Oxford, Maryland

Sandaway Waterfront Lodging

Oxford, Maryland

Oxford, Maryland sunset




While we wish it had been under different circumstances, Don and I had a rare day together in Maryland last Friday. After lunch, Don had a surprise for me; he wanted to show me a place near to where he grew up and where his mom still lives. (Which, by the way, is less than ten miles from where I grew up. For those of you who don’t know, Don and I graduated from high school together and reunited at our 20-year high school reunion.)

It ended up being a Stand by Me afternoon. You remember the movie based on Stephen King’s novella The Body, don’t you?

It was a damp day and the skies were grey. The weather fit; we had just been to Don’s dad’s memorial service that morning.

Don’s mom dropped us off just a ways up the road. Here’s where we started:

As we walked, Don explained that in his youth, he never dared coming here without his dad because it was off-limits. About a mile into our walk through the woods, we came upon this:

The old Dickerson Quarry with its beautiful blue-green waters:

Off-limits to us as children, because it wasn’t a safe place. From the 1950s through the 1980s, the quarry was an attractive nuisance as a popular swimming hole for young adults. Unfortunately, quite a few people have drowned in the quarry’s 90 feet of cold water.

Apparently, the quarry is still today an attractive nuisance for some young adults:

Here’s a bit of history about the quarry, excerpted from The History of Dickerson, Mouth of Monocacy, Oakland Mills, and Sugarloaf Mountain [MD], authored by Dona L. Cuttler:

The D.C. Quarry opened in 1898 on part of “Beall’s Good Will.” The smaller of the two quarries at 17 acres was owned by the D.C. government, and it supplied bluestone for curbs in Georgetown, and crushed stone for the water filtration plant.

The smaller quarry closed in 1905. The larger quarry was originally part of the 20 acre tract “Doe Neck” granted to Daniel Veatch in 1764. It was purchased by William H. Dickerson and sold to Standard Lime and Stone and later the Bakers sold it to Otto Anderson when he came to Montgomery County in the 1930s. Later owned by Mary P. Anderson, the 451 acre quarry opened in 1900 with seven workers and closed in the 1930s. This quarry shipped crushed rock for railroad beds. The rock was locally referred to as “trap rock” which was dark-colored, fine-grained igneous rock. 

The quarry employed 30 workers at its zenith, six days a week from 7:30 AM until 4:30 PM. Men received from $2.00 – $2.50 per day. There were houses down near the stream where Italian workers lived and tended the mules at night.

These houses, which included foreman Silvro Albensen’s house, were taken down after the quarry closed.

Each worker had a tract or section to which they were assigned. Stones were loaded in the carts, pulled by mules to the incline. Here the cart was attached to a cable, and when the boss signaled, the cart was pulled up the incline by a boiler. There were seven 100 horse power boilers supplying steam power to operate the crushers, hoists and incline. At the top of the quarry, the stones were crushed, sorted and dumped into railroad cars. When 10 – 20 cars were full, the Brunswick station would be called for a locomotive to pick up the cars. Some stones had to be dynamited, at which point the men would wait in the dynamite shack for protection from the blast. 

Two pumps ran continuously to keep spring water out of the quarry. Occasionally windows of nearby residences would crack during charges, or from debris, and repairs were paid for by the company. One holiday weekend the pump attendant got intoxicated and fell asleep, and water came in too fast to save any of the equipment. The gas motor which ran the pump ran out of fuel too long to rebuild the pressure. Carts, incline sections, and steam shovels are immersed in 90 feet of water. Other out buildings include a blacksmith’s shop, a boiler room, crushing building, pump house, and stable.

Oops. That’ll teach ya to fall asleep at the pump.

We headed back in a different direction from which we came, walking through Maryland corn fields:

And then finally on the railroad tracks:

It was one forbidden, rebellious act after another and we loved every minute of it!

Our walk ended at the old Dickerson Railroad Station:

Dickerson’s station house was constructed in 1891, sporting a trackside central bay with a unique and practical V-shaped projection, allowing the station master to see in both directions on what was then a single line track.

