Exploring Outdoor Hagerstown

Exploring Outdoor Hagerstown
by Jennifer LB Leese

Within the walls of Hagerstown, there are endless possibilities of things to do. Whether you are looking for something adventurous, fun, restful, or educational, you're sure to find it in Historic Hagerstown. Parks, golf courses, and trails are abounding throughout the area, providing plenty of outdoor recreation and ventures.
Each and every park in the area is different but each offers numerous activities, entertainment, and fun. Family picnics, walking, and just lollygaging around in a park are often fun and relaxing. Doub's Woods Park in Hagerstown, established in 1953, was the first county park. The Park is located between E. Russell Hicks Middle and Emma K. Doub Elementary schools in the south end of town. Nestled in thick, beautiful woods, the park has two picnic pavilions, play equipment, horseshoe courts, restrooms, sand volleyball courts, tennis courts, and a Performing Arts Pavilion. The Performing Arts Pavilion offers various summer performances that are sponsored by the Arts Council.
One of the most well known parks is Hagerstown's 50-acre City Park. Located in the south end of Hagerstown, the City Park has lakes complete with ducks, swans, and geese. The Park, 501 Virginia Avenue, has two pavilions, a gazebo pavilion located near the lake, play equipment, a lighted tennis court, horseshoe pits, three softball fields, and a band shell. During the summer, the Hagerstown Municipal Band performs Sunday evening concerts at the band shell and various groups perform gospel concerts on Wednesday evenings. The Mansion House is occupied by the Valley Art Association and sits high on a hill by the main playground and concession stand. Visitors are welcome to tour the House, which is filled to the brim with local artists' work. There visitors can learn about the found of City Park, John Heyser (1846). The Washington County Arts Museum is also located within the park near the large pond. Within the walls of the Arts Museum, visitors can enjoy Hagerstown's history while getting a glimpse into centuries worth of local artisans.
The Appalachian Trail is a footpath across 2,168 miles of Appalachian Mountain that runs from Georgia to Maine. Almost 40 miles of the Trail crosses Maryland, most of which follow the ridgeline of South Mountain. Whether your goal is scenic beauty, history, bird and wildlife watching, exercise, or just wanting to get away from it all, the Appalachian Trail offers all these things and much more. The Appalachian Trail is a national scenic trail, part of the same national park network that includes Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Great Smoky Mountains. Its official name is the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
C & O Canal is another great outdoor place to visit. Fifty-six miles of the 184-mile towpath are located in Washington County. The towpath is excellent for hiking, as well as horseback riding, walking, boating, and fishing. The canal stretches from Georgetown in Washington DC to Cumberland, Maryland, but the portion of towpath in Washington County and further west is the most peaceful and serene.
Most recently created is The Western Maryland Rail Trail, perfect for biker, hikers, walkers and inline skaters. The rail trail is currently about 20 miles long, beginning about 1_2 mile west of historic Fort Frederick State Park in Washington County, following the former Western Maryland Railroad line through Hancock, Maryland.
For golfers, Washington County has five area courses, both public and private. Each of the courses range from the nine-hole Municipal Golf Course, and Hagerstown Greens at Hamilton Run, a nine-hole public course open year round to the 18-hole course at the Fountain Head Country Club in the north end of Hagerstown. The county's newest golf course, Black Rock on Mt. Aetna Road, is one of the most impressive public golf courses in Maryland. It attracts golfers from as far away as Baltimore.
Washington County allows visitors to enjoy the natural wonders and beauty of its mountains and valleys.
Get out this summer. Take your kids and show them that there's more to sitting in the house playing video games. Outdoor Maryland is just as fun--it is adventurous, exciting, and stimulating--and it comes with an educational and healthy twist.