If you're a fan of history and nature, make a beeline for the chronicled town of Thurmont, Maryland.
Established in 1751, the town was initially named "Mechanicstown."
But in 1894, Charles E. Cassell, an editor for a local newspaper, suggested the name Thurmont—"thur" being a German word for gateway or entrance and "mons" being the Latin word for mountain.
The town then earned the nickname "Gateway to the Mountains," and rightfully so because it lies close to the Appalachian mountains.
Thurmont has deep ties to the Civil War and is home to several family-friendly attractions, parks, recreational areas, wineries, and historical sites.
It is a fun and exciting place to visit for those who want to reconnect with history and nature.
Here are the best things to do in Thurmont, Maryland:
Take a Drive to the Roddy Road Covered Bridge
Known as Maryland's shortest covered bridge, the Roddy Road Covered Bridge also packs a lot of war history in its king-post truss.
It was constructed around 1850 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Locals believe that the bridge was somehow connected to a Confederate General during the American Civil War's Gettysburg campaign.
In 2016, a truck crash heavily damaged the original structure of the Roddy Road Covered Bridge, although a replica was built afterward.
Also connected to Owen's Creek, the bridge showcases a marvelous view and has become a favorite for motorists.
Brush up on your photography skills, and don't be shy to take some snaps of yourself and this incredible bridge.
Go Fruit-Picking at Catoctin Mountain Orchard
Catoctin Mountain Orchard is one of the best places to go fruit-picking.
Just south of Gettysburg, this roadside orchard dates back to 1961, when it was one of Maryland's commercial orchards.
Later, it became a family-owned farm famed for its wide variety of best-tasting and high-quality fruit and vegetable produce.
Stroll through rows of homegrown and incredibly fresh apples, strawberries, tomatoes, grapes, kales, and apricots.
Your little ones can play and run around at the farm's playground while you take a sip of their popular pressed cider.
Taste Wines at Catoctin Breeze Vineyard and Winery
When you've gotten your fill of history, head to Catoctin Breeze Vineyard and Winery to cap off the evening with a comforting glass of wine.
Have a relaxing experience by seeing the panoramic view from the winery on top of a hill overlooking the Catoctin Mountains.
Whether you're traveling solo or with family, marvel at the wonderful atmosphere and beautiful scenery as you stroll down its vineyard plantings.
Aside from wine, the farm offers locally-sourced charcuterie, but you can also bring your own lunches and stay at spruce picnic areas outside the winery.
Named Frederick's Best Winery, the farm considers all its guests and implements a smoke-free and pet-friendly policy.
Lodge at the Cabins of Ole Mink Farm Recreation Resort
It would be fantastic for you to spend your weekend getaway at the charming Ole Mink Farm Recreation Resort.
Nestled high atop the Catoctin Mountains, the resort is the perfect place to settle if you want to take advantage of its proximity to other travel spots.
You can swim in their outdoor swimming pool and then take some time to doze off at one of their luxury log cabins.
Their rustic cabins are built with stunning cathedral-type ceilings, a full bath and kitchen, and a loft area with breathtaking views of the forest.
Just outside your cabin's door, you will find a patio with a cozy fire pit, great for evenings spent roasting s'mores with the family.
Hike the Trails of Catoctin Mountain Park
Head to Catoctin Mountain Park to enjoy 25 miles of spectacular hiking trails.
Operated by the National Park Service, the park is a natural wonderland home to the Camp David presidential retreat and is famed for its solitude and tranquility.
Though Camp David is not open to the public, Catoctin Mountain Park offers other scenic sites as it boasts all of Monocacy Valley's natural wonders, from turquoise-blue streams to pristine views of the Catoctin Mountain range.
If you're in for a challenge, pass by the west side of the park to enjoy miles of high-quality bouldering and horseback riding opportunities.
Don't forget to sport your trusty camera to mark these fantastic experiences.
See Exotic Animals at Catoctin Wildlife Preserve
With its humble beginnings dating back to 1933, Catoctin Wildlife Preserve has grown into a 50-acre naturalistic habitat for over 600 beloved wild counterparts.
Meet wildlife enthusiasts during on-site educational programs with topics on how to care for and contribute to wildlife conservation.
Join a 60-minute safari ride showcasing exotic animals from all six continents as you travel through different paddocks spread across 25 acres of land.
Become a wandering Ambass-zoo-dor and see leopards, beards, boas, monkeys, parrots, zebras, and other species thrive in the unspoiled habitat of Catoctin Wildlife Preserve.
Delight in all the fun, feeding, and photographing to enhance your experience.
Take the Whole Family to Magnolia Meadow Farms
Explore the magnificent Magnolia Meadow Farms sanctuary, located along Creagerstown Road.
Their apple cannons, slides, and zip line rides are all a hit and make for the perfect location for a birthday party or any festive occasion.
The farm's impressive Moonlight Maze is exhilarating at night as it comes with 24 challenging checkpoints.
Magnolia Meadow Farms spreads over 327 acres and makes for a great running and play area for kids.
Take a few of their tasty sweets as they have a nice variety of food and drinks and plenty of picnic tables where you can take a break.
Take a Step Back in Time at the Utica Mills Covered Bridge
The Utica Mills Covered Bridge has a past to tell.
The original bridge named "Devilbiss Road Covered Bridge" was washed off of its substructure during the Johnstown Flood in 1889.
