With so many things to do in and around Sharpsburg, it can be hard to fit everything into three days. To make your trip-planning a bit easier, we’ve put together the perfect Sharpsburg itinerary that’ll make you want to extend your stay. You’ll definitely want to make this an annual trip!
Day 1 in Sharpsburg
The first thing you need to do before heading out is fuel up. Indulge in our country-style breakfast which guests proclaim ‘will fill you up so you can slide right past lunch”. The first morning you can expect one of our specialties like a loaded veggie frittata or maybe a stack of lemon ricotta pancakes. The main course is always accompanied by a protein side such as our signature apple-maple sausage, thick-sliced bacon or cherry-wood smoked ham. After this breakfast experience, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running!
Your first day is dedicated to staying local and taking in the history. One of the best ways to experience the pristine Antietam National Battlefield is on a private tour with an Antietam Battlefield Guide. Your certified tour guide will lead you across the hallowed ground of Antietam so you can understand why it was a major turning point in the war.
After your tour, you will probably still be full from breakfast, but who doesn’t like something to snack on. Going to Nutter’s Ice Cream is a MUST while you’re staying at the Inn. With over 32 flavors of hand-dipped and soft served ice cream you will get a very generous portion for a ridiculously affordable price.
After your ice cream break head down the road to the Pry House Field Hospital Museum. The Philip Pry farmstead was an eyewitness to the Battle of Antietam. It was transformed from an army headquarters to a field hospital within 24 hours. Here you’ll see exhibits relating to the care of wounded, the effects on the civilian population in the area and the innovations in Civil War medicine, which continue to save lives today. To wrap up your day stop by the Washington County Rural Heritage Museum to learn about our local history. The museum takes you back to a time when the pace was a bit slower and life centered around the farm, family, and community. See what life was like in Washington County, MD prior to 1940.
Since we’re staying local today, you’ll have plenty of time to take a break back at the Inn before heading to dinner. This evening we recommend taking a short stroll down the street to Captain Bender’s Tavern. The tavern is our towns version of “Cheers”. Steve, the owner, and his crew make you feel at home. They have a great menu filled with appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees and specialty drinks (Be sure to try the Pickle Fries).
Day 2 in Sharpsburg
Your second Jacob Rohrbach Inn breakfast will be a whole new adventure as different entrees are served every day. If you enjoyed a sweet breakfast your first day, you will get a savory one on your second, and vice versa. Alongside our freshly baked scones and fruit course you might be served a Cheesy Egg Scramble or some Caramelized French Toast. You’ll have a selection of juices to choose from so you’ll always have a different experience!
For Day 2, we’re heading to West Virginia! (Don’t worry it’s just three miles away.) First, lets head down to Harpers Ferry. The Harpers Ferry National Historic Park is located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. Taking a stroll along the picturesque streets of Harpers Ferry is like stepping into the past. The Lower Town offers a number of museums, exhibits and historic sites for visitors to see with quaint little shops and restaurants located nearby. You’ll definitely work up an appetite walking around Harpers Ferry so stop at the Anvil Restaurant. The Anvil is a cozy outpost specializing in crab dip, onion soup & other hearty dishes in a low-key setting. Head back up to Shepherdstown for a little more sidewalk shopping. Shepherdstown is the oldest town in West Virginia and is filled with boutiques and specialty stores like O’Hurley’s General Store, Four Seasons Books and Grapes & Grains Gourmet.
There are a surprising number of dining choices in Shepherdstown for Day 2. Whether it’s casual, ethnic, cosmopolitan or locally grown fare you are sure to find something for your taste and budget. For our two favorites, you can choose a farm to table dinner at Domestic, or upscale contemporary American dishes at The Press Room.
Day 3 in Sharpsburg
After a great night’s rest and another wonderful breakfast, you’re ready to venture out on Day 3 of your vacation. Today you’ll take a break from all of the hustle and bustle of the history and shopping and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. Rent a couple of bikes at the Inn and enjoy the morning biking the C&O Canal. This scenic tree-lined path will lead you past historic ruins, cliffs and caves along the Potomac River. Shady biking conditions make this trip a great option for those hot summer days. In the fall the trail becomes radiant with the colors of changing leaves. Pick up a picnic lunch and head up to South Mountain to hit the Appalachian Trail. Whether you’re looking for some scenic beauty and wildlife, a taste of history, or a little exercise, the A.T. offers all these things and much more. Two ideal spots for your picnic on the trail are at the Washington Monument State Park or the Gathland State Park.
Wrap up your afternoon by taking a break at our newest winery – Antietam Creek Vineyards! This 55-acre farm is adjacent to the Antietam National Battlefield and the grapes are grown, processed, aged, and blended at the vineyard. Be sure to say hello to Joan & George (the owners) and enjoy your wine tasting.
For your final night treat yourself to some fine dinning. Old South Mountain Inn is a beautiful, historic restaurant poised atop South Mountain at Turner’s Gap. Specializing in Prime Rib, Beef Wellington and Fresh Seafood Old South Mountain provides the perfect dining experience for celebrating special occasions or to just enjoy a nice evening out. Another fine dining choice is the Bavarian Inn, known for its German cuisine and American fare. The Bavarian sits overlooking the Potomac River at Shepherdstown and offers both a formal dining experience in the Greystone Manor or a more casual atmosphere in the Rathskeller.
