Get your holiday shopping done early, and you’ll thank yourself for it later. If you are looking for secret Santa gifts, stocking stuffers, gifts for family member of all ages, or holiday decorations, the Canal Towns have you covered. Grab a hot drink and snack to fuel your shopping spree in the fresh Western Maryland air while supporting local businesses. This is a three-part series, find part 1 here, and part 2 here.
Visit Brunswick between November 8 and December 22 and experience their Popup Holiday Marketplace featuring homemade products from local farms and art studios. The Brunswick holiday parade and Christmas tree lighting will be held on December 7. Grab lunch and get your shopping done at Beans in the Belfry. They have cookie cutters, candy assortments, mugs, and coffee beans.
You’ll find Harpers Ferry full of shopping and snacking opportunities. Holiday themed candy and gift baskets from True Treats Historic Candy will make great gifts. True Treats will satisfy history buffs and sweet tooth’s alike, as it has candy that goes back to the 1500s and tells the story of each era. At Tenfold Fair Trade Collection you’ll find apparel, accessories, and homeware packaged in reused materials. Shop in person or online.
Harpers Ferry and Bolivar will host the 49th annual Olde Tyme Christmas, the longest running holiday celebration in the canal towns, December 6-8 and December 14-15. Events include a nativity play, horse and wagon tours, one-man production of A Christmas Carol, children’s craft and activities, and a strolling Father and Mother Christmas.
Enjoy your holiday shopping in the Canal Towns!
Brunswick, Harpers Ferry, and Bolivar are part of the Canal Towns Partnership. Learn more about the CTP here.
Get your holiday shopping done early, and you’ll thank yourself for it later. If you are looking for secret Santa gifts, stocking stuffers, gifts for family member of all ages, or holiday decorations, the Canal Towns have you covered. Grab a hot drink and snack to fuel your shopping spree in the fresh Western Maryland air while supporting local businesses. This is a three-part series, find part 1 here, and part 3 here.
Stop in at Willie’s Primitive Attic and Flower Shop in Hancock to spice up your home for the holidays with candles, country décor, and seasonal flower arrangements. Willie’s is always being updated to reflect the current season, so check back in the spring for new arrangements and décor.
November 30th is Miracle on Main Street, the Hancock Christmas tree lighting with Santa, and Small Business Saturday, making it the perfect day to visit Hancock, MD. Main Street will be filled with local vendors, warm drinks, holiday treats and goodies.
Stroll down Cumberland’s Pedestrian Mall to eat, drink, and shop. Find unique clothes and accessories at Sunshine Daze, a Bohemian boutique. Shop at Barkin’ Basement and support the Allegany County Animal Shelter. On November 22- December 23, you can ride the Polar Express on the Scenic Western Maryland Railroad with hot chocolate and cookies, golden tickets, and on train entertainment.
Enjoy your holiday shopping in the Canal Towns!
Hancock and Cumberland are part of the Canal Towns Partnership. Learn more about the CTP here.
Get your holiday shopping done early, and you’ll thank yourself for it later. If you are looking for secret Santa gifts, stocking stuffers, gifts for family member of all ages, or holiday decorations, the Canal Towns have you covered. Grab a hot drink and snack to fuel your shopping spree in the fresh Western Maryland and West Virginia air while supporting local businesses.
Shepherdstown is a town that loves to shop. With 6 art galleries and studios, you’re sure to find a special piece. Four Seasons Books has best sellers, local authors, and children’s books. O’Hurley’s isn’t your average general store — you’ll find modern cooking appliances and railroad hats, alpaca sweaters, classic kid’s toys, board games, and glass blown ornaments there. Stop by Mountaineer Popcorn Company for some seasonal popcorn like harvest mix, caramel apple, or pumpkin spice cookie crumble to fuel your shopping, or bring some home in bulk for your holiday party.
Rhodes Welding & Metal Works is a family-owned store in Williamsport that hand-makes metal home signs and decorations. Find ornaments and seasonal decorations, yard signs, home signs, magnets, and many options for personalized signs. Shop in store or online.
Victory Garden Ranch (VGR) sells products produced by veterans and serves as a community wellness center. VGR will be closing its Sharpsburg storefront December 21 and moving to Boonsboro, so this is your last chance to visit them in Sharpsburg.
One of their most unique features is their time period canned soups and pastas including VGR Vegetable, Antietam Furnace Fiery Black Bean, and Stonewall Stroganoff. You can also find jams, candles, hats, scarves, and other holiday décor and treats.
Enjoy your holiday shopping in the Canal Towns!
Shepherdstown, Sharpsburg, and Williamsport are part of the Canal Towns Partnership. Learn more about the CTP below.
The last Saturday in September is Bike Your Park Day, an initiative created by the Adventure Cycling Association to promote biking in national parks, state parks, and other public lands. Lowell Markey, longtime volunteer with the C&O Canal National Historical Park, led an interpretive bike ride on September 28 to celebrate this year’s Bike Your Park Day. Visitors got to experience the new towpath surface near Shepherdstown and discover the history of this part of the park.
The Brunswick Heritage Museum, previously the Brunswick Railroad Museum, tells the story of Brunswick, Maryland, the B&O Railroad, and the C&O Canal. Whether you are a canal buff, model train enthusiast, baseball fan, or just want to learn more about the area, the Brunswick Heritage Museum has something for you.
