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SHARPSBURG, MARYLAND

Biking the C&O Canal Towpath

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Bicycling

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Road Scholar
Program #13306RJ
6 Days | 5 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.

Itinerary for Sep 1 — Sep 6, 2013

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Type: Conference Center

Description: Situated at mile 83 along the Canal Towpath, Shepherd's Spring has 220 acres of woodland and rolling meadows. Hiking trails and a natural spring are on the property.

Contact info:
16869 Taylors Landing Road
Sharpsburg, MD 21782 USA
phone: 301-223-8193
web: www.shepherdsspring.org

Room amenities: Rooms are simple and comfortable and include a luggage rack, dresser, desk, chair, and futon. Telephone and television are available in the common areas.

Facility amenities: Many hiking trails and an outdoor seasonal half olympic size pool are available for use. Limited wireless internet service is available in the common areas. TV and phone available in the common area.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $45.00
Call ahead for availability. 301-223-8193

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day One: Sunday, September 01 - This day will cover the arrival, registration, an...
This day will cover the arrival, registration, and orientation of all participants.

Note: Participants using facility's bikes will test and fit bikes and helmets.

Afternoon: Arrive at Shepherd's Spring Conference Center Lobby between 2 and 4 pm to get rooming assignment and detailed information about the ride. Bike selections and helmet fittings takes place at 4pm so bikes can be loaded for Monday's ride.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner served buffet style with a wonderful salad bar and tasty dessert in the Lodge dining room.

Evening: Get acquainted with fellow riders, rules of the trail, and your ride guides. Introduction to the C & O Canal National Park with detailed daily itineraries distributed. Time for questions and answers on the Park and the ride.

Lodging: Shepherd's Spring

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Conference Center

Description: Situated at mile 83 along the Canal Towpath, Shepherd's Spring has 220 acres of woodland and rolling meadows. Hiking trails and a natural spring are on the property.

Contact info:
16869 Taylors Landing Road
Sharpsburg, MD 21782 USA
phone: 301-223-8193
web: www.shepherdsspring.org

Room amenities: Rooms are simple and comfortable and include a luggage rack, dresser, desk, chair, and futon. Telephone and television are available in the common areas.

Facility amenities: Many hiking trails and an outdoor seasonal half olympic size pool are available for use. Limited wireless internet service is available in the common areas. TV and phone available in the common area.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $45.00
Call ahead for availability. 301-223-8193

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Two: Monday, September 02 - Start the day at the end of the canal in historic...
Start the day at the end of the canal in historic Cumberland, Md. We will visit the Canal Place Museum then cycle through Oldtown, MD. Includes passing through the Paw Paw Tunnel.

Note: 19 miles of cycling, with an option to bike an additional 10 miles to the Pap Paw Tunnel (others may choose to ride in the van to the tunnel).

Breakfast: Enjoy a hot buffet style breakfast along with fresh fruit and cereal selections in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.

Morning: Travel to the terminus of the C&O Canal in historic downtown Cumberland, MD. There will be some time to discover the C &O Canal Museum in the historic Western Maryland Railroad Station while the bicycles are unloaded and readied for departure. Pose for pictures under the C &O Canal sigh and then begin the journey by bicycle from mile 184 at Cumberland. Stop at lock #75, the first we'll see to examine the ruins, then on to Spring Gap. (9 miles).

Lunch: Enjoy a lovely picnic lunch along the Potomac River at Spring Gap.

Afternoon: Then bicycle from Spring Gap toward Oldtown, established by early settler Thomas Cresap (10 miles). Choose to either load into the vans and drive to the Paw Paw Tunnel or ride the additional 10 miles to the Paw Paw Tunnel. Explore the Paw Paw Tunnel with a flashlight - or keep your eye on the light at the end of the tunnel!

Dinner: Enjoy a buffet style dinner with a salad bar, followed by dessert, in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.

Evening: Join one of our experts as they discuss the origins and tell the story of how the C&O Canal transitioned from a working industrial canal to a National Park renowned for its tranquility.

Lodging: Shepherd's Spring

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Conference Center

Description: Situated at mile 83 along the Canal Towpath, Shepherd's Spring has 220 acres of woodland and rolling meadows. Hiking trails and a natural spring are on the property.

Contact info:
16869 Taylors Landing Road
Sharpsburg, MD 21782 USA
phone: 301-223-8193
web: www.shepherdsspring.org

Room amenities: Rooms are simple and comfortable and include a luggage rack, dresser, desk, chair, and futon. Telephone and television are available in the common areas.

Facility amenities: Many hiking trails and an outdoor seasonal half olympic size pool are available for use. Limited wireless internet service is available in the common areas. TV and phone available in the common area.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $45.00
Call ahead for availability. 301-223-8193

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Three: Tuesday, September 03 - Bicycle from scenic Hancock, MD to Williamsport, ...
Bicycle from scenic Hancock, MD to Williamsport, MD where a restored canal basin and depot exist. Cyclists will also be traveling over several aqueducts and near the 18th century stone fort, Ft. Frederick.

