative signs located throughout the grounds, and an audio tour add color and depth to stories of the settlement.

Kids try an Indian game at the Woodland Indian Hamlet

Today, Historic St. Mary’s City is one of Southern Maryland’s leading tourism attractions. About 30,000 elementary students tour each year, and college students study at the museum’s colonial archaeology field school, the longest running in the nation. The museum’s collections are a resource for professional archaeologists and scholars. Its grounds and buildings are a memorable venue for weddings and corporate affairs. Special events held all year provide unique opportunities for visitors to work alongside archaeologists, explore the lives and culture of the region’s Native American peoples, and discover various facets of the colonial experience in tidewater Maryland.

Amenities on the museum grounds include the museum store, The Shop at Farthing’s Ordinary, which is open throughout the year. The elegant Brome-Howard Country Inn and Restaurant, housed in an 1840s Greek-revival farmhouse, offers gourmet fare at dinnertime—reservations are required ((301) 866-0656).

Historic St. Mary’s City is located off Route 5 in Southern Maryland—less than two hours from Washington, D.C., Annapolis, and Richmond, and less than three hours from Baltimore. Area attractions include Point Lookout State Park, the Calvert Marine Museum, the St. Clement-Potomac River Museum, and Sotterley Plantation.

During the summer of 2006 (June 14 through September 17) all exhibits are open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. In the spring and fall (March 14 through June 10 and September 19 through November 25), the entire museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The museum is closed Thanksgiving Day. On Sundays, only the Visitor Center and the Shop at Farthing’s Ordinary are open and admission is reduced: $2 for adults and $1 for children. Regular admission to the museum is $7.50 for adults; $6 for seniors age 60 and older, students ages 13 to 18, and college students with valid ID; and $3.50 for children ages 6 to 12 except as noted above. For more information, please call (800) SMC-1634 or (240) 895-4990 or visit the Historic St. Mary’s City website.

Charlotte Hall Veterans Home

Sign at entrance of Charlotte Hall Veterans Home

Charlotte Hall Veterans Home has both assisted living and skilled nursing long-term care facilities for veterans and their spouses. The Home also houses a 42-bed Alzheimer’s care unit. Available services include room, board, medication, round-trip transportation to a nearby medical center, telephone, subsidized cable television, an on-site physician once a week, and on-site nurses 24 hours a day.

In addition to the services the Home provides, George W. Owings III, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs, says, “An underlying benefit that you don’t see elsewhere is the support system of volunteers at Charlotte Hall. Often, they come from the very same civic groups and organizations that the Home residents had belonged to—or may still belong to.

Volunteers have donated many thousands of hours to improving the quality of life for Charlotte Hall residents over the years. SMECO, for example, sponsors a monthly bingo night for Home residents that includes refreshments and prizes; SMECO has also contributed several computers to the computer room.

In 1985, Charlotte Hall Veterans Home rose like a phoenix from the ashes of what had been Charlotte Hall Military Academy a decade earlier. However, the Home remains one of Southern Maryland’s best-kept secrets. Some Veterans remain isolated in their homes and aren’t exposed to much advertising, and they may have less contact with community members who know of the Home’s existence.

“We advertise regularly,” says Frederick D. Shroyer, Executive Director of Charlotte Hall Veterans Home, “but it’s been a real challenge to get the word out—especially to those who most need our services.”

A third of Charlotte Hall’s beds are still available; eligible Veterans in need of services are encouraged to apply. To be eligible for admittance, an individual must have been honorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces (or be the spouse of an honorably discharged individual), be a Maryland resident, and be at least 62 years old (unless disabled and unable to work).

The Home is owned by the State of Maryland. As a result, the cost of services to residents is reduced, although the cost to individuals varies depending upon their income and the services they require.

Questions? Call Charlotte Hall Veterans Home at (800) 522-8387, or visit the Charlotte Hall website.

St. Mary’s Special Olympics

Child slalom skiing at St. Mary's Special OlympicsFor nearly 40 years, the international organization Special Olympics has empowered individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities. The organization offers year-round physical fitness training and competition; children as young as six years old can take part in the physical fitness training, and children as young as eight can compete.

Through Special Olympics, athletes are encouraged to improve their physical fitness and become productive, respected members of society. More than 1.7 million children and adults in more than 150 countries have participated in these events at the local, district, state, national, and international levels with competitors of similar abilities.

In 1969, Special Olympics arrived in St. Mary’s County; the current county director, Mary Lu Bucci, has been in office since 1990. Ms. Bucci first became involved with Special Olympics because her son wanted to become an athlete; today, her motivation is much more than that.

“In our society, people with mental or developmental disabilities tend not to get as many opportunities as the rest of us,” says Ms. Bucci. “Special Olympics gives these individuals the opportunity to achieve greatness—not just by winning, but by putting 100% effort into what they are doing. And along the way, the friendships they make—the joy that these friendships bring into their lives—is truly priceless.”

