How about loading your musket for two days of golf at the crossroads of American history?
Located an hour's drive west of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., Frederick, birthplace of Francis Scott Key and Maryland's second largest city, has been a witness to many important events. It was here that Meriwether Lewis stopped before joining William Clark on their trek westward, here also that Confederate and Union troops clashed on the streets during the Civil War. In the wake of an urban renewal program in the 1970s, visitors today will find well-preserved 18th- and 19th-century buildings within the city's 33-block historic district, often described as a "little Georgetown."
West of town, golfers can enter a rural region marked by rolling hills and craggy mountains, with a handful of excellent daily-fee courses tucked into verdant valleys not far from famous battlefields.
Whiskey Creek. Rugged mountain layout in Ijamsville has sharp elevation changes, prominent rock outcrops and 30-mile views of the Catoctin Mountains. Downhill risk-reward par-5 18th plays around the stone ruins of an old manor house. Creek in play on the back nine was used by smugglers in Prohibition era to float barrels of moonshine downstream.
Maryland National. Located 15 minutes west of Frederick in Middletown, this solid Arthur Hills-designed course, stretched across 194 acres of former farmland dotted with lakes and wetlands, has a good assortment of holes carved into hillsides and ridges. The greens are among the fastest and smoothest in the region. A shotmaker's course with fine mountain views.
National Museum of Civil War Medicine. Features more than 1,500 artifacts, including a Civil War ambulance. (The museum is a good starting point for a walking tour of the city's Civil War history).
New Market. This delightful town just east of Frederick down I-70 bills itself as the "Antiques Capital of Maryland."
Catoctin Wildlife Preserve & Zoo. Hundreds of exotic animals are on display at this zoo north of Frederick.
The Tasting Room. Lively spot on North Market Street in historic district has floor-to-ceiling windows, superb “Maryland Style” crab cakes, pan-roasted rockfish and center-cut filet mignon. Good wine list.
Schmankerl Stube. Nearby Hagerstown, a frontier town founded by German settlers in the 1700s, has several good restaurants, none better than this popular, friendly place serving hearty Bavarian fare and German beers on draft.
WHERE TO STAY
The Inn at Stone Manor. Historic manor house circa 1760 set on 114 acres of formal gardens and working farmland in Middletown offers six luxury suites. Rates (starting at $200 per night) include full breakfast.
Fairfield Inn & Suites Frederick. Recently renovated, conveniently located 105-room hotel, located two miles from historic district has free high-speed internet access, nightly rates from $129.