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We encourage you to follow CSE staffer and avid cyclist Mark Clem who will be blogging about landmarks and hotspots along the route and provide some color commentary about The Race Across Maryland over the course of the 60 days. In general he will follow the 5 miles per day and identify things you may see at those mile marks if you were actually taking the journey from West to East. By car, the mileage from West to East is probably closer to 300 miles, but we didn't want to push our luck and make you do those extra 50 miles. Plus, if we are going into this virtual world, who wouldn't want to fly like a bird!
Here's one for the bikers on the tour! We hit one of the best bike shops in the state- The Bike Doctor in Frederick. We know tons of people pulled out those two-wheelers that had been collecting cobwebs in the garage over the past two months. If you need a tune up or even found out its time for a new one, Bike Doctor is the place to stop. They have 7 locations around Maryland and the Frederick location helps us with our cycle leads for the Frederick RunFest (shameless plug!) Frederick, Md. is GREAT cycling town. You can find the Frederick Watershed Mountain Bike Trails, the Frederick History Bicycle Loop, and even the Covered Bridges Tour when you are looking for a spot to log some miles on two-wheels
Today we stop at Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick Maryland which is the home of the minor league Class A Frederick Keys of the Carolina League. The Frederick Keys minor league baseball team is the affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. The franchise is named for Star Spangled Banner poet Francis Scott Key, a native of Frederick County who is buried just across the street from the stadium site. Frederick is on the of biggest towns we have hit so far on the Race Across Maryland. Lots of great spots to check out so hang with us for the next few days as we explore Frederick. Frederick County is Maryland's largest county in size -- 663 square miles. The City of Frederick, the county seat, is intersected by 5 interstate and national highways that provide easy access to Baltimore (46 miles) Washington, D.C. (43 miles), Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (32 miles), Harpers Ferry, West Virginia (21 miles) and Leesburg, Virginia (25 miles). Did you know, Frederick County is home to the 5,700-acre Catoctin National Park, site of the Camp David Presidential Retreat?
Today we are heading into Myersville where I’m stopping at Martin’s Farm Market. You’ll find lots of treasures such as baked goods, fresh produce meats, eggs, and cheeses from local farms. You might also find locally crafted soaps and lotions, fersh cut flowers, woodworking and crafts, handcrafted jewelry and of course, breakfast from Eklectic Coffee Bar and Whistle Punk Farm Food Truck. The Town of Myersville is a small, picturesque community located in the Middletown Valley, surrounded by a scenic rural landscape, which is preserved through an abundance of recreations parks, golf courses and the Appalachian Trail. Looking for something different from the grind on the roads, log some miles on the Appalachian Trail. Head to nearby Boonsboro and check out Washington Monument State Park, site of the first completed monument dedicated to the memory of George Washington.
Its gotta be an ice cream shop on 4th of July! Be on the look out for the little red, white and blue building with the American Flag waving proudly out front. That's Debbie’s Soft Serve in Smithsburg. When in this sleeply small town, you have to stop in to check out Jim, who runs the place. Established in 2001, Debbie’s specialty is their Parfaits- layers of flavored ice cream and topping in a tall cup. Today,of course, I'm trying the Apple Pie Parfait! Aside from road improvements and the recent construction of suburban-type housing, Smithsburg retains its mid-19th- to early 20th-century architectural character. It is an excellent example of a community relatively untouched by modern, 20th-century architectural trends.
Today we stop in Sharpburg, Md. just down the road from the battlefields and close to the C&O Canal and Potomac River. There are lots of places to hike and bike in Sharpsburg and we made a stop at Nutter's Ice Cream. Nutter's opened its doors in 1996 in a building built in the late 1700s. Much of the current structure is original, very little has been added or modified. The space where Nutter's is was previously the butcher shop and florist area during various periods of Kretzer's Market. Serving ice cream by the scoop and other treats such as sundaes, splits and more, a stop at Nutters is a great treat after a run, ride or walk.
Today we make a stop at the historical Antietam Battlefield where 4,976 soldiers from the Civil War lost their lives during the battle that happened on September 17, 1982. It's just one of the many historical sites that you can visit when in the state of Maryland and is actually a great location to get some miles in. Plenty of paved roads and trails, not to many vehicles and lots of sights to see. Not too many trees for shade but certainly worth some consideration if you are looking for an alternate spot to log some distance during your Race Across Maryland adventure.
