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Charles County featured on Top Gear-inspired show

 

La Plata, MD – The history and beauty of Charles County, Maryland’s “hidden gem,” was recently featured on A&E Networks channel FYI during primetime television. The county was the setting for an episode of “It’s How You Get There,” a “Top Gear” inspired show featuring three hosts who showcase a litany of vehicles in some of the country’s most interesting areas.

The premise for the “Meet Me in Maryland” episode of the show began two years ago when one of the show’s hosts, Julian Taylor, was forced by his wife Gina Taylor to get rid of his 20-year-old F-250 named “Big Red.” Unbeknownst to Gina, Julian “sold” the truck to his friend and owner of Complete Autobody in Waldorf, MD---Todd Riddle. “I have researchers that look into areas that we think might have appeal and Charles County has appeal. The history, beauty, and the ability to use really unique vehicles made it work,” said Taylor of the county and its usefulness as a setting for the show.

Riddle guest-hosted the show that originally aired on a Sunday morning in November. “We wanted to do a watch party for the original airing in November but didn’t have much of an option to because of its time-slot,” said Charles County Chief of Tourism Kellie Hinkle.  Thankfully, the episode was the “most watched TV spot for the whole weekend” it aired. That success prompted A&E to re-air the show on FYI during “prime-time” for more to see and holding a watch party possible.

The party took place at Ollie’s Bar and Grill in La Plata Saturday, Feb. 23 for the Saturday night airing. Julian, along with his wife Gina, were able to attend the watch party after being contacted by the county, joining the celebration of the episode’s success. Before the episode began, Julian addressed the crowd, explaining why it was chosen and what made the episode so great.

“I’d been to Waldorf numerous times but hadn’t seen it in depth until we started shooting the show. I was blown away. I’m an American citizen but I’m English originally and I could see why the forefathers built something like St. Ignatius where it is,” explained Julian outside of the bar. Gina shared a similar sentiment to Julian, mentioning how amazing it is to find a place like Charles so close to the nation’s capital. “The beauty is what stood out to me---they’re so open and welcoming here, giving hugs and everything. It felt like a family.”

The episode showed off areas of significance to the county, beginning with Smallwood State Park before heading to Mallows Bay, St. Ignatius Chapel, Port Tobacco and then the Indian Head Rail Trail before finishing with a bass fishing competition in Chicamuxen Bay. “I was proud to live in Charles County and show off some of the sights we have. We have a lot to offer down here and nobody really knows so we tried to show that off,” said guest host Todd. Riddle has lived in the county since he was around 12-years-old and has had his auto body shop in Waldorf since 1998.

Director of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Eileen Minnick was integral to setting up the show’s filming last September, coordinating with Accord Productions and sending suggestions to the show’s producers as to what the hosts could do and experience in the county. “We’re very proud of Charles County and really wanted to highlight what we have to offer. The show truly fit our logo of ‘legends, lore and room to explore.’”

The county filmed a behind the scenes of the episode that is available on their YouTube channel. The “Meet Me in Maryland” episode of “It’s How You Get There” is available to stream on Amazon Prime video.

Contact Jerold Massie at staffwriter@thebaynet.com.

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