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Lockhouse lodging proves popular with C&O canal visitors

August 01, 2010|By DAVE McMILLION
  • The Mundt family of Darien, Conn., from left, Tristan Mundt, 8, Trevor Mundt, Celia Mundt, 8, and Cecelia Mundt gather on the front porch of Lockhouse 49 near Clear Spring Sunday evening.
Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

CLEAR SPRING -- When it's vacation time at the Mundt household, Trevor Mundt steers away from the same old motel routine.

The Darien, Conn., family sometimes camps or goes for something unique.

Sunday night, the family of four was set to stay in an old lockhouse along the Potomac River where canal workers helped to guide canal boats through a set of locks in the 1920s.

Lockhouse 49 was one of three lockhouses along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park that park officials restored and opened to the public in hopes of expanding lodging opportunities to canal visitors.

Lockhouse 49 off Four Locks Road south of Clear Spring was opened along with the other two last fall. The house welcomes visitors with its old pine floors, fireplaces and wooden folk toys for kids.

Trevor Mundt, wife, Cecelia, and 8-year-old twins Celia and Tristan arrived at the house about 4:15 p.m. Sunday for a one-night stay. They are planning to travel to Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia for a reunion, then to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a vacation.

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The playful voices of Celia and Tristan echoed inside the house while Trevor and Cecelia talked on the front porch. The kids discovered unique items in the house, like a quill pen that required a dip in an old-fashioned inkwell for writing.

"There's no TV!" Celia exclaimed through the front screen door.

The setting of the house, combined with its proximity to a trail along the river that allows one to go all the way to Pittsburgh if they choose, won over Trevor Mundt.

"I think it's brilliant," said Mundt, an investment banker who works in New York City.

The other lockhouses that park officials opened for lodging are Lockhouse 22 at Pennyfield Lock near Potomac, Md., in Montgomery County and Lockhouse 6 near Brookmont, Md., near Washington, D.C.

The president of the C&O Canal Trust, which manages the lockhouse lodging program, said he has been happy with the interest in lodging at the lockhouses. Lockhouse 6 has been especially popular, Matthew Logan said.

"This summer essentially has been full, nine days out of 10," Logan said.

Logan said Lockhouse 49 has lagged a little behind Lockhouse 6 in the number of reserved stays, which trust officials attributed to the fact that Lockhouse 49 does not have an indoor toilet.

A portable bathroom was set up at the house when it was opened last fall.

"We knew going into that it would appeal to a certain audience," said Logan, adding that Lockhouse 49 has been rented at about half the rate of Lockhouse 6.

Lockhouse 22 has also been lagging behind Lockhouse 6 for the same reason, Logan said.

But Logan said he thinks business for Lockhouses 49 and 22 will increase as fall approaches, and he said each feature story or blog entry about the program seems to generate a spike in reservations for the houses.

Lockhouse 49 rents for $85 a night, Lockhouse 22 rents for $70 a night and Lockhouse 6 costs $100 nightly.

Trevor Mundt wasn't worried about any limitations in facilities Sunday at Lockhouse 49. Instead, he was excited about the education his children will get by being in such an area. The family was planning to head to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia today.

"I was really excited to come across something like this. It was so cool," Mundt said.




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For more information about the Canal Quarters program, go to http://www.canalquarters.org.

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