Valley Trail to The Appalachian Trail from your backyard in Brunswick Crossing

-7/28/11-

America’s best-known long-distance footpath – The Appalachian Trail (AT) – which extends from Georgia to Maine, runs the ridge of South Mountain, just west of Brunswick Crossing.

It is approximately 2,181 miles (3,510 km) long. Along the way, the trail passes through the states of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. The path is maintained by 30 trail clubs and multiple partnerships, and managed by the National Park Service and the nonprofit Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The majority of the trail is in wilderness, although some portions traverse towns and roads, and cross rivers.

A History Lesson
The trail was conceived by Benton MacKaye, a forester who wrote his original plan shortly after the death of his wife in 1921. MacKaye’s idea detailed a grand trail that would connect a series of farms and wilderness work/study camps for city-dwellers. In 1922, at the suggestion of Major William A. Welch, director of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, his idea was publicized by Raymond H. Torrey with a story in the New York Evening Post under a full-page banner headline reading “A Great Trail from Maine to Georgia!” The idea was quickly adopted by the new Palisades Interstate Park Trail Conference as their main project.

On October 7, 1923, the first section of the trail, from Bear Mountain west through Harriman State Park to Arden, New York, was opened. MacKaye then called for a two-day Appalachian Trail conference to be held in March 1925 in Washington, D.C. This resulted in the formation of the Appalachian Trail Conference (now called the Appalachian Trail Conservancy), though little progress was made on the trail for several years.

At the end of the 1920s and beginning of the 1930s, a retired judge named Arthur Perkins and his younger associate Myron Avery took up the cause. In 1929, Perkins, who was also a member of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association and its Blue Blazed Trails committee, found a willing volunteer in state to further the project. Ned Anderson, a farmer in Sherman, Connecticut, took on (as a member of both organizations) the task of mapping and blazing the Connecticut leg of the trail (1929–1933). It ran from Dog Tail Corners in Webatuck, New York, which borders Kent, Connecticut, at Ashley Falls, 50 miles (80 km) through the northwest corner of the state, up to Bear Mountain at the Massachusetts border. (A portion of the Connecticut trail has since been rerouted [1979-83] to be more scenic [more byway, less highway] and now includes a Ned K. Anderson Memorial Bridge.)

Anderson’s efforts helped spark renewed interest in the trail, and Avery (leading the charge since Perkins’ death in 1932) was able to bring other states onboard. Upon taking over the ATC, Avery adopted the more practical goal of building a simple hiking trail. He and MacKaye clashed over the ATC’s response to a major commercial development along the trail’s path; MacKaye left the organization, while Avery was willing to simply reroute the trail. Avery reigned as Chairman of the ATC from 1932 to 1952 (he died that same year) and proved himself as an indomitable force for – and fierce advocate of – the trail.

Avery became the first to walk the trail end-to-end, though not as a thru-hike, in 1936. In August 1937, the trail was completed to Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine, and the ATC shifted its focus toward protecting the trail lands and mapping the trail for hikers. From 1938 to the end of World War II, the trail suffered a series of natural and man-made setbacks. At the end of the war, the damage to the trail was repaired.

In 1948, Earl Shaffer of York, Pennsylvania, brought a great deal of attention to the project by completing the first documented thru-hike.[10] Later Shaffer also completed the first north-to-south thru-hike, making him the first to do so in each direction. In 1998 Mr. Shaffer, nearly 80 years old, again hiked the entirety of the trail, making him the oldest person ever to complete a thru-hike.

In 1994, a story appeared in the Appalachian Trailway News describing a 121-day Maine to Georgia thru-hike in 1936 by six Boy Scouts from the Bronx. Although the story has been accepted by some members of ALDHA, a great deal of doubt has also been expressed and this earlier thru-hike has never been verified. Shaffer’s 1948 journey is still generally recognized as the first A.T. thru-hike.

In the 1960s, the ATC made progress toward protecting the trail from development, thanks to efforts of politicians and officials. The National Trails System Act of 1968 designated the Pacific Crest Trail and Appalachian Trail as the first national scenic trails and paved the way for a series of National Scenic Trails within the National Park and National Forest systems. Trail volunteers worked with the National Park Service to map a permanent route for the trail, and by 1971 a permanent route had been marked (though minor changes continue to this day). By the close of the 20th century, the Park Service had completed the purchase of all but a few miles of the trail’s span.

Hiking the Trail from Brunswick Crossing
One of the most popular sections of the AT in Maryland is the 6.7 mile stretch from Crampton Gap to Weverton.  Hiking north to south is ideal as the Trail follows the crest of the mountain ridge, through a mature forest, with a net descent of only 570 feet.  You can park at the Gathland State Park off Gapland Road in Burkittsville.  At the other end there is an AT parking lot off Weverton Road, near US Route 340.  A 50-foot tall stone memorial to Civil War newspaper correspondents stands in Gathland State Park . To obtain detailed trail guides and maps, you can contact the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club – www.patc.net – at 118 Park Street, SE, Vienna, VA 22180-4609.

