We all feel it: Too long cooped up during quarantine. We miss getting out and doing things. We miss our friends. We miss events. Heck, we miss everything other than being at home. But we are still leery of a getaway that involves the close quarters of an airplane or the shoulder to shoulder density of a big city. We still want a little space, just in case . . . But enough of what we don’t want, how about some things we DO want? We’ve developed a heightened appreciation for small towns, parks and the outdoors and places we can easily drive to.
Harford County, a short drive away, has the small towns to visit. Consider Cal Ripken’s hometown, Aberdeen. You can’t get any more All-American than that. It’s earned the title in act. Then there’s Havre de Grace, which missed being our nation’s capital by just one vote. This great little port town has old world charm, restaurants with spectacular water views, a lighthouse, museums, galleries, and a waterfront park with promenade. It’s a great location for many festivals. How about the county seat, Bel Air, with a historic Main Street, many restaurants, and history such as being the birthplace of John Wilkes Booth, and the location of the summer home of Dr. Howard Kelly, one of the founders of Johns Hopkins, called The Liriodendron.
The county chronicles history in a way that few counties can. Explore the Jerusalem Mill, an 18th- and 19th-century living history village and the site of one of Maryland’s few covered bridges. Or go to the Susquehanna State Park and see the nature trails along the mighty Susquehanna River, then visit the Steppingstone Museum on the grounds and see a functioning mill powered by water grinding grains into flour. Upstream, is the Conowingo Dam, Maryland’s largest source of clean energy for 90 years. Check out the visitor center and learn more, or hike around and watch all the bald eagles that reside along the mighty river.
Harford County is still rural, with real farms and farm products. No trip is complete without a stop at Broom’s Bloom for authentic home-made ice cream. Stop by one of the several local vineyards and see how wine is made and, of course, sample some. Or partake in the samples at local craft breweries. Havre de Grace even has an Antique Mall and Beer MuZeum. A year-round favorite is the Ladew Topiary Gardens. Many events are held at this fantastic venue, which includes acres of finely sculpted shrubs, themed gardens, a manor house, butterfly house, and nature trails. Ladew Gardens makes a great wedding venue, as does the Liriodendron.
Check out the 855 acres of Rocks State Park with its breathtaking views from the 190-foot rock outcrop known as the King and Queen Seat, or hike over to Fallen Branch and Kilgore Falls. Fishing and tubing in season along Deer Creek are a hit as well.
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