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Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Park: A Walker's Paradise

Program Number: 2206RJ
Start and End Dates:
4/21/2013 - 4/26/2013; 5/3/2015 - 5/8/2015; 5/31/2015 - 6/5/2015; 9/13/2015 - 9/18/2015; 10/25/2015 - 10/30/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Sharpsburg, Maryland
Price starting at: $645.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Walking/Hiking; National Parks Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Walk through history and beauty, as you journey alongside the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Park, adjacent to the Potomac River. Join noted educators as you explore the rivalry between canals and trains, natural science history and the canal’s role during the Civil War. Experts lead you through marvels of engineering, modes of 19th- and 20th-century transportation, and on a walking field trip through historic Civil War towns and America’s first multi-use trail.




Highlights

• From the impressive Weverton cliffs to historic Harper's Ferry, journey through Civil War history.
• Relive the canal heyday in a historic, mule-driven C&O Canal boat, as well as engineering feats like the Monocacy Aqueduct and Paw Paw Tunnel.
• Discover the rich history and legacy of the canal at the C&O and Canawlers Museums and marvel at the natural and man-made beauty.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to four miles per day on level ground.




Date Specific Information

4-21-2013, 5-3-2015, 5-31-2015, 9-13-2015, 10-25-2015

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Coordinated by Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center.




Sharpsburg

Sharpsburg lies east of the Potomac River near one of its tributaries, Antietam Creek, made famous by the pivotal Battle of Antietam during the American Civil War. Sharpsburg is part of Maryland’s Washington County, which attracts history fans with its numerous Civil War sites and nature buffs with its many national, state and local parks.



Accommodations
Modern lodge with natural spring, pavilion, fireplace, campfire circles. Classes, lodging, meals under one roof. Alcohol prohibited.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Colleen Clark

Colleen Clark is a former ranger at Antietam National Battlefield, where she presented programs on period music and the Battle of Antietam. She has degrees in history and music from the University of Maryland. Colleen has been combining her interests in performing arts programs for more than 20 years.
 
Paul McDermott

Paul McDermott has taught geography and cartography at schools including George Mason and the University of Maryland. His research interests include the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, on which he co-produced a four-map series. Paul was the academic consultant for two US Postal Service Stamps — The Louisana Purchase and the Earth Day 1972. He has been a visiting scholar to the Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division, and is a consultant to the Lewis and Clark Rediscovery Project in Montana. His current endeavors include an ever expanding list of award-winning books to which he has authored or contributed.
 
Karen Gray

Karen Gray worked for 20 years creating educational adventures for the Smithsonian in the mid-Atlantic region. In 2001, she moved Hagerstown because of her love for Western Maryland and Washington County's position midway along the C&O Canal's 184.5 miles. She took interest in the canal while hiking the towpath in 1977 and has been walking in the park and researching the history of the canal and the Potomac route west ever since.
 
Randy Anderson

Randy Anderson has lived his entire life in or near Williamsport, Md., which is at roughly mile 100 of the 185-mile C&O Canal Towpath. A train enthusiast, he has photographed in the Williamsport area extensively, using the same angles as historical photos of trains and the C&O Canal. Randy's multi-screen presentation allows us to simultaneously see the historical and present-day sites.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center
  Sharpsburg, MD 5 nights
 Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center
Type: Conference Center
  Description: Situated at mile 83 along the C&O national park canal towpath, Shepherd's Spring has 220 acres of woodland and rolling meadows. Hiking trails and a natural spring are on the property. We are one of few host sites in the nation for a Heifer International Global Village.
  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 but not in rooms. Each room has its own private bathroom along with individually controlled heating and air conditioning. Linens are provided, though there is no maid service during the program.
  Facility amenities: Comfortable rooms, with the distraction of TV and telephones only in the common areas. A free basic wireless internet access is available in the common area also. Free parking available on site.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: $45/ room Call ahead for availability at (301) 223-8193
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: $45/ room Call ahead for availability at (301) 223-8193
  Check out time: 1:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3 p.m., at the Conference Center. You will be staying at Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center that night.
  End of Program:
12:30 p.m., at the Conference Center. You will be staying at Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Only those forms which we send out to you in advance (health information form, rooming confirmation form...)
  Parking availability:
Free parking at Shepherd's Spring.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Sharpsburg, MD
  Nearest city or town:  Sharpsburg, Hagerstown
  Nearest highway: I-70, I-81
  Nearest airport:  Baltimore Washington International
  From End of Program
  Location: Sharpsburg, MD
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Sharpsburg

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
phone: 301-223-8193
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$75 per person, discount for additional riders
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1 1/2 - 2 hours 

 

Distance:

 

approximately 70 miles

   

Easy access to and from 3 major airports, Baltimore/ Washington (BWI), Dulles International (IAD) and Reagan National. Flight service now available to Hagerstown Regional Airport from BWI - reduced rate of $25 for Hagerstown pickups.

