Horses & Hounds

Since Colonial times, fox hunters have swept across these rolling, grassy fields in a colorful pageant of horses, hounds and “hill toppers,” who prefer to watch and ride at a slower pace.

Fox hunting events in Baltimore County carry on a tradition that British colonist Robert Brooke first brought to North America in 1650 when he settled in southern Maryland.

Photo By: Beau Considine

Central Maryland
70 miles from Hunt Valley to Towson along single-lane roads with few traffic lights
3-4
hours

Places along the way

Located in an area traditionally known as “Hunt Country,” where fox hunts and steeplechase races are still a popular pastime, some of the farms you see during this relaxing drive across the beautiful Maryland countryside are also famous for producing Thoroughbreds that have raced on major tracks across America.

Hunt Valley to Hereford

Including Tufton Ave., MD 128 & MD 127

Off I-83, the Oregon Ridge Nature Center’s trails and pond area afford birders excellent vantage points. The Baltimore County Center for Maryland Agriculture and Farm Park provides meeting space and offices in barn-style buildings, along with hiking trails and “hands-on” educational opportunities.

The 300-acre Shawan Downs, a steeplechase course, hosts a series of equestrian events that are as famed for the tailgating as they are for the racing. Drive down the road to pass the 425-acre Sagamore Farm, a horse-breeding and training facility that was home to Native Dancer, a Thoroughbred that won 21 of 22 races and earned a spot on the cover of Time magazine. From there, you enter a land of graceful homes and rolling hills.

The quaint 19th-century town of Glyndon was once a Victorian summer community. Nearby is the 1869 St. John’s Episcopal Church, whose traditions include a Thanksgiving “Blessing of the Hounds.”

Continue up to Hereford and visit Gunpowder Falls State Park. The scenic, rocky Gunpowder River starts at the bottom of the Prettyboy Reservoir Dam and is a favorite for paddlers and fly fishermen, as well as hikers and bird watchers. In places, it parallels the bike-friendly Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail.

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Meander through 22 acres of topiary gardens, tour Harry Ladew's historic Manor House, or saunter along the Nature Walk to appreciate the beauty and charm of Ladew Gardens.

Photo By: Helen Norman

Monkton to Towson

Including MD 138 & MD 146

After a meal in Monkton, continue to Ladew Topiary Gardens, which features 22 acres of sculpted shrubbery, 15 thematic flower gardens, a historic manor house and a “Groovin’ in the Grass” summer concert series. Polo is occasionally played on the grounds, while the My Lady’s Manor steeplechase is held nearby.

Head south through Jacksonville, where a shopping center and many small stores are located, and then loop around the sun-dappled coves of Loch Raven Reservoir. Northeast of this spot, you’ll soon find yourself at a fork in the road. A left will take you to the training track of Merryland, a Thoroughbred farm; a right turn puts you on the road to the Colonial-era Jerusalem Mill Village. Tour the mill, visitor center, blacksmith shop and gun factory. Then it’s time to head back to the 21st century.

Historic Jerusalem Mill, an 18th-century grist mill, is the heart of Jerusalem Mill Village, where events and programs showcase colonial cooking, blacksmithing, woodworking, a country store and more.

Photo By: Doug Kerr

Maryland Lore

The Maryland Hunt Cup, a four-mile steeplechase race held in Worthington Valley, was started in 1894 by two competing fox hunting clubs. Today, fans watch from the hillsides as riders charge over 22 fences, vying to qualify for England’s Grand National.

The Maryland Hunt Cup, a steeplechase race run on the last Saturday in April, has become a popular spectator event. Tailgating is a favorite way to watch the race.

Photo By: Katherine O. Rizzo

Byways in this Region

Star-Spangled Banner
Old Main Streets

Byways Guide & Map

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