Farms, Fun and Fantastic Finds

Day One

Arrive in early afternoon in Martinsburg, WV, and meet your friendly guide.  Our first stop is at the B & O Round House and Train Depot.  Hear the call to all able-bodied men to run and protect the Federal Arsenal at Harpers Ferry from John Brown, and imagine the men yelling and the flames raging as General Jackson’s troops destroyed this vital complex during the Civil War. The round house was rebuilt only a few years later. The railroads, necessary to the North, became one of the reasons that a new state, West Virginia, was carved from the Confederate state of Virginia. The area became host to more controversy in 1877 when the first major labor strike in the nation occurred here.  Next, visit the childhood home of Belle Boyd, Confederate spy, a  stalwart young woman who crossed military lines several times to pass information to General T.J. (Stonewall) Jackson during the Civil War. Just a short distance away is DeFluri’s Fine Chocolates – Ummm-ummm-ummm.  Smell and see fine chocolates being made.  And of course, you’ll want to indulge and take some home with you!  ($5 voucher for each person).  Dinner will be at Lyle C. Tabb & Sons farm, a traditional beef and soybean operation that practices innovative alternative uses for hardwoods, recycling used hay and manure.  Jane Tabb will prepare a fresh feast (farm to table meal) from all the produce growing at the farm.  Lodging during your stay will be at Holiday Inn Express, Ranson, with a shuttle that runs to Charles Town Races.

Day Two

Your day starts at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park where John Brown staged a raid that ignited the Civil War.  Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is a collection of many small museums created within original buildings and is part of the Civil War Discovery. Visit shops which feature Civil War items and collectibles.  Next, it’s all aboard the

Walkersville Southern Scenic Railroad.  Established in 1991 on the Frederick branch of the old Pennsylvania Railroad, the turn-of-the-century train runs past a 100-year-old lime kiln, across the Monocacy River and out into the picturesque Maryland farm country.  Ride in vintage 1920s passenger cars.  Lunch will be either on the train or at the town park.  Add on a train robbery for some extra excitement! This afternoon finds you at the Frederick County Farm Museum and Rose Hill Manor where you’ll see exhibits of late 19th century and early 20th century agricultural practices and farm family life. Then, it’s on to South Mountain Creamery, Maryland’s only on-farm processing plant. They milk the cows and then make all the dairy products. The dairy delivers glass bottled milk to over 4000 homes in MD, DC, VA, and WV in a 70 mile radius. They also sell cheese products including high quality premium cheese, and beef, pork, chicken, and lamb.  Everyone gets to cool down with a delicious ice cream cone!!  Dinner will be at the Old South Mountain Inn, poised atop scenic, historic Turner’s Gap.  The inn built in 1832, uniquely served as a wagon stand as well as a stagecoach stop for the heavy traffic passing on the National Road after it was surfaced in the 1820s. In the years that followed, the inn was visited by many Washington leaders, including Daniel Webster and Henry Clay, and several Presidents.

Day Three

Hop on another hay wagon for a tour of Green Horizons, a turf farm.  The sod is used for residential, commercial, sport field or golf course projects.  Watch the sod being cut and lifted on an amazing piece of machinery.  Then, we’re off to Shepherdstown.  First stop, O’Hurley’s General Store where you’ll think you stepped back a century when you walk into this old time store which features items from the past – pottery, tin ware, fabric, basketry, wrought iron, wooden ware and general merchandise.  Visit the shops of Historic Downtown Shepherdstown.  Browse the quaint town visiting eclectic, cosmopolitan shops.  Enjoy a delicious lunch on your own at one of the eateries, such as the Beaux Arts-style Yellow Brick Bank, with its bank-vault-turned-wine-cellar, or the Old Pharmacy Cafe, complete with the original 1911 marble soda fountain.  This afternoon, hear the tales of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War at Antietam Battlefield or see the thoroughbred horses at Coleswood Farm. Tonight, have a wonderful buffet (prime rib and seafood on Friday’s) in the Skyline Terrace at Charles Town Races overlooking the tracks or at another area restaurant.

Day Four

Before heading home, stop at Orr’s Farm. Ride the hay wagon to see the fruit trees, small herd of Longhorn steer and buffalo.  Tour the packing shed, visit the farm market and store with bakery, and enjoy fresh peach pie. Yum, yum!  If you would like to pick berries, that can be added to the tour (in season).