2012 Insiderâ€™s Guide To
Featuring unique day and overnight experiences near Harpers Ferry, Antietam Battlefield, Frederick, MD & Loudoun County, VA
Unwind on Historic Antietam Creek Finish With A Gourmet Ice cream Treat!
Lose track of time as you float on your tube, down the waves & riffles of historic Antietam Creek. A scenic stream that winds its way through a canopy of trees, Antietam features stone arch bridges and some of the area’s best wildlife viewing, including turtles, kingfishers, and wood ducks. On this family-friendly tubing adventure, you’ll float through a cornerstone of our nation’s history, listening as River & Trail’s professional guides share their stories of the Civil War. At lunch time, guides will serve you a creek-side picnic, while you relax and unwind in a meadow Julie Andrew’s would love. After the trip, take your car for a 15 minute leisurely drive on scenic back roads that lead you to Sharpsburg, MD - a sleepy Civil War-era town. Get your fill of Nutter’s hand-dipped ice cream – watch out for the Java Chunk, it’s deadly delicious!
Make it an Overnight Stay Be charmed by the area’s Bed & Breakfasts in Sharpsburg, MD $$$$ or cross the Potomac into Shepherdstown, WV, only 15 min away from Sharpsburg. There you can stay in the alpine style Bavarian Inn $$$$, overlooking the Potomac River or the Day’s Inn $$$+. For a morning treat, head into Sharpsburg and enjoy the fresh baked breads & goodies of Burkholder’s Bakery, our local take-it-to-go Mennonite kitchen. Spend a half day visiting Antietam National Battlefield just outside of Sharpsburg, MD or head to Prime Outlets to shop till you drop in nearby Hagerstown, MD.
Activities: Antietam Tubing with picnic lunch $$ River & Trail Outfitters 301-834-9950 Nutter’s Ice Cream $ 100 East Main Street Sharpsburg, MD 21782, open 1-9pm Burkholder’s Bakery $ 106 High Street Sharpsburg, MD (not open on Sundays)
Season: June-mid September Trip Duration: Full Day – starting at 10:45am
Starting Location: Meet at River &
Trail Outfitters or Camp Manidokan in Knoxville, MD
Ages: 7 yrs old and 50 lbs & older Lodging Options: Sharpsburg, MD: Bed & Breakfasts
Shepherdstown, WV: Hotels/Motels, Bed & Breakfasts Closest camping 20-30 minutes away
Effort Level: Easy
Easy / INT
The Best of Harpers Ferry
“Worth a Voyage Across The Atlantic”
Looking for an ideal get away to Harpers Ferry? Start your day off riding the rapids in the fresh air of Appalachia on an entry level whitewater rafting trip on the Shenandoah or Potomac Rivers. River & Trail Outfitters, the area’s first outfitter, offers this half day adventure including a guide in each raft to help navigate the river and tell tales of local history. The trip includes a picnic along the river’s edge, where you might see Canada geese, great blue herons, and yes, maybe even a bald eagle! For a more challenging paddling option, try out solo inflatable kayaks called thrill kats! After your rafting trip, drive three miles to spend 2-3 hours in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. The cost is $10/car to park. Step back in history with a visit to this quaint, renovated Civil War town. As you stroll the streets of their European-style village, stop in and visit their exhibits on African American history and the legendary John Brown. With a bag of Aunt Irene’s fudge in hand, make the short trek up to Jefferson Rock, leading to a view Thomas Jefferson said was “Worth a voyage across the Atlantic.” In the evening, turn the FRIGHT ON with a Harpers Ferry Ghost Tour, starting at 8pm sharp. Before your tour, enjoy a fresh dinner made with local ingredients at the 1820s Canal House, open Thurs-Mon until 9pm. Make sure to use the bathrooms before you go, as none will be available before, after, or during the ghost tour.
Activities: Guided rafting trip with picnic lunch $$ River & Trail Outfitters 301-834-9950 Harper’s Ferry National Park $10 for parking Open 8am-5pm Harper’s Ferry Ghost Tour $ 8pm, call 732-801-0381, 304-725-8019 & reserve, under 8 yrs old free
Make it an Overnight Stay Drop into a comfortable bed in the hotel closest to Harpers Ferry, WV, the Econo Lodge $$$ or enjoy one of Harper’s Ferry’s Bed & Breakfasts. In the morning, fuel your feet with a hot breakfast from Country Cafe on main street Bolivar. Afterwards, drive 10 minutes to hike to Weverton Cliffs on the Appalachian Trail. This 1.5-2 hour hike features wide-looped switch backs among towering trees and culminates in a spectacular view of the Potomac River! If biking is more your speed, rent a cruiser bike from River & Trail Outfitters and enjoy traveling the shady C&O Canal. Bike rentals are by the half day or day.
