xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

There's so much to do all around us here in Carroll

Anyone who knows me knows that I love Chincoteague and Assateague Islands. But I also love Carroll County. There is so much to love, but I wonder, how often do we take advantage of all this county has to offer?

Last weekend, my husband, Dan, stopped by the Silver Run–Union Mills Lions Park to walk our Sheltie, Ryley, while picking up trash, as he does every week. While there, he stopped to talk to a few local teens who were taking advantage of the park's Big Pipe Creek swimming hole.

Advertisement

"Do you know how lucky you are to live in a town with two beautiful parks side by side where you can swim or walk, or take a short hike up the hill and catch the Hashawha trails off Sawmill Road?"

A few weeks ago, I met three good author friends in Gettysburg for the evening. We hadn't seen each other in several years. As we sat down to dinner at the

It is true. We are blessed. The Union Mills Homestead Park offers acres of rolling green, big shade trees, picnic tables, and a creek to fish or wade in. My kids love to catch crayfish in the creek and once we even steamed them up, and they were not bad! The Homestead also offers the house and tannery, blacksmith shop and grist mill — so many historic buildings. I love to stop and watch the water wheel turn as local miller Ivan Lufriu stone-grinds wheat and corn inside the old mill.

Advertisement
Advertisement

In my opinion, Carroll County has some of the best orchards and farmstands in the country. When I want to make strawberry jam, I am hitting Baugher's in Westminster. They also supply over 700 dozen ears of corn annually for the Old-Fashioned Corn Roast, held on the first Saturday in August at the Union Mills Homestead. There is nothing like watching piles of corn roasting in the husk atop old fashioned, wood-fed cookers, and then having a server drop a heap of it on the table in front of you. Peeling back the husk, we slather it with butter and sink into the sweetest corn on the cob ever made.

When my kids were young, Camp Hashawha and Bear Branch Nature Center was a favorite spot. It was a great place to teach the kids about the habitat we thrive in. Where else could they see bees buzzing in and out of a tube and witness the honey-making process inside a clear, encased hive? Where else can kids make crafts from pine cones, acorns, sticks and more, then hike along the trails? Or better yet, show up in September for their Monarch Festival. Last year, my grandkids chased butterflies with nets, and then had them identified by volunteers, getting a sticker reward in return.

Workshops offered at Piney Run Park, offer similar opportunities. It's the other side of the county for us, but worth the short drive. Dan and I take our kayaks, and frequently our grandson comes along. He loves to kayak, a skill he perfected right here in the county. At Piney Run Park, they have the coolest kayak launch ever. Any other time, I end up with wet feet or more when we go kayaking. But at Piney Run you can sit in your kayak and roll down the launch by pushing on the rails that encase it. Just like a conveyor belt, those rollers ease your kayak into the water. After a beautiful cruise around the lake to see eagles, leaping fish and beavers that dive underneath our kayaks, we line up at the launch and roll up and out of the water!

For a smaller lake built for shorter walking legs, the Westminster Park and Pond is a perfect place to bring the toddlers. My grandkids, now in elementary school, still love to go to the Westminster pond. The walk around the lake is just the right length for a young child — or for an old lady like me! We love to see the geese and ducks on the lake, and we always end up on the well-planned tot lot before heading home. With places to climb, slides to zoom down, and swings in the park bottom, it is the perfect stop to end a long day on a good note.

Advertisement
It's funny how small things from your childhood are sometimes recalled with the clarity and detail of a current happening. My husband, Dan, is refurbishing an

For those who are not romping with kids, the county has multiple wineries, like Serpent Ridge and Old Westminster Winery. Linganore supplied the wine for my daughter's wedding and it was so good that we now buy their line of wines whenever we have the need to pick up a bottle. There's the annual Maryland Wine Festival at the Farm Museum, too. For beer-lovers, the Maryland Microbrewery Festival is held annually at the Union Mills Homestead.

Earlier this year, I attended one of the Farm Museum's teas and that was a blast. They bring in some of the best speakers ever and then serve tea and treats, often inside their beautiful big barn. You can often find artisans demonstrating historical skills. With farm animals that children love, room to romp and tours available, there's something for everyone. It's a place where a family can be transported back in time to an era where hard work was a necessary part of life and relaxation was more keenly appreciated.

Talking about history makes my brain zoom down Westminster's Main Street to the Historical Society of Carroll County with the Kimmey House and Cockey's Tavern. Their library is an immense resource that is often overlooked. Many genealogists have landed there, uncovering historical records and collections that unravel familial mysteries.

Also in downtown Westminster is the Carroll Arts Center. That's where I first saw the sculptures of Westminster's own Bart Walter. They were paired with pictures by his photographer daughter, RJ Walter, of the wild herds they saw when they were in Wyoming studying the Mustangs. What a treat that was! But that's just one of the pleasures the Carroll Arts Center has to offer. From the Peep Show in the spring where people create art from marshmallow peeps to their Christmas wreath display, to the Martin Lutheran Day program for kids, to the wide variety of shows and displays in the gallery — there is always something cool going on at the Arts Center.

Whenever someone complains that they are bored, or that there is nothing to do, I cringe because there's so much to do and see and it's all around us. Sometimes we walk around with our eyes closed to the beauty, the gifts, the joyful sounds and sights all around us. We forget to count our blessings, and for me, living in this county is one big blessing.

Lois Szymanski is a Carroll County resident and can be reached at loisszymanski@hotmail.com.



Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement