Karen and David Nitkin

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The Little Town That Could: 9 1/2 Hours in Mount Airy

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The Mount Airy Rail Trail follows the route of an old B & O railroad line.

People are staying closer to home these days, but there’s still lots to do in the region. 9 ½ hours is a feature with suggestions for local day trips.

Drive west from Baltimore, and in about 30 miles you’ll hit Parr’s Ridge, a hump in the terrain that presented a challenge to railroad engineers in the 1830s. The ridge would become a train depot, and then the town of Mount Airy, a historic community that today boasts a small thriving downtown with a lot to see and do. Mount Airy embraces its past and is building a future based on small businesses and local sustainability.

We recommend throwing your bikes on the back of your car and heading out to where not one, not two, not three but FOUR counties come together. Mount Airy lies at the intersection of Howard, Carroll, Montgomery and Frederick counties, and the farms that surround it provide the grain, dairy, fruits and vegetables to supply its spirit makers, ice cream churners, eateries and other businesses. Exploring them all makes a great spot to spend 9 ½ hours.

Water, crabs and history: 9 1/2 Hours in Dundalk

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Dundalk Town Center

People are staying closer to home these days, but there’s still lots to do in the region. 9 ½ hours is a new feature with suggestions for local day trips.

So you’re in the mood to get out on the water and eat some crabs. Annapolis and the Eastern Shore are obvious choices. But have you considered Dundalk?

The post-industrial waterfront community on the East Side of Baltimore County seems perpetually poised for rebirth, with an authentic tank-top-and-tattoo personality that occasionally serves as a regional punch line. It’s also got miles of waterfront, cool breweries and restaurants, and a heck of a history.

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