Happy Hiking!

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Breathtaking Views from Brunswick Crossing: The Potomac River Gap

-7/25/11-

The Potomac River Gap (viewed from Brunswick Crossing) is a double water gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains, located at the intersection of the states of Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland, near Harpers Ferry. At 256 feet (78 m), it is the lowest crossing of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The Gap is rich with Revolutionary War and Civil War history, as well as the heritage of commerce in America. And it’s right in our backyard!

As the Potomac River approaches the Blue Ridge on the eastern edge of the Shenandoah Valley, the river turns to the south paralleling the ridge to Bolivar, West Virginia, where it then cuts east, past Harpers Ferry to its confluence with the Shenandoah River at the western edge of the first gap between Blue Ridge Mountain to the south in Virginia and West Virginia and Elk Ridge Mountain to the north in Maryland. The River continues east for 4 miles (6.4 km), passing through the White Horse Rapids, before reaching the second gap between the Short Hill Mountain to the south in Virginia and South Mountain to the north in Maryland.

The history of the gap is inexorably tied to that of Harpers Ferry and the surrounding area. When Thomas Jefferson came to the town he remarked, while viewing the gap from a ridge above the town, that “the view was worth a trip across the Atlantic.” In 1859, Robert E. Lee, leading a detachment of Marines, passed through the gap on route to Harpers Ferry to put down John Brown’s raid. During the American Civil War, the gap was used frequently by both Confederate and Union Armies to pass through the mountains and was the scene of fighting at the Battle of Harpers Ferry. Today, like the town, the gap, in addition to a thoroughfare, is a tourist destination. It is part of two national parks, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, and the scenic Appalachian Trail passes through it as well.

U.S. Route 340 and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad both pass through the Potomac Water Gap. Historically, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal passed through the gap as well.

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Baseball in Brunswick: Defending State Champions

-7/18/11-

Brunswick Railroaders Little League has a rich and proud history dating back to 1955 when the town joined county neighbors Frederick and Thurmont playing regular season games.  In 1962, the league started holding games on the new Marvin E. Younkins field named after the 1956 Railroader All-Star manager. This field is still in-use today.

In 1965, the BRLL earned its fourth District title in 6 years.  1966 proved to be a landmark year for Brunswick as they not only won their third straight division title but they were also crowned State Champions for the first time.  The 1986 Brunswick Little League Team made it all the way to the Little League World Series Championship game in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.  (Did You Know?:  Some streets in Brunswick Crossing are named after players on the 1986 Brunswick team?)  Brunswick, a true baseball town, continued their impressive winning tradition grabbing four additional State titles in 1969, 81’, 84’, and 1995.

Last year was no different. The Brunswick Little League age 11-12 team completed a 4-0 run in State tournament in Salisbury to claim the Maryland Little League Championship on July 29th. The Brunswick team finished the tournament in grand fashion with an 18-2 win over the Halfway team, from nearby Hagerstown.  The 2010 State title is the seventh for the Railroader team.  For many on the team winning a State Championship is nothing new. They won last year on the 10-11 year old Brunswick team.  The win earned the players a spot in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament in Bristol, Connecticut for the first time in 15 years, and broke the longest stretch without a State Championship.

The Maryland State Little League Championships are this week, July 16 – July 22 in Brunswick MD! Cheer on our defending state champions!

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Rock In The Valley Finale: The MHB Band

-7/12/11-

Discover Rock in the Valley at Brunswick Crossing this summer!  Bring a cooler and friends to the last of our free summer concerts at Brunswick Crossing, Frederick County’s most exciting planned community. On July 16th enjoy free family-fun musical concerts at Hope Farm Park at Brunswick Crossing starting at 3:30PM.

Last but not least, wrapping  up our series, “MHB” July 16th. The passion on Bob Marley, the energy of James Brown, the groove of Jack Johnson and the feel of Eric Clapton will keep the crowd on their feet and dancing! This artist knows how to rock out pretty much any style and find a stellar way to call it his own.

Matthew Henry Baron (whose initials comprise the band’s name) has been entertaining fans in and around the Chicagoland area and now Washington, DC. He released his solo album entitled “Sparks are going to Fly” in 2009. Baron blends healthy doses of blues, reggae, hip-hop, funk, and rock to create a feel-good landscape perfectly suited for summer listening.

