Jody Arneson

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Mid-Atlantic Day Trips: Western Maryland Rail Trail

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Mid-Atlantic Day Trips – The Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) still beckoned to us, even though we hadn’t liked the east-from-Hancock section of it very much (for that stretch, recommend sticking to the C&O Canal, which is further away from the highway and a little more pleasant, but read more about that here). The blurb about the western half in the Rails to Trails book sounded interesting, mentioning the remains of an old cement factory, and some views of the Potomac.

Mid-Atlantic Day Trips: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

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From Mid-Atlantic Day Trips – It was only recently that I learned that Sleepy Hollow, made famous by Washington Irving’s story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” was a real place. So, although it’s a little out of day trip range for Marylanders — I justified the New York excursion and this blog with the knowledge that the Mid-Atlantic Day Trips Blog’s northern mid-Atlantic readers could easily reach Sleepy Hollow in a day trip!

Mid-Atlantic Daytrips: Exploring Outdoor Art at Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center

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From Mid-Atlantic Day Trips – Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center is located near Solomons, Maryland, where the Patuxent River meets the Chesapeake Bay.

Cambridge, Maryland: A Hidden Gem That’s Well Worth a Trip

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From Mid-Atlantic Day Trips-

If you’re like me, you have driven past Cambridge dozens of times, on your way to some place else — usually Ocean City, Assateague Island, or even Chincoteague Island.

But Cambridge isn’t just the fast food joints, gas stations, big box stores, and chain restaurants you see from Rt 50 — there’s a quaint little riverside town hiding back there. There are beautiful Victorian homes (some haunted, of course), boutiques to browse, and restaurants worthy of being called destination restaurants.

Don’t you think it’s time to take that turn off of Rt 50 onto Maryland Avenue, to discover a quaint Eastern Shore town on the southern bank of the Choptank River still in touch with its heritage?

A Maryland Story: The Booths, An Assassination of a President, and

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From Mid-Atlantic Day Trips – There’s a lovely little Victorian house tucked into the suburban neighborhoods surrounding Bel Air, MD, called “Tudor Hall.”

It is a 1 1⁄2-story Gothic Revival cottage built of painted brick. The house was built as a country retreat by Junius Brutus Booth. Junius Brutus Booth, in case you don’t know — was a famous English stage actor in the first half of the 19th century. He is more famously known as the father of John Wilkes Booth, himself an actor before he turned assassin. Junius Brutus was also the father of famed American stage actor Edwin Booth, the foremost tragedian of the mid-to-late 19th century, and Junius Brutus Booth, Jr., an actor and theater manager. Booth was named after Marcus Junius Brutus, one of the lead assassins in William Shakespeare’s tragedy Julius Caesar.

    Hiking Maryland Heights, Part 2: Stone Fort Trail

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    From Mid-Atlantic Day Trips -Fellow blogger J. Hammer graciously agreed to guest blog for the Mid-Atlantic Day Trips Blog about hiking along Maryland Heights, near Harpers Ferry. This is part 2 of his two-part series.

    Last post I mentioned that I hadn’t hiked the Stone Fort Trail section of Maryland Heights due to a lack of time. Well, I had plenty of free time on Tuesday, 11 November to complete this section of the trail, and it was well worth it.

    maryland heights

    NOTES

    Distances: from the Maryland Heights Trail Guide: railroad bridge to Stone Fort (round trip): about 6 miles (4 hours)

    Blazes:

    Combined Trail: Green Blaze

    Stone Fort Trail: Blue Blaze (note: the blazes were light blue; in harsh/bright sunlight, the blue blazes look almost white)

    Except for a few spots, the trail is clearly marked, but I included the blaze information anyway.

     

    Hiking the Maryland Heights, Part 1: Overlook Trail

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    From Mid-Atlantic Day Trips – Fellow blogger J. Hammer graciously agreed to guest blog for the Mid-Atlantic Day Trips Blog about hiking along Maryland Heights, near Harpers Ferry. This is part 1 of his two-part series.

