During your visit to the Jacob Rohrbach Inn there are so many things to do, see, and experience. Here are our Top 25 Things to Do within 25 minutes of the Inn.
1. Take a guided tour of Antietam National Battlefield – One of the best ways to experience the pristine Antietam National Battlefield is on a private tour with a National Park Service certified guide. The Antietam Battlefield Guides will lead you across the hallowed ground of Antietam so you understand why it was a major turning point in the war. They can also take you on a campaign tour which includes Harpers Ferry, South Mountain, Shepherdstown and other off the beaten path locations.
2. Tube the Antietam – Enjoy the day with a relaxing float down the Antietam Creek. Travel from the Devil’s Backbone and down past the Burnside Bridge and you’ll meander by some scenic farms, historic buildings and then drift under the old stone arched bridges of the Antietam.
3. Go Antiquing – If you’re looking for that rare, unique or special item than we have a few places to search. Try the Boonsboro Antiques, Memory Lane Antiques & Collectibles, Valley Antique & Uniques, The Olde Homestead and Beaver Creek Antique Market.
4. Take in Dinner and a Show at the Washington County Playhouse – Year-round you can experience a Broadway-style show or musical comedy with a buffet dinner at the Playhouse. A great place for ‘Date Night’.
5. Spend the day at Harpers Ferry – At the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, a walk through Harpers Ferry is like stepping into the past. Take a stroll along the picturesque streets, visit exhibits and museums, or hike the trails and battlefields.
6. Explore the Crystal Grottoes Caverns – The caverns offer a beautiful display of natural rock formations. Take the guided tour to learn about the cavern’s history and geology.
7. Learn about regional history at the Washington County Rural Heritage Museum – Stop by the museum during your weekend stay and travel 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.
8. Bike the C&O – This 185 mile path follows the Potomac River from Georgetown DC to Cumberland MD. Here the terrain is gentle, and along the scenic tree-lined path you will find historic ruins, cliffs and caves, and some good riverside picnic spots. 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. Rent your bikes at the Inn and enjoy the day biking the canal.
9. Visit Fort Frederick – Built in 1756 to protect settlers during the French and Indian War, the fort host a number of interpretive programs and events throughout the year. The park is a great place for an afternoon picnic and hike along the C & O Canal.
10. Stop by the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts – Located in historic City Park in Hagerstown, the museum has over 7,000 works of art. The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts has been recognized as one of the finest small museums in the nation.
11. Explore Area Dining – Enjoy casual pub fare at Captain Benders Tavern, sit down with a farm to table dinner at Domestic, delight in upscale contemporary American dishes at The Press Room, or savor fine dining at Old South Mountain Inn. These are just a few of the many dining choices in the surrounding area. You will be sure to find a new ‘favorite’ restaurant during your stay!
12. Visit Gathland State Park – The park is located on the site of the Civil War Battle of South Mountain and was once the mountain home of George Alfred Townsend, a Civil War journalist. Two of the structures serve as a museum, one to Townsend and the other to the Civil War. The park is a great place for picnicking and hiking along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail which traverses the park and passes the monument base.
13. Go Horseback Riding with Elk Mountain Trails – Take a relaxing horse ride on the trails near historic Harpers Ferry, down on the banks of the Potomac River and along the C & O Canal. Plan ahead and sign up for their romantic Potomac River Moonlight Dinner Ride. After riding along the canal you’ll stop and have dinner around the campfire watching a full moon rise over the valley.
14. Eat Fresh and Buy Local at a Farmer’s Market – Shepherdstown has two Farmers’ Markets; Morgan’s Grove and Shepherdstown Farmers Market. Operating every weekend from early spring to early winter, they provide visitors with ample opportunities to engage in the local food and craft experience. Boonsboro also has two Farmer’s Markets, providing a variety of local fare. Boonsboro Farmers Market has great community and farming support offering ‘no spray’ fruits, grass fed meats and cheeses and vegan breads. For over 90 years the Cronise family at the Cronise Market Place has provided the freshest local fruits and vegetables, as well as gorgeous flowers, plants, decor and sweets.
15. Hike the A.T. – The Appalachian Trail in Maryland follows the ridgeline of South Mountain and you can access the trail at the Washington Monument State Park or from Gathland State Park. 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.
16. Go shopping at the Premium Outlets – If shopping is on your list of things to do during your stay, then stop by the Premium Outlets. Retailers range from jewelry to women’s apparel to sporting goods, with over 100 designer and name brand outlet stores including Banana Republic, Coach, Guess, Kate Spade New York, Tommy Hilfiger, Under Armour and more.
17. Enjoy Nutter’s Ice Cream – A stop at 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 generous portion for a very affordable price. Be sure to go there hungry!
18. Take a Sharpsburg Civil War Ghost Tour – The best attraction in town, next to the battlefield, is the Sharpsburg Civil War Ghost Tour. Based on of 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.