Its the start of a new month and we need a break! Today is a rest day so no blog post today. Take some time to visit our SUPPORTERS page to see many of the amazing small businesses who have joined us for the Race Across Maryland. We will be back on the bike tomorrow!
Historic Municipal Stadium in downtown Hagerstown, Maryland is one of the three oldest stadiums in all of Minor League Baseball. When the city of Hagerstown chose to relocate the stadium, the Field and Athletic Association was created to find land for a new ballpark. The organization struck a deal with the city, leasing a tract of land for 99 years at one dollar per year. Municipal Stadium was quickly constructed on that land in just six weeks and opened on May 8, 1930. Municipal Stadium has undergone multiple renovations to update the facilities and is now a great place to take in a ballgame. The Suns are the Class A Affiliate of the World Champion Washington Nationals.
When you get to Hagerstown you gotta stop at Rik’s Café. Yes, its in a strip mall across from the high school, but I'm telling you, its a MUST TRY spot! Rik’s Cafe is a contemporary American restaurant. It's menu features classic sandwiches, hardy soups and crisp fun salads, as well as innovative small plates and entrees. They use locally sourced products when possible and have the greatest staff on earth! The City of Hagerstown has been recognized by the League of American Bicyclists with the distinction of being a “Bicycle Friendly Community---bronze level” with numerous existing and planned bike routes. It is also a great walking city with maps to find over 85 points of interest and more than 50 self-interpretive plaques throughout the City that highlight historic points of interest! The tours will take you over sidewalks and multi-use paths.
There may be no better place in Maryland to log some miles than on the C& O Canal towpath.The towpath is the dirt and stone path that runs 184.5 miles along the C&O Canal, where visitors can walk, run, or bike the distance between Georgetown and Cumberland, MD. It was originally built for the canal mules to walk beside the canal as they “towed” the canal boats through the waterway. Today, it is a popular recreational trail. Visitors can visit all of these sites by taking an enjoyable walk on the towpath along the C & O Canal which, in the Williamsport area, looks much like it did in the 19th century during its heyday. The Cushwa Basin is also a great point of entry for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and fishing.
The Race Across Maryland made its stop today in Williamsport and visit my guys at Tony’s Pizza and Café. I usually don't recommend pizza two times in a row but when you are riding 250 miles across Maryland, there are no rules!! Tony's Pizza was established in 1985 by Tony Scotto di Carlo. Tony was born and raised just outside of Naples Italy in Monte di Procida. Naples is known for amazing pizza and it comes as no surprise that at Tony's, that is what you will receive. The ideas just keep flowing for different dishes and specials to prepare. The latest is a Dill Pickle Pizza! Williamsport Maryland is one of the most quaint towns in Maryland. The C&O Canal towpath is excellent for cycling, running, walking and other recreational activities. The C&O Canal through Williamsport is home to many historical features such as Lock 44, The Lift Bridge, and the Conococheague Aqueduct-- the only location along the canal with all three of these historic features.
Al's homemade pizza used to be only available in the gas station and convenience store but now, whenever you head to (or thru) Clear Spring, you can enjoy it and other Italian favorites in the expanded sit down restaurant. For more than 20 years, Al's Restaurant Pizzeria & Grill has been satisfying their customer's cravings and providing the fast, friendly service that they deserve. The pizza is top notch so don't let the gas station next door fool you. The Al's team makes fresh pizza dough and fluffy sub and dinner rolls that distinguish them from other businesses. They strive to use the freshest high-quality ingredients possible. Clear Spring is in Washington County and is home to many outdoor attractions including Whitetail Ski & Golf Resort.
This is the PERFECT spot for a day trip!! Plan your run or ride on the Western Maryland Rail Trail in Hancock, Md. and finish up with a stop at Buddy Lou's Eats, Drinks & Antiques! WOW, a pickle brined chicken sandwich topped with country fried ham and mustard will win the day. Relax with a glass of wine or cold mug of beer after browsing our three floors of unique antiques and fun decorating items, all at reasonable prices. From the very beginning, the owners knew this business was going to be something very special. The name of the restaurant (selected from the owners' dogs, Buddy and Lucy) fits in with the charming and personable atmosphere they created. Nicknamed Trail Town, Hancock is easy to get to and has plenty to do. Plan your trip today!
