Gathland State Park, Jefferson, MD (and Willow Oaks Craft Cider) 10-17-21
Gathland is located in Frederick County, MD, and there are beautiful views of the countryside along the way. This is another area of Hallowed Ground from the Civil War.
The state park occupies the former estate of war correspondent George Alfred Townsend, who wrote under the pen name, "Gath" during the Civil War.
The park is very well-maintained.
Access to the Appalachian Trail is on-site of the park. It's rocky so wear good walking shoes.
Another great area if you are interested in the Civil War. We always say a prayer for those who lost their lives during these battles. Many did here. Gathland State Park is well maintained (including the restrooms!) and you can access a section of the Appalachian Trail here. There's not that much to look at within this park so plan on hiking the A.P. trail afterwards. NOTE: we were there only a few minutes when a loud explosion went off and completely freaked Boomer out! We found out that Civil War reenactors set off a canon in the park four times every hour! We aren't sure if this happens every weekend and what the begin and end times are. But if you bring a dog, make sure you ask them the canon schedule.
Right down the road from the park is Van Gilder Pottery studio. Bill Van Gilder has some beautiful pottery to purchase and his wife, Kris Hansen, a jeweler, displays her beautiful pieces as well! We drove around the area of South Mountain (where the park and studio are located) and found some really pretty back roads with winding hills and gorgeous views. We will be back when foliage is at its peak!
Eat, Drink & Be Merry
We stopped off at Willow Oaks Craft Cider in Middletown, MD, for our picnic. It's a small, quiet mom & pop place with nice views of pastures from the deck. They encourage you to bring your own food and we didn't see a food menu there. We had a tasting of six ciders, some of which had received silver medals. We honestly don't know anything about ciders and how they are supposed to taste but it was a relaxing place off of the beaten path to check out. Eric Rice and his wife Lori own Willow Oaks and were very welcoming.
View from the deck of Willow Oaks.
Selfie with Eric.