 

Sharpsburg

 

From Bus Terminal

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
phone: 301-223-8193
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$25 per person, discounts for additional riders
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

20 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

12 miles

   

Service to and from the Greyhound Bus Terminal in Hagerstown, MD

 

Sharpsburg

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
phone: 301-223-8193
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$45 per person, discounts for additional riders
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

30 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

22 miles

   

Service to and from the Amtrak station in Martinsburg, WV

 
Driving Directions
  From Baltimore/Washington Area Take I-70 West to the Route 65 interchange in Hagerstown (Exit 29.) Travel South on Route 65 for 7.1 miles to Taylors Landing Road - turn right onto Taylors Landing Rd. and drive 2.2 miles. You will cross a railroad track, pass houses, and then veer to the right. Stay on Taylors Landing Road. Drive along side a dry canal bed, and eventually cross a small creek. Pass 2 houses on the left, continue to the top of the hill. Look for a big sign on the left that says "Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministries Center Church of the Brethren." Turn left into the gravel driveway. The lodge is 7/10th of a mile from the end of the driveway. From Virginia-West: Go North on I-81 to I-70 east, to Rt. 65, and then follow above directions from where it says "Travel South on Rt. 65 for 7.1 miles..." From Virginia-East: Take I-495 to 270N to Frederick. Take I-70 W to Route 65, and then follow above directions from where it says "Travel South on Rt. 65 for 7.1 miles..." From Pennsylvania: Travel South on I-81 to I-70 East, to Rt. 65 South. Then follow the above directions from where it says "Travel South on Rt. 65 for 7.1 miles..."
Equipment Requirements: Good walking shoes, rain gear in the event of inclement weather, other items the walker feels necessary.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Guest will check in then participate in an introductory orientation of the program and facilities.
(Sunday, April 21)
   
 Afternoon: Check in from 3-5:00pm in the conference center Lobby.
 Dinner: Enjoy a buffet style dinner with a salad bar, followed by dessert, in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.
 Evening: Become familiarized with the program, the facility, and meet your fellow lifelong learners during our general orientation.
   
Accommodations: Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Today participants can enjoy a nice walk along the canal right after a hearty breakfast, then learn about the details and intricacies surrounding the Canal's long history.
(Monday, April 22)

Note: 5 miles of walking roundtrip with an optional pullout point in the middle after only 2.5 miles there is approximately 1 mile (0.5 miles on each segment) over uneven trails with some steep climbs.



   
 Breakfast: Enjoy a hot buffet style breakfast along with fresh fruit and cereal selections in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.
 Morning: Walk from Shepherd's Spring to historic and impressive Dam #4 on the C & O Canal Towpath, walk at your own pace and enjoy the peaceful scenery. The walk is about 2.5 miles each way (access to and from the canal, approximately 0.5 miles, is not on level terrain); transportation at Dam #4 for return trip will be available. For adventuresome explorers, a short trip into "Bear Cave" right along the towpath is planned during the return hike. Follow Cave Dave into one of the Canal's cool spots!
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch with a salad bar in the Shepherd’s Spring lodge dining room.
 Afternoon: The afternoon contains several in depth presentations and lectures on the C&O Canal covering its inspiration, construction, and operation. These presentations seek to further the participant's knowledge of the canal and provide a framework in which to enjoy the next several days of walking. Questions are welcome. During a break between lectures, we have an opportunity to explore some of Shepherd's Spring lovely grounds.
 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.
   
Accommodations: Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Visit the Cushwa Basin, the Paw Paw Tunnel, and the Canal Terminus. Thi day's walks will be historically interpreted by a guide and include canal locks, tunnels, rail bridges, aqueducts, and more. The C&O Canal Museum should also be open for a visit.
(Tuesday, April 23)

Note: 4 miles of intermittent walking along the canal towpath.



   
 Breakfast: Enjoy a hot buffet style breakfast along with fresh fruit and cereal selections in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.
 Morning: Our walking begins today in Williamsport with a short 1/2 mile segment containing a lock, a Bollman bridge, a mechanical lift bridge, and aqueduct and the midpoint loading basin at Cushwa, a very busy place during the heydey of the canal. We then ride by motorcoach to the engineering masterpiece of the canal, the Paw Paw tunnel. Complete with labor disputes, and cost overruns, it is still considered a marvelous accomplishment of construction techniques for the era. Walk through the tunnel aided by flashlight to the unique locks with the funny numbers. Be sure to ask your guide how there can be 1/3 or 2/3 of a lock! (walking about 2 miles)
 Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch near the Paw Paw Tunnel.
 Afternoon: Travel by motorcoach to the terminus of the canal at Cumberland, MD. After a guided walk around a small portion of the restored canal basin there will be time for self exploration in the Canal Musuem located in the historic train depot. (walking about one mile)
 Dinner: Enjoy a buffet style dinner with a salad bar, followed by dessert, in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.
 Evening: Explore the geographic origins of the Potomac River Basin and it's importance to the development of the country with our expert geographer and map maker.
   
