Spend a weekend exploring landmarks highlighting presidential history in Maryland.
Distance: 3 days, 6 stops, 194.7 miles
Baltimore’s Washington Monument in Mount Vernon
699 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, Md
Towering over Mount Vernon Place in Baltimore is the Washington Monument, the nation’s first monument built to honor President George Washington. The 178-foot-tall column of white marble is capped with a statue of Washington resigning his commission at the Maryland State House in 1783 (see stop 6 below). Adventure lovers will want to scale the 227 marble steps for an eagle-eye view of the city; if you aren’t up for the climb, you can explore interactive touchscreen exhibits in the restored gallery along with a video documenting the monument’s 2014-15 restoration. Before heading to your next stop on the tour, grab a coffee or lunch at one of Mount Vernon’s eclectic merchants.
President Street Station
601 S. President Street, Baltimore, Md
Head south to Baltimore’s Little Italy for the next stop on your tour, President Street Station. The oldest surviving big-city railroad terminal in the country, this 1849 Greek Revival building is famous for its connection to Abraham Lincoln. As the 16th President traveled to his 1861 inauguration, his protection agents learned of an assassination plot planned for Baltimore. They devised a scheme that saw Lincoln’s train arrive at President Street Station under cover of night and the President-elect spirited across town by carriage to board a different train at Camden Station. A few months later, President Street Station saw some of the earliest bloodshed of the American Civil War. You can learn about both of these events with a visit to the museum now housed inside this historic landmark. After this visit, you may want to spend a night in one of Baltimore’s luxurious hotels.
Camp David and Catoctin Mountain Park
6602 Foxville Road, Thurmont, Md
For your next stop, you’ll travel northwest to Catoctin Mountain Park in Thurmont, the scenic mountainside National Park that houses Camp David, the Presidential Retreat. Unless you are the leader of a sovereign nation, you can’t visit Camp David yourself, but you can enjoy the same tranquil surroundings world leaders have enjoyed since 1942. While you are in the area, head to nearby Middletown for an ice cream cone. This town has historically drawn people for the frosty treat, including Presidents and dignitaries down from Camp David.
Washington Monument State Park
6620 Zittlestown Road, Middletown, Md
You will stay in Middletown for the next Presidential stop on your tour. Washington Monument State Park sits at the top of South Mountain, known for its Civil War action in the days prior to the Battle of Antietam. Here, you will find another monument to the nation’s first President – this time, a rugged stone tower erected by residents of nearby Boonsboro in 1827. This is a prime spot for bird-watching and you can enjoy hiking, picnicking, or a visit to the Washington Monument Museum.
C&O Canal National Historical Park
11710 MacArthur Blvd., Potomac, Md
The C&O Canal National Historical Park, which runs from Cumberland, MD, right into the heart of Washington, D.C., has loads of Presidential history as befits its location. This national park has served as a spot of retreat and recreation for many Presidents, including John Quincy Adams, Theodore Roosevelt, Bill Clinton, and Grover Cleveland, who used to fish in the Potomac at Lock 22. George Washington has a link to this site too, as the founder of the original company who started the C&O Canal—the Patowmack Company. Before heading to your final stop on this tour, you may want to experience a night along the C&O Canal in one of seven historic lockhouses available for overnight stays.
Maryland State House
100 State Circle, Annapolis, Md
Your final stop of this Presidential History Tour finds you at the beautiful Maryland State House in Annapolis, the oldest state capital that has been in continuous legislative use. Besides its service to Maryland, the building’s Presidential claim to fame is as the only state house to have served as the nation’s capital. Congress met here from November 1783 to August 1784, during which time General George Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, and Thomas Jefferson was appointed diplomat to France. You can take a self-guided tour of the State House and spend the rest of your day exploring the charming city of Annapolis.
Lead Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
About the Author
Heidi Glatfelter Schlag is a marketer, history lover, and traveler who can often be found exploring museums, parks, small towns, and farms. She founded Culture-Link Communications, where she helps local nonprofits and small businesses build their brands. Heidi lives in Frederick, MD, with her husband and two dogs.