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Taking a trip back in time at Glyndon's own Emory Grove

Now that summer is in full swing and my work schedule is more flexible, I have ample time to explore the surrounding neighborhood and find some hidden gems to share with the community.

I love exploring the outdoors and historical places, and when I stumbled upon Emory Grove in Glyndon during a recent morning drive, I was enchanted. Not only is this wonderful historical gem only minutes from my home, but it is also located in a gorgeous natural setting.

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I love driving around historical Glyndon and looking at all of the old homes and buildings. With the arrival of the railroad in Glyndon in the late 1800s, the town became a summer escape for many families living in the city. The gorgeous tall trees and quaint setting made the town a respite for busy city workers when they needed to relax.

After some research, I found out that Emory Grove was an old Methodist Camp that was created in 1868. The camp was a meeting place for Christians in the area who held weeklong services during the summer time. With the close proximity to the railroad, the camp drew thousands of worshipers each summer. Over the years, the camp became a summer retreat for many area Christians and several hotels were built as well as individual tent sites and cottages.

Emory Grove is a private community located on Emory Grove Road off of Butler Road in Glyndon. After crossing the old train bridge off of Butler Road, turn left onto Waugh Avenue where you will see the Emory Grove historical sign. Then take the left fork and continue through the stone gates of Emory Grove. When you enter the gates, you will probably feel like you have stepped back in time. Although it is not generally open to the public, throughout the summer there are many events as well as worship services that allow the public to get a glimpse of this wonderful community and its beautiful surroundings.

If you do choose to attend an event there, you will have a chance to see some of the wonderful old buildings and cottages it holds. One such building is the gorgeous hotel built in 1887. It is a large Victorian building with a porch that wraps around the front and welcoming double doors at the entry. The hotel is no longer used for lodging; instead, it serves as a meeting place and receptions area in the summer months. As you stand on the hotel porch, you will be in awe of the untouched natural surroundings in Emory Grove. The grove is located in a secluded, quiet wooded setting with bright green grass and lovely foliage where you can hear birds chirping and wildlife rustling in the woods.

This peaceful, natural setting is one thing that makes Emory Grove so special. It is clear that this area is a place where families can go to worship, spend time together and get in touch with nature. According to the Emory Grove brochure, there are 47 cottages that make up Emory Grove. These cottages are almost all one-story structures and many were built on old tent sites. Despite the fact that many of them are more than 100 years old, they are beautifully maintained in keeping with the original character of the camp.

As you walk down the paths past the cottages, it's easy to see why this area serves as a summer retreat for Emory Grove residents. You can imagine residents sitting on the cottage porches watching their children bicycle down the paths or play at the playground while sipping tea with their neighbors. The cottages are passed down from family members and some families have been spending summers here for decades. The grove is open for cottage owners during the summer, but must public events are held in July and August.

In the center of the cabins stands a meticulously restored large open air tabernacle that holds a worship service every Sunday morning and a hymn sing most Wednesday evenings.

These services are open to Emory Grove residents as well as the public. Even though Emory Grove is not always open to the public, you should really take advantage of the opportunities for visitors to come and explore this wonderful historic treasure. Along with the Sunday services and Wednesday hymns, there is an Independence Day celebration at Emory Grove on July 4 that includes a morning sunrise service, a parade, a celebration and games. On July 27, there is a genealogy seminar and on Aug. 1, an afternoon tea at the hotel will be held. For more information about Emory Grove and public events held there, you can visit emorygrove.homestead.com. I hope you will get to visit this wonderful historic natural gem in Glyndon and get swept back in time by its historical charm.

Kelly Scible is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached at kellyscible@gmail.com.

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