Distance from Baltimore: 45 miles, less than a one-hour drive Why it's worth the gas: Frederick, with a skyline graced by church spires and streets bordered by Carroll Creek, has a pedigree that's the stuff of history books. Settled in the 1700s by German and English immigrants, and later, Scotch-Irish emigres, the city and county are linked to a plethora of seminal events: the French and Indian War, the American Revolution and the Civil War. Both Union and Confederate soldiers marched through Frederick. The Battle of Monocacy, credited with helping to save the nation's capital, was waged on farmland just outside of town. Don't miss: The African-American heritage trail. Pick up an illustrated map from the visitor's center on South East Street and follow along for points of interest, photos and a suggested itinerary. When you're finished, have lunch or dinner at one of Top Chef Bryan Voltaggio's restaurants. Chose from the upscale Volt or the sandwich shop Lunch Box. Information: 151 South East St., Frederick. Go to fredericktourism.org or call 800-999-3613.
Doug Kapustin, Baltimore Sun