Season: Mid March-October Trip Duration: Full Day – Half day
rafting, half day touring Harpers Ferry, optional evening Ghost Tour.
Starting Location: Meet at River
& Trail Outfitters 604 Valley Road Knoxville, MD 21758
Ages: 7 yrs old (50 lbs) & up (up to
parent discretion for the Ghost tour)
Lodging Options: Harpers Ferry,
WV: Hotel/Motel, Bed & Breakfast, Camping
Effort Level: Easy-intermediate
(depending on water levels). Higher levels in April-mid June, lower levels in July-Nov.
MOD / INT
Views, Tubes, and Slots Let The Good Times Roll!
Make it an Overnight Stay After a late night at the races, The Hampton Inn $$$$ in Charles Town, serves as the perfect oasis just across the street from Charles Town Races & Slots*. Mention you went tubing with River & Trail Outfitters and receive a 10% discount. *Makes for a great bachelor/bachelorette party!
Work up a sweat on this 2 hour hike to Maryland Heights; featuring a jaw-dropping view of 2 rivers merging and the mountains of 3 states converging. After getting your exercise in for the day, it’s time to kick back and chill! Drive 3 miles up a winding country road to meet for your 1-2 hr self-guided whitewater tubing trip. Tubers will enjoy riding the waves and riffles of one of the most scenic stretches of the Potomac, including “White Horse” rapid, which attempts to buck you off your tube! To top off this day of adventure, head to Charles Town Races & Slots for a night full of horse racing and gambling fun. Live horse races take place Wed-Sun (May-around October) Tues-Sat (November-April), post time 7:15pm.
Activities: Climbing Maryland Heights – guided hike is available for groups of 10 or more Whitewater Tubing $$ River & Trail Outfitters, up to $4 off by booking on-line at least 2 days in advance, or call 301-834-9950 Bike rentals C&O Canal $$ River & Trail Outfitters. Book on-line with 2 days notice or call 301-834-9950
If camping is more your style, set your tent up earlier in the day at the Brunswick Family Campground, located 15-20 minutes from Charles Town Races & Slots. Tent and RV sites are located right on the Potomac River and the C&O Canal, offering excellent opportunities for fishing, bird-watching, & boating. Sleep in the next morning, have a leisurely breakfast, and rent cruiser bikes to cruise the C&O Canal to Harpers Ferry directly from the campground.
Season: Memorial Day Weekend (May) - September Trip Duration: Full Day or as you wish. Afternoon Whitewater Tubing Times 1pm & 2:30pm
Starting Location: Maryland Heights
(limited parking in pull-offs just a few miles past Sandy Hook, MD on Sandy Hook Rd). Arrive early, around 8-10am. Otherwise parking is pay parking in the town of Harpers Ferry, WV, 5 miles away, riding a shuttle bus, and hiking across a pedestrian bridge and up the C&O Canal to reach the trail.
Ages: 12 yrs old and 90 lbs & up Must be 21 & older to gamble in WV. Kids allowed with parents ONLY on the racing side of the casino. Lodging Options: Charles Town, WV: Hotel/Motel, Bed & Breakfasts
Effort Level: Moderate/Intermediate – hiking has strenuous uphill sections, must be in good physical condition, be able to swim and self-rescue for whitewater tubing
Affordable Family Fun In & Around Harpers Ferry
Looking for a great day of hands-on fun and relaxation for your family? Arrive late morning to enjoy a mellow water tubing trip among the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains on the Shenandoah River. After your trip, a variety of kayaks and canoes are available for you to “park and paddle” on the wide, almost lake-like setting of the Shenandoah River. Once you’ve changed into dry clothes, head over to Harpers Ferry National Park to see the attractions best-loved by kids, including the short trek to Jefferson Rock and the John Brown Wax Museum. If it’s a spacious place to play you’re after, head to Bolivar Heights, the Civil War battlefield where Stonewall Jackson positioned his cannons “to drive the enemy into extinction.” Easy hiking trails and cannons on display for your walk. Just 1/2 mile further down Bakerton Rd., visit the Harpers Ferry’s Toy Train Museum, featuring a vintage 1950s Joy Line miniature train that your kids will love riding in while whistling and chugging their way around the track.
Make it an Overnight Stay For a unique overnight only 15-20 minutes from Harpers Ferry, camp out at Maple Tree Campground in their unique tree houses and tree cottages. Two night minimum stay is required for weekends. To book the summer months on weekends, make reservations for tree houses & cottages 2-3 months in advance.