On Thursday, August 8, the first boat traveled across the newly-restored Conococheague Aqueduct in Williamsport, MD. The C&O Canal National Historical Park hosted Governor Larry Hogan, Senator Ben Cardin, and Senator Chris Van Hollen, among other elected officials at a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by hundreds of people. Read More
In 1954, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas famously joined the effort to protect the C&O Canal’s unique beauty and preserve it as a “sanctuary for everyone.” Thanks to Justice Douglas and countless others, visitors can continue to marvel at its wild serenity. Picking up this torch of appreciation and advocacy for the Canal is a special group of C&O Canal Trust volunteers called Quartermasters, who help to maintain the lockhouses and assist guests of the Trust’s Canal Quarters program. Read More
Welcome to the C&O Canal’s ice cream trail! Find a local ice cream spot near you, or hit them all on your through-ride.
4323A Tuscarora Road, Tuscarora, MD 21790
Best for: Local dairy products
Serves: Rocky Point Farm Ice Cream
10-minute bike ride from the towpath
Rocky Point Creamery is a classic farm-to-cone style creamery located a little over a mile from the towpath in Point of Rocks. The creamery rotates over 80 flavors of ice cream weekly and offers specialty sundaes and shakes. Some recent flavors are butter pecan, crabby cow (old bay flavored), and strawberry limeade sorbet. You can make your visit to Rocky Point Creamery quick by using their one-of-a-kind ice cream drive-through, but you should stick around for their tractor-style playground, sunflower field in July and August, and events like food trucks and goat yoga. Weekly flavors and events are posted on their Facebook page.
12 South Maple Avenue, Brunswick, MD 21716
Best for: Most environmentally friendly
Serves: Ice Cream from Trickling Springs Creamery (Chambersburg, PA) and South Mountain Creamery (Frederick, MD)
3-minute walk from the towpath
Opened in June 2018, Towpath Creamery is the newest addition to the towpath ice cream trail. The creamery is a one-stop shop for almost anything you could need in terms of s’mores supplies, paperback books, first aid supplies, toiletries, and souvenirs. Ice cream flavors include blueberry pomegranate sorbet, raspberry swirl, and salted caramel. You can build you own cookie-wich (ice cream sandwich), get a pupcup for your dog, or try a specialty sundae like the Train Tax (chocolate ice cream, hot fudge, peanut butter cups, pieces, health pieces). The cherry on top to your visit might be that the utensils and ice cream cups are compostable, and the creamery provides a composting bin.
128 High St. Harpers Ferry, WV 25425
Best for: Great views
Serves: Hershey’s Ice Cream
7-minute walk from the towpath
Potomac Street in Harpers Ferry has three walk-up ice cream spots: Creamy Creations, A La Mode Café, and Coffee Mill. If you want to beat the crowds and the heat, head around the corner to Cannonball Deli, where they have indoor and outdoor seating. Their eight flavors of ice cream include salty caramel and moose tracks. If you want to walk and eat, there are plenty of shops and museums to explore. A few feet away is the Appalachian Trail, which you can take to Jefferson Rock, or just say you’ve walked the width of the AT. If you have a bike you don’t want to carry through town, lock it at the bottom of the steps by the towpath, or on the other side of the bridge.
100 E. Main Street, Sharpsburg, MD 21782
Best for: Low prices for a large amount of ice cream
Serves: Ice Cream from Hood and Turkey Hill
12-minute bike ride from the towpath, a 3-minute drive from Antietam National Battlefield
Founded in 1996, Nutter’s is the oldest creamery along the towpath and might be some of the most popular ice cream, with lines out the door on the weekends. Ice cream is not just a summer treat at Nutter’s, who also offers seasonal flavors such as peppermint stick, pumpkin pie, and orange pineapple. A personal favorite is white chocolate raspberry truffle and Pocono paws. Nutter’s has unbelievably low prices, which will make you want to turn a single scoop into a double, or a double scoop into a hot fudge brownie.
2 E Potomac St, Williamsport, MD 21795
Best for: Interior Design
Serves: Ice Cream from HP Hood (Winchester, VA)
5-minute walk from the towpath
Desert Rose Café and Sweet Shoppe sits on the corner of Potomac St. and Conococheague St., just up the street from the towpath. Its small store front opens up into a 1960s-esque diner. Seasonal flavors include black raspberry, butter pecan, and cherry vanilla, or you can get a snow cone, custom lollipop, or banana split (big enough to share). Don’t forget your rewards card, because your tenth ice cream or specialty drink is free. If you are from out of town, make sure to pin your hometown on the map, where all 50 states are represented. Desert Rose also serves sandwiches, salads, and snacks, and makes cakes to order.
11 E. Main Street, Hancock, MD 21750
Best for: Games and surrey rides
Serves: Soft Serve Ice Cream
2-minute walk from the towpath and the Western Maryland Rail Trail
In the basement of Buddy Lou’s, surrounded by antiques, you will find a soft serve machine. While the only flavors are chocolate and vanilla, you can add toppings, or make a float, a milkshake, or a blurry. Buddy Lou’s is definitely dog friendly with free pup cups and lots of outdoor seating.
Hang out and play checkers, trivial pursuit, dominoes, or another game that catches your fancy. There are plenty of places to rent bikes near the canal, but have you ever rented a surrey? Buddy Lou’s offers two and four-person surrey rentals to take on the rail trail.
17 Howard Street, Cumberland, Maryland 21502
Best for: Authentic pastries
Serves: Ice Cream from Garber’s Ice Cream (Winchester, VA)
A few steps off the towpath, less than 500 ft from the end of the C&O Canal and the start of the Great Allegheny Passage trail
European Desserts and More is one of the shops at Canal Place, where the C&O, the GAP, and the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad meet. It offers six flavors of ice cream including black raspberry and cookies & crème. Its real specialty is handmade traditional desserts, like baklava, bee sting cake, and filo pastries. Follow the towpath south, and you will find a green field to eat your ice cream or other treats, and view “The Cumberland,” a full-scale C&O Canal boat replica. This is the perfect place to treat yourself after your journey, or fuel up for the start of your trip.