Tuesday June 25, 2013
Up and ready to get on the road by 9:30. We reviewed our maps and list and we are going to drive to Ohiopyle State Park near Hopwood PA to spend the next couple nights. Most of the remainder of the highlights along the National Road in MD will not take long…and that will let us have plenty of time to hunt around in Hopwood and Uniontown PA where several of Jane’s ancestors lived.
We stopped first at the Wilson Bridge, a stone bridge built in 1819 and used until 1937. This part of MD is quite different than the eastern shore or the very metropolitan area where we were yesterday.
C & O Canal and Lock – Jane was expecting water…
Rolling farms and the further west we travel – the more mountains we encounter. We stop in Hancock to visit a C&O Canal Visitor Center only to find it is only open on the weekends. Nice view of the canal and one of the locks. There continue to be well preserved homes and farms that are easily over 100 – 150 years old.
Example of home along National Road
We are continuing to follow MD 144 and US Alt 40 which follow the National Road. Interstates 70 and then 68 were always close by. In fact after traveling up and down one mountain on US 40 we chose to follow the Interstate over the next. The guide said before the day of the interstates many semi-trailers lost their loads on these mountain roads. The highest pass we crossed was 2900, but the crest of the highest mountain was listed at 3500. There was an old toll house at one point on the road – this portion of the National Road (Baltimore to Cumberland) existed before the construction of the actual National Road to Wheeling W VA . The told of a private home nearby where George Washington had stayed – we did not verify this!
National Road Signage in MD
We continued through Cumberland which is much bigger than we had anticipated. It is a huge railroad town. Here the state of MD is only 1 ½ miles wide – between West VA and PA. At a pass called the narrows – there was the interstate highway, US 40, two railroad tracks, and a canal! Pretty good land use! After Cumberland we watched closely for another Toll House and found it – we stopped and took some photos. There was a nice picnic area and restrooms which were locked. Lack of $$ we guess. We drove on down the road a way and had lunch.
Toll House in Cumberland MD
After Cumberland we continued through mountains and foothills. Another large stone bridge that was used until 1937 had been well restored. We took some photos and walked around a small alpine village (Penn Alps) where craftsmen and women of the Appalachians were demonstrating their crafts in very attractive small shops. Most were permanent craftsmen but a few said visiting craftsman on the sign. Ben enjoyed watching one craftsman work in metals. There was a nice restaurant and a non-working mill at the same location.
Before many more miles passed we were watching for the PA state line… and then the road signs for the National Road changed – much as they had for other trails we had followed in the past. Soon we saw another toll house – one of two that we will see in PA. This one maintained by the Daughters of the American Revolution. It was well preserved and sitting in the midst of a residential neighborhood. Ben’s comment – well I guess we are in Yankee Land – there was a huge “GO AWAY” sign on the porch of one of the houses!
Old Petersburg Toll House
National Road Signage in Pennsylvania
We were not sure where the Ohiopyle State Park was so plugged it into the GPS – this time she got us there but by a very round about poor road! The park is very nice and we have a great campsite – we will stay here two nights and spend tomorrow exploring around. There is a Revolutionary War battlefield and we are going to track down as much as we can about Jane’s relatives.
We had a good dinner and as we were clearing things up from dinner the tornado alert went off on Jane’s phone…we had a severe thunderstorm and hail alert. So we finished up, stored away things we normally leave outside and holed up in the Sprinter a bit earlier than usual…a good thing as the rain soon began.
Campsite at Ohiopyle St. Park
Ben is watching a movie; Jane is typing this and is going to study up on her ancestors to be ready for research tomorrow!