The pooch nosed open the door and proclaimed that it was time for his morning walk, and before I could wipe the sleep out of my eyes Glinda topped that with the announcement that we should head out on a road trip. Just like that our house became a beehive of activity while we packed, showered and chose a destination. Glinda had read an article that named 6 places to visit close to DC, so she asked me to pick a number between 1 and 6 and away we went. Chance had picked our destination and it was Frederick County, Maryland.
On the Trail:
Uncertain of what all Frederick had to offer our first destination was the visitor center office; that was an excellent call on Glinda’s part. Inside I met Melinda, who not only was a ball of smiles, but was full of helpful information about not only the town but the county. She feed our appetite for information with brochures and maps that she customized for our recommendations. She also let us know we had just entered a bastion for travelers with dogs in tow; all we needed to do was look for the bone icon in the window. The added bonus for hitting the visitor’s center on the weekend was the free parking. With all the necessary supplies in the backpack and the map in hand we set out to tour the town. First priority was breakfast.
Beans & Bagels: We were looking for something pretty simple and that wouldn’t eat up a bunch of time, no pun intended. We came across a pretty popular coffee shop that had breakfast sandwiches, which seemed to align with our needs perfectly. We both went for croissant with egg, cheese and bacon. I think the mistake was not asking for the croissant to be toasted or at least warmed; cold bread and warm ingredients did not hit the spot. The man at the counter was very pleasant and knew his menu, so the ordering process was simple and swift. The wait time felt about right for a breakfast sandwich and the tea was hot. I would be willing to give them another try but I wouldn’t order the same thing.
Back on the Trail:
We were walking a sort of loop that took us past several of Frederick’s historic highlights. Including John Hanson’s House (for those of you interested in the Articles of Confederation), Barbara Fritchie’s House, City Hall, All Saints Episcopal Church, Winchester Hall and the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. Unfortunately the Civil War Museum was not dog friendly, so we will have to go back another day to try that one out. We made a quick stop in Baker Park to let Hobee stretch his legs and get a drink of water. I have to say I was very impressed with the facility, a truly well thought out design led to lots of open space for all kinds of activities. As we started to wrap up the historical loop, my mind kept going back to something Melinda had told us about. I was anxious to get back to the car and take our trip to the next level, but we had one last pit stop. Mount Olivet Cemetery is the final resting place for Francis Scott Key the author of our national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner”. His monument is well done and there is even a button that can be pressed on his information board that will play the anthem for you while you observe the monument.
Hunting Covered Bridges:
I am not sure why, but I was downright excited to go hunting for covered bridges. Melinda told us about a drive that would take us past three different covered bridges. You could do a loop from the visitor’s center that accounted for less than 35 miles total. It was a beautiful day and we put the back windows down so Hobee could keep an eye out for cows; for some reason he has a strange fascination with them. We took the 15 out of Frederick and forked onto Old Frederick Rd. While cruising down Old Frederick Rd, we blew right by the first one, it’s actually off of Utica Rd, but it can be seen from Old Frederick. We pulled into to survey the first specimen. It was a classic red beauty and the house next to it was darn near picture perfect. Fresh cut grass was lofting through the air as one of the nearby fields was being mowed. The stream it crossed over was running and looked very inviting. We snapped of a few pics and then started the search for the next one.
Now that we were on red alert and aware that the bridges might not be directly off the main road we were scouring our surroundings looking for any hints. I spotted a sign indicating a single lane bridge was ahead and immediately took the road to investigate. What we found could be classified as maybe a modern take on the covered bridge. I stole a quick photo and we continued on our quest.
Back on Old Frederick Road we drove until we came to MD 550 and at that point you are forced to jog left. After about a half mile you can return to Old Frederick with a right which will usher you into Loys Station Park. The park presents an excellent setting for a picnic if someone was planning ahead, large shade trees and picnic tables were scattered around. Kids and grownups alike were playing in the gentle running stream that meandered underneath the second covered bridge. Got a few nice shots in and then Hobee and I tested the water temp; it was just right. Back in the car and onto the third and final bridge.
We continued thru the bridge on Old Frederick and made at left onto MD 77. At a little shy of 3 miles we took a right onto Apples Church Road, which would later become Roddy Road and take us straight into the Roddy Road Covered Bridge. Dense trees flanked this bridge and the stream was deeper and not as easily accessible as it was at Loys Station Park. I could see fish from the retaining wall opposite of the dirt parking area for this bridge. The Roddy Road Covered Bridge was quaint and certainly the shortest of the three. Glinda, Hobee and I took several photos and then decided it was time for some lunch.
Friscos Restaurant: Not the easiest restaurant to find, it feels like you are driving into an industrial park, but it is well worth it. Glinda would make the pilgrimage here for their exploded potatoes alone; order extra and take some to go, she swears they are even better the next day. I call this a buddy place, as the sandwiches are big enough that you could bring a buddy and share and not have to worry about being hungry afterwards. On top of the sandwiches there are the baked or exploded potatoes, salads and a variety of grilled delights. Oh, and don’t forget the desserts, super tasty. Plus there is a little store attached to allow you to stock up a number of things, including quite the wine section. You will certainly be full and no doubt satisfied with the food and the service. And a special note for dog lovers, Hobee was allowed to join us on the patio.
The Journey Home:
We decided to take another route home which took us by the town of Point of Rocks. There is a remarkable train station that was built in 1873 and largely remains as it was. Originally it was used for the B&O Railroad and is now serviced by the MARC, a local commuter line, out of Baltimore. For our last stop of the day we hit the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Park that lies alongside the Potomac River in Point of Rocks. It is a very nice wooded area with boat ramp access to the river. There is also a trail that takes you down the old towpath for the railroad. If you go under the bridge and down at little ways you will come across the C&O Canal Lock 28 and Lockkeeper’s House. We were on our way to do just that when I spotted a tunnel and I got distracted; much like a dog with a squirrel. After a few minutes of photos we headed back towards the boat ramp to grab one last shot and then we hit the open road back home.
Covered Bridge Tour: For more detailed driving directions of the covered bridge tour check out Frederick County’s website here.
Beans & Bagels: 49 E Patrick St, Frederick, MD 21701. Website.
Friscos Restaurant: 4632 Wedgewood Blvd, Frederick, MD 21703. Website.