Mixing history with gallery hopping for a relaxing excursion.
Story by Julekha Dash
With a walkable downtown filled with parks and cultural attractions Western Maryland’s Hagerstown, about a 90-minute drive from Baltimore and Washington, D.C., is an ideal day trip. Stay the weekend to explore the historic sites, breweries and wineries that surround the seat of Washington County.
Arts aficionados can stroll the Hagerstown Cultural Trail, which is punctuated with murals and sculptures and links City Park with the downtown Arts & Entertainment District, where you will find the Historic Maryland Theatre, art galleries and restaurants.
City Park is dotted with museums, including the Hagerstown Railroad Museum & Engine 202, Mansion House Art Center and the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. The park also hosts summer concerts in the Peter Buys Band Shell.
In downtown Hagerstown you’ll find such significant African-American heritage sites as the 1879 Asbury United Methodist Church, the oldest African American church in Hagerstown. A historical marker recognizes the Harmon Hotel, which housed traveling African Americans during segregation.
History buffs will want to make the 30-minute ride south to Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg. Start at the visitor center, where you’ll find museum exhibits and an introductory film. Then listen to a park ranger recount the Battle of Antietam, a watershed Civil War battle.
On the way to Sharpsburg, make a detour to the charming and quaint canal town of Williamsport (stopping at Antietam Brewery to quaff a Hub City Copper Ale or Smash Pilsener). The C&O Canal National Historical Park is a great place to bike, hike or take a boat ride. After the exertion, head to Cushwa Brewing Company for an IPA or Berliner Weisse, a sour German-style beer.
You may also want to set aside an afternoon to visit five wineries located within 30 minutes of Hagerstown: Knob Hall Winery, Cool Ridge Vineyard, Red Heifer Winery, Big Cork Vineyards and Orchard Cellar Meadery & Winery. Nearly all offer live music and a country setting. Knob Hall in Clear Spring offers nearly two dozen varietals that you can taste in a 200-yearold barn. Red Heifer Winery in Smithsburg serves several sweet wines that are fun to sip while relaxing on the patio on a warm day.
Pack a picnic or pick up some charcuterie at Big Cork’s market to savor with a glass of petit verdot or syrah rose while soaking up the countryside on the covered patio.
Orchard Cellar in Middletown produces mead, the honey wine once favored by monks, as well as several reds, whites and rosés. Cool Ridge Vineyard, whose 2015 Cabernet Franc won the 2017 Maryland Comptrollers Cup Competition, offers tours and tastings by appointment.
Here are places to eat, drink, shop and sightsee in and around Hagerstown.
140 Western Maryland Parkway, Hagerstown
Sip the Otto’s Orchard Series or Freedom’s Porter, General’s Golden Ale in the tasting room or patio.
10212 Governor Lane Boulevard, #1012, Williamsport
Opened last year in the neighboring canal town of Williamsport, the brewery takes its name from the Cushwa Basin, where canal boats would turn around when the C&O canal was built.
Cool Ridge Vineyard
19638 Cool Hollow Road, Hagerstown
The award-winning white and red wines include chardonnay, gruner vetliner, cabernet franc and several blends. Tours and tastings are available by appointment only.
Knob Hall Winery
14108 St. Paul Road, Clear Spring
Located 12 miles northwest of Hagerstown, the winery’s varietals include chambourcin, malbec and viognier. Join the wine club for free tastings and discounts and check the calendar for their live music and festivals.
Big Cork Vineyards
4236 Main Street, Rohrersville
Enjoy fresh bread, cheeses and charcuterie from the grab-and-go food market while sipping wines in the sleek, contemporary tasting room or on the wraparound patio. Stay the night in the four-bedroom winery estate, which sleeps up to nine.
Red Heifer Winery
12840 Red Heifer Winery Lane,Smithsburg
The family owned, 56-acre winery serves sweet and dry wines, Check out the live music and happy hour specials.
Blue Mountain Wine Crafters
117 East Baltimore Street, Funkstown
Located just a few miles from downtown Hagerstown, this Funkstown boutique spot allows customers to make their own beer and wine.
Orchard Cellar Meadery and Winery
8546 Pete Wiles Road, Middletown
Try the Middletown establishment’s several varieties of honey wine, also known as mead.
28 South Potomac Street, Hagerstown
Located in a former 19th century warehouse with vaulted ceilings and wood floors, the downtown Hagerstown restaurant showcases local ingredients, beer and wine.
Dan’s Restaurant & Tap House
3 South Main Street, Boonsboro
The gastropub showcases local wine and beer, with 34 beers on draft.
Elmwood Farm Bed & Breakfast
16311 Kendle Road, Williamsport
Enjoy a farm stay in a restored 19th century residence while enjoying views of the surrounding mountains and gardens.
1 North Main Street, Boonsboro
Owned by best-selling romance novelist Nora Roberts, the inn houses eight rooms all named after literary couples, such as Elizabeth and Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. Unwind in the library or patio.
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
205 West Potomac Street, Williamsport
A great place for nature walks, riding bikes and boat rides along the canal.
Washington County Museum of Fine Arts
401 Museum Drive, Hagerstown
Housing an impressive collection of 19th and 20th century American and European art, the museum is located in a city park that the family can explore afterwards
Hagerstown Premium Outlets
495 Premium Outlets Boulevard, Hagerstown
You’ll find the usual chain outlet stores here, including Under Armour, Gap and Guess, as well as local finds like Persiano Gallery furniture store.
Weyira Olive Oil & Vinegar Tasting Gallery
1555 Potomac Avenue, Hagerstown
Enjoy a wide selection of olive oil, spices, vinegars, jams and other specialty foods.
Pennsylvania Dutch Market
1583 Potomac Avenue, Hagerstown
Featuring baked goods, meats and cheeses, you won’t leave the market hungry. It’s also a great place to buy quilts, candles and wood furniture.