Monday, June 24, 2013

Beginning of the Historic National Road

June 23 Sunday

With that new air-conditioner it is a wonder we didn’t sleep till 10:00! We woke up at 8:30 and made it through the morning tasks and left by 9:45. We have been in and out of Tuckahoe State Park everyway possible – when we left this morning we looked at the GPS showed we had been all 4 ways from a crossroad…I will have to say I still don’t think I could make it without the GPS. The traffic on the main roads here on DELMARVA continues to amaze us. There never seem to be a lot of people any where we go but the traffic is constant.

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Cross road near campground – blue means you have driven on the road!

It was beginning to spit a few drops of rain as we headed back towards the bay bridge. Huge difference from our crossing on Friday afternoon. Now 3 of the 5 lanes are going back towards the mainland and there are cloudy threatening skies. Back on the mainland we headed north towards Baltimore. Sunday morning traffic was not too bad but we would not have wanted to make this trip on a weekday! THANK YOU GPS for getting us to Fort McHenry. We wanted to get the National Parks Passport Stamp. They have a fairly new and very impressive visitor center. A good movie ends with the playing of the Star Spangled Banner and as it ends the screen opens to a view of the fort with the flag flying! Since it is raining heavily they are not flying the 32x40 foot flag they usually fly – but one about half that size. Still quite impressive.

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We hiked out to tour the fort, and viewed the Baltimore skyline from across the inner harbor. They have a shuttle running back and forth to the Inner Harbor on weekends. It would have been a nice trip if we had wanted to go to that area. Jane was photographing a flag folding demonstration and ended up getting drafted to hold one end of the flag. They had various individuals in period costume telling about life in the time of the battle – very well done.

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It finally quit raining but was very hot and humid…we had a nice lunch under a tree in the parking lot before heading out of Baltimore on the Historic National Road.

The second part of our trip is to discover what life was like in the 1800’s along the National Road – this first “highway” was envisioned by George Washington and finally begun by Thomas Jefferson in 1806. The road carried many early settlers west and one of Jane’s great-great grandfathers was an innkeeper along the road.

We have directions downloaded from the National Road website, the original book by Robert Bruce published in 1916, and several family historical documents. The road begins in Baltimore and eventually ends in Illinois. We will follow it through Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and into Ohio before turning south on I 77 and heading home. Later in the summer we will complete the remainder of the road.

GPS took us to the Bromo-Seltzer Tower and then we followed Frederick Avenue out of Baltimore towards Cantonville and Ellicott City. The streets were lined with row houses right along the sidewalks as in most cities of the northeast. We were again glad it was Sunday traffic.


When we reached Ellicott City we toured the First Railroad Station in the country – the first railroad was more like horse drawn cars on a track- Some of the early rail cars looked very much like stage coaches on runners! The first line was between Baltimore and Ellicott City about 10-15 miles. While we had not traveled very many miles today we were beat from the humidity.


Model of Early Train !

So we headed to Patapsco Valley State Park which is on a bluff above Ellicott City. Great difference in the Maryland Park System in the Eastern Shore and here in urban MD…. We never saw a park official at Tuckahoe. Our campsite had our name on it when we arrived and we did pass a ranger in a pickup once or twice. Here Ben had to read 2 pages of rules and then sign them in front of a ranger before we could enter the park! It was a nice park and we relaxed for a while before heading out for supper at Bon Chon Chicken. Jeff and Robin had raved about it since their last visit up this way…it was only 2 miles from the camp so we searched for it…. It was a Korean Restaurant with a variety of dishes to offer. We had the wings, drums and pot stickers. It came with rice and a sweet slaw. Great supper and it certainly was crispy and finger lickin’ good ! There are Bon Chon in several locations and we will definitely go again if we find ourselves near one.




Back at camp we watched a move and were soon sound asleep. Like I said we are on vacation!

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