GeoTrail Alert: Your Ultimate Guide to Exploring Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area
Looking for a cool way to #FindYourPark, an initiative from the National Park Service to commemorate its 100th anniversary? The Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area is launching a new GeoTrail in October, with 15 geocaches located in historic sites throughout the region (and you won’t get any hints out of us, cheaters!).
Located just below the Mason-Dixon line—the dividing line between the North and South during the Civil War—the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area crosses portions of Carroll, Frederick and Washington counties. The GeoTrail will bring geocachers of all levels to significant Civil War locations and provide a great jumping off point to explore this diverse region.
Heritage area highlights include:
- The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, a 185-mile towpath, is popular with cyclists and hikers. While exploring the expansive area, stop in Brunswick, a “Canal Town” that hosts an NPS Visitor Center and the Brunswick Heritage Museum. Refuel from your journey at the brand-new Smoketown Brewing Station with any of the local drafts or grab a bite in the quirky comfort of Beans in the Belfry, serving a wide menu of drinks, soups, sandwiches and desserts.
- Relax and indulge in the rich history of Emerald Hill, a beautiful park that helped shape the City of Westminster’s history for nearly 175 years. Serving as Westminster’s City Hall from 1942 until 2014, the site is now home to a new county visitor center. The Historical Society of Carroll County hosts a number of exhibits and programs in Emerald Hill throughout the year – check their calendar of events to plan your own fun-filled day!
- Get your fix of the outdoors and more at South Mountain State Battlefield. Connecting to the Appalachian Trail, it boasts museums and interactive programs for history buffs. The area includes Washington Monument State Park, camping retreat Greenbrier State Park and Gathland State Park, home to Crampton’s Gap and the War Correspondents Memorial Arch.
- The quaint town of Sharpsburg doubles as the site of the bloodiest single-day battle in American history. Visit Antietam National Battlefield’s Visitor Center to learn about the 23,000-plus casualties that occurred in the area (more than the Mexican War, Spanish-American War and War of 1812 combined!) before touring the hallowed grounds. Afterward, pay a visit to the Heart of the Civil War’s Exhibit and Visitor Center at Newcomer House for post-tour information.
- Capture the serenity and quiet calm of Mount Olivet in Historic Frederick. Established in 1852, Mount Olivet houses the Francis Scott Key Memorial Monument as well as gravesites for famous Unionist Barbara Fritchie and the first governor of the state of Maryland, Gov. Thomas Johnson. With nearly 40,000 graves, the cemetery serves as a final resting place for Union and Confederate soldiers alike.
A detailed Heart of the Civil War passport, trail requirements and list of caches along the GeoTrail will be distributed at the Frederick Visitor Center on Oct. 1. (Bonus: the first 200 geocachers to complete the trail can win a trackable geocoin!)
For more information regarding the parks, sites and GeoTrail, check out HeartoftheCivilWar.org.This is a paid partnership between Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area and Philadelphia Magazine's City/Studio