My Photo Walk: Along the National Road

July 02, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

(Click any photo to enlarge; hover mouse over photo for caption.)

Instead of zooming along Rt. 70 and Rt. 68, I chose my favorite slower way to get to Western Maryland, which is to follow what is known as the Old National Pike, or the National Road.  In many places, it parallels Rt. 70, and after Hancock, Rt. 68.  The pace is a little slower, and the scenery is wonderful.  
1 - NR 61 - NR 6 Old National Pike follows Rt. 144, Route 40, and in places, Alt. 40.  Sometimes the road signs label it Scenic 40, which it is.  On this July day, the roadside slopes were filled with orange daylilies, pink and purple wild phlox, and nodding white daisies.  Rolls of hay, red barns, cows, and distant blue mountains added to the scenery.  
1 - NR 51 - NR 5 The small towns along the way include Clear Spring, Hancock, Lavale, Frostburg, and Grantsville.  It was a treat to ride along the main streets of Grantsville, where every telephone pole sported a full sized American flag.  The front porches of houses along the road displayed bunting along the rails, and pots of red geraniums on the steps.  
1 - NR 21 - NR 2 1 - NR 81 - NR 8 I stopped in Hancock for lunch at a park, and passed one of two toll houses remaining from the days when tolls were charged to travelers along the road.  I stopped at the second toll house, in Lavale, for a photo.  You can see from the toll list what kinds of travelers used the National Road.
The National Road was the first Federally funded highway in the U.S.  Construction began in 1811 and ended in the late 1840's.  It runs from Baltimore to East St. Louis, and it runs right through New Market and Frederick, where we know it as Rt. 144 and Patrick Street.  Stone markers were placed every mile along the road.  In Frederick County, they look like granite tombstones, but farther west, they are white obelisks.  
1 - NR 31 - NR 3 1 - NR 71 - NR 7 My friend Russ Poole wrote a book about the road, which is for sale at the gift gallery at the Delaplaine, or you can order it here.
Next time you need to go to Western Maryland, try the Old National Pike.  It was far less crowded than the super highway, and it feels like an old fashioned road trip, my favorite way to travel.
All photos in “My Daily Photo Walk" are for sale upon request.


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