One of my favorite city publications to read when I
lived in Baltimore was The Urbanite, a monthly magazine
covering the people, place and pulse of the city. Each issue centers on a theme – topics such as literature,
spirituality, health or music. The December issue was all about preservation, and included this interesting piece about traveling the National Historic Road through Maryland. City dwellers gotta get
out of town sometimes, and I like that The Urbanite always includes an idea or two of things to see in areas
surrounding Charm City.
As the first federally funded road, the National Historic Road provided a gateway to
the West for thousands of settlers who followed it from Baltimore through the Appalachians to Illinois. Growth and
development has, of course, modified the exact road, but the historic route can still be followed, as the author of the
Urbanite story recounts in his scenic daytrip adventure. He heads out at 7:30 am to make the 170-mile westward drive. By
5 pm he has passed through quiet towns with antique shops and cafes, as well as numerous hiking trails and state parks
that dot the route. It’s a great day trip for folks in the Baltimore area, and the excellent Byways website provides itineraries and suggestions for where to stop
along the way. Travelers will pass through cities like New Market, Hagerstown and Cumberland.