Activities: Tubing on the Shenandoah $-$$ River & Trail Outfitters, $1 off by booking on-line at least 2 days in advance, or call 301-834-9950 Tubing with Kayaking/Canoeing (Park and Paddle) Combo $$ (save $10/person by booking this combo) Bolivar Heights (Free) Harpers Ferry, WV Harpers Ferry Toy Train Museum $ Bakerton Rd, Harpers Ferry, WV
Season: Memorial Day Weekend (May) - September
Trip Duration: Half Day to Full Day Starting Location: meet at River & Trail Outfitters 604 Valley Road Knoxville, MD 21758
Ages: 4 yrs old (must be 50 lbs or bring own lifevest) & up
Lodging Options: Charles Town, WV: Hotel/Motel, Bed & Breakfasts
Harpers Ferry, WV: Hotel/Motel, Bed & Breakfasts, Camping
Effort Level: Easy
Potomac River Views Bikes, Boats, and Beans
Bike the C&O Canal from Brunswick to Harpers Ferry and back (about 6 miles each way), one of the most scenic stretches on this 185 mile canal stretching from Cumberland to Georgetown. For lunch, pack a picnic or lock up your bike at Harpers Ferry at the bike rack just under the bridge, then traverse the pedestrian bridge across the Potomac, and enjoy a casual lunch at one of the small restaurants in Harpers Ferry. Stroll the streets of yesteryear, visiting the wall that marks the numerous historic floods the town has seen. After pedaling leisurely back to Brunswick, explore the main street of the sleepy railroad town. Stop for dinner or a snack at Beans in the Belfry in Brunswick, MD (a renovated “church-turned-café”) featuring homemade sandwiches & desserts, comfy couches & quirky décor. As the sun begins its descent in the sky, canoe or kayak on the Potomac and witness the wildlife of the evening river as the sun sets and the full moon rises on a Sunset/ Full Moon tour about 15 minutes from Brunswick.
Activities: Biking on the C&O Canal $ Sunset/Full Moon Kayak Tour $$ River & Trail Outfitters, or call 301-834-9950 Beans in the Belfry $ 122 West Potomac Street Brunswick, MD
Make it an Overnight Stay Camp out at Brunswick Campground in Brunswick, Maryland, bordered by the Potomac River on one side & the C&O Canal on the other, perfect for the outdoor enthusiast looking to be by both rivers and trails. For those sensitive to noise, wear earplugs or bring your I-pod. The campground is located near the train tracks that border the C&O Canal and sounds of trains break the silence. Spend a night at the Econo Lodge in Harpers Ferry WV, the closest hotel to Harpers Ferry National Park.
Season: June - September Trip Duration: Half Day into Evening Starting Location: Meet at River & Trail Outfitters 604 Valley Road Knoxville, MD 21758
Ages: 12 yrs old & up (a few small bikes available for 6 & up)
Lodging Options: Brunswick, MD: Camping, Motel
Harpers Ferry, WV: Hotel/Motel, Bed & Breakfasts, Camping
Effort Level: Easy
Paddle to the Vine
Kayak Tours to an Award-Winnng Winery!
This unique soft adventure combination is great for couples, friends, or groups looking to fulfill their love of paddle and wine. Join River & Trail Outfitters on a guided Paddle & Wine Tour or Paddle, Wine & Concert Tour down a scenic stretch of the Potomac River, ending at award-winning Tarara Winery near Leesburg, VA. Paddle kayaks or canoes, view herons, ducks, and maybe a bald eagle! Afterwards, enjoy refreshments including an artisan cheese plate, offered at Tarara Vineyards near Leesburg, VA. On the concert tour, sit back, relax, and enjoy the concert featuring local bands under a summer night sky.
Paddle, Wine & Concert $$$ Paddle & Wine $$$ River & Trail Outfitters 301-834-9950 Patowmack Farms $$-$$$ 42461 Lovettsville Road Lovettsville, VA Brunch & cooking classes available. Must make reservations.
Make it an Overnight Stay Overnight accommodations available 20 minutes away at the Holiday Inn at Carrodoc Hall $$$. On Saturday & Sunday mornings from 11am-2pm, enjoy a first class brunch within the glass walls of the Restaurant of Patowmack Farms, only 20 minutes from Leesburg. From the farm to the table, they offer guests a rare experience: a distinctive atmosphere, local, organic cuisine and a seat with a view of the Potomac River. *Visit riverandtrail.com for Paddle & Wine Tour or Paddle, Wine & Concert tour dates.