The original building still stands and is one of several designated Historic Sites in Dickerson, Maryland:

Remember what I said at the beginning of this post about Don never daring to go to the quarry without his dad because it was off-limits? What I think we failed to realize at the time was that even on Friday, we weren’t there without him.  Because of Don’s memories, his dad will always be there.  ♥

Interesting facts about the magnolia tree from

  • Magnolia trees are large evergreen trees known for their stunning flowers, large leaves, fruit and plant forms. They’re also called Bull-Bay, Big Laurel, Evergreen Magnolia and Large-Flower Magnolia. These trees are unique for several reasons such as the fact that magnolia flowers don’t produce true nectar, but yield pollen in large quantities. The pollen, which is rich in protein, is a food supply for beetles that typically pollinate the tree’s flowers.
  • Magnolias have a large genus with 210 species, according to the Flower Expert website. This tree is somewhat shaped as a pyramid. The average tree is able to grow as high 60 to 80 feet high and spread out from 30 to 50 feet wide.
  • The life expectancy varies among magnolia tree varieties. Most have been known to survive for 100 years or longer. The Southern magnolia tree lives an average of 80 years with some living up to 120 years. Magnolias take their time to produce flowers, as it takes roughly 10 to 15 years for a magnolia tree that’s grown from seed to produce its first flower.
  • The tree’s flowers are three to 12 inches wide with some species that have petals that are star-shaped. Although the fruit of the tree resembles a cone, it’s really a woody aggregate fruit, which means it has single flowers with multiple carpels that aren’t connected. The magnolia flower is one of the most primitive of all the flowering plants as its structure looks almost the same as it did millions of years ago.
  • Magnolias are known for their unique root system. Unlike most shrubs and trees, magnolia roots are rope-like and largely unbranched. This makes it harder to move them when they grow larger, although most magnolias can be moved with a trunk less than four inches wide, according to the United States Arboretum website.
  • The magnolia tree comes from Southeast Asia, the West Indies and North America. In the United States this tree is mostly found in the East as well as the South. It’s the official state flower of both Louisiana and Mississippi.
  • The Southern magnolia is considered the aristocrat of trees. This tree, which grows throughout the lower part of the South, adapts to various soils and has the least pest problems, making it one of the most resilient trees in Southern landscapes. It has glossy leaves and fragrant white blooms. Other magnolia varieties include “Sauder magnolia”, “Sweet Bay” and “Star”.


I’m in Maryland visiting family and friends this weekend. Last evening, I took my mom and some of her friends into Washington, DC to see the Evening Parade at Marine Barracks Washington. I have fond memories of visiting the Barracks with my grandfather on Friday nights during the summers of my youth.

Marine Barracks Washington, also known as “8th & I,” is the oldest active post in the Marine Corps. It was founded by President Thomas Jefferson and Lt. Col. William Ward Burrows, the third commandant of the Marine Corps, in 1801.

The Barracks is home to many nationally recognized units, including the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, the Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, the Marine Band, the official Marine Corps Color Guard, and the Marine Corps Body Bearers. It is also the site of the Home of the Commandants, which, along with the Barracks, is a registered national historic landmark.
We were meant to see this last night:

Unfortunately, due to heavy rains, it wasn’t meant to be and the parade was cancelled.

I also have fond memories of Chesty, the official mascot of the Marine Corps. He’s at every Evening Parade, strutting his stuff proudly. It so happens that Chesty XIII was promoted to the rank of sergeant in an official ceremony earlier yesterday:

(Official Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Dengrier Baez/Released)

From Marine Barracks Washington: Cpl. Chesty XIII, the official mascot of the Marine Corps, and Sgt. Christopher Harris, his handler, stand in front of Col. Paul D. Montanus, Marine Barracks Washington commanding officer, during a promotion at the Barracks June 1. Renowned for his tough, muscular, and aggressive appearance, the English bulldog has been serving as a corporal since May 2010. Sgt. Chesty is always on duty at the Barracks, motivating spectators and guests at countless performances both here and abroad.  Photo credit Cpl. Dengrier Baez:

