The story below is an excerpt from our March/April 2015 issue. For the rest of this story and more like it subscribe today, view our digital edition or download our FREE iOS app!
The appeals of Frederick, Maryland have a new component: an easy, three-mile walk through urban and rural delights.
Longtime readers of Blue Ridge Country know that Frederick is one of my favorite Maryland cities. It’s one of the most viable and vibrant in the state and there are many reasons why.
It’s developed into a modern metropolitan area with strip malls and shopping centers, yet its downtown and many residential areas remain architecturally rich in historic buildings and the types of small businesses and locally owned restaurants that are disappearing from other American towns. Early-1800s Federal-style mansions may still be found in the downtown area and families still live in many of the Victorian town houses.
With a minimum of changes, a complex of small shops in Everedy Square and Shab Row occupy 18th- and 19th-century structures and the crossroads of Market Street and Patrick Street are lined by renovated buildings housing restaurants, antiques shops, and galleries. Then there is Carroll Creek Park, a mile-plus-long strip of brick walkways along its namesake waterway with fountains, pedestrian bridges, and a host of public art pieces.
I’ve also always been impressed by residents’ enthusiastic embrace of outdoors activities, including canoeing and kayaking the Monocacy River through the city, mountain biking along the nearby Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and hiking the many trails of Gambrill and Cunningham State Parks and Catoctin Mountain Park.
During a visit last winter, I found that the city has embarked upon another project that endears it to me even more. Tim Davis with the City of Frederick Municipal Offices told me about a shared-use path plan that is going to connect the municipality’s various sectors by way of a network of multi-use routes and pathways. According to Davis, a baby boomer who uses the system for both recreation and transportation, “As the plan evolves, it will provide a greater amount of accessibility to users with future connection to the Catoctin Mountains and the C&O Canal. In part, the millennial generation is influencing this sea change with more emphasis on shared use paths, bike facilities, etc. The development by the city addresses a need for many and a want for people considering our community as a place to call home. More and more, millennials and baby boomers want to live, work and play very close to home and shared-use paths are a component of the desire of those generations.”
I followed his suggestion to check out the partially completed Rivermist/Monocacy River Trail. I’ve enjoyed the beauty of walks beside the river in the Monocacy National Battlefield (see Blue Ridge Country May/June 2014) but that is a preserved area; I was surprised by how much of the natural scenery has been retained along a pathway within the confines of a large city’s boundaries. Just a few steps beyond the trailhead, located within 300 yards of one of Frederick’s busy shopping centers, the river was lined on both banks by a young and vibrant woodlands of various tree species.