The region’s largest shopping mall is located in neighboring Charles County within a comfortable 30-minute drive of most locations in Southern Maryland. As the home of the 1.2 million square foot St. Charles Towne Center mall and more than 20 other shopping centers, Charles County has become known as the “Shopping Capital of Southern Maryland.” The mall is anchored by Sears, Montgomery Ward, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s, and The Hecht Co. Inside, there are 120 of specialty stores. Outside and nearby, shoppers will find a Hechingers, T.J. Maxx, Ames, and Service Merchandise,, Toys ‘R’ Us, and a nine-screen Cineplex Odeon Theater. BJ’s Wholesale Club opened on a large pad behind St. Charles Towne Plaza and, the latest addition to the area is a 117,000 square foot Target Store.
There are several small shopping centers and stand alone shops in St. Mary’s County with the Lexington Park area having the greatest concentration of facilities. Belk, Peebles, Wal-Mart, Ames, K-Mart and Target all operate stores in the county with PetSmart and Staples, and Giant to open later in 2000. Currently, there are several quality grocery stores such as Superfresh, Food Lion, McKay’s. Additionally, Woodburn’s Groceries, known for their quality butcher shop, is just across the bridge in Solomons with a newly opened section featuring extensive gourmet foods sections. In Calvert, the major shopping hubs are located in the central town of Prince Frederick and Dunkirk to the north.
Most locals and tourists visit Solomons Island for their evening recreation and for interesting day trips. The appeal of Solomons is the simplicity of a small 128-year old fishing village, settled comfortably around a deep, protected harbor rimmed with busy marinas. Bordered by the Riverwalk on one side, visitors can wander down the main street lined with small white and gray houses of weathered wood, casual restaurants, potpourri-scented gift shops, and a general store that offers bait, tackle, hot coffee, ice and rental boats. At Christmas time, residents look forward to the Solomons Island Christmas Walk where all the shops, bars, and restaurants host a combined open house over the course of a weekend. In the springtime, Island businesses participate in the annual “Spring Launch” festivities beginning with the opening of the Tiki Bar and continuing throughout the weekend with special festivities on the Island. This Solomons Business Association sponsored event is usually attended by more than 8,000 locals and tourists alike. Additionally, Solomons Island offers several museums, including the Calvert Marine Museum home to the relocated historic Drum Point Lighthouse.
There are several fine restaurants in Solomons, but that’s not the only place in Calvert County to go for an enjoyable meal. Between Solomons and Dunkirk there are several well-known places to dine that are slightly off the beaten path. St. Mary’s also has many restaurants, some offering “fine dining.” A couple of the more historic and interesting restaurants in the county include The Roost in Lexington Park. Nearby Waldorf, Charles County has many “chain” restaurants” such as Red Lobster, Ruby Tuesday’s, Pizzeria Uno’s, Chili’s, and Chuck E. Cheese for the kids.