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June a busy month in Washington County

You can take a 'vacation' in your own county

You can take a 'vacation' in your own county

June 06, 2005|by TOM RIFORD

There's a lot happening in Washington County during the next several weeks - including Blues Fest on June 3-5, a fishing contest at the C&O Canal Park in Williamsport June 4, Railroad Heritage Days at the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum on June 11 and 12, Pygmy goats at the Ag Center on June 16-21, the Miss Maryland and Miss Teen Maryland Scholarship Pageants on June 22-25, the C&O Canal Barge Bash on June 25, band concerts at City Park, art shows, baseball games, and a lot more!

June is a busy month. Please get out and take part in some of the events this month. Take a vacation - at home!

Washington County is popular with visitors, and becoming more popular. According to the State of Maryland, last year about 1.2 million people spent the night here, visited historic sites, parks, attractions and more. Visitors spent $176.1 million, money which helps maintain more than 5,300 jobs in our county in the "Leisure and Hospitality" classification (according to DLLR).

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The county is a great place to visit - and it's a great place to live. Most residents know about the recreational opportunities, know that there are lots of museums and historic sites, know about the shopping, and know that there's a lot to offer here ... if you're looking for something to do this summer, get out and visit our parks, museums and more. When was the last time you played "tourist" in your own county? When was the last time you toured the Miller House, or the Rural Heritage Museum, or the Williamsport, Boonsboro, Hancock, or Smithsburg museums? Have you seen the new Pry House Field Hospital Museum at Antietam? What about Discovery Station?

Also, Washington County has five national parks (all or part of which are in our county), eight state park facilities, and more than 30 county and city parks. We have hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails. There's plenty to experience in the "outside parts" of our county. In Washington County, there are 35 museums (more than 10 percent of the state's total museum inventory). And there are a lot of "firsts," "onlys," and "bests" - right here in our local communities.

There are hundreds of events in between now and Thanksgiving - music, art, storytelling, drama, festivals, tours and more. If you have children, and they claim that they are bored - it's because they aren't seeing and experiencing what's right here in Washington County - and also very close by.

Visitors from outside our community marvel at Washington County - the Western Maryland Rail Trail, for instance, was called a "Natural Cathedral In The Trees," by a bike group from Virginia. Take a bike ride on the trail - especially on the newest western section that was just opened. The total length of the trail is more than 22 miles long. Don't forget about the C&O Canal Towpath or the Appalachian Trail!

Visit some out-of-the-way parks, canoe and kayak on our creeks, see all the stone bridges built before the Civil War, explore our towns and back roads. Picnic on the highest point of our county, and view the setting sun. Get out and see the beauty of Washington County.

Revisit our history - Antietam, Fort Frederick (Maryland's first state park), South Mountain, the C&O Canal, the Miller House and more. Visit the small, out-of-the-way museums, you'll be in for a treat (call ahead - because many only open by appointment). Stop in at the Visitors Welcome Center in downtown Hagerstown to get all the information you'd need for an adventurous summer vacation - right here in Washington County. More information can be found on the Web site at: www.marylandmemories.com.

The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization whose mission is to help attract visitors to Hagerstown and Washington County. The CVB helps to create vibrant growth for the local economy by promoting, developing and expanding the local visitor industry.

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Tom Riford is president and chief executive officer of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau. He can be reached at 301-791-3246. His column appears the first Thursday of every month.

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