If you travel toward the historic city of Cumberland, Maryland on I-68 from either direction, you will see a mountain ahead in the distance that makes you question if the highway will go over it or around it. As you travel, you strain to see the roadway for your answer. Upon approach you will see that there is a cut in the mountain and you will have the scenic pleasure of not driving over it or around it, but driving through it. Opened in 1991, Interstate 68, known as the National Freeway, follows the Old National Road of the 1800's. It is the east-west tunnel and toll-free roadway linking western Maryland to northeast West Virginia and it just happens to go through Sideling Hill. Its cool looking but I don't recommend riding your bike there!
Those hills of Western Maryland have finally gotten to our team. Today is a rest day so no blog post today. Take some time to visit our SUPPORTERS page to see many of the amazing small businesses who have joined us for the Race Across Maryland. We will be back on the bike tomorrow!
I’ll take an ice cold bottle of that World Famous handcrafted Western Maryland Lemonade when I stop into Helmick's Grocery in Flintstone today during my ride across Maryland. We are still in Allegheny County which means hills, hills and more hills. You won't find Fred or Wilma in Flintstone, Md., but you will find Rocky Gap State Park (and casino!) Rocky Gap Park has a great 5 mile trail. The trail was well maintained and well marked. There were also lots of different spur trails off the main trail to keep multiple trips interesting. Probably not the best trails for biking but if you are looking for a wooded day trip to mix up the scenery, this may be just what you are looking for.
Curtis Famous Weiners, located in the older parts of downtown Cumberland has been serving good-old-fashioned hot dogs and burgers to the community since 1918 when it first opened. The classic restaurant has a vibe of simplicity which in no way takes away from the delicious taste of the fast food dishes which come at pocket-friendly prices. Geno is a third generation owner who says the Cumberland community has supported him greatly during the pandemic. Cumberland, the "Queen City," is the transportation crossroads of American history. It's at Canal Place where the C&O Canal Towpath ends and the Great Allegheny Passage begins. A great place to run, walk or ride! The city's central business district and pedestrian mall feature a lovely farmers' market, restaurants, galleries, and shops. Download a Cumberland Map
We have made our way up and down the mountains of Western Maryland and made a pit stop for a special treat! Ha Ha….betcha can’t guess who makes the best cheesesteak in the world? You’ve got it, D’Artis in LaVale, Md. There's nothing like’em nowhere! Nestled in scenic LaVale Maryland ( Only remaining toll gate on National Road in Maryland) , D’Atri Restaurant first opened its doors in 1971 when Robert D’Atri sought to supplement his income from the Kelly-Springfield tire plant by opening a small pizza shop in Cumberland. Surprisingly, rather than pizza, the crowd-pleaser turned out to be the family-recipe steak sub – a foot-long creation made with chopped rib-eye steak and lettuce flavored with the family’s blend of Italian seasonings. Now the steak sub has become a regional favorite; so much so that former residents often have sandwiches shipped to their homes! Now owned by D’Atri daughter Antoinette and her husband Scott, D’Atri’s Restaurant is continuing the family tradition of keeping the highest-quality food and service at prices everyone can afford.
Today’s stop is at the Princess Restaurant in Frostburg. For 80-years George Pappas and his wife Sheila have been dishing up all kinds of food from homemade candies to breakfast lunch and dinner. The Princess Restaurant is another of the great small businesses that we have in the ‘Free State’. So when in Frostburg, see for yourself. Lots of history and a small town feel. Frostburg is full of historic sites, just perfect for a day trip. Visit Downtown Frostburg and its many Olde Time churches, hotels and buildings. Then head over to the residential historic district. AND best of all, The Great Allegheny Passage Trailhead is a scenic rail trial that offers 150 miles of hiking and biking between Cumberland and Pittsburgh.
