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Friday, February 5, 2010

Maryland's Historic National Road

I must really admit, I've been to so many places around, but I didn't even notice how beautiful is my home based state; - Maryland! :)
The Historic National Road is said to be a journey full of nostalgia taking you from downtown Baltimore to the mountains of Western MD along the nation's first federally funded highway. I am looking forward to this trip.
But for those who are planning to do some worthwhile itineraries for your vacation, it might help to share some few backgrounds about what to expect, according to my reads ;).

You can enjoy the scenic and idyllic towns of yester years by following the route of the old National Road along Route 40, I-70 and I-68 from Baltimore to Grantsville.
You'll start your trip at the Baltimore Visitor Center located at Baltimore's Inner Harbor. In there, you can get maps and driving directions for the Historic National Road.

If you want to explore some exhibits, got to Ellicott City at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum. You can also see the hand chiseled milestones that once marked the distance to Baltimore on the old National Pike in Mt. Airy, MD. Route 40 passing right through downtown will take you to the city of Frederick. Here is an ideal place for you to shop and dine, - a good place to spend the night as well.
Frederick, MD is also where you can find the monument of Francis Scott Key, the lyricist of the "Star-Spangled Banner," located at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

On the west side of Frederick are the mountainous climbs of Maryland's often overlooked western edge, and the Historic National Road passes through the center of Hagerstown that has Gothic Revival and art deco architectures. You can visit Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum and the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.
You can capture good photos of your poses in Wilson at the wayside park adjacent to one of the National Road's original stone and arched bridges over Conococheague Creek, then you can drop by and visit at the R.H. Wilson & Son General Merchandise & Post Office for old-fashioned barrel candy and a glass-bottled soda.

One of the trip highlights is the Town Hill Overlook, west of Hancock. You can get scenic shots to take in the view of long trapezoid-shaped mountains and rolling farmland and see where I-68 cuts through the gap in the Allegheny Mountains.

For those who have more time to spend, the historic industrial town of Cumberland will be a good stop. Here, the Historic National Road meets the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and the old Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
The C & O Canal Natioanl Historical Park/Allegany County Visitor Center is located at the former Western Maryland Railroad station at the terminus of the C & O Canal. Here, a full-sized replica canal boat is located adjacent to the station, a part of the Canal Place Heritage Area.

Up the west of Garrett County is a high mountain plateau extending to the western edge of the state. In Grantsville, you can explore the Casselman River Bridge which the old road once passed; stop in at the Penn Alps Restaurant for a taste of Amish fare and explore handmade wares and studios of the Spruce Forest Artisan Village before going back home or continuing to follow Route 40 going Pennsylvania.

Have a nice, fun trip! :)

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