    Worth a Voyage across the Atlantic

    Over 1400 feet high, Maryland Heights offers stunning views of the town of Harpers Ferry, WV, and the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. You might learn a little bit of Civil War history along the way. Maryland Heights is one of the hikes I’ve been wanting to do from the first time I visited Harpers Ferry. I finally got some spare time to hike it on a chilly, windy, but sunny November afternoon. I parked at the visitor center and took the bus down to the main town with my pack and hiking stick. Full disclosure: I only hiked the Overlook trail and didn’t get to the Stone Fort trail, since I got started a little later than I wanted.

      Mid-Atlantic Day Trips: C&O Canal Towpath and Western Maryland Rail Trail

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      C & O Canal Towpath
      Our goal, that cold April Saturday, was to park at Fort Frederick State Park, ride up to Hancock on the C&O Canal towpath, grab lunch, ride back on the Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT), and then tour Fort Frederick. Check out last week’s post for the narrative about Fort Frederick.

      I’d read about the WMRT in my favorite go-to book for places to bike, aptly titled Rail-Trails Mid-Atlantic (2007, Rails to Trails Conservancy). The description of the half of the trail east of Hancock sounded intriguing: ruins, forgotten cemeteries, large rock outcroppings. I completely overlooked the suggestion to look for deer and wild turkey that are not phased by the “loud traffic nearby.”The “loud traffic nearby” would be I-70, near Hancock. For eight miles or so east of Hancock, the WMRT runs alongside of the interstate, sometimes within a few feet of it, always within hearing, and mostly within sight of it. That mars what otherwise could be a delightful trail.We started off at Fort Frederick State Park, where there’s ample parking (unless there’s a planned event). Although there’s a parking lot specifically for the WMRT directly off of MD Route 56, I wanted to both tour Fort Frederick and ride the first leg on the C&O Canal tow path, which is easily accessible from Fort Frederick. The rail-trails guide suggested “varying the scenery” by traveling in one direction on the WMRT and the other on the tow path. That seemed like good advice, although it implied that the WMRT connects directly to the state park (it doesn’t).

      Mid-Atlantic Day Trips: Fort Frederick

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      From Mid-Atlantic Day Trips – Our goal, that cold last Saturday (25 April) was to park at Fort Frederick State Park, ride up to Hancock on the C&O Canal towpath, grab lunch, ride back on the Western Maryland Rail Trail, and then tour Fort Frederick, mostly because we were there and I could get two blogs for the effort of one. Check out next week’s post for the narrative about the bike ride!

      Fort Frederick was built in 1756-57 by the colony of Maryland. During the French and Indian War in 1756, a £6000 appropriation was authorized by the Maryland Legislature at the request of colonial Governor Horatio Sharpe to build a fortification on the frontier. The fort, named after Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron Baltimore, was completed the following year.

      As we turned into the state park off of Route 56, I greeted the news that there was some event going on with initial dismay. But that soon turned to pleasure and excitement. We unwittingly arrived during the 21st Annual 18th Century Market Fair event. Market Fair is the Colonial period’s answer to the Renaisssance Fair, minus the fantasy aspect of fairies and pirates and the growing influence of Victorian steam punk (which goes so well with the Renaissance theme).

        Mid-Atlantic Day Trips: Patapsco Grist Mill Trail

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        From Mid-Atlantic Day Trips – I’ve blogged about Patapsco River Valley State Park before (check out this post and this one), but this post will focus on the Grist Mill Trail, in the Avalon part of the park. I’m writing again about it because, of all the places I have been to or go to regularly, this is the place I end up most often.

        Grist Mill Trail

        A bridge to nowhere now marks the old road at Elk Ridge Landing, where a bridge used to cross the Patapsco River. This little stone bridge crosses the trace where a mill race had channeled water to power the mills and factories.


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