Accommodations: Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Begin the day's walk at the foot of Weverton's Cliffs and walk along the C&O Canal towpath into historic Harper's Ferry, W.Va. Explore the restored historic dowtown, the various landmarks, and the natural setting then continue to the Monocacy Aqueduct.
(Wednesday, April 24)

Note: 3.5 miles of scheduled walking, there are plenty of additional walking opportunities to seize during our time in Harper's Ferry.



   
 Breakfast: Enjoy a hot buffet style breakfast along with fresh fruit and cereal selections in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.
 Morning: Travel by coach to the foot of Weverton Cliffs. You are welcome to walk at your own pace. This section of the towpath is also part of the Appalchian Trail - and you have become a day hiker on the AT! Once we've reached Harper's Ferry at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah river (approximately 3 miles), we will meet local living historian, Rick who will describe Harper's Ferry history through manufacturing, the Civil War and floods. A short while to explore some of the museums in the old town or visit some of the shops further up the hill - or even walk to Jefferson's rock where he proclaimed the view worth a trip across the ocean!
 Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch set up at the Harper's Ferry visitor center.
 Afternoon: From Harper's Ferry we will travel by motorcoach through the railroading hub of Brunswick and the narrows at Point of Rocks. After a brief photo op at the famous train station we will continue on to the restored Monocacy Aqueduct, considered one of the crowning achievements of the canal. (0.5 miles walk) With 7 arches and white stone quarried from nearby Sugarloaf mountain, it is a beautiful tribute to the masonry skills of the Scotch Irish immigrants who constructed it. Ruins of a granary nearby tell the tale of farm products also being traded along the canal.
 Dinner: Enjoy a buffet style dinner with a salad bar, followed by dessert, in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.
 Evening: Delve into the relationship between the canal and the railroads during this presentation by one of our instructors. Each entity alternately relying and competing with each other to serve the people of the area and the nation. You'll recognize many of the sites from yesterday's walk.
   
Accommodations: Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Witness the Great Falls of the Potomac and experience a mule drawn ride on a canal boat with opportunity to explore trails off the towpath or meander the Canawlers museum exhibit located here.
(Thursday, April 25)

Note: 1 mile of scheduled walking. Approximately two hours in the coach bus. There will be time to walk or hike several more miles on the trails surrounding the Great Falls.



   
 Breakfast: Enjoy a hot buffet style breakfast along with fresh fruit and cereal selections in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room before joining the tail end of rush hour on the morning commuter route towards Washington, DC.
 Morning: Walk out to the Great Falls of the Potomac -- witness their majesty and come to a new understanding of why the Potomac was not navigable. After perusing the museum in the Great Falls tavern board a canal boat. The boat trip will lock through and begin a short journey along the canal powered by sure footed mules while costumed park rangers tell stories of canal boat captains and their adventures on the C&O.
 Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch at Great Falls along a watered portion of the canal.
 Afternoon: The afternoon is yours to enjoy whether continuing to walk along the canal towpath or exploring the challenging billy goat trail or other various trails at the Great Falls Park.
 Dinner: Return to Shepherd's Spring for a wonderful banquet meal on the last evening of the program.
 Evening: Listen to and join in with a local musician as she sings songs from the Canal Era.
   
Accommodations: Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Walk to what is now Taylor's Landing, formerly Mercersburg -- a little depot for the canal during its heyday. Staff will be present to point out highlights of the walk.
(Friday, April 26)

Note: 4 miles roundtrip (1 mile of the walking will be over uneven trails with a few steep climbs while we access the C&O Canal )



   
 Breakfast: Enjoy a hot buffet style breakfast along with fresh fruit and cereal selections in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.
 Morning: Walk to what is now Taylor's Landing -- formerly Mercersburg, a little depot for the canal during its heyday -- along the C&O Canal towpath . Staff will be present to point out highlights of the walk.(approximately 4 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 Battlefield
The 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 Canal
The 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 Pottery
Del 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 Arts
The 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: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Between Rail and River


Author: James Rada, Jr


Description: A sequel to Rada's "Canawlers", this tale takes the Fitzgerald canal boat family through the long winter of 1862-63 as they struggle to hold a family, canal boat and business together amid the joys and dangers of life on the C &O Canal.



Canawlers


Author: James Rada, Jr


Description: A fictitious account of life along the canal during the Civil War years of 1862. Fate takes canal boat captain Hugh away from his family, leaving his wife Alice to hold the family together. With the help of her children and orphan from Cumberland and a disillusioned Confederate soldier, they will face the dangers presented by the war, nature, and the railroad together.



The C & O Canal Companion


Author: Mike High


Description: A complete guide to the history of the C &O Canal National Park and its attractions - from cycling and canoeing to hiking the towpath and exploring natural wonders.



The Grand Idea: George Washington's Potomac and the Race to the West


Author: Joel Achenbach


Description: A fun read with lots of history and information about George Washington.





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