Thursday, November 15, 2012

Maryland - Wish List - Part 1

In my last two posts, I’ve shared with you my favorite places to visit and some good things to know before you visit Maryland.  In today’s post, I’d like to share the 1st half of my top 10 wish list of places I still want to check out (in no particular order).

1.  I haven’t explored western Maryland at all.  One way of seeing the far west would be to take the Historic National Road (Maryland Post #2) to Cumberland and take a ride on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.  They have various excursions that take you through the spectacular scenery of the Allegheny Mountains and provide you with information about the scenery, history, and culture along the trip.  The regular excursion even provides you with a 1 ½ hour layover in Historic Frostburg (the town turns 200 years old this year) for you to explore that town’s Main Street area before the return trip to Cumberland.
2.  While in western Maryland, I’d like to visit Oakland and the Swallow Falls State Park because I love waterfalls and these aren’t that far away from the Washington, DC metro area.  Within the Swallow Falls Park, there are four waterfalls, of which the Muddy Creek Falls at 53-foot tall is the tallest (great pictures that are copyrighted).  Aren’t they beautiful?

3.  Back in May, I had plans to visit one place on my wish list, Catoctin Mountain, while exploring three of the Maryland Covered Bridges (Maryland post #2).  However, I quickly discovered that the United States Presidential Retreat, Camp David, was located in the Catoctin Mountain Park and they had shut down the entire park because of an international summit being held at Camp David that weekend.  Thus, it remains on my wish list.  I had plans to drive along the Catoctin Mountain National Scenic Byway, which is a 38.5 mile road that takes you from the Virginia boarder to the Pennsylvania boarder through quaint little historic towns, and past museums, memorials, and even the Monocacy Battlefield (Maryland Post #2).

One state park I’d like to visit within the picturesque Catoctin Mountains is the Cunningham Falls State Park.  Within the park, you can swim, hunt, hike, fish, canoe, and camp.  But, I would be there to see the 78-foot Cunningham Falls (or McAfee Falls as some may call it), which is the largest cascading waterfall in the state. 

The park’s trails vary in distance and look very serene.  So, if you’re ever headed up to Catoctin Mountain, you might want to check ahead and see what the President of the United States is up to that weekend.  He might be planning a relaxing weekend in the mountains just like you!

4.  South Mountain is a 40-mile long state park along the South Mountain Ridge from the Pennsylvania line to the Potomac River.  The Maryland’s portion of the Appalachian Trail is situated along this ridge and it’s beautiful.  This area features several impressive scenic vistas, including: 
Annapolis Rock
High Rock

 Weverton Cliffs 
5.  While Maryland has 28 lighthouses/light stations/lightships on the Chesapeake Bay, I have a few favorites that I’d like to visit more than others.
The Concord Point Lighthouse is at the entrance to the Susquehanna River in Havre de Grace and was in service from November 1827 until it’s decommissioning in 1975.  It is one of the oldest lighthouses in continuous operation on the East Coast.  It is open to the public on weekends from April to October.  I think it looks so well kept and pretty.  Plus, my grandmother spent a few years in Havre de Grace growing up so I’d like to see what the town is like.

Thomas Point Lighthouse is 1 ½ miles offshore in the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the South River.  The lighthouse was completed and commissioned in 1875 and was manned until 1986 when it was automated.  It is one of nine lighthouses in the country that are designated as a National Historic Landmark.  It seems to be a popular lighthouse and arguably the most recognized Maryland lighthouse amongst Marylanders; however, not many have been to it because of its location.  The Annapolis Maritime Museum’s Barge House offers just a few boat tours out to the lighthouse each summer.  These three-hour tours are said to involve “physical exertion” because you’ll need to climb up a steep ladder and through a small hatch on the lighthouse deck.  Also, there are no toilet facilities on the tour.  So, please be sure to get more information before planning this trip.
Blackistone Lighthouse is on St. Clement’s Island, which is the site of Maryland’s birthplace.  In 1634, 140 English settlers landed here to establish America’s fourth British colony.  The 40-acre island offers not only tours of the Blackistone Lighthouse, but also pier and docking facilities, a sandy beach, and picnic areas.  You can take a water taxi over to the island from the St. Clement’s Island Museum in Colton’s Point.
Today’s post is just half of my top 10 wish list of places I still want to check out in Maryland.  Come back soon for part 2.

* Pictures found online.

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