This is Our Story

Southern Maryland-This is Living is a full-color, high-gloss quarterly print publication focusing on the unique flavor and outstanding offerings of the Southern Maryland region. Published from our office in Leonardtown, Maryland, the first edition was launched in the Spring of 1999. The magazine features extensive information on what to do, who to know, where to go

and what to grow in Calvert, Charles and St Mary’s Counties. The print publication is filled with articles on beautiful homes and gardens, history, creative endeavors as well as the profiles of extraordinary people and non-profit organizations. Our editorial departments also include healthy living, farm living, flavorful living, pet living, business living, educated living, community living and more.

About-Sunset
About-Butterfly
About-Crabs

It was in 1998 that Publisher, Vickie Kite Milburn, while living in Huntingtown, Maryland, proposed the question to good friend, neighbor and graphic designer Barbara Dove Fink (now Whalen) to ask if she wanted to publish a magazine about Southern Maryland.  She agreed and the business of creating the editorial calendar and mock up as well as finding the writers, photographers and advertisers began.  It took nine months to take it from concept to publication. The first issue was a big hit (and learning experience). It was clear that the  people and businesses of this region wanted a publication that told the positive story of this special region.

Faith, family and friendship are at the foundation of this publication. Through the years we’ve had many family members and friends help write, edit, mail, deliver, and so much more. We would not have made it without their support and hard work.  We’ve been blessed to work with many talented editors, writers, graphic designs, sales representatives, photographers and office assistants. Vickie and Barbara worked together for 17 years before Barbara remarried and moved to New York with her husband, Patrick.  Her family, second home and heart are still in Southern Maryland, so she is never far away.

After publishing for 20 years we are still excited about the future. We’ve just launched an updated website with a weekly release of current and archived articles. Readers are encouraged to sign up for a weekly email that keeps them informed of featured editorial and events. We are thrilled working on our first annual “Southern Maryland- This is Home and Garden” due out in late January. It will be filled with great articles and beautiful photographs of unique homes and gardens from Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s Counties. Watch for updates.

Meet Our Staff

Writers, Editors, Photographers & Contributors
Vickie Kite Milburn
Publisher

Born in Washington, DC my family moved to Charles County when I was 5 years old, at a time the area was much more rural. We lived in St. Charles when there were only a few streets. (There are now hundreds of streets in St. Charles!) My family eventually moved to Bryantown where my father and brother still reside. I attended elementary school through community college in Charles County. I am grateful to have been raised at a time and place where family members and neighbors spent time together sharing life’s greatest gifts- laughter and heart felt connection.

 

After Charles County Community College (now CSM) I transferred to the University of Maryland where I earned a BS in journalism. It was while working as an intern for Mid-Atlantic Country Magazine and later as an advertising rep for the Maryland Independent Newspaper that I was inspired to one day create a positive magazine about the richness of life available in Southern Maryland.

 

In the early 90s my husband, Scott Milburn, and I moved to Okinawa, Japan, where I was fortunate to work in several publishing and marketing positions. I also earned my masters of business management. After living there for six years we returned home and built a house in Huntingtown where I was blessed to have Barbara Dove Fink (now Whalen) as a neighbor.

 

I have always worked another job while publishing the magazine, in fact when I first started the magazine I worked for the Census Bureau in their marketing department and would spend my lunch hour and sitting in my car making sales calls. After the first issue it was clear that I needed a job with more flexibility and was blessed to be offered a job into the mortgage business where I have worked ever since.

 

I am appreciative for everyone who has contributed to the success of the magazine, but most thankful for my mother, who was my biggest fan and taught me to reach for the stars, and how to make just about anything- bows, baskets, wreathes, flower arrangements and more. She inspired my love of photography, decorating, antiques, art, and gardening- which I am excited to share with our readers. She was a very creative, generous soul and I feel her presence in my work daily.

 

During the past 20 years I’ve met an abundance of extraordinary people; it truly has been life changing. I am looking forward to seeing what the future brings us.

Angela Breck
Editor

When I grew up in Leonardtown, it was a different time. In the summer, children left the house in the morning, playing all over town all day, coming home only at dusk. Today, I live in La Plata. But when I am in Leonardtown visiting family, I’ll swing through town for the fond memories. My grandparents’ three-story brick house still stands on the Square. My elementary school is just up the street. The Duke Building — built by my grandfather – sits at the corner of Fenwick and Washington streets. I can remember ordering burgers and fountain sodas at the counter in the old Duke’s restaurant.