The surviving half was then salvaged and moved to Fishing Creek in 1891 and was rebuilt at its current location over Fishing Creek.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Utica Mills Covered Bridge is one of Maryland's only six covered bridges still in existence.
If you go for a scenic drive along Utica Road, you'll find that it retains timber from when it was constructed in 1843 despite previous restorations.
Take as many photos as you'd like—just make sure there's no traffic coming from either direction.
Pick Your Favorite Fruits at Pryor's Orchards
Pryor's Orchards is an interesting travel destination if you want to taste homegrown produce.
From Route 77, go one mile and watch for a large Pryor Orchard sign to reach one of Thurmont's longest-standing orchards.
The farm operates as a family business and is owned by Martha Hauver.
She has been growing fruits at Pryor's Orchards for nearly 70 years and has no plans of stopping.
Interestingly, the farm once broke the record for the largest eastern cottonwood tree (now sitting near the Hauver home) in the whole of Maryland.
Visitors say that the best thing about Pryor's Orchards is their wholesome, fresh, and homegrown fruits and vegetables.
You can try their best-selling apples and pears, but their peaches, cherries, apricots, sweet plums, prunes, and many more are sure not to disappoint.
Anyone interested in taking home only the freshest produce wouldn't want to miss out on the opportunity to visit Pryor's Orchards.
Climb and See the Overlook from the Blue Ridge Summit
The Blue Ridge Summit is an awe-inspiring sight for any visitor.
With a unique and tranquil view from atop the Blue Ridge Summit, visitors looking to get a break from the urban setting can take a moment to soak in their surroundings.
Be sure to take a few snaps when you reach the summit to get a souvenir photo you'll love featuring the nearby Harbaugh Valley and the infamous Appalachian Mountains.
You can readily access the summit from the Hog Rock Parking Area and embark on a short, gradual climb to the vista.
Follow the trail and see a dense abundance of hardwood forests and fresh air.
Read a Book at the Thurmont Regional Library
The Thurmont Regional Library is the kind of library that will make you want to move in.
This cozy library is conveniently located along East Moser Road, just a few miles from Big Hunting Creek and Ole Mink Farm Recreation Resort.
Despite the rustic feel of its interiors, the Thurmont Regional Library is a new and modern library that opened only in 2008.
It offers an extensive collection of books for all ages, computers, and other assorted multi-media literacy-rich materials to fit the needs and interests of its visitors.
Plus, they have a beautiful outdoor deck with a porch rocking chair seating overlooking the woods.
Go Camping in Cunningham Falls State Park
Cunningham Falls State Park makes for a great camping ground, whether you're traveling solo or with family.
The vast area of this park is home to Maryland's largest cascading waterfall.
Travel back in time while seeing pioneer-era structures and abandoned iron mines and watching birds at the park's aviary.
In its Manor area, you can explore the ruins of Catoctin Iron Furnace, a historic iron forge situated on Route 15, historically operated by Jacob Kinkel in the mid-19th century.
The park features a 43-acre man-made lake located in its William Houck area, where you and other visitors can take advantage of other recreational opportunities like swimming, boating, and fishing.
Chill, Drink Wine, or Get Married at Springfield Manor
A crowd favorite among wedding organizers, Springfield Manor is a winery, distillery, and brewery that sets a romantic setting for engagement parties, bridal showers, ceremonies, and wedding receptions.
What customers appreciate here goes beyond the lavender fields or the interiors.
The staff is top-notch, and the venue offers other facilities and services, such as catering, lounge areas, a ballroom, and all the sound and visual tools you may need to make your wedding day even more romantic.
What's more, the venue also offers a cleanup service for when the special day ends, so you don't need to worry about waking up to a mountain full of chores.
But if you're not up for a wedding and are just looking for a place to stay, the Springfield Manor Winery Brewery and Distillery also has an inn with eight relaxing suites ready to help you get all the comfort and relaxation you need.
Get a Good Taste of Wine Grapes at Links Bridge Vineyards
Impressed by Maryland's booming winery industry, Joan Cartier and Robert Thompson decided to buy some land and grow their own grapes to establish what is now known as Links Bridge Vineyards.
Nestled on the right bank of the Monocacy River, Links Bridge Vineyards is 15 away from Thurmont's central area.
Interestingly, the vineyard is dog-friendly, so feel free to bring your pets with you—just make sure to keep them on their leashes while inside the premises.
The place also rents some of its space to wellness professionals from time to time, so you can check out other activities like yoga sessions and painting classes.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Take a Day Trip to Loy's Station Covered Bridge
Listed as one of the country's historical places, Loy's Station Covered Bridge in Rocky Ridge was constructed in 1848 at a length of 90 feet.
An unknown arsonist burned down the bridge in 1991 as part of an insurance fraud scheme.
Seeing the damage, a local artist made limited edition prints of the bridge, which were then successfully sold by the local community to fund its reconstruction.
Residents see the bridge as a historical symbol of their unity and strength as a community.
Now, the bridge is well-maintained and made sturdier by its locals, making for a picturesque view of Owen's Creek.
With everything Thurmont has to offer, it is the perfect haven for those wanting to break free from the hustle and bustle of urban living.
Immerse yourself in the town's scenic views, parks, farmlands, and resorts.
It's worth a visit, so start planning your trip to Thurmont today!