Baltimore to York Rail Trail

Wednesday, November 5


One of the longest rail trails we have not done in the Mid-Atlantic Region is the one that goes from Baltimore, MD to York, PA following the right of way to the old Northern Central Railroad. We decided to check it out this fall in anticipation of taking the Double Nickels there next spring. In Maryland, the trail is called the Northern Central Rail Trail. Our first stop was to find the southern terminus in Hunt Valley which we did before heading to Gramercy Mansion where we had reservations for the night. Well, Gramercy is a beautiful estate with gardens and an herb farm that serves as a popular wedding venue and B&B. It was built in the early 1900s by the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad as a wedding gift for his daughter! On our arrival, the first thing the owner said to us is we are giving you an upgraded room. She then showed us the room we had reserved which was in the old servant's wing (think small...a double bed filled the space) before taking us to our room for the night; three times the size with a statue in the shower and a wood burning fireplace. I swear I did not mention to her when I made the reservation that today was my birthday!

Just twelve miles north of Gamercy is a restaurant called the Friendly Farm. After Western Maryland football games, my parents would go there for dinner. It is an all-you-can eat, family style, country cooking restaurant located on a beautiful farm. After dinner, my family would head home to PA and my friends and I would head back to Westminister. Gretchen and I have great memories of eating there, so we had to check it out. Well, other than a new entrance and lobby, the restaurant has not changed a bit. We split a chicken dinner (two breasts, two legs, two wings) with all of the normal side dishes including the canned corn and green beans! Our day ended back at Gamercy in front of a roaring fire sipping a good cabernet!


Toasting my 66th birthday!



We had planned to ride part of the Northern Central Rail Trail today but the weather was not in sync with our plans. So we headed to Westminister for another nostalgic experience walking around the downtown and the campus. The biggest change on campus (other than the name change to McDaniel College) was the large trees which now occupy the lawn between the men's dormitories. But then again it has been almost 45 years since I graduated and trees do grow quite a bit over that time period! Lunch at Baugher's ended our tour of Westminister and that restaurant is exactly the same as it was 45 years ago! Gretchen says their ice cream is still really good!


Perhaps I look a bit different than when I roamed these grounds as a student?


After lunch we headed to the Jackson House B&B in Railroad, PA. It's the only lodging on the rail trail, built in 1859. The current owners have done a great job renovating the building and we will definitely stay there with the Double Nickels. Dinner tonight was at a local Italian Restaurant which we will not revisit.



Today dawned clear, cool and a bit windy; a good fall day for a bike ride. We headed to York. The trail winding through beautiful farmland is in great shape and it terminates in downtown York; two blocks from the Mudhook Brewing Company. Lunch with a tasting flight convinced Gretchen and I this was a good place to eat! Yesterday, we talked to a local who suggested Wyndridge Farm in Dallastown as a good place to eat. So we headed there tonight for dinner. It was absolutely packed....and well worth the wait!



We wanted to ride a portion of the rail trail in Maryland to see what it was like, so after breakfast we left the B&B and headed south to New Freedom. Passing through the town, we saw the Northern Central Railway excursion train loading passengers for their history oriented run. FYI, we saw President Lincoln boarding the train! The trail in Maryland is more narrow south of the Mason Dixson Line as it passes through Gunpowder State Park. After a short ride, we loaded the bikes, stopped for a quick lunch and headed to Frederick to meet Sally for dinner.



Sally met us at the hotel and we headed downtown for dinner. We ate at The Orchard Restaurant, another great choice that serves fresh local food with an Asian flare. During our meal, we concluded that we had embarked on a fine tradition, meeting in Frederick to celebrate our birthdays! So with Sally's and mine behind us, we now look forward to getting together in February for Gretchen's birthday! Thanks for dinner Sally, we had a fun time. After dinner, we strolled around the town center, then Sally took us on a tour of her alma mater, Hood College. As always, it was great spending time with you Sally!



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