If it’s ice cream or homemade, award winning cheese you crave, meet us at the High Country Creamery & Market in Grantsville, Md. Still in Garrett Country and just a short drive from Deep Creek Lake off I-68. Its only 2 or 3 minutes off the highway and worth the trip. The beautiful red barn building houses a deli, ice cream shop, gift shop and a view-thru window into the cheese factory. The whole family will enjoy watching the award winning curds being made right before your eyes. The High Country Creamery is just one of those places where you walk in with a thought and walk out with a giant smile. GET DIRECTIONS
It is tradition in the cycling world when doing a coast to coast race to dip your tire in the water at each end. Well in Maryland the Western "shores" mean Deep Creek Lake! Today we start at the Honi Honi Bar the Ultimate destination at DCL.The Honi Honi is a family-friendly spot with happy-hour deals, live bands & casual American grub on a lakeside terrace. It has a great lake front green space with activities for young and old. A great spot where the kids can play while the adults chat and enjoy the views. A great spot for everyone. Be sure to check out our social media pages where we will be rewarding 10 Honi Honi gift certificates!
The first stop on the Race Across Maryland is in downtown Oakland. Candyland is a hidden gem and a great place to take the kids on a rainy day at the Lake. The feature over 900 varieties of candy sold one piece at a time, taking you back to the time when every town had a Penny Candy Shop. In addition to the candy they have a Farmer's Market element to their shop with fresh fruits and vegetables, variety of cheeses, apple butter, jellies, honey, flours, shelled nuts, trail mixes, Amish food products, plus lots more!!!
Day 1 of the Race Across Maryland tour. We start at Maryland's highest point, Hoye Crest on Backbone Mountain. Backbone Mountain is a ridge of the Allegheny Mountains of the central Appalachian Mountain Range. It is situated in both West Virginia and Maryland and forms a portion of the Eastern Continental Divide. In the state of Maryland, The location, named for Captain Charles Hoye, founder of the Garrett County Historical Society, reaches an elevation of 3,360 feet, making it Maryland's highest point.
We look forward to taking this journey with you. We are excited to see where we end up as we progress from west to east and what hidden gems we uncover. Let the tour begin!
Maryland is divided into two obvious sections by Chesapeake Bay. One section of Maryland lies to the east of Chesapeake Bay on the Delmarva Peninsula (
Name: Delaware, Maryland, Virginia ). This section of the state is referred to as the East Shore. The section of Maryland that lies to the west of Chesapeake Bay is referred to as the West Shore.
For the sake of the Course Blog, we will travel from West to East. Because who wants to ride uphill at the end of a 250 mile journey and not finish at the beach in July!!
Despite Maryland's small size, five major land areas define the landscape. Your virtual trek will hit all of them:
Appalachian Plateau: To the west of the Blue Ridge is the Appalachian Plateau. The Appalachian Plateau, in Maryland, covers a triangle of land in the westernmost portion of Maryland. The Allegheny Mountains cover most of this area. Deep valleys, cut into the plateau by rivers, characterize this heavily forested area.
Appalachian Ridge and Valley: The Maryland section of the Appalachian Ridge and Valley is the northern strip of land that separates West Virginia from Pennsylvania. The eastern part of the Appalachian Ridge and Valley is dominated by the Great Valley (Hagerstown Valley), supporting orchards and farmland. A landscape of northeast to southwest ridges lies to the west of the Great Valley. Elevations in this mostly forested area of Maryland reach almost 2,000 feet.
Blue Ridge Region: In Maryland, the Blue Ridge is represented by a narrow, mountainous section of land between the Piedmont and the Appalachian Ridge and Valley. This region, mostly over 1,000 feet, lies in northern Maryland near the Pennsylvania border. South Mountain and Catoctin Mountain are in the Blue Ridge Region of Maryland.
Piedmont: About 50 miles wide as it cuts across the state from the northeast through central Maryland, the Piedmont is marked by low rolling landscapes and fertile valleys. Two ridges, the Dug Hill Ridge (1,200 feet), near the Pennsylvania border and Pars Ridge (880 feet) run in a southwesterly direction through Maryland. Rivers and streams to the west of the ridges flow into the Potomac River. Rivers and streams to the east of the ridges flow into Chesapeake Bay. Frederick Valley, along the Monocacy River, to the east of the ridges is a rich dairy farming area.
Atlantic Coastal Plain: Maryland lies in an area some refer to as the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain. From the northeastern tip of Maryland, the plain extends south and west across Maryland almost to Washington, D.C. near the Virginia border. The plain is flat and low rising to around 400 feet on the West Shore. Marshy areas can be found on the East Shore, including the Pocomoke Swamp. The West Shore has been used for farming since colonial times, particularly for growing tobacco.