If the parade hadn’t been cancelled, I wouldn’t have had the fortune of meeting a very special Marine last night:

Once they called the cancellation, Chesty was able to get out of his uniform and go for a nice walk in the rain. Both Sergeant Chesty and Sergeant Harris couldn’t have been nicer:

I told Sergeant Harris he had the best job in the Marine Corps, and as they walked off, I told Chesty that I loved him. Do you think that was too forward of me?  ♥ ♥ ♥

It’s an exciting day at Morning Bray Farm. In just a few short hours, we’ll be sitting on our back patio with Carson enjoying Maryland blue crabs that have come straight out of the Chesapeake Bay.  To mark the occasion, we share with you the Merlin Dialect.  

If you’ve grown up or lived in Maryland for any part of your life, you’ll find this hits rather close to home.

The Merlin (Maryland) Dialect is spoken by a mixed population which inhabits a triangular area on the western littoral of the Chesapeake Bay, bounded roughly by a line commencing at Towson’s Toyota, then westward to the Frederick Mall, thence following the western border of the cable TV franchise and the string of McDonald’s along Route 50 to the Bay.

All of these lands and the natives thereof are known as the Land of Merlin.

They divide it further into semi-tribal areas called Cannies “COUNTIES”  

(e.g.,Ballmer Canny, PeeJee Canny, Hard Canny, etc.).  

 The dialect area is centered on a market center called Glimburny, where the people come on weekends to trade their goods.

Because of the numerous words and phrases common to both the Merlin Dialect and  modern English, linguists have long postulated that there is some kinship between the two. Speakers of Merlin Dialect are all able to understand standard English from babyhood, chiefly because of their voracious appetite for television. However, they invariably refuse to speak standard  English, even with outsiders who obviously are not understanding a word they say.


Ballmer – Our city

Merlin – Our State

Arn – What you do to wrinkled clothes

Bulled Egg – An egg cooked in water

Jeet – How we say “Did you eat”?

Chest Peak – A large nearby body of water

Colleyflare – A white vegetable

Downey Owe Shin – Summertime destination “Down to the ocean” (such as Ayshun City)

Faren Gins – Red trucks that put out fires

Hi Hon – How we always say “hello”

Meedjum – The grassy area between lanes of a highway

Nap Lis – State of Merlin capital

Ole Bay – What our crabs taste like

Oreos – Not a cookie, but our baseball team

Payment – That strip of cement that you walk on

PohLeese – Those guys in uniform that git ya when you’re speeding

Share – Hot water that cleans you in the morning

Flares – Such as tulips

Tarred – What happens when you work too hard

Warsh – What we do with dirty clothes

Warter – What we drink (can also be Wooter)

Brawl – Broil

Sem elem – Seven Eleven

Allanic – an ocean

Arnjuice – from the sunshine tree

Arouwn in all directions – norf, souf, ees, and wess

Aspern – what you take for headaches

Bald – some people like their eggs this way

Bawler – what the plumber calls your furnace

Beeno – a famous railroad

Calf Lick – bleevers are Protestant, Jewish, and .

Canny – a state gubmit division, such as Anne Arundel or Prince George’s

A few of you shared kind comments about my hat in yesterday’s post. A couple of you suggested that my hat needed a flower. Since it’s a Maryland kind of weekend here at Morning Bray, Don went out and picked one of our Black-eyed Susans and slipped it into the brim of my hat with a ribbon.

The Black-eyed Susan has been the official Maryland flower since 1918 when it was designated the “Floral Emblem” of Maryland by the General Assembly.


Whisky is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever; the state dog of Maryland. Mom and Dad are from Maryland, so Whisky is sort of the canine tie to the place they grew up.

Whether he’s a water breed is never in question.

We looked and weren’t able to find that there’s a state dog of New Mexico. Does where you come from or call home have an official dog?