More than 100 people took advantage of the President's Day holiday and a bright, sunny and unseasonably warm February morning for a "Winter Walk in the Woods" around Bel Air's Liriodendron mansion and the adjoining Ma & Pa Heritage Trail on Monday.
Many of the participants included families, who gathered in the lower parking lot near the Liriodendron Spur to start the walk.
Frank Marsden, director of the Eden Mill Nature Center, partnered with the Liriodendron Foundation to provide many interesting facts about the natural beauty of the Ma & Pa Trail that bisects the grounds of the former home of Dr. Howard A. Kelly, one of the founders of the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Everyone enjoyed hot chocolate at the end of the hour-long walk and children were invited to draw pictures of things they experienced along the trail, organizers said.
Much of the Kelly property, including the mansion, has been preserved as a Harford County park, known as Heavenly Waters. The Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad, from which the trail takes its name, ran through the property and the story goes that Dr. Kelly often caught the train from his summer home in Bel Air to his obstetrics practice in Baltimore by flagging down the engineer as the locomotive and cars came through his property.
Harford County Executive Barry Glassman announced last year that the final piece of right-of-way was secured to connect the trail from its current terminus at Williams Street in Bel Air to the Forest Hill section about two miles north, thus providing a continuous walking route from Annie's Playground in Fallston to Friends Park near the old Maryland & Pennsylvania station in Forest Hill.
Leslie Dohler, manager of the Liriodendron, said they hope to make the Presidents Day event an annual mid-winter gathering.
The Liriodendron is a popular wedding venue during the warmer months, and the walk is a newly added feature to help area residents enjoy the mansion and surrounding property in the winter months, Liriodendron Foundation board chairman and County Councilman James McMahan said.