44300 Sotterley Lane, Hollywood, MD 20636
Sotterley Plantation is a National Historic Landmark with a history dating back to 1703. The historic site is located in St. Mary’s County on the banks of the Patuxent River. The plantation is operated as an educational facility by a non-profit organization and hosts thousands of schoolchildren and visitors each year to learn about plantation life during Sotterley’s 300-year history. The facility showcases the tidewater environment, the lives of those who lived and worked on-site, including those who were enslaved, and Sotterley’s role in our nation’s history.
The Plantation House and Colonial Revival Gardens sit on a knoll overlooking several hundred acres of hayfields and wooded ravines rolling down to the Patuxent River. There are spectacular views of the open waters of the Patuxent River. Birders have access to Sotterley’s six miles of trails that wind through the woods, along the edges of the fields, and along the top of the bluff on the Patuxent River, providing excellent views of the water.
Sotterley is a much-used site for weddings and other large events, so try to visit on weekdays when the grounds are quieter.
About 175 species have been reported on eBird from Sotterley, which encourages birding on its network of trails. The checklist of birds here is still growing and all birders are encouraged to submit their lists to eBird.
The Patuxent River can be viewed from several points, for loons and diving ducks in the winter and Royal and Forster’s Terns in the summer. A Bald Eagle nest can be viewed from behind the barn. Grassland birds such as Eastern Meadowlark and Grasshopper Sparrow breed here, and Bobolinks are attracted to the open fields during migration. Common nesting landbirds include Blue Grosbeak, Summer Tanager, and Orchard Oriole. Eastern Bluebirds are common, American Woodcock can be observed during their March breeding rituals, and 22 species of warblers have been found so far during spring and fall migrations.
A video of the history of Sotterley can be seen at the Visitor Center, where the restrooms are located,and you can also pick up a printed bird checklist.
Paved lots on the grounds.
Sotterley Plantation is one of the sites on the 80-mile-long Patuxent Water Trail. • Sotterley offers educational programs for a variety of age groups. • There is no chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society in St. Mary’s County, but many birders participate in MOS through the Anne Arundel Bird Club or the Patuxent Bird Club; both of these MOS chapters offer field trips and meetings with informative programs, all free and open to the public. In addition, the Southern MD Audubon Society serves birders in Charles, Calvert, St.Mary’s and Prince George’s Counties.
From points north in Prince George’s or Charles Counties: Take US Route 301 south to MD Route 5/Mattawoman-Beantown Road. Turn south onto MD Route 5. In 3.2 miles, MD Route 5 makes a left to go south on Leonardtown Road. Follow Leonardtown Road for 18 miles and continue straight ahead onto MD Route 235/Three Notch Road toward Hollywood. In 9.9 miles, turn left (east) onto MD Route 245/Sotterley Road and travel 2.5 miles. Make a right to go east on Sotterley Lane, which brings you into the plantation grounds.
From points north in Anne Arundel or Calvert Counties: Take MD Route 4 south to Solomon’s Island. Continue on MD Route 4 over the Solomon’s Island Bridge over the Patuxent River. At the first traffic light after the bridge, turn right (north) onto MD 235/Three Notch Road and go 4.1 miles. Make a right (east) onto MD Route 245/Sotterley Road. In about 2.5 miles, turn right (east) onto Sotterley Lane, which brings you into the plantation grounds.
Greenwell State Park (right next door); Point Lookout State Park; Beauvue Ponds & Abell’s Wharf.
Bottomland DeciduousHedgerowsUpland Deciduous Garden or ArboretumLawn, Ballfields, Golf Course Agricultural Crop Fields or Fallow FieldsHay Meadows, Pasture, Grass FieldOld Fields, Shrubby MeadowsSandy Beach or Dunes Forested SwampFreshwater Marsh or FloodplainFreshwater Pond, Lake, or ReservoirJetties & SeawallsMud Flats (Tidal or Non-Tidal)Open Ocean, Bay, or EstuaryRivers & Streams
BeginnersGift Shop or BookstoreHiking/Walking TrailsHistorical FeaturesNative Plant Garden or Meadow/Pollinator PlantsParkingPets AllowedPicnic AreaRestroomsWater ViewWheelchair Accessible FeaturesYoung People / Families
Gardens & ArboretaHistorical SitesThe Rivers of the Western ShoreWater Trails