Two ideas for Labor Day getaways

Two ideas for Labor Day getaways

August 29, 2006|by ALEX SMELGUS

The City of Hagerstown has many adventures wrapped up in its streets. But sometimes people only know of the fun places in their neighborhood. They don't know about good day-trip destinations within minutes of home.

Yeah, you have your movie theaters and arcades, but what about the places where you can actually think on your own without a movie or game doing it for you?

Greenbrier State Park

What makes Greenbrier State Park unique is its 42-acre freshwater lake. You can swim, boat, fish or canoe. You can rent canoes or paddleboats, or bring your own boat for fishing. The lake is stocked with largemouth bass, trout and bluegill.

Greenbrier has 500 acres for hunting within its 900-acre forest. You like hiking? The park has nine trails totalling 11.5 miles, from a simple hike around the lake, to a four-mile hike in the forest.


Their 1,000-foot beach is a safe place to swim with five lifeguards on duty. Water goes to six feet deep in the marked area.

There are four waterfront gazebos for rent for $74 a day or $44 for half a day. They can seat up to 32 people - perfect for parties or reunions.

Now all of that is great, but what is a park without camping? There are more than 150 camp sites. Sites are $25 a night without electrical outlets; $30 if you need electricity.

At only $3 to $5 a person for the park entry fee, it would be a great place to spend the day.

C&O Canal

The C&O Canal towpath is a cool place with much to do on a day trip. It's a good place to finally get outdoors and bike a few miles with family or friends. The towpath runs beside the old, mostly abandoned canal, which runs along the Potomac River.

The towpath is mostly flat, which is perfect for miles and miles of biking.

Also, there are historic places you can visit around Williamsport - the Cumberland Valley, a couple miles downriver from Williamsport, where you can picnic or camp. There is the Potomac Edison Dam and the Conococheague Creek Aqueduct, off Riverpark Drive in Williamsport. And you'll be able to see lock 44, along with a railroad lift bridge. There is also Dam No. 5 at 106.8 miles, off Dam No. 5 Road. They say the catfish are plentiful there.

Now, when going on an all-day expedition, you're going to need to pack a lunch. Bring food that won't spoil in the heat. Consider something canned - possibly Vienna sausages - and chips and maybe some jerky. And bring lots of water.

Some fun things to do while you're biking out there would be swimming, fishing or camping. It would be easiest to bring a telescopic fishing set so you can catch brown trout, bluegill, perch, bass and catfish.

The C&O Canal also provides camping facilities. Park Ranger Leslie Brodhead with Visitor Services said, "They get a ton of families over the weekend when it's nice out. They have a large parking lot with a capacity of about 50 cars."

She also said that families that choose to camp tend to camp on a campground. Scout troops tend to camp along the C&O Canal on the hiker-biker camps, which are spaced every six to seven miles apart. They can be used only for one night but are free.

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