The thought has occured to me, that of all of the wonderful places on planet Earth that I have traveled, I have not yet written about one of my favorite spots of all, Frederick Maryland. I am thinking like a local here, but read on and let’s see if you might agree that this would be a very good spot to visit.
The two sides of Carroll Creek. The the enchanting light boats,”Sailing Through the Winter Solstice,”on the ice in the winter, and the vibrant greens of the four thousand newly planted lilies, lotus, and other aquatic plants in the summer.
Founded in 1745 by German settlers who found the gently rolling hills and fruitful soil comparable to the homeland.
The city is now the second largest in Maryland with 65,000 inhabitants. The forty block historic district, with its award winning artscapes, decorated restaurants, prolific Civil War history, and legendary ghost stories make Frederick an intriguing city to visit any time of year.
Having fun is not hard to do here. As part of the city’s First Saturday series, twenty-two weekends during the year, there is an event happening, whether it be the merry National Clustered Spires High Wheel race (The only one of its kind in America) held each August, or the highly anticipated, “Fire & Ice” celebration held the first weekend in February.
Or perhaps you’d should pop up for the evening to indulge in the culinary delights of James Beard nominee (Twice) and Top Chef semi-finalist (Twice), and Frederick native, Bryan Voltaggio’s outstanding fine dining restaurant, VOLT?
If history is what you are searching for, Frederick is renowned for it. The author of “The Defence of Fort M’Henry,” or as you may know it, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Francis Scott Key, was born here and laid to rest here. The Civil War raged all around Frederick County Maryland, and Frederick City itself was ransomed to General Jubal Early for $200,00 in July of 1864 as payment for not reducing the city to embers on his march to Washington.
Antiques, old records, imported Olive oil, and coffee shops, are just a sampling of the two-hundred speciality shops, restaurants and art spaces within Frederick. You’ll find an eclectic mix of eateries here, Tapas from Isabella’s, authentic Italian from Il Porto’s, or Mexican from La Paz. On any given night you may even hear the sound of a loud “OPA!” as your server at Ayse Meze delivers your flaming Greek inspired appetizer. Or stop by to see for yourself why Fredericktonians love long-time staples, Firestone’s and Brewer’s Alley.
For a quieter, more gentile respite, head to West Patrick street. Only a short little jump from the historic district there sits the nationally renowned Serenity Tea Room. Where you can relax with a spot of tea, a sumptuous tray of danties, and a warm welcome from owner, Miss Blanch, whom you may recognize from Guy’s Grocery Games.
If you’re not a teetotaler, you and your designated driver should head outside of the historic district and visit the Flying Dog Brewery. Here you can sample the latest award winning suds while waiting to tour the brewery, or just hang out with the locals in the brightly lit and homey feeling tasting room.
Besides the incredible restaurant choices, the weekend events, and the wide-range of shopping venues, Frederick is also well know as an art destination. Everywhere you look (And do look) you will find hidden artistic gems.
Whether it be in the community centric Delaplaine Arts Center, whose vision statement of, “Everyone deserves art!,” simply states their goals of creativity and inclusion.
Or linger around one of the most spectacular examples of environmental art you will find, the celebrated Carroll Creek Linear Park Community Bridge. An astounding example of wide scale use of Trompe l’oeil which took the artist, William Cochran, and his ten assistants five years to complete. Notice the detail in the over three thousand “Stones.” You’ll want to reach out and touch the ivy just to make sure it’s not real. And keep a keen eye as you walk along the underpasses, you just never know what you might see!
SIDE NOTE: As you stroll around the Historic district also keep your eyes open for “Angels in the Architecture,” three more Trompe l’oeil paintings by William Cochran and Paul F. Wilson. These playful ethereal paintings will unveil themselves to you if you are willing to truly look.
As your day draws to a close and you’ve shopped, dined, imbibed and educated yourself about days gone by, perhaps you will also now agree, this is a very good spot indeed.