Our kids are over 18, but we are still concerned about screen time and so we all agreed it’d be a great idea to take a day trip.We finally got out of the house.
We left the house early in the morning knowing it was going to be a very hot day. We found a place where we did not expect to run into crowds of people and where we knew we could be outdoors and, therefore, mask free for a good portion of our trip. It was just a day trip so we packed water and sunglasses and set off in the car traveling north.
The plan was to walk a bit to get some exercise, explore the area and then find a place willing to sell us “take out” lunch. If that did not work, we’d find a grocery store deli. Given the current climate, we did not set the bar very high.
It wasn’t much of a plan nor was it much of a drive. We arrived in Point of Rocks, Maryland about 40 minutes later and parked the car right in front of a public restroom which, thankfully, was open! Without using a lot of descriptive language -it wasn’t bad.
The park does not boast many attractions but there is plenty of parking due to its close proximity to the MARC commuter rail system. The eye-catching Gothic railway station is the first clue that this tiny town is more than meets the eye. Built in 1873 by the Baltimore & Ohio railroad, it is said to be one of the most photographed stations in Maryland. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but don’t get too excited because the station itself is not open to the public.
The walking/bike trail we were in search of meanders along a narrow strip of land between the B&O Railroad and the Potomac River. This little strip of land, no wider than a football field at Point of Rocks, Md, was the site of an intensely contested struggle over land rights between the B&O Railroad and the C&O Canal. Both companies striving to be the first to reach the Ohio River Valley.
I did not know all his before our visit there. Conveniently located along the trail are museum placards describing the history of the area and the 4 year battle for the land. In the end the railroad company had to blast a tunnel through the rock and the canal company got to use the land along the river. Win! Win!
From the walking trail there are dirt paths allowing you to snake your way down toward the river and stroll alongside the river at places but access to the river itself isn’t possible due to the overgrowth of vegetation. The river was accessible via a boat launch and a graded slope at the parking area but not anywhere else in the mile or so we walked although there is bound to be other areas of river access. The pedestrian trail is actually part of a National Historic Park, a unique linear park, consisting of the 184.5 mile towpath we were using, historic buildings, wildlife, river recreation and lots of local history to uncover.
Times were simpler back then
We walked as far as Lockhouse 28 only about 1/2 mile from the parking lot. It was interesting to discover that the Lockhouses once lived in by employees managing the locks for the Canal company have been preserved and furnished to depict different time periods. These are available to the public for rustic overnight stays in homes that represent life 60, 90 or 150 years ago. Talk about getting away from it all!
This sounded intriguing and I found myself wondering if we could spend a night in a rustic house in the woods.
Lockhouse 28 is small and simple with space to accommodate 4 people sleeping inside and an outdoor fire pit for meals and tree stump stools. Like camping, I thought. There is a short trail to the river that could make for a spooky fun nighttime activity, as long as we don’t forget a flashlight, I thought. Definitely no worry about too much screen time for anybody out there in the woods. Should we consider this getaway?
Lockhouse 28 is furnished and accessorized to depict life in the 1830’s, I read. When I read further I learned that there is no electricity, no heat and no running water and overnight guests make use of the portable potty nearby. Maybe rustic life is not really for me, I decided.
None of us are history buffs so we found more pleasure in the walking trail, the birds singing and breathing in the moist air. We were glad we started early because it felt like we were in a sauna and it did not take long before we looked as if we just stepped out of one, so it was time to leave the trail. Ali was in charge of our next stop so we climbed back in the car and pointed east.
You cannot miss the big red barn as you drive down Tuscarora Road about 3 miles and a straight shot from Route 15. The huge store on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere is the location of the family owned dairy farm and Rocky Point Creamery.
The main store is currently closed but they have a drive thru window for quick contact free servings of frozen desserts and a walk up window for those willing to linger in the heat. We went to the window so that we could eat at one of the black and white cow patterned picnic tables sprinkled around the edges of the enormous parking lot. I assure you, it’s a guarantee they need every space because their ice cream is crazy good!
This place seemed like the “go to” place to visit and gossip for the folks that live here. I understand why because the ice cream is soft and creamy and the flavors are spot on. Mia ordered coffee and Ali got salted caramel pretzel and both tasted terrific and may just be the best ice cream I have had in a long time.
One thing is for sure the next time we go to Point of Rocks, Maryland and it is a sure thing we will be going back.
I’m getting my own cone!