By Bob Tagert
North to Frederick Maryland and Beyond
For our road trip this month we decided to visit Frederick, Maryland since we were already going there to attend the Frederick Craft Spirit Festival, which was organized by the Maryland Distillers Guild. Although it was a cool day with intermittent drizzle for the outdoor event, we decided to make the 60-mile drive anyway and it turned out to be a great decision.
Among the historic buildings and tree lined brick-paved sidewalks, visitors will find a bustling downtown. Frederick’s main streets are Market Street and the perpendicular Patrick Street. These are the prime areas for shopping and dining. East of downtown you can find Everedy Square and Shab Row, downtown Frederick’s largest cluster of specialty shops, eateries and services housed in beautifully restored 19th Century buildings.
After our spirit sipping and walk about and visit to the fantastic Visitors Center, we decided to discover the Monocacy River and its three covered bridges. We took Route 15 north out of Frederick and headed to Utica to pick up Old Frederick road. The Utica Mills Covered Bridge was 1.5 miles down the road and to the left. The bridge was built around 1850 and is located on Utica Road over Fishing Creek. The bridge originally spanned the nearby Monocacy River but was washed away during a severe storm in 1889. Local citizens gathered the remains and reconstructed the 101-foot long (the longest of the three) Burr arch truss bridge at its present location. In a futile attempt to find the other two covered bridges we found ourselves in the town of Thurmont where we spotted the sign for Thurmont Bar & Grill.
The light rain had pretty much stopped so I thought that we would drive over Catoctin Mountain. This was my only mistake of the trip. The roads are narrow and difficult to follow. After climbing to the top and realizing I was going the wrong way according to my compass, I decided to check phone GPS…no service. I backtracked and found another way back to Route 15. This wasn’t too bad because a few miles up the road was Springfield Manor Winery and Distillery. This place was beautiful. We took our time with a bottle of their Traminette, which was pretty good. Upon leaving I bought a bottle of their dark rum as I forgot to buy some at the festival.
For our return trip I decided to avoid the interstates and take the road less traveled, so we headed southwest on 15 for Point of Rocks along the Potomac. From there we just followed the river along Route 28. Each stretch of the road has its own name but they are all Route 28 taking you through the towns of Tuscarora, Dickerson, Beallsville, and Seneca and eventually brings you to I-270 before the merge with 495.
Even though the destinations were wonderful, the actual driving took us through a Frederick County of lush green pastures with horses grazing on the wet grass. Rolling farmland with folks out doing their mulching in the drizzle clad in rain gear. The drive along 28 was no less enjoyable. Not as much farmland but beautiful fields with large houses and the closer you get to I-270 these houses turned into mansions and then small hotels. The entire trip was only 175 miles (including getting lost) and well worth seeing where we really live. Treat yourself to a trek up north!