Note: 25 miles of cycling along the canal towpath.

Breakfast: Enjoy a hot breakfast buffet along with fresh fruit and cereal selections in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.

Morning: Travel about one hour by van to Hancock. Bicycle from Hancock to McCoy's Ferry, passing several aqueducts and the "Big Pool" area. Take time to stop for a quick look at Ft. Frederick, the nation's only Revolutionary period stone fort. Lunch stop is at McCoy's Ferry (14 miles).

Lunch: Enjoy in a picnic lunch at McCoy's Ferry- one of many former ferry sites along the river.

Afternoon: Continue bicycling past the Four Locks area and Dam #5, into Williamsport and the Cushwa Basin (11 miles). See the Conococheague Aqueduct with one wall missing from a mishap with a canal boat. Do not forget to take the short trek down to a unique railroad lift bridge as well as a restored lock and lock house. After this it is just a short van ride back to Shepherd's Spring at the end of the ride.

Dinner: Enjoy a buffet style dinner with a salad bar, followed by dessert, in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.

Evening: Travel the geographic formation of the Potomac River Basin with our geologist guide.

Lodging: Shepherd's Spring

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Conference Center

Description: Situated at mile 83 along the Canal Towpath, Shepherd's Spring has 220 acres of woodland and rolling meadows. Hiking trails and a natural spring are on the property.

Contact info:
16869 Taylors Landing Road
Sharpsburg, MD 21782 USA
phone: 301-223-8193
web: www.shepherdsspring.org

Room amenities: Rooms are simple and comfortable and include a luggage rack, dresser, desk, chair, and futon. Telephone and television are available in the common areas.

Facility amenities: Many hiking trails and an outdoor seasonal half olympic size pool are available for use. Limited wireless internet service is available in the common areas. TV and phone available in the common area.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $45.00
Call ahead for availability. 301-223-8193

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Four: Wednesday, September 04 - Bicycling to the restored Monocacy Aqueduct, with...
Bicycling to the restored Monocacy Aqueduct, with a visit to historic Harper's Ferry. An evening presentation on the relationship of canal and railroad concludes the evening.

Note: 26 miles of cycling with approximately an hour of walking in Harper's Ferry.

Breakfast: Enjoy a hot breakfast buffet along with fresh fruit and cereal selections in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.

Morning: Travel by van a short distance to Antietam Aqueduct to begin the day's ride. From there cycle to Harpers Ferry (9 miles). There will be time to take a short walk across the river bridge into Harpers Ferry for independent exploration of this historic town by foot. Home of John Brown's fort, Civil War history, Lewis and Clark outfitters, Storer College and 19th century manufacturing, it has also seen the problems encountered when two mighty rivers collide. We continue bicycling from Harpers Ferry to the railroad hub of Brunswick for a lunch stop. (5 miles)

Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch in Brunswick, just past the Railroad yards.

Afternoon: Bicycle from Brunswick to the restored 7 arch Monocacy Aqueduct, considered one of the greatest engineering achievements of the canal (12 miles). Pass by the scenic Railroad station at Point of Rocks along the way. The return trip to Shepherd's Spring will include a drive through tour of Antietam National Battlefield.

Dinner: Enjoy a buffet style dinner with a salad bar, followed by dessert, in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.

Evening: Join us for a slide show presentation of some of yesterday's scenery as it looked during the operation of the canal with the same photographs taken in recent years. Randy Anderson leads the presentation while delving into the relationship between the canal, the railroads, and the people of the area. You'll recognize many of the sites from yesterday's ride.

Lodging: Shepherd's Spring

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Conference Center

Description: Situated at mile 83 along the Canal Towpath, Shepherd's Spring has 220 acres of woodland and rolling meadows. Hiking trails and a natural spring are on the property.

Contact info:
16869 Taylors Landing Road
Sharpsburg, MD 21782 USA
phone: 301-223-8193
web: www.shepherdsspring.org

Room amenities: Rooms are simple and comfortable and include a luggage rack, dresser, desk, chair, and futon. Telephone and television are available in the common areas.

Facility amenities: Many hiking trails and an outdoor seasonal half olympic size pool are available for use. Limited wireless internet service is available in the common areas. TV and phone available in the common area.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights before: $45.00
Call ahead for availability. 301-223-8193

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Five: Thursday, September 05 - Bicycling from Swain's Lock to the begining of th...
Bicycling from Swain's Lock to the begining of the Canal in Georgetown. Witness the Great Falls of the Potomac and experience a mule drawn ride on a canal boat.

Note: 16 miles of cycling on the towpath with some walking (less than a mile) out to the Great Falls. The Canal Boat ride is done seated traveling over placid water.

