If you’re a history lover, get ready to pack your bags because we have the perfect weekend itinerary for you! From having lunch at a tollhouse to strolling through a once-beloved theme park, there are so many different and exciting ways to experience all of the wonderful historical sites Montgomery County, Maryland has to offer.
Live like a lockkeeper in the early twentieth century at the Swains Lockhouse. Located right on the Potomac River, the lockhouse has everything you need for a memorable weekend including furnished early-1900s style rooms and vibrant views right from the window.
After you’ve settled in, wander around Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center and learn about the history behind what once was a gathering place for American Indians. While you’re there, take a tour led by a Park Ranger or explore solo via a phone tour. Afterward, get lost in all of the sights and sounds that C&O Canal National Historical Park has to offer like the roaring Great Falls, scenic views from the Billy Goat Trail, or kayaking down the river.
Refuel by having a memorable dining experience at Silo Falls. The restaurant is located in a historic mansion right in the center of 40+ acres of farmland and woodland. Choose from a variety of southern classics like crabby fried green tomatoes and parmesan shrimp fondue.
Start winding down by strolling through Glen Echo Park, a former amusement park that operated for several decades from the early 1900s to the 1960s. Make sure to take a ride on the iconic Dentzel Carousel which was originally installed at the park in 1921 and continues to be a national treasure to this day.
Start your second day by walking through the National Capital Trolley Museum where you’ll learn about the deep history of trolleys, streetcars, trains, and more. Next, head to the Thomas Harper Cabin, a log cabin built by the Harper family in 1870 in Jonesville, a community formed by freed slaves. The Harper family of 10 lived in the Harper Cabin which had a hen house, smokehouse, hog pen, fruit trees, and vegetable garden in the backyard.
Visit Montgomery County Local Fact: In 1935, the Thomas Harper Cabin was sold to Harry L. Willard who rented it to tenants. In 1976, Willard’s heirs donated the cabin to Montgomery County Department of Parks as part of the US Bicentennial Celebration, and the cabin was disassembled, moved, and reconstructed at Brookside Nature Center.
Relax and unwind by having a meal at Mrs. K’s Toll House in Silver Spring. What once was once a place where travelers would stop and pay a fine before entering a privately-owned road is now the last standing tollhouse in the county. You’ll come for the rich history, beautiful antiques, and cozy atmosphere, but you’ll stay for the delicious homecooked meal.
Visit Montgomery County Local Fact: The farmer who operated the toll charged about 4 cents per horse for entry—how’s that for a deal!
After your lunch, step back in time and learn about the African Diaspora, civil rights, and more at the Sandy Spring Slave Museum & African Art Gallery, then experience the Underground Railroad firsthand at Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park’s UGRR Experience Night Hike. The guided hike allows you to follow the path that freedom seekers took to the North during their nighttime travels.
It’s the final day of your historical weekend getaway but the fun doesn’t have to stop! Take a relaxing ride across the Potomac on the White’s Ferry in Poolesville—the last of 100 ferries that used to be in operation on the Potomac River.
Have some lunch at The Comus Inn, a historical building complex located at Sugarloaf Mountain. The Comus Inn is a result of four periods of major construction starting with a two-bay log dwelling in 1862 and ending with major remodels, included the addition of a large elevated porch with views of the mountain in the 1900’s. Enjoy made-to-order dishes and special wine selections to enhance your dining experience. This quaint and romantic restaurant will have you coming back for more.
End the day by walking across The Monocacy Aqueduct, the longest aqueduct on the C&O Canal National Historical Park. The Monocacy Aqueduct was frequently attacked during the American Civil War because of its location right on the canal where war materials and troops were transported. Despite the attacks from the Confederate soldiers, The Monocacy Aqueduct was never destroyed and now stands as an “icon of American civil engineering” preserved by the C&O Canal Trust
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Want to experience more of the historical sites Montgomery County, Maryland has to offer? Browse a few of our most popular historic sites in the county.