Hancock: Maryland Weekend Getaway
A crowd gathers around a steam train at the Frostburg Depot, on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.
Hancock taught me that I don’t necessarily have to give up walking on a trail when exploring what a town has to offer. Established as a trading post in the early 1700s, Hancock began to grow with the construction of the B&O Railroad and the 184.5-mile C&O Canal in the early 1800s. Both of those routes are now hiking and biking pathways.
Paralleling the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., the canal’s towpath enters the city from the east by passing by Lock 51, constructed of limestone and red shale, and Lock 52 and the Tonoloway Creek Aqueduct, built with limestone quarried nearby. With more than 20 paved miles (and more planned), the Western Maryland Rail Trail follows the railroad’s former route, providing access to the Hancock Town Museum’s early tool collection, transportation exhibits and an original letter from Henry Clay postmarked 1827. I always stop in at Weaver’s, a Hancock institution for more than 50 years, to refuel with a slice of homemade red raspberry pie.
The 1828 Trail Inn overlooks both trails and hosts so many bikers and hikers that Bill and Darlene Smith told me, “We enjoy hearing the tales of their travels and sharing the history of our town and our early 1900s Craftsman home.”
- CUMBERLAND 800-425-2067, mdmountainside.com
- Eat: Casual dining at Baltimore Street Grill; elegant dinner at Ristorante Ottavini; the soda fountain experience at Queen City Creamery
- Stay: The Bruce House Inn
- See: A show at the Cumberland Theatre; Canal Place heritage area; Queen City Transportation Museum
- FREDERICK 301-600-2888, fredericktourism.org
- Eat: Brewer’s Alley Restaurant (the county’s first brewpub); creative dinner menus at the Tasting Room
- Stay: Hill House B&B
- See: National Museum of Civil War Medicine; Blue Elephant Art Center; Frederick Fudge & Ice Cream Co.
- FROSTBURG 800-425-2067, mdmountainside.com
- Eat: Princess Restaurant, a 75-year-old diner; Greek and American dinners at the Acropolis Restaurant & Lounge
- Stay: Trail Inn and Cafe
- See: Thrasher Carriage and Sleigh Museum; shows at the Frostburg Palace Theatre
KEY TRAVEL INFO
- State tourism. 800-445-4558, mdisfun.org
- Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg. 301-432-5124, nps.gov/anti
- Catoctin Mountain Park. 301-663-9330, nps.gov/cato
- Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park. 301-739-4200, nps.gov/choh
- State parks. 410-260-8186, 888-432-CAMP, dnr.state.md.us/publiclands
- State B&B association. marylandbb.com
- Mountain weather. marylandweather.org