 

I left Southern Maryland only briefly during my high school and college years, moving to Western Maryland. After earning a degree from West Virginia University, I was drawn back to the Mother County. My first job was at The Enterprise. I stayed at the paper for 16 years; I was assistant editor when I left. I then went on to serve as editor of the Maryland Independent. For a short stint, I went to work as an editor for The Gazette newspapers in Silver Spring. I returned to the Independent as editor and spent another 14 years there before retiring in 2015.

Andra Perdomo
Creative Director

I am excited to be a part of the Southern Maryland-This is Living team. I took off the past 10 years from working to raise my children, and I couldn’t dream of a better place to re-enter the workforce. I was raised in New Jersey. I attended college at Ohio University, earning a degree in visual communication and a minor in fine art. I worked at The Capital newspaper in Annapolis as a graphic artist. After that, I spent the next decade working at magazines in Baltimore and Northern Virginia as an art director and graphic designer.

 

My husband, Angel, and I have been in Southern Maryland for five years. We enjoy being near the water and farmland with so many fun things to do. When we aren’t camping, I am either at the soccer field watching my son play or at an Irish dance competition watching my daughter perform. I volunteer for the Evergreen Elementary School PTO where my son attends school, am obsessed with national parks, and I enjoy road trips, hiking, cooking and spending time outside with my family.

Anna Schlueter
Web / Social Media Manager

Though originally from Calvert County, I live in St. Mary’s with my wonderful husband and my beautiful cat, Lilly. I am excited to be a part of the Southern Maryland-This is Living family. I run the magazine’s social media accounts and update the website’s articles. When not working, my husband and I enjoy hiking, indie movies and long road trips to visit relatives. We can often be found with friends and family at St. Inie’s Coffee in Lexington Park, reading Stephen King. Happy reading!

Birdie Shannon
Subscription Coordinator

I am thrilled to be a new member of the Southern Maryland-This is Living team! I was born and raised in nearby Washington, D.C., but I had never spent much time in Southern Maryland until I visited some friends who have a home on Breton Bay in Leonardtown. It was love at first sight! I knew immediately that I had to have some of “this kind of living” in my life. Shortly thereafter, my husband and I bought a small waterfront cottage here for weekends and vacation time.

 

As we were both working full time, we would slip away as often as possible for cherished time and much-needed respite in Southern Maryland. On the drive here, we could feel the stresses of the work life leaving us as we drove past the rolling farms and old churches on our way “home.” I am now retired after 40-plus years in human resources, and this is now our home.

Beth Bonifant
Contributing Writer

I was born at Physician’s Memorial Hospital in La Plata. The colonial revival-style brick building was the first formal medical facility in Charles County. It still sits there today tucked behind the library and in the shadow of the current UM Charles Regional Medical Center. I attended schools in both Charles and St. Mary’s counties, including the original Charles County Community College (now CSM). Later I met and married another native, Edward Edelen Bonifant. For most of our lives we lived and raised our family of three sons on the family farm, Brinkwood, in Bryantown. In 2010 we established our new residence on the shores of the Potomac River in Colton’s Point.

 

I’ve been a Master Gardener since 2003 but even as a young child I had plenty of practice “playing in the dirt.” My parents had a vegetable garden that I swear took up an entire street in our neighborhood! My siblings and I would pick enough green beans to fill our plastic kiddie pool so my mother could can them. My parents also had the only formal rose garden I’d ever seen – a large rectangle with a variety of temperamental tea roses. I still recall names of some of those classic beauties. As an adult I had lots of time and space while living on the family farm to hone my gardening skills. In addition to writing and maintaining certifications for the Master Gardener program, I am a member of the St. Mary’s County Garden Club.

Crystal Brandt
Contributing Writer

I grew up in a Southern Maryland abundant with oysters and blue crabs, tobacco farms and corn fields. As a child, I knew I wanted to be a writer and a musician, and I had it in my head that I needed to find a bigger oyster if I was going to make either of those things my world.

 

I left St. Mary’s County in 1998 to finish my B.A. in English at the University of Maryland in College Park. The weekend after I graduated, I loaded up a U-Haul and headed for New York City and a job at an e-commerce advertising agency. I also worked at About.com and for a consulting firm at the World Trade Center before attending graduate school at Brooklyn College, where I received an M.F.A. in Poetry. In addition to writing and releasing three albums, I taught writing and literature at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn College and the Borough of Manhattan Community College.

 

I boomeranged back to Southern Maryland in 2007. Since returning, I’ve taught creative writing at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and writing and literature at the College of Southern Maryland, and worked as a technical writer and proposal manager for a defense contractor.