If you still have energy for one more activity that evening take a Sharpsburg Civil War Ghost Tour. These tours are based on the lives of Sharpsburg citizens who lived through the Battle of Antietam. Mark and Julia Brugh will take you through the Confederate Soldiers’ Passageway or the Children’s Alley as they explain the ghostly images that still linger in the town, possibly remnants of souls who never crossed over.
In between all of these local excursions, you’ll need to rest and recharge. This is essential because you’ll need the energy! Enjoy the tranquility of relaxing on your porch, listening to the chirping birds and enjoy the views of the gardens.
The Jacob Rohrbach Inn is an 1800s-era restored Inn and the only one in Sharpsburg. Make your stay a memorable one with the Jacob Rohrbach Inn and plan your small town getaway today!
If you’re looking for a great local restaurant near the Inn with AMAZING food then Captain Bender’s is the place.
About Captain Bender’s Tavern
Raleigh Bender was born in Sharpsburg in 1873. Like many townsfolk in Sharpsburg, Raleigh worked on the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal and would become the captain of Canal Boat No. 1. Bender held several records during his time working on the canal. He had also worked the longest on the canal, over 36 years; he “held the record of 62 hours for the fastest time for an unloaded boat from Georgetown to Cumberland; and brought the last load of coal from Cumberland through the Paw Paw Tunnel”. In 1936, Raleigh opened Bender’s Tavern on Main Street in Sharpsburg and “reportedly told many stories about the canal and town”. Since that time Captain Bender’s Tavern “has fed the hungry, quenched the thirsty, and served loyally, the historic community of Sharpsburg”.
Today, Captain Bender’s Tavern is owned and operated by Steve Kemmett. Steve wanted the tavern “to be a fun place, a place where everybody can hang out and have fun” so in 2010 he began remodeling. Steve turned the tavern into our towns version of “Cheers” (the 1980s sitcom where ‘everybody knows your name’). He said he wanted “a place where customers can feel at home and feel welcome.”
The natural wood wainscoting, a tin ceiling and a long bar sets the atmosphere of a comfortable inviting pub. The inside restaurant and bar area seat about 50 guests with an added 30-seat beer garden in the rear for outdoor dining and drinking in warmer weather. Steve also added a dart tournament area and pool room for the Tavern Dart and Pool teams.
Unique Menu Items at Captain Bender’s Tavern
Captain Bender’s has a great menu filled with appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees and speciality drinks. We have tried almost everything on the menu, but here are a few of our favorites…
For starters you have to try the Pickle Fries. If you have never had these you’re in for a treat, cut like french fries they stay really crispy and are served with a zesty dipping sauce. If pickles aren’t your thing, then go for the Hog Wings. Yep that’s right, Hog Wings. Tender pieces of pork smothered in your choice of wing sauce. YUMMY! Everyday there is a new soup du jour, our top picks are the cream of crab and the french onion soup.
The Hub City Salad is chopped romaine, garden vegetables, bacon and shredded cheese topped with a blackened chicken breast. This is served with Steve’s own amazing honey/lime/pistachio dressing.
One of our ‘go to’ menu items is the Fish & Chips. This freshly beer battered Tilapia is flash fried and served with coleslaw and some of the best seasoned hand-cut fries we’ve ever had.
If your hungry for a burger, and I mean HUNGRY, you need to order The Monument – Tower of Death
Not one, not two, but three 8 ounce Black Angus burger patties stacked high on a Ciabatta roll with lettuce and tomato. Then it is layered with chili, cheese, death sauce, fried pickles, onion rings and spicy dipping sauce. To top it off it is served with a dill pickle spear and cheese fries topped with bacon and sour cream. The best part is, IF you finish it all in 30 minutes, it’s FREE!
While visiting this area and staying at the Inn, we highly recommend stopping in Captain Bender’s. If you’re able to plan your stay when Steve and his culinary crew are hosting one of their Speciality Dinners you’re definitely in for an incredible treat. These ticketed events feature a four course dinner paired with some of the finest local wines or spirits.
Walking from the Inn the tavern is just a block past the Town Square on the left. Driving, Captain Bender’s is along Main Street or MD Route 34. Parking is available along the street or in a parking lot off N. Mechanic Street. (Click here for Google Maps)
Captain Benders Tavern
111 E. Main Street
Weekly Events & Specials
On Saturday nights you can stay out for LIVE music or karaoke at Bender’s and if you plan to take a ghost tour with the Sharpsburg Civil War Ghost Tours, your tour begins and ends at the tavern.
Monday night – Flagship Trivia
Tuesday night – Crab Cake Dinner: 5 oz Lump Crab Cake served with choice of 2 sides.
Wednesday night – AYCE Wings and Narragansett drafts or Baltimore Martini’s
Friday night – Prime Rib Dinner Special
Saturday night – dinner specials
Sunday all day – Build your burger