Want to get away -- but not too far away? Head over to Howard County, Maryland, for a plethora of outdoor activities throughout the season, including cut-your-own flower farms and the 10-mile Rail Trail.
Blossoms of Hope Cherrybration Days: Through April 30, enjoy "pink plate" specials at participating restaurants, as well as 5K races and golf tournaments to help to raise cancer awareness. All proceeds benefit the Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center.
Merriweather Post Pavilion: Merriweather Post Pavilion kicks off their 2015 summer concert series May 1-2 with the M3 Rock Festival. Other big events include Florence + the Machine (June 9), Mumford and Sons (June 10), Sam Smith (July 24) and Willie Nelson (Aug. 19), to name just a few. The amphitheater is surrounded by a 40-acre forest in Columbia.
Wine in the Woods: This wine fest (May 16-17) is one of the premier events in the region, showcasing Maryland wine, local vendors, food and fun, with 30+ wineries in attendance. Tickets are $32 per person in advance.
Larriland Farm: Pick your own flowers at Larriland Farm (2415 Woodbine Road, Woodbine), open from late May through November. In the spring, you can also pick blueberries, gooseberries, currants, seedless table grapes, apples, peaches, plums, Asian pears and the ever popular strawberry. Veggies available through out the season include eggplant, peppers, snap beans and lettuce. The farm closes after the last apple crop harvest in November.
The most fun things to do and places to be in D.C., Maryland and Virginia
Clarks Eliok Farm: You'll find locally grown vegetables, farm-raised produce and 100 percent grass-fed beef for sale at Clarks Elioak Farm (10500 Clarksville Pike, Ellicott City), as well as hay and cow train rides, pony rides and educational tours. Kids will enjoy the petting farm, gem mining and enchanted tree forest, too. The farm is open now through Nov. 1.
Sharps Farm: This 530-acre working farm (4003 Jennings Chapel Road, Brookeville) has been around since 1903 and provides hayrides, campfires at night, and farm tours during the day. The corn maze is open all season and the on-site greenhouse offers classes on how to graft vegetables and merge scions to root stocks. Sounds easy, right? Sharps Farm is open April to November each year.
Savage Mill Trail: Enjoy a plethora of wildflowers along the 4.6-mile rail trail, which leads you along a former B&O Railroad line, crosses 10 bridges and ends at Lake Elkhorn in Columbia. Enjoy a short picnic along the trail or just take in the sights of the canopy of blooming trees as you walk. A highlight of your walk will be the 1869 cast iron Bollman Truss Railroad Bridge at Historic Savage Mill.
Walking tour of Ellicott City: On the second Saturday of each month, this guided walking tour will put you near the 2,000 pink and yellow daffodils in bloom all over the historic district. In Oella Garden, find dogwood trees, pink geraniums, purple spiderworts and yellow yarrows that will put a spring in your step. The tour also takes you to the local public and private gardens in the city. Call 410-313-1900 for more info.
Wilde Lake: This 22-acre lake in Columbia also has a 1.46-acre trail.
Lake Kittamaqundi: A 27-acre lake in Columbia Town Center features a boathouse with a wooden pier and is a popular spot for summer festivals. The nearby Kennedy Gardens has Blossoms of Hope, a cherry tree grove. It includes three saplings from D.C.'s famous Tidal Basin trees.
Lake Elkhorn: This 37-acre lake in the village of Owen Brown is surrounded by a two-mile path. The lake has an average depth of 15 feet, making it perfect for trout fishing. It also features a pavilion with a 23-acre park.
Centennial Lake: The 337-acre park will likely let you get a peek at deer, turtles, herons and other birds. A 2.6 mile paved path around the 54-acre lake is ideal for bikes and strollers.
All events and locations featured are roughly 90 minutes from downtown D.C.