Johnn Cave
Contributing Writer

I definitely call Maryland my home but I lived for a period of time in the Blue Ridge Mountains in South Carolina as well as in Northeast Ohio. After growing up in Silver Spring and going to college at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, I decided to move to Southern Maryland, where I now live in Lexington Park and work full time at the county health department.
Because I majored in English and minored in history, incorporating local history and stories into my writing has always been a natural angle. Before I began writing for Southern Maryland-This is Living, I worked on stories for a local paper when I lived in Ohio and conducted oral history interviews for the Slackwater publication at St. Mary’s College. I love talking to people and discovering stories and perspectives I never would have known existed!
Living in St. Mary’s County, I’ve really found a love for the area. I live on the water, not surrounded by many people, and get to enjoy lonely walks along the river and the many trails nearby. At home I love to cook and eat the veggies that I grow in my garden. Recently I’ve tried my hand at baking different types of bread and brewing my own beer.
To pass the time (and stay sane) I like to keep active. I’ve always had a passion for the outdoors, at one point living outside in the Blue Ridge Mountains for almost three months. I like to hike and camp with my favorite places being the American Chestnut Land Trust, Point Lookout and Historic St. Mary’s City. I also play a bunch of different sports ranging from Ultimate Frisbee, to basketball and tennis. My favorite sport to watch is baseball where I root for the Washington Nationals. Go Nats!
Most often you can catch me listening to podcasts, getting sandwiches from Enso Kitchen in St. Mary’s City or St. James Deli near Dameron, and watching “The Simpsons.” •

Mikaela Clark
Contributing Writer

My husband and I moved to Calvert County in 2006 so I could practice family law and my husband could work on the Navy base as a simulation engineer. After we began our family, I left litigation to stay home with our children and focus on writing. In the last few years I’ve enjoyed writing in a variety of media including legal research and reports, family-focused blogs and magazines, nonprofit grants, web content, curriculum development, and humor columns.

 

Writing for Southern Maryland-This is Living has given me the opportunity to get to know more about the well-known and lesser-known gems of Southern Maryland – the people, places and events that make us so lucky to call Southern Maryland our home. As our tri-county area grows and changes, I feel it is important to focus on opportunities that bring us together as a community. When I flip through the magazine’s pages at the start of each season, I consider myself privileged to be part of a publication that seeks out and highlights all the good this area has to offer.

 

When I’m not writing, I’m a homeschooling mom to three elementary-aged children. They keep me and my husband on our toes with ballet, gymnastics, football and swim team! We love checking out all of the historic sites, parks and playgrounds in the region – including our annual summertime playground-hopping tour!

Judy Colbert
Contributing Writer

I’m a native Washingtonian who’s been writing about the mid-Atlantic area (and beyond) for decades. My book “Maryland and Delaware Off the Beaten Path” has been updated eight times. I’ve also written books about spas in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and cruise ships, Super Bowl Trivia, divorce, and temper tantrums; a Chesapeake Bay Crabs cookbook with lots of recipes from Southern Maryland friends; and books about events that shaped history in “It Happened in Maryland” and “It Happened in Delaware.” Two other favorites are history booklets about D.C.’s Omni Shoreham and the Statler (now Hilton) hotels.

 

I’ve been fortunate enough to explore 47 of our 50 states and three dozen countries. I’d like to spend some time as a water-based writer and photographer instead of a land-based one. There are still many places to visit and people to meet.

Laurie Coyle
Contributing Writer

When I was in the fourth grade at Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School in La Plata, my teacher entered a story I wrote in the Charles County Fair. It won a first-place ribbon and from that moment I was hooked – I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. So when I was invited to write for Southern Maryland-This is Living magazine in 2005, I was thrilled. I have been a contributing writer off and on ever since.

 

I grew up in La Plata and graduated with honors from La Plata High School. I earned my associate degree from the College of Southern Maryland (Charles County Community College at the time). I commuted to Towson University to obtain a degree in mass communication. I got my first professional writing experience working part time at the Maryland Independent newspaper while I was going to college. After graduating, I worked in public relations at CSM and then at the Charles County Sheriff’s Office. I later moved into an administrative position at the sheriff’s office where I am still able to put my writing and editing skills to good use.

