Carroll County Barn Quilt Trail gets residents participating, wins state tourism award

When Winfield resident Elizabeth Groom, 71, was told her barn was in the perfect spot to join the 30-something others in Carroll County on the Barn Quilt Trail, she knew pretty quickly what kind of quilt she would showcase.

“I had to think what the farm meant to my family,” Groom told the Times this week, “and what it would mean to have a quilt.


“We are half German, so that's part of the quilt — the history of the German people — and then I thought, ‘What can I put on the quilt square that would mean something to my family?’

“We are pretty much a military family; we’ve had relatives fight in every war since the Revolutionary War, and overseas with the Scottish rebellion and the wars in Prussia,” she said. “I thought: I’m going to do a military quilt.”


As a former art major in college, she took on the task to design “The Folded Flag” — with the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division logo, the screaming eagle, at the flag’s center; folded flags surrounding it; and Army stars — and the county mounted the quilt on the barn at 3854 Baker Road last July.

Commissioners approved for the Office of Tourism to purchase Maiorana’s sculptures for installation outside the Carroll County Government Offices on N. Center Street and the Carroll County Farm Museum in late June, after Tourism Manager Bonnie Staub saw them.

“My uncle, Buddy Groom, was a paratrooper in World War II in the 509th Infantry, the Geronimo Troopers,” Groom explained. “They are very well-known; they were the first [American] paratroopers to jump in World War II, the very first jump ever in North Africa.”

She said Buddy Groom was injured three times but came home to the United States and recovered. He had a son, Bobby Groom, who idolized him and wanted to follow his footsteps.

“He went to Fort Campbell in Kentucky,” said Groom, “the 101st Airborne, and he wanted to be a paratrooper, too.”

But he died in Vietnam at 19, and was flown back to be buried at Arlington Cemetery.

"I’m not sure about the stories of the other quilts around the county,” she said, “but this one in particular meant a lot to us. Every time I drive by it, I have to smile because I think of my cousin Bobby.”

Her quilt and one nearby at Endless Ventures Farm, 2404 OId Washington Road, Westminster, were installed on the same day last summer.

The Carroll County agricultural industry, a pillar of its rural culture, has been left reeling after unrelenting rains soaked fields, delaying planting and rotting crops. In late November, the Trump Administration released its latest report on climate change, which predicts wetter weather and more.

They were the last of Carroll’s barn quilts to be installed before the Carroll County Tourism office won the Maryland Travel and Tourism Best Product Award for its Barn Quilt trail at the Maryland Tourism and Travel Summit last November.

“What has made it particularly valuable locally is the participation from diverse groups and the opportunity to bring the tourism message to those folks, local citizens, and our local elected officials,” reads the statement from Bonnie Staub, manager of the office, at the summit.

“It is uniquely suited to Carroll County as it represents our agrarian history by including the local farmers and their barns It is ‘authentically’ connected to our rural past by representing the art of quilting.”

Greg Schappell, 29, and his wife Courtney, 26, also put a military twist on their barn quilt at Endless Ventures Farm.

In remembrance of his eight years in the U.S. Coast Guard, from 2007 to 2015, Schappell and his wife decided on a mariner’s compass quilt.


“Maritime is kind of what I’ve grown up on and part of my background,” Schappell told the Times Friday. “My wife contacted the lady in charge, we told them what kind we wanted, and then the colors — and then they had somebody that did the rest from there.”

Crystal Dell's MD-Delight Dairy in Westminster will feature on Maryland Public Television's "Maryland Farm and Harvest" Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. The episode will focus on animal births on farms and Dell will go over the challenges of delivering a calf — a process that usually occurs without issue.

The result is a red and blue quilted compass on a white background, with a red and blue border in various shades of each color.

“It’s a barn that has a lot of history to it,” he said. “Anything you can do to bring additional tourism to the area is a way to bring extra fun to the area. People could travel to see it.”

Staub agreed.

“The Barn Quilt Trail has been an important product development for Carroll County,” Staub wrote, “bringing together diverse groups in our community and drawing attention to the tourism industry.

“The trail enhances the visitor experience by providing art, history, and a scenic driving tour which weaves in and out of our small towns showcasing our Main Streets and their small businesses,” she wrote.

By the time the next two barn quilts are installed, there will be 35 on the trail — which is a collaborative effort between the Carroll County Arts Center, Carroll County Tourism office, local government agriculture specialist, Recreation and Parks Dept., Carroll County Public Library and farm owners.

“This is the first time Carroll County won anything [from the Maryland Tourism Coalition],” Staub said at the Board of County Commissioners meeting at the end of November.

Two large aluminum sculptures built by Manchester artist Charlie Maiorana were also installed last summer. The cube sculptures have barn quilts depicted on each face, located at both the Carroll County government offices and Carroll County Farm Museum.

More information on Carroll County’s barn quilt trail can be found on its website, www.carrollbarnquilts.com, including the list of quilts and their locations, a map, phone app, and contact information.

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