Child on horseback competing at St. Mary's Special OlympicsIn St. Mary’s County, Special Olympics athletes can participate in one or more of 14 sports, the most popular of which are track, soccer, basketball, and swimming. About two-thirds of athletes are school-age children and one-third are adults. In all, more than 250 athletes from St. Mary’s County participate in Special Olympics each year.

New volunteers and corporate sponsorships are always welcome. A wide variety of donations are needed, such as supplies, facilities, and of course, money. To find out how you can get involved with Special Olympics in St. Mary’s County, or if you know someone who might be interested in becoming an athlete, call (301) 373-3469 or email St. Mary’s Special Olympics.

Sotterley Plantation

Sotterley Mansion dates back to as early as 1703

Older than Mount Vernon, older than Monticello, older than the nation itself, Sotterley Plantation stands majestically on the banks of the Patuxent river – the only Tidewater plantation in Maryland that is open to the public with a full range of visitor activities and educational programs. Located in St. Mary’s County, Sotterley Plantation encompasses nearly 100 acres of rolling meadows, gardens, and shoreline – all of it fully accessible to the public.

The graceful lines of the main house date back to as early as 1703. Although open to the public, the Sotterley Mansion remained a family residence until 1933. The plantation was a frontier farm, a colonial port, and a busy steamboat landing. The transition from one function to another was part of the plantation’s march through time in Southern Maryland.

Among the gardens and lawns stand an 18th-century warehouse and smokehouse, the 19th-century slave cabin, along with 25 other outbuildings – all of which stand as testimony to the plantation’s evolution during the last 300 years.

The “Necessary” in Sotterley Plantation’s colonial revival gardens

Sotterley has become not only a National Historic Landmark but an educational site and a cultural venue as well. Hosting thousands of children on-site each year, Sotterley provides hands-on learning through its award-winning education programs. Events such as the Quilt and Needlework Show, the Independence Day Concert, Riverside WineFest at Sotterley, Ghost of Sotterley Tours, Holiday Candlelight Tours, and the Family Plantation Christmas delight visitors and guests each year.

The grounds and trails are open to the public year-round. Guided tours of the mansion are offered from May 1 to October 31, Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. with the final tour of the day at 3 p.m. There are no Mansion tours on Mondays during open season. Sotterley is also available for special occasion rentals with several different venues on site. Sotterley Plantation is located in Hollywood on Route 245 North. Admission fees are applied for tours and grounds; groups should make reservations in advance, and there is a discount for groups of 15 or more. Call (301) 373-2280 or (800) 681-0850, or check the information on the Sotterley Plantation website.

Annmarie Garden

The Arts Building at Annmaries GardenIf you think magical gardens appear only in storybooks and on movie screens, then you have not spent time at Annmarie Garden.

An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, Annmarie Garden is located in scenic Solomons on the Chesapeake Bay. The sculpture garden features a walking path that meanders through the forest, past sculptures that include more than 30 works on loan from the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art, tree pops, and beautiful flora and fauna.

the Oyster Tonger statue at Annmarie GardenAnnmarie Garden also presents a variety of award-winning annual events, outdoor and indoor exhibits, the Maker’s Market, daily art activities in the artLAB, art classes, and exploration opportunities.

This family-friendly Garden and Arts Center is located off Route 2-4, on Dowell Road, and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; the Arts Building and Gift Shop are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Plan a picnic, ride your bike, meander, explore, and simply be at Annmarie. For more information, visit the Annmarie Garden website or call (410) 326-4640.


St. Mary’s College of Maryland

View of the water from St. Mary's College

St. Mary’s College of Maryland, designated the state’s Honors College, is an independent public institution in the liberal arts tradition. St. Mary’s College promotes scholarship and creativity by challenging students to achieve academic excellence through close relationships with faculty, classroom activities, and experiential learning. The college’s faculty and staff foster intellectual, social, and ethical development within a community dedicated to diversity and accessibility. Students are provided with opportunities to understand and serve local, national, and global communities and to accomplish social change.

Students hanging out on the grass at St. Mary's CollegeSt. Mary’s College offers an undergraduate liberal arts education and small-college experience like those found at exceptional private colleges. The college shares the hallmarks of private institutions: an outstanding faculty, talented students, high academic standards, a challenging curriculum, small classes, a sense of community, and a spirit of intellectual inquiry. But as a state institution of higher education, St. Mary’s College is also committed to the ideals of affordability, accessibility, and diversity. By combining these virtues of public and private education, St. Mary’s College provides a unique alternative for students and their families.

St. Mary’s College is named for the place it marks: the 17th-century capital of Maryland. The spectacular waterfront setting is in the heart of the Chesapeake Bay region. The campus is 70 miles southeast of Washington, D.C. and 95 miles south of Baltimore. Visit the St. Mary’s College website for more information.

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