Season: May-October Trip Duration: Half Day (into evening for concert)
Starting Location: meet at Tarara Vineyards 13648 Tarara Lane Leesburg, VA
Ages: 21 yrs old & up Lodging Options: Leesburg, VA: Hotel/Motel, Bed & Breakfasts
Effort Level: Easy
Beer-Inspired Paddling Tour
The Best of Boats & Local Beer
This combination can’t be beat…. Only 45 minutes from the DC and Baltimore beltways, River & Trail Outfitters offers this unique way to spend your Saturday, boating to the brewery. Join us on the Monocacy River, the second largest tributary of the Potomac. Enjoy 5.8 miles of easy cruising, with a few riffles and ledges to break up the mellow waters. Lush farm fields, wooded bluffs and occasional views of Catoctin Mountain are an amazing find so close to Frederick. After your paddle, visit Barley and Hops Microbrewery where you will enjoy an informative tour through the working brewery by Master Brewer William Golden. His expertise and knowledge of the brewing process along with the aromas of the barley and hops will keep you mesmerized. Afterwards, you’ll gather on the covered patio or indoors for a sampling of their stellar brews, and glass of your favorite beer on the house! Appetizers are included.
Activities: Boat & Brew $$$ River & Trail Outfitters 301-834-9950 Isabella’s Restaurant $$ 44 North Market Street Frederick, MD The Orchard $ 45 North Market Street Frederick, MD
Make it an Overnight Stay Explore one of America’s great main streets! Complete with art, trendy shops, wine bars, restaurants, and a scenic canal… downtown Frederick, Maryland is worth the stay! Catch great tapas & wine at Isabellas $-$$, or enjoy a simple meal at the Orchard $, where they use only the freshest ingredients and everything is homemade. You won’t have to travel far to the Best Western Downtown Frederick $$$, which provides affordable comfort only about a mile from downtown. Mention “River & Trail” or “Boat & Brew” to get a special rate. If B&Bs are more your style, The Hill House $$$$, located in a quiet neighborhood in downtown is a gorgeous getaway! Not to mention their full country breakfasts!
Season: May-October Trip Duration: Full day Starting Location: Parks Mill Rd
river access Tuscarora, MD GPS COORDINATES TO PARKING AREA: 39.261363 -77.437043
Ages: 21 yrs old & up Lodging Options: Frederick, MD: Hotels/Motels, Bed & Breakfasts
Brunswick, MD: Camping
Effort Level: Easy
History, Romance, and Great Eats!
Civil War Kayaking with a Nora Robert’s Twist!
This package is for those who love a great story told in a unique and beautiful setting. On this adventure, you’ll hear engaging tales of the Civil War, and then spend the night in best-selling novelist Nora Robert’s Inn! Start your day off with a fabulous local foods brunch by Cookie’s Cooking Company. Enjoy this picnic style brunch outside of the Historical Newcomer House on Antietam Battlefield near Sharpsburg, MD. With a market-inspired menu that’s spontaneous, local, and seasonal, your taste buds won’t be disappointed. Next, enjoy a guided interpretive kayak tour of Antietam Creek, voted one of the top 60 paddling streams in North America by Canoe & Kayak Magazine. A scenic stream graced with stone arch bridges, Antietam offers wildlifesightings of blue heron, ducks, turtles, and beaver. Beyond its natural beauty, paddlers will float under Burnside Bridge on Antietam Battlefield, one of the most famous sites in Civil War History.
Make it an Overnight Stay Only 15 minutes from Sharpsburg, head to Inn Boonsboro $$$$$, the 3 story main street inn renovated by Nora Roberts. According to the New York times, it’s a “1790s-era, eightroom boutique hotel meant to cater to women’s romantic sides. Rooms are named for famous literary couples, including Marguerite and Percy of “The Scarlet Pimpernel” and Jane and Rochester from “Jane Eyre.” Each suite has its own signature scent.” The Inn also serves as the setting and is on the front cover of her newest trilogy. Be sure to check out Gifts In Boonsboro right across the street from the Inn, featuring the various crafts and art of regional and local artists.
Antietam Civil War Kayaking & Brunch $$ River & Trail Outfitters 301-834-9950
Season: May-September Trip Duration: Full day kayak tour Starting Location: The Newcomer
House 18422 Shepherdstown Pike (RT.#34) Keedysville, Maryland
Ages: 12 yrs old & up Lodging Options:
Boonsboro, MD: Inn Sharpsburg, MD: Bed & Breakfasts
Photo courtesy of Steen Cannon and Ordinance Works
Effort Level: Moderate (mellow water kayaking mixed with beginner whitewater). No experience required.
Direct access to Washington DC MARC train from Brunswick Station, near campground
604 Valley Road, Knoxville, MD 21758