19. Go rafting with River & Trails Outfitters or River Riders – Experienced guides will take you on an exciting trip down Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, where Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia come together. As you’re splashing through the white water rapids you’ll see some of the most breathtaking scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
20. Take the Antietam Highlands Wine Trail – Enjoy the day driving through the rolling hills of the Antietam Valley to each vineyard, like BIG Cork Vineyards or Orchid Cellar Meadery and Winery . Don’t forget about visiting our favorite cidery; Distillery Lane Ciderworks. Sample their cider, pick your own apples or take a tour of the orchard. Be sure to stop by Sharpsburg’s newest vineyard – Antietam Creek Vineyards, located right at the edge of the Battlefield.
21. See Washington Monument State Park – Located atop South Mountain, Washington Monument State Park is named for the first completed monument dedicated to the memory of George Washington. Initially erected by the citizens of Boonsboro in 1827, the rugged stone tower provides a magnificent vista to the valley below.
22. Witness the aftermath of the Battle of Antietam at the Pry House Field Hospital Museum – The Philip Pry farmstead would be transformed from an army headquarters to a field hospital within 24 hours. See exhibits relating to the care of wounded, the effects on the civilian population in the area and the innovations of Civil War medicine, which continue to save lives today.
23. Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races is the place for a total entertainment experience, practically in our own backyard! Hollywood Casino has exciting Vegas-style casino gaming, first-class entertainment that is up close and personal, and live thoroughbred racing. Before heading back to the Inn, Hollywood has five restaurants that offer a variety of cuisine that is sure to satisfy.
24. Discover Discovery Station – This is a great stop for families. How can you go wrong with dinosaurs, Lego’s and airplanes… this hands-on museum allows youngsters to discover, explore, and investigate a wide variety of exhibits and programs that stimulate their curiosity and create lasting experiences.
25. Just relax at the Inn. After experiencing the first 24 activities on this list, you will be sure to appreciate the tranquility of relaxing on your porch, listening to the chirping birds and enjoying the views of the gardens.
Find Your Park
This month we continue our Find Your Park in our backyard series, featuring the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, better known as the Appalachian Trail or just the A.T. by passionate hikers. The Appalachian Trail is a footpath that spans over 2,100 miles across of Appalachian Mountain Range from Georgia to Maine.
Almost 40 miles of the A.T. is right here in Maryland, and you can access it not far from the Inn. This tract follows the ridge line of South Mountain from Harpers Ferry, West Virginia to Pen Mar Park at the Mason-Dixon Line in Cascade, MD. You will find some of the most impressive scenery in the state here.
The trail was first conceived in 1921 by a Harvard-educated forester named Benton MacKaye. His revolutionary idea was to create a linear park, or a retreat from urban life, in a wilderness belt extending from Maine to Georgia. Within a few years the Appalachian Trail Conservancy would be created and with the help of thousands of volunteers from hiking clubs, federal agencies and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the A.T. became reality in 1937. Today the trail is managed by the National Park Service, the US Forest Service, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, numerous state agencies and thousands of volunteers.
Every year in the spring hundreds of people begin their “thru-hike” of the trail, meaning they hike the entire length of the trail in one season…. all 2,1oo plus miles! This endeavor takes four to six months, incredible stamina and a lot of planning. If you’re not ready for a “thru-hike” than our little piece of the trail is perfect for a day hike, a weekend backpacking trip or a scenic nature walk. The 40 miles located in Maryland is fairly easy to hike in comparison to the rest of the A.T. There are some rocky areas, a few steep climbs and the elevation change is just 1650 feet from the Potomac River with an elevation of 250′ to High Point at 1900′.
For the weekend backpacker there are several shelters and campsites spaced out along the trail about a day’s hike apart. If you are staying at the Inn and you want to get out for a great day-hike we have three recommended hikes: Greenbrier State Park to Annapolis Rock, from Greenbrier to Washington Monument State Park, and from Gathland State Park to Weverton Cliffs.
For the nature lover in each of us, the trail is home to thousands of species of plants and animals. These state parks are an excellent place to put-in on the trail and see all the flora and fauna that Maryland has to offer.
Some points of interest while on these hikes are:
- At Gathland State Park, you’ll find the War Correspondents Arch, a 50-foot-tall monument that honors Civil War correspondents.
- At the Washington Monument State Park, you’ll find the first monument dedicated to George Washington. This stone tower was built in 1827 by the residents of Boonsboro and offers great views to the east and west.
- Annapolis Rock is one of the most popular stops along the trail. On a clear day, the views from this lookout are spectacular. Annapolis Rock offers a vista of Greenbrier Lake and the Cumberland Valley.
- Finally, just before descending down the trail to the C & O Canal Towpath, Weverton Cliffs provides a beautiful 180 degree view of the Potomac River, with Harpers Ferry visible in the distance.
So whether you’re looking for some scenic beauty and wildlife, a taste of history, a little exercise, or just wanting to get away from it all, the A.T. offers all these things and much more.
Now get out and Find Your Park – Visit the Appalachian Trail!