Things to Do and See in and Around Hagerstown

by Jennifer LB Leese

No matter where you live; no matter what your personal and professional life consists of; everyone likes to get away for a while.
Whether your passion is water activities, shopping, history, food or nature, you'll find yourself falling in love with Maryland. Visitors will find an abundance of things to do in and around historic Hagerstown.
Camping was something my family and I did several times a month during the summer when I was little. Now with children of my own, who also enjoy camping, but finding the right places at the right price is sometimes a challenge. A wonderful place to camp in and around Hagerstown is Cunningham Falls State Park and Catoctin Mountain Park near Thurmont. Ideal for hiking, relaxing by the water, roasting marshmallows, or bike riding, these parks have all the comforts of the wilderness (creatures included) and gives you the much-needed escape from the city life.
If taking your family to the zoo is your thing, then I suggest you visit Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo just over the mountain in Thurmont. "Wonderful adventures and exciting new animal friends await you in this 35 acre park. Get stalked by a tiger, jaguar, or cougar and live to tell the tale. Feel the breath of a bear, follow a fallow deer, or tickle a tortoise. Hand-feed goats, sheep, donkeys, ducks and other curious creatures in the petting area."
If you're anything like my Uncle Pete, then baseball is how you'd like to spend a day-trip. The Hagerstown Suns at the Suns Stadium is the place to be this spring. Join them for Friday night Fireworks; Feed-your-face-Mondays, and Family Sunday (April 24) where kids run the bases post-game. At the low price of $6.00 per adult and $5.00 per child 12 and under, and for seniors and Military, The Hagerstown Suns, with memo pad giveaways, Old Time Tuesdays, and special appearances, is a fun-filled place to escape.
Now with spring it's still a little too chilly still to be in the water, but there's still plenty to do on the water. Greenbrier State Park, located in the Appalachian Mountains, offers many recreational opportunities. The 42-acre man-made freshwater lake and beach offers swimming, sunbathing, boating, and canoeing, fishing. Visitors can hike the Appalachian Trail while observing a variety of wildlife habitats, and stop to have a family picnic that includes picnic tables, grills, and playgrounds for day-use. As with most of Maryland's State Parks, a park map is available at the park office.
Although these are a few, Hagerstown offers visitors and residents a variety in museum culture. Enjoy hours of admiring as you stroll Doleman Black History Museum where you will find a collection of African American history artifacts and books; complete history of African Americans in Washington County; dolls, souvenir buttons as well as WWII memorabilia. Be sure to call them ahead of time as they are by appointment only.
The Train Room & Museum in Hagerstown's west end is a wonderful place to bring the kids. There you will find a large collection of Lionel trains on display, pre- and post-war items, operating layout and Lionel products and toys.
Jonathan Hager House & Museum, open April through December, located in beautiful Hagerstown City Park, is the original home of Jonathan Hager, the founder of Hagerstown. Built in 1739, the Hager House is completely restored and equipped with period furnishings. Visitors will note that the house is constructed of 22" stone walls and has its own protected spring-fed water supply. The house was built on the western Maryland frontier fifteen years before the French and Indian War.
Within the same park, near the large playground sits the Georgian-style Mansion House Arts Center. This is an ideal place to visit if you are an admirer of art. The exhibits of paintings are by artists in the tri-state area, including a beautiful oil painting by John Heyser, miller-horticulturist, homebuilder, and artist. The yellow and white house, built in 1843, was constructed out of bricks made from the mud of the swan-inhabited lake that the house currently overlooks.
Maybe you'd like to take your family on a tour. I'd like to recommend the Albert Powell Trout Hatchery in Hagerstown. This self-guided tour of outdoor ponds where as many as 200,000 trout are raised is the perfect setting for a beautiful spring day. Get there early, as there's a lot to see. The hatchery is open from 9:30AM-4:30PM.
The Maryland Symphony Orchestra on South Potomac Street is the tri-state region's premier professional orchestra and is a must see for concert-goers. Additionally, the Maryland Theatre, built in 1915 and located downtown Hagerstown, has available seating for 1300 patrons and is known for performances by country artists, comedians, orchestra concerts, children's shows, musicians, recitals, stage shows, and other.
Try strutting your stuff at Municipal Golf Course, 2 South Cleveland Avenue, Hagerstown (301-733-8630), with their 18-hole public golf course. On the other hand, glide down the slopes at the area's premiere ski resort--Whitetail Mountain Resort, 13805 Blairs Valley Road, Hagerstown (717-328-9400).
If you're interested in spending your day shopping, try Antique Crossroads, 20150 National Pike, Hagerstown (301-739-0858) with over 250 quality antique or Remember When at 330 Frederick Street, Hagerstown (301-791-0200); a large selection of antiques and collectibles under one roof. Don't forget the Prime Outlets in the south end of Hagerstown at 495 Prime Outlets Boulevard.
Enjoy your stay in Hagerstown, Maryland, but before heading back home, relax at the Inn on Potomac Spa, 400 North Potomac Street, Hagerstown (301-733-5055) by treating yourself to a body massage, or facial. "All of the rooms in this 100 year old home are furnished in period furniture (some authentic and some reproductions), antiques, and incredible artwork that will have you imagining a time gone by".
Know Before You Go:
Cunningham Falls State Park 14039 Catoctin Hollow Road
Thurmont, MD 21788
(301) 271-7574 or call 1-888-432-CAMP (2267) for reservations, http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/western/cunninghamfalls.html
Catoctin Mountain Park,
6602 Foxville Road
Thurmont, MD 21788-1598
301-663-9388, http://www.nps.gov/cato

Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo
13019 Catoctin Furnace Road, Thurmont, MD 21788
301-271-3180, www.cwpzoo.com
Hagerstown Suns
274 East Memorial Boulevard
Hagerstown, MD 21740
301-791-6266
http://www.hagerstownsuns.com/
Greenbrier State Park
21843 National Pike
Boonsboro, MD 21713-9535
301-791-4767
Doleman Black History Museum
540 North Locust Street
Hagerstown, MD 21740
301-739-8185
Train Room & Museum
360 South Burhans Boulevard
Hagerstown, MD 21740
301-745-6681
Jonathan Hager House & Museum
110 Key Street, Hagerstown, MD 21740
301-739-8393
http://www.hagerhouse.org
Mansion House Arts Center
501 Highland Way
Hagerstown, MD 21740
301-797-6813
Albert Powell Trout Hatchery
20901 Fish Hatchery Road
Hagerstown, MD 21740
301-791-4736
Maryland Symphony Orchestra
13 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, MD 21740