County has a lot for youths to do

September 24, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

Editor's note: While preparing this year's Hometown Guide to Washington County, we thought it would be interesting to come up with ideas of activities for young people. Here's what Erin Julius, The Herald-Mail's youth reporter, found.

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Years ago, when gas was cheap, the big activity for teenagers from Hagerstown and surrounding areas was "cruisin' the Dual."

Driving up and down Dual Highway on Friday afternoons after school was something to anticipate. Young people would take their cars and pickups, or those of their parents, and hit the road, stopping to congregate in a parking lot of a shopping center or a fast-food restaurant.

Teenagers would stop at car washes to get their cars shined up and then go show them off, Rhonda Schwartz said.


Schwartz, 42, grew up in Middletown, Md. She drove old U.S. 40 through Frederick, Md., then all the way to Hagerstown, and back. It was a loop, she said.

On Friday nights, cars would be parked next to each other in a parking lot. Someone with a good stereo system would provide music for the whole crowd.

Back in the day, Schwartz owned a 1982 blue Camaro.

"You could afford to fill up your car and run all night," she said.

Sometimes, Schwartz and her friends would cruise until 3 a.m., she said, noting, "I met a lot of guys that way."

Schwartz now works at McDonald's at the corner of Dual Highway and Cannon Avenue, and said she doesn't see kids "cruisin'" as much. Officers patrol more, and businesses have posted "no loitering" signs, she said.

Even if cruising the Dual isn't your thing, there are plenty of activities for young people that don't involve sitting in front of the television or burning gas.

Young people into more extreme sports can check out the skate park at Fairgrounds Park.

A traditional winter sport, ice skating, is an option at the Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex at 580 Security Road. Hockey and figure-skating lessons are available at the National Hockey League-size rink, and a DJ plays music during public skating sessions on Friday nights.

For roller skating, there's the Family Skating Center at 17333 Virginia Ave., or the Starland Roller Rink at 800 Park Road, both in Hagerstown.

At the Family Skating Center, the first Monday of every month is Christian Skate Night, and every Tuesday is Family Night. Starland offers public sessions, as well as private parties, catered birthday parties and skating lessons.

Yingling's Golf Center at 20220 Jefferson Blvd. is another option, with an 18-hole par-3 course, driving range, miniature golf and baseball batting cages.

As for spectator sports, Hagerstown's minor league baseball team, the Hagerstown Suns, plays at Municipal Stadium from April through September. And there are seasonal sporting events including football, basketball, baseball and track and field at high schools in the county.

Harpers Ferry, W.Va., is a beautiful setting for tubing, rafting, canoeing and kayaking.

If it's too cold to get in the water, Cunningham Falls, 10 miles east of Hagerstown on the Catoctin River at Cunningham Falls State Park, offers a beautiful view.

For indoor activities during inclement weather, the Hagerstown YMCA has two heated pools, a gym and racquetball courts. It also offers fitness and swimming classes for children and adults.

Hagerstown also is home to several bowling alleys for another indoor-entertainment option.

Movies always are a sure bet for entertainment. The two indoor movie complexes in Washington County are Regal Valley Mall Stadium 16 at Valley Mall, and the Hagerstown 10 Cineplex on Leitersburg Pike.

For an old-fashioned twist on the movie-and-popcorn routine, visit the Hager Drive-in Theatre on Leitersburg Pike.

For a bit of culture, The Maryland Theatre is home to the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, as well as a variety of other entertainment.

There also are dinner theaters that provide both food and entertainment.

In the warm-weather months, the area has an abundance of festivals and fairs, many with rides and games.

And if none of the above appeals to you, or if you still have time on your hands, there are plenty of organizations in the area that would be pleased to have volunteer workers.

Information about Washington County Technical High School was inadvertently omitted from the schools section of Hometown Guide. That information follows.

Washington County Technical High School
50 Oak Ridge Drive

Principal: Jeff Stouffer

Phone: 301-766-8050

Web site:

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