Hagerstown and Washington County tout their very own “open-air museum” in the Maryland Historic National Road, which holds a significant place in America’s transportation history.
“It covers a lot of ground and offers many group itinerary ideas,” says Visit Hagerstown’s Betsy DeVore. “When you use the National Road Scenic Byway, you’ll see engineering marvels and historical landmarks, including original mile markers. You can dine and shop at businesses located at the sites of original taverns and inns that catered to travelers on the road in the 19th and early 20th century.”
Here are some of the unique stops along the way:
Hagerstown visitors can travel the Hagerstown Cultural Trail in City Park and discover the public art displays. Schmankerl Stube Bavarian Restaurant serves up German-inspired fare, and the Meinelschmidt Distillery will be the newest watering hole, set to open in 2021. They can also catch a show at the Washington County Playhouse Dinner Theatre.
Boonsboro is the stomping grounds of romance novelist Nora Roberts, and she owns several businesses in town, from the group-friendly Vesta Pizzeria to the Turn the Page Bookstore, where she holds book signings throughout the year. Roberts’ bed and breakfast, Inn Boonsboro, has nine literary-themed rooms. The National Road Museum, scheduled to open in 2021, will be Maryland’s first museum dedicated to America’s first federally funded highway.
C&O Canal National Historic Park highlights the passage created along the Potomac River to transport goods from Washington, D.C., to Western Maryland. In the towns on the canal’s shores, travelers can visit attractions like the Antietam National Battlefield, the famous Blue Goose Bakery, and a restored aqueduct and working lock that can be seen on a 1900s era boat ride.
Top photo: The Sunken Road at Antietam National Battlefield
Photo by CC Flickr/Ron Cogswell: bit.ly/2y2XlAO
Support for Courier articles provided by:
American Music Theatre
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Hagley Museum and Library
Maryland Office of Tourism Development
Virginia Beach Convention & Visitor Bureau