Breakfast: Enjoy a hot buffet breakfast in the Dining Room with fruit and cereal selections. Prepare for the Washington, DC commute to begin today's bicycling

Morning: Travel more than an hour by van to Swains Lock to begin today's ride. Bicycle from Swains Lock to Great Falls (2 miles) with great views of the Potomac River. Sit back and enjoy an interpreted mule-drawn canal boat ride provided by the National Park Service, then a relaxed picnic lunch. There will be time to see the majestic Great Falls before we continue our journey into Georgetown.Visit the Great Tavern museum. Occasionally we arrange for the boat ride to be in Georgetown instead of Great Falls - both are mule powered and interpreted by park service personnel.

Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch at Great Falls along a portion of the canal with water!

Afternoon: Visit Great Falls taking the foot path out to the edge of the Falls for an understanding of why the Canal was built in the first place. Bicycle from Great Falls to Georgetown. (14 miles). The last couple miles are on a paved path called the Capital Crescent trail. The ride ends under the expressway. More than 18 locks on today's ride with quaint lockhouses and sometimes riding within view of the freeway gives one perspective on preserving this National treasure.

Dinner: Return to Shepherd's Spring for a wonderful banquet meal on the last evening of the program.

Evening: The evening is concluded by attending jam session with local musicians at O'Hurley's General Store in nearby Shepherdstown WV. Traditional regional music, along with Irish and Celtic tunes will be featured.

Lodging: Shepherd's Spring

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Six: Friday, September 06 - A short ride along some historic landmarks of the...
A short ride along some historic landmarks of the canal concludes the week's ride.

Note: 12 more miles to complete a century ride (100 miles).

Breakfast: Enjoy a hot buffet style breakfast along with fresh fruit and cereal selections in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.

Morning: Start the day at Taylors Landing - once known as Mercersburg, travel past caves and farm fields staying close to the river's edge. Pass under the bridge to Shepherdstown, debatably the oldest town in West Virginia. Then cycle by the site of the Packhorse Ford which was used by Native Americans to cross the Potomac as well as troops of both sides during the Civil War. Conclude the morning's ride at Antietam Aqueduct. (12 miles)

Lunch: Back to Shepherd's Spring with time to shower and pack up before having lunch in the dining room. Departure after lunch.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch


Free Time Opportunities


Sharpsburg, MD
Antietam National BattlefieldThe Battle of Antietam (or Sharpsburg) on Sept. 17, 1862 greatly altered the course of the American Civil War. It remains as the bloodiest day in American History - there were some 23,110 casualties. Visitors can walk or drive by the Dunker Church, the North and East Woods, The Cornfield, the Mumma Farmstead, Bloody Lane (Sunken Road) Burnside Bridge, and Antietam National Cemetery. Antietam National Battlefield lies north and east of Sharpsburg, along Md. 35 and 65. Both routes intersect either U.S. 40 or 40A and I-70. The Visitor's Center is opening daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day. All visitor center facilities and most tour route exhibits are wheelchair accessible. Antietam National Battlefield and Cemetery are adminstered by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. P.O. Box 158 Sharpsburg, MD 21782 301-432-5124
For additional information, visit: www.nps.gov/anti
Chesapeake and Ohio CanalThe Chesapeake and Ohio Canal began as a dream of passage to western wealth, It operated as a conduit of eastern coal, suffered extensive and finally fatal flooding, and then resisted being paved as a highway. Today it endures as a national historical park - a pathway into history, nature, and recreation. The canal runs along the Potomac River from Cumberland, MD to Georgetown, Washington DC (184.5 miles) The canal abuts the property line of Shepherd's Spring at Mile Marker 83. It is popular with hikers and bicyclists. For general information about the canal, write: C&O National Historical Park, 1850 Dual Highway, Hagerstown, MD 21740 or call 301-739-4200.
For additional information, visit: www.nps.gov\choh
Foxcross PotteryDel Martin, potter, lives and works at Foxcross with his wife, Carol. Their secluded rural home, overlooking the Potomac River, and pottery is both self-constructed and self-sustaining. They invite visitors to come glimpse their work and lifestyle. Foxcross pottery is just 5 minutes from Shepherd's Spring, and is open Saturday from 10 am - 5 pm and Sunday 1 - 5 pm or by appointment. The pottery is lead-free and uses stony reduction glazes. Address: 6640 Remsburg Road Sharpsburg, Md 21782 301-432-6692
Washington County Museum of Fine ArtsThe holdings contain over 6,000 works of art, and the museum is nationally recognized for its collection of 19th and early 20th century American Art. In addition, visitors can view 18th century to contemporary paintings, drawings, sculpture, and decorative arts. There are also holding of Old Masters, European, Asian, African, and Native American Art. Hours: Tues - Sat. 10 am - 5 pm, Sun. 1 - 5 pm. Located at 91 Key Street, City Park, Hagerstown, MD email: wcmfa@aol.com phone: 301-739-5727 the galleries are fully accessible to those with disabilities and wheelchairs are available.
For additional information, visit: www.washcomuseum.org

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
5 nights of accommodations
15 meals: 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
3 Expert-led lectures
7 Field trips
9 Hands-on experiences
1 Performances

Ratings

4.8
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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