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Maryland's Historic National Road

Road Trip

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176.8 miles: 5 hours, 34 minutes
Dubbed “The Road that Built the Nation,” the Historic National Road took decades to build. Begun in 1811, the road saw horse-powered Conestoga wagons, stagecoaches and carriages, replaced later by trains, hauling migrating pioneer families westward. Inns, general stores and taverns provided necessities for the intrepid travelers; many remain for you to discover.
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Baltimore Inner Harbor to Frederick
47.7 miles: 1 hours, 48 minutes
Pop into restaurants, attractions and shops in Inner Harbor, a vibrant waterfront district. Drive past Civil War-era row houses in Union Square. Charm City is but a speck in your rearview mirror by the time you pass through the hills of Ellicott City, which overlooks the Patapsco River valley.
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Wikimedia Commons/Acroterion
Frederick to Clear Spring
40.1 miles: 1 hours, 23 minutes
The city’s urban landscape gives way to eye-catching countryside and historic small towns. Gaze at stunning views at scenic overlooks in Mount Airy. Pause in Frederick and Funkstown if you have a penchant for antique shops tucked into 1800s historic districts. After leaving Hagerstown, look for a five-arched stone bridge near Conococheague Creek.
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Clear Spring to Cumberland
55.8 miles: 1 hours, 29 minutes
Verdant valleys ascend into hills dotted with apple orchards. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in Hancock has trails for hiking and biking. Steer through thick oak and pine stands in the Green Ridge State Forest. Zip along the southern edge of photogenic Rocky Gap State Park, filled with lush forests, a vast lake and surrounded by mountains.
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Wikimedia Commons/Bonnachoven
Cumberland to Pennsylvania State Line
33.2 miles: 52 minutes
In Cumberland, you’ll have excellent views of the Potomac River. From Cumberland to Frostburg, the road climbs 1,300 feet, which may result in unexpected weather changes; drive with care in winter. In La Vale, take a look at the state’s last remaining toll house and its original weathered sign with 1835 prices.