Sunday, April 7, 2013

Day 217 - Williamsport, MD

(Click any photo to enlarge.)

Canal Park Visitor Center
If ever there was a town that was dependent on the attraction of the C&O Canal, it is Williamsport.  This historic town, located near Hagerstown on the Potomac River, is thankfully on the hill above the river, saving the town itself from frequent flooding.

Great old building, boarded up
I took the scenic route to Williamsport, along Alt 40 through Boonsboro, and when I got there, I drove around to check out the possibilities for walking.  One wrong turn later, and I found myself on a bridge over the Potomac, entering West Virginia.  I did a quick U turn and returned to town, opting to park at the National Park Visitor Center, along with myriad others who were unloading bikes, picnic gear, or fishing supplies.  It was definitely a day to be outside enjoying the C&O Canal.

I studied the map at the base of the hill, then walked into town.  The historic area is comprised of several blocks, including Potomac Street, Conococheague Street (pronounced Con-nock-a-jig, as my Eastern Shore friends will be surprised to learn), and Salisbury Street.  I crisscrossed the blocks, and discovered that on Sundays, little is open.  Of course, one would not expect the Town Hall or the barber shop to be open, but there were some gift shops that were closed.  One family restaurant and one cafe, the Desert Rose, were open. 

Riverview Cemetery Plaque
Unfinished Love
I walked through and around several blocks, and decided to climb the hill where the cemetery was located.  I was in a river town yesterday, Knoxville, and its cemetery was up high, too.  Frequent flooding is a good reason to put the graveyard at the highest point in town.  Apparently I missed the area of the graveyard where there was a sign saying that General Abner Doubleday, the inventor of baseball, built a breastwork on the hill during the Civil War, and that the hill is named Doubleday Hill, in his honor.

The Desert Rose
After walking through the graveyard, I returned to town and ordered a bowl of red beans and rice "soup" at the Desert Rose.  It was priced $2.59, and it was a full bowl of what was really a thick stew, thicker than chili.  What a bargain!  My total bill, with a glass of bottomless iced tea, was $3.49.

Rail Lift Bridge
I returned to the canal area, and went into the visitor center, walked across the aqueduct, and read the historic markers along the trail.  I asked the docent at the center about the rusted mechanical structure along the path, and he said it was the only mechanical lift bridge for the railroad along the entire C&O Canal.  Its purpose was to lift the railroad tracks so that barges could pass underneath along the canal. The only trouble is, it was completed in June of 1923 and the canal closed in 1924, due to flooding.  It had a short-lived history.
Kitty in the window

Don't stop me now!
I plan to return some day to Williamsport, probably with a friend and bikes on the rack, to take in more of the canal and the historic sites along it.  For today, I had a both a pleasant drive and a pleasant walk.


Visit my photography show, "My Maryland," at the public library in Urbana, Maryland, on the lower level of the building.  It is there until the end of April.

Hurricane Sandy Relief: Donate to the Red Cross, and I will mail you a 5 x 7 print from any of the photos I have posted on my blog OR any photo on my website.

Forward to me via email a receipt for donating to the Red Cross. Tell me whether the photo is from the blog or the website, and Include its title along with a mailing address. The name on the receipt to the Red Cross must match the name of the mailing recipient. Send the receipt and the photo request to

Click on any photo to enlarge it.
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Follow me on Twitter: @camscamerashots

Cam's rules for the Daily Photo Walk:
  1. walk every day
  2. the walk must be in addition to any other planned activity for the day
  3. post a photo every day
  4. use whatever camera is easy and convenient for walking comfortably; always have a backup camera at the ready in case of mishaps (I use the Nikon Coolpix P7700)
  5. no weather excuses
  6. walk only where it is safe to do so

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