Old Main Streets

Vibrant streets invite visitors to explore history, heritage and architecture while savoring the flavor of local shops, eateries and lodging.

Stop by Roddy Road Covered Bridge in Thurmont, just off the byway for a convenient stop to relax with a picnic, go fishing and explore the natural beauty of this park.  

Capital Region
Central Maryland
111 miles round trip along country roads connecting small towns through Emmitsburg, Westminster and Mount Airy
3-4
hours

Places along the way

The romantic image of Small Town USA is one of a quaint Main Street that draws together people seeking goods and gossip. Nowadays, the historic hardware store building might house a bistro while the feed store showcases garden sculptures, but they still work their charm on visitors. This byway serves up a heaping helping of small-town hospitality.

Emmitsburg to Mount Airy

Including US 15, MD 77, MD 75 & MD 26

The Catoctin Mountains make a beautiful backdrop for the town of Emmitsburg, where fine examples of 18th- and 19th-century architecture are plentiful. The National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American-born saint, welcomes visitors for a self-guided tour. On the nearby campus of Mount St. Mary’s University is the National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes, a beautiful place for meditation within a mountain setting.

Travel south to Thurmont along scenic US 15, which brings you to both Catoctin Mountain National Park and Cunningham Falls State Park. The area has plenty of hiking in addition to featuring three covered bridges built in the mid-1800s.

Head east through Detour and turn south into Union Bridge, where you can see model trains at the Western Maryland Railway Historical Society Museum. Other opportunities to enjoy the look and feel of Main Street America are available in Johnsville and Libertytown while heading southeast toward Mount Airy.

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The National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in Emmitsburg draws spiritual seekers for contemplation and prayer amid the beautiful Catoctin Mountains.

Mount Airy to Taneytown

MD 27, MD 31, MD 84 & MD 140

Nestled among three vineyards that offer tours and wine tastings, Mount Airy sets the table for a relaxing and romantic getaway. The town’s mantra is “stop, shop and stroll,” and visitors can soak in the small-town ambiance while doing just that.

From there, head north to New Windsor where a walking tour reveals Civil War heritage amid 19th-century homes, churches and commercial structures. The SERRV International Gift Shop sells homemade fair trade crafts from artisans in developing countries. Just north is Uniontown, where Victorian residences line the streets and antiquing is a popular pastime.

The next stop is Westminster, where the charming Main Street has a variety of restaurants, shops and galleries, one of which is housed in a refurbished art-deco movie theater. A quick side trip on Washington Road brings you to Hoffman’s Ice Cream, open since 1947. Agricultural heritage is celebrated at the 140-acre Carroll County Farm Museum.

Before heading back to Emmitsburg, pass through Taneytown, which witnessed Civil War troop movements prior to the Battle of Gettysburg. Settle here for the night in a historic country inn or comfy bed and breakfast.

The award-winning Linganore Winery in Mount Airy offers wine tastings, concerts and events amid rolling hills in a pastoral setting.

Maryland Lore

The first Maryland Wine Festival in 1984 featured eight wineries. Now, about 50 wineries participate each September at the Carroll County Farm Museum.

Big Hunting Creek, a refreshing Catoctin Mountain stream, courses through the ravine adjacent to Maryland Route 77. Roadside pull-offs allow access for fly-fisherman in Cunningham Falls State Park and Catoctin Mountain Park.  

Byways in this Region

Roots & Tides
Historic National Road

Byways Guide & Map

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