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Trip Starters

Whether you’re spending just a day or planning an extended vacation, Washington County has so much to offer. We are a destination filled with everything from urban amenities to abundant outdoor recreation. Mix and match these ideas, based on your preferences!

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Civil War and Historical Sites
Just outside of Sharpsburg lies our most famous attraction, Antietam National Battlefield. Visitors can learn about this battle how it led President Lincoln to issue the Preliminary Emancipation. Be sure to visit the Newcomer House Exhibit Center. Also, a stop at the Pry House Field Hospital Museum with displays that relate to the care of the wounded and the implementation of triage for the first time by Clara Barton. A visit to the brand new Sharpsburg Museum of History. The Washington Monument, located in Washington Monument State Park is said to be the nation’s earliest monument to George Washington. The National War Correspondent’s Memorial Arch in Gathland State Park was built to honor war correspondents of the Civil War. Along the way, visit Crystal Grottoes Caverns, Maryland’s only “show cave.”

Fort Frederick and Hancock
A short drive along I-70 West will take you to Fort Frederick, a fort of defense for the French and Indian War. The fort’s stone wall and two barracks have been restored to their 1758 appearance. Park lands adjoin the Potomac River and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. Events that take place there include encampments and canon demonstrations. Drive a little further west to Hancock, MD - recently named Maryland's Trail Town - and enjoy the fresh baked pies and local fruits/veggies from the Blue Goose Market & Bakery, or enjoy lunch for you and Fido at the dog-friendly Buddy Lou’s Eats & Antiques. Other local favorites are Weaver’s Restaurant & Bakery and the Park-n-Dine - all located along the C&O Canal and nearby Western Maryland Rail Trail.

Fort Ritchie, Pen Mar Park and High Rock Overlook
One of the most scenic drives is along Route 64 North to Cascade MD.  Hidden just a mile from the Appalachian Trail, lies Fort Ritchie. Undergoing a revival from a closed military  base, it is a blast into Washington County’s military past and home of the now nationally famous Ritchie Boys of World War II. The new Ritchie History Museum is scehduled to open in Summer of 2022. Enjoy the grounds and lakes from dawn til dusk and explore the ever growing amenities such as the Greenhouse Cafe, Mountain Top Ice Cream Shop, Lakeside Hall, and many community events! Nearby Pen Mar Park offers a panoramic view of the Cumberland Valley along the Mason Dixon Line. Once an amusement park in the early 1900s, today it hosts dances, concerts and other entertainment. To reach the highest point of elevation in the County, continue on to High Rock Overlook. Many of the county’s orchards dot the roads where locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables can be purchased, and pick-your-own experiences make a delightful activity for families. Red Heifer Winery and Misty Meadows Farm Creamery are must-do stops during your jaunt in the northern end of the county.

Antiques and Boutiques
Just off of US 40 East, and along the National Road, lies Funkstown, MD. The Hudson House Galleries are in the quaint downtown. Seasoned collectors and home designers have been known to visit here in search of the perfect piece. Continuing on US 40 East are Beaver Creek Antique Market and Antique Crossroads where you find many dealers offering antiques and collectibles at great prices

Historic Boonsboro
Boonsboro is the home of Nora Roberts, famous NY Times Best Selling Author. Stop at her bookstore, Turn the Page, and purchase autographed copies of her books. Next door is Gifts Inn Boonsboro, with treasures made all by local artisans. Delicious dining is just a few paces away at Dan’s Restaurant & Tap Room. Also within a short stroll is the Boonsboro Trolley Museum and the Boonsborough Museum of History. Just up the road is Big Cork Vineyard. Enjoy the tasting room.

City Park – A Cultural Center
The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts is the mainstay of this beautiful park. Works by Picasso, Norman Rockwell and Rodin are part of the permanent collection. The Jonathan Hager House, home of Hagerstown’s founder, can be toured. The home is maintained with authentic pieces of the 1740’s frontier era. Enjoy band concerts in the Band Shell and on the lake, the Mansion House Art Gallery, and climb aboard the Train 202 Engine at the Train Museum.

Hagerstown’s Arts & Entertainment District
Anchored by the Maryland Theatre, the A&E District in downtown Hagerstown is home to several arts organizations, including the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, and is dotted with special galleries, such as the Washington County Arts Council. Dining is exceptional and widely acclaimed in this area. Authentic Bavarian cuisine at Schmankerl Stube, pub food at Bulls & Bears, an outstanding menu at 28 South, are among the menu options for dinner before taking in a show at the Maryland Theatre! Dine and see a show at the Washington County Playhouse and Dinner Theater

Wilson’s Historic Village
Start the day in Clear Spring, MD at historical Wilson’s Historic Village. Also along the National Pike, sits this historic landmark that includes an old country store, a blacksmith’s shop, post office, and a one-room school.