 

Bonnie Farmer
Contributing Writer

Growing up in the Florida Panhandle nurtured my love of water and continues to be my happy place. Strolling for treasures on the shore or breathing in the salty air is my idea of heaven on earth. Being near the water is one of the reasons I love living in Southern Maryland!
My family and I moved to St. Mary’s County for the first time in 2013, but only for a very brief 12 months. We have now been settled here again since 2017. I still consider myself relatively new to this area, and I enjoy learning more about the culture, history and beauty this place has to offer.
I graduated from the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!) with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and minors in graphic design and marketing. After graduation, I returned to Pensacola and began working in sales for the WB/Fox TV stations and later as in-house marketing at a local accounting firm. During that time, I met my husband Dean, who was in flight school with the U.S. Navy. After Dean earned his wings we moved to Norfolk, Virginia, where I worked with the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce coordinating its Ambassador Program and later for The Virginia Stage Company managing grants, special events and fundraising.
In 2009, we started our family and I began my most challenging and rewarding job of being a mom. We have three wonderful kids, DB, Mattie and Jack, and I have enjoyed staying home with them for the past 11 years. I am so thankful to be back in the workforce as a part of the Southern Maryland-This is Living team helping businesses with their advertising needs. I’m so happy to have found such a joyful place to work.
In my free time you can find me on the boat with family, trying out a new recipe in the kitchen or playing with our dogs Gabby and Knox. •

 

Carol Harvat
Contributing Writer

Living near the water has always given me a sense of home. My roots began in Florida and as a child I spent summers at Sebago Lake, Maine. My writing experience includes hard news, public relations and features. I prefer human interest features.

After graduating from University of South Florida with a degree in news writing, I moved to Maine, and then later to Alaska, where I became an environmental documenter in the Artic oils fields and on the waters. After seven years in Alaska, I moved east to Portland, Maine.

 

While living in Maine, each spring I visited old college friends in Lusby, and in 2004, they “set me up” on a fishing trip with my now husband, Bob. The catching of a 36-inch rockfish that day sealed my fate, and I fell in love with my guide (Bob) and the beauty of the Tidewater region.

 

I wrote for The Calvert Recorder and met many friendly, community-minded people, who quickly gave me a sense of belonging. I also began volunteering with youth, a passion of mine for many years.

Lisa Kelley
Contributing Writer

What started as a restaurant job during a college break turned into a vibrant 33-year career of intermingling passion with profession.
After spending several years working in all aspects of the front of the house in restaurants, my husband Michael and I (along with our two little boys Dillon and Ryan) renovated a historic mansion on the banks of the St. Mary’s River and created an award-winning and regionally recognized fine-dining boutique inn.
The Brome Howard Inn in St. Mary’s City became a popular destination venue for special events and gave me an opportunity to launch Canards Catering & Event Production specializing in high-end corporate, social and wedding events.
Thousands of events and stories later, I have an interesting and thoughtful perspective on entertaining and the importance of making moments matter. I am pleased to be able to share those stories with Southern Maryland-This is Living readers in my column, The After Party. I began contributing to the magazine in spring 2019.
Readers will find that I am fascinated by the impact on environments and the importance of guests feeling comfortable and well taken care of. I am a gracious and fun host.
Throughout my career in food and beverage, I have developed a deep passion for the relationship between food and health and the connections between the food producers and those being nourished by their food.
Currently, I am launching The Real Food Studio, an original brand that will celebrate all those connections in a way that honors food as medicine while being delightful and delicious.
.

 

Carrie Lovejoy
Contributing Writer

I live in Newburg in Charles County. I’m a native of Oklahoma and in 2001 moved to Southern Maryland, where I started working at The Enterprise in St. Mary’s County. I spent the next 11 years working at Southern Maryland Newspapers, enjoying the last five of those years as editor of The Calvert Recorder. Community journalism made it possible to learn so much about Southern Maryland.

 

I participated in Leadership Southern Maryland, another great way to learn what this region has to offer. Writing for Southern Maryland-This is Living has made it possible for me to continue exploring the region through the stories of its people, even though I am now on a different career path. After 17 years of working with the public, I changed careers and went into teaching. I love to spend Sundays walking the shores of the Potomac River, searching for shark teeth and beach glass with my daughters.

