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Editorial: "My" Best of Maryland

"My" Best of Maryland

Having lived in Maryland most of my life, I can openly say that Washington County is one of the best places in Maryland. From the rolling hills of Boonsboro to the historic buildings of Hagerstown to the peaceful pastures of Keedysville and the warm hospitality of Clear Spring, Washington County rocks!
Spring and fall are perhaps my most favorite seasons. This winter seemed like it would never end. Don't get me wrong, I love summer and winter too, but Maryland in the spring and fall are one of the most beautiful times of the year - I think. There are buds on the trees, little green sprouts of grass, long sunny days, and flower shoots everywhere!
Because of my love of the season, I have put together a subjective, argument-provoking, open look at the places and things that make life in the Old Line State so great. Here are a few of my personal favorites...
HIKING Pen Mar Park, located in the northeastern part of the county, has two picnic pavilions, picnic tables, grills, play equipment, horseshoe courts, restrooms, and concessions. The Appalachian Trail runs through the park. Originally a turn of the century amusement park, Pen Mar memorialized the past through its museum and site markers, scenic overlook, and multipurpose dance pavilion.
WILDLIFE The Sideling Hill Visitor Center is on Sideling Hill Wildlife Management Area's (WMA) 3,000-acres of mixed oak-hickory forest that straddles Sideling Hill Creek. For outdoor enthusiasts, this is a prime location for mountain scenery and wildlife, especially in the spring when the wildflowers of the forest floor and the mountain laurel bloom. The Exhibit Center features interpretive displays, an orientation program, and tourism information. Sideling Hill Visitor Center is located 33 miles west of Hagerstown, and 6 miles west of Hancock on Interstate 68.
FAMILY Doub's Woods is the first county park - established in 1953 and is a wonderful place to take the family. There are several playgrounds, paved walk paths, picnic areas, a bandshell where plays and concerts take place throughout the warmer months. The Park is located between South Hagerstown High School and the South End Shopping Center in Hagerstown.
NATURE The C & O Canal is a great place to take in nature. The trail is part of the Pittsburgh to Washington, DC system and follows the Potomac River from Cumberland, MD to Washington, DC. The trail surface varies from hard packed dirt, to crushed limestone, to asphalt.
BASEBALL The Municipal Stadium, on Memorial Blvd. in Hagerstown, is home of the Hagerstown Suns- a minor league baseball team. The Stadium, built in 1931, seats 4,600 fans, and has been apart of many different leagues throughout the years. The Suns' home stadium is a grand old ballpark with its wooden plank bleachers and 40's style grandstand. Visiting the Municipal Stadium and watching the Hagerstown Suns play is like watching a game from an era long past.
RACECAR The Hagerstown Speedway is a wonderful place to take the family. Events, including races, camping parties, and the Monster Truck Nationals, occur throughout the year. One trip to the Hagerstown Speedway automatically turns you into a frequent visiting fan. The Hagerstown Speedway is located on U.S. Route 40 (Old National Pike), six miles west of Hagerstown, MD at 15112 National Pike.
PICNIC AREA The Devil's Backbone Park, located south of Hagerstown, is the county's second oldest park and is bisected by the Antietam Creek. There's fishing, canoeing, a pedestrian bridge over the creek affords access to the "island" section of the park, a nature trail with a scenic view above the waterfall, picnic pavilion, picnic tables, grills, play equipment, a horseshoe court, and restrooms.
SHOPPING There are just too many different types of shops to really label this one. There are little shops and big shops, name brand shops, and everyday shops throughout the county.
AGRICULTURE The Washington County Agricultural Education Center was developed to spotlight the diversity of agriculture in Washington County. This site located south of Hagerstown offers fairs, shows and special events.
HISTORY Antietam National Battlefield's 3,365 acres are peppered with 103 monuments, 500 cannons, and 300 War Department tablets, which detail troop movements and activity. Since they're scattered, your best bet is to start at the visitors' center, which has a small museum, documentaries, and ranger talks.
BEST INVENTION Ice cream! Where would we be without it? In 1851, Jacob Fussell of Baltimore, established the first large-scale commercial ice cream plant. Alfred Cralle patented an ice cream mold and scooper used to serve it with on February 2 1897.
BEST TAKE IT IN SPOT The Hagerstown City Park, located at 501 Virginia Avenue, is one of the largest city parks on the east coast. With 50-acres of nature and beauty there are walking trails, ponds, play areas, a bandshell, a refreshment stand, two museums, baseball fields, art gallery, and more available to its visitors.

Yours in Ink,

Jennifer Leese, Editor

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