With a unique, off-the-cuff style, MHB tends to record his music as he writes it. Impromptu recording sessions allow him to go with whatever is inspiring him in the moment. This keeps MHB music feeling organic and raw—even after songs are refined, added to, and perfected. Just like the music that’s influenced MHB, his songwriting and style carry a timeless quality that will keep his music relevant and relate-able for years to come.

Bluesy and Funky – a guaranteed a great time!

106.9 “The Eagle”, the 4 state’s #1 for Classic Rock will be joining us again at Hope Farm Park for this great finale!

The concert takes place at Brunswick Crossing located on Rt. 17 in Brunswick, MD beginning at 3:30PM. Coolers and leased pets are welcome, no alcohol please. Iced Tea and Lemonade will be served free of charge. For more information please check our website: www.BrunswickCrossing.com.

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Rock In The Valley this Saturday with Billy Thompson

-7/6/11-

Brunswick Crossing is gearing up for more Saturday concerts at Hope Farm Park! Discover Rock in the Valley Free Summer Concert Series and Brunswick Crossing, Frederick County’s most exciting planned community. Bring a cooler and friends to enjoy the classic rock sounds of Billy Thompson this Saturday, July 9th. Free family-fun begins at 3:30PM on Hope Farm Park stage.

106.9 The Eagle will join us this Saturday from 2:00 – 4:00PM. Be sure to say hello to The Eagle for chances for give-aways and prizes.

Rocker Billy Thompson‘s virtuosic guitar works that have electrified audiences from coast to coast, throughout Europe and everywhere in between, set the tone for this veteran blues man’s sizzling performances, combining world class slide guitar and searing licks with soulful vocals and original music—a unique amalgamation of blues styles, with rock, funk and r & b.

His performance portfolio is stacked with all one could hope for—playing with blues legends such as Little Milton, Albert King, Earl King, and Art Neville, while opening for the likes of Robert Cray, B.B. King, Sonny Landreth, The Neville Brothers, and Joe Cocker to name a few. He has performed on Barbara Walter’s “The View”, with the San Diego Symphony, and for the 2002 Super Bowl celebration, as well as for the grand opening of the House of Blues – Los Angeles.

Billy has also done some impressive theatrical stints including lead guitar for the Broadway show Ain’t Nothin’ but the Blues and for Tony Award winning playwright Keith Glover’s Bluesical, “Thunder Knocking on the Door”, which he recorded with platinum recording artist Keb Mo.

Enjoy more of Billy Thompson with his new CD, “A Better Man”.

Bring your chairs and blankets, kick off off your shoes, and join us for summer time fun! All concerts take place at Brunswick Crossing located on Rt. 17 in Brunswick, MD beginning at 3:30PM. Coolers and leased pets are welcome, no alcohol please. Complimentary iced tea and lemonade will be served. For more information please check our website: www.BrunswickCrossing.com.

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Rail to work, then and now: Brunswick Railroad Museum

-7/5/11-

If you’re lucky enough to have stumbled upon this history-rich town known as Brunswick, Maryland, you probably already know how railroads have impacted and helped to create the town and the people who live here. If you don’t know this already, or would like more information, you’ve got a great resource right in the heart of Brunswick.

To get an in-depth and fascinating peek into the rich history of Brunswick and its railways, look no further than the Brunswick Railroad Museum located on 40 West Potomac Street in historic downtown Brunswick. For over 30 years, this museum has provided an educational and realistic depiction of the town, and preserved its history in a meaningful way.

The museum features two exhibits. When you enter, the excitement begins on the second floor. Here, the museum’s life-like exhibits recall the stories of the lives of railroaders and their families in the early 1900’s. Touch and feel real pieces of history, look at articles of clothing and uniforms, and peek inside a recreated Victorian room that gives you a glimpse into how a railroader and his family’s life might have been like at home.

On the very top floor of the museum you will walk through their 1700 square foot HO scale model that depicts 50 miles of railroads. Offering, in miniature, a look at the route from the west end of Brunswick’s rail yard and running eastward through Montgomery County communities all the way to Union Station in Washington, D.C. Each winding turn portrays intricate and ornate details, and several interactive displays to keep you entertained. Historic photos and tidbits adorn the walls, allowing you to get a realistic glimpse in how the railroad and its employees operated and lived.

Just as the railways here in Brunswick, MD were bustling and thriving during the late 1890s-1960s, such are the events currently held at the museum today. Victorian Tea lessons, Bell and History Days and, of course, Brunswick Railroad Days, which are anticipated by locals and newcomers alike, are just a few of the exciting events that take place. You are encouraged to check their website for upcoming events at http://brrm.net/.

And after all that, you’re bound to be hungry so be sure to stop at one of Brunswick’s quaint eateries for a real taste of the town. We promise you’ll be back!

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