 

Joseph “Casey” Martin
Contributing Writer

I have lived in Southern Maryland my entire life. I was born in 1994, the same year my parents built our first house in St. Leonard, where I lived for the first 21 years of my life. After that, I lived in Hughesville for two years and currently reside in Lusby, where I have been since 2018.
I have worked for the Southern Maryland-This is Living magazine since I was about 15. I started out helping my grandmother Jeannette Kite and other family members deliver magazines to doctors’ offices, advertisers and distributors.
When I was old enough to drive, I started delivering to my own list of businesses. For a time, I was the magazine’s subscription coordinator and handled all new subscriptions and renewals.
Since graduating from Calvert High School, I worked as a commercial electrician with Local 26 and management with United Parcel Service. As of now, I have been back in school, on track to obtain an associate degree when the upcoming fall semester concludes. I plan to earn a bachelor’s degree in information technology.
What I like most about Southern Maryland is the diverse environment. We have everything from beaches, forests and swamps, to small towns … right in our back yard, and big cities and mountains just a short drive away.
I enjoy being with friends, playing video games, and constructing and painting plastic models. I also enjoy watching movies and television. I am an avid science fiction and action film fan, a major fan of the Marvel universe. I love being outside and going to area parks. My favorite park is Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum in St. Leonard.
I have always enjoyed writing, so when my Aunt Vickie asked me to write an article on great blue herons in the area, I was excited to get started. It is my first professional piece, and I look forward to having more work published.

 

Patrick Milburn
Contributing Writer

Raised in St. Mary’s County since the age of 6, I grew up in Hollywood and graduated from St. Mary’s College in 1986. With a father and mother as former and retired police officers with the Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Police Department, my career choice was never in doubt, and I spent more than 28 years in federal law enforcement (NCIS) serving in locations all over the world. In two of those assignments I served in Southern Maryland. I retired in December 2015.

 

In 1999, my wife Vickie created this publication to serve and support the community. During our more than 30-year marriage she also has supported my hobbies, most notably motorcycles and automobiles. Some of my projects were successful including my three-year, ground-up garage build of a custom motorcycle; and others not so well thought out, including a 1972 Buick Gran Sport convertible — that was more rust bucket than metal automobile.

 

Vickie had asked if I could write a short story to be included in each quarterly issue highlighting those in our community who might have been more successful than I am at acquiring or restoring their prized machines. I was happy to oblige.

Gretchen Phillips
Contributing Writer

When I was asked if I was interested in writing stories for Southern Maryland-This is Living, I accepted the offer without hesitation. All of the jobs I have had since college have offered me the opportunity to do what I love – write stories, take photographs, and get out and meet interesting people. Anyone who knows me knows that I love talking to folks and hearing their stories.

 

I moved with my family to Leonardtown when I was a teen. I graduated from St. Mary’s Ryken High School in 2000 and headed off to study journalism at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Following graduation, I returned to Southern Maryland and began my career in community news reporting. I landed my first job at The Calvert Recorder in 2005. That was followed by a move to the Maryland Independent in Charles County. My third move was to The Enterprise. I remained at the paper until 2016, when I took a position at St. Mary’s College of Maryland as communications specialist.

August (Augie) Selckman
Photographer

In 1962 I came to Calvert County as a 12-year-old finding a love for Miocene Fossils while vacationing on Calvert Cliffs. Years later I began working with Southern Maryland This is Living just after its inception 20 years ago. Since that time I have photographed a wide variety of subjects everything from people, restaurants, and homes to gardens and historical locations (just to name a few).  I also have photographed under the pseudonym Ed Mann.

 

For 25 years I was an instructor of photography at Charles County Community College, later College of Southern Maryland.  I have also photographed for the Times-Crescent and The Calvert Independent Newspapers. I later worked with Tom Wisner at the Chesapeake Biology Lab as a cartoonist and contributed a few lines to Wisner’s songs.  I was also fortunate to have been a contributing writer on rivers and wild areas for Maryland Magazine.

 

I currently help my girlfriend, Ellen McCormick, at her animal welfare thrift store the Spot.  I enjoy photographing nature in my many travels to Florida, California, Costa Rica, St. Croix, Galapagos and who knows where to next.

Edna Troiano
Contributing Writer

In 1977, my husband Pete and I moved to Southern Maryland. It was love at first sight; the area offers so much beauty and so many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, local culture and the arts. Southern Maryland has provided us with some real boons – we adopted two children and found jobs we loved. At the College of Southern Maryland, I chaired the department of Languages and Literature for 20 years.

 

When I retired in 2006, I loved having more time to pursue my interests – reading, writing, gardening, traveling, archeology and museum hopping. I had co-written two college textbooks, co-edited an anthology of Christmas literature, and written a few scholarly articles. Retirement gave me the leisure to branch out into magazine writing and take on a few freelance jobs.

 

My latest book, “Uncle Tom’s Journey from Maryland to Canada. The Life of Josiah Henson” was published in early 2019. My husband and I love to travel – we’ve been through most of Western Europe and visited China, Turkey, Peru and Costa Rica.

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