I embarked on my first towpath ride on Saturday, July 29, planning to ride from Georgetown to Cumberland over a week’s time. This was not my first time going long-distance on the towpath, as I participated in the Sierra Club’s 50 mile walk from Washington, D.C. to Harpers Ferry, WV when I was a decade younger. But this was my first time traversing the miles by bike. Read More
The Bald Eagle, considered a sign of strength since the times of the ancient Romans, has been our national symbol since 1782. Fun fact: Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to his daughter in 1784, described the bald eagle as “a bird of bad moral character”. This regal bird has now become an icon symbolizing American strength and fortitude. Read More
The Paw Paw Tunnel near Oldtown, Maryland is one of the most notable features on the C&O Canal. The Tunnel itself is an incredible feat of engineering, and its construction alone has a colorful history. It has been featured in many photographs, and it is a Canal Discovery. Here are 5 things you may not know about this incredible part of the Canal! Read More
Fish was a principle food source for early settlers in Maryland and Virginia. As settlements began to creep westward, the demand for fish meant that this valuable food source also needed to move westward from the Chesapeake Bay to its western tributaries. The Great Falls area on the Potomac River posed a challenge since the migrating fish could not go upstream beyond the falls. Industry, canals, and dams also negatively affected this migration.
Even though it’s technically been spring for a few weeks, it sure hasn’t felt like it! And while there’s still a bit more cold weather to come, the next few weeks look like they could be the true beginning of warm weather for the Canal.
In honor of spring (slowly) coming to the area, we at the Trust have compiled a list of things we love about spring on the Canal. Read More
This time of year can be difficult for those of us with allergies to pollen and other grasses. Even though this can be frustrating at times, it’s important to get outside if you want to enjoy the spring. Sunshine and warm weather can be a huge mood-booster after the months of dreary, cold weather. Read More
The C&O Canal is wonderful for many reasons, but one of them is its vast history. With the White House only a 10-minute walk from the Park, various Presidents have enjoyed the Canal and the Potomac River over the years for both its recreational opportunities and tranquility.
Without further ado, let’s take a stroll through history on the Canal with our former Presidents. Read More
March and April are the months to make a visit to the C&O Canal towpath to search for Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica).
These gorgeous blue flowers create wonderful patches of color along the towpath and are a welcome sight for those who are tired of the dreary winter weather.
In the previous blog post, brief mention was made of educational advisor C. Rushton Long, the lone African American administrator within the canal camps. This one man, more than any other, was the most important man at both Camp NP-1 and Camp NP-2. Long quite likely served as the first true coach, educator, and leader these enrollees had ever known. Read More
William Allen lived and worked at Camp NP-2 in Cabin John, and was well known to his fellow enrollees as the “camp jitterbug No. 1” for his dancing all about the camp. In June 1938, the camp welcomed a new batch of enrollees from Baltimore. Not long after that, Allen stopped dancing – those “Baltimore boys” were experienced visitors to jazz clubs, and Allen was essentially shamed into early dancing retirement by his friends. Read More
The C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP) traces its existence as a recreational site to hundreds of young black men. These men, all of whom were out-of-work and between 18 and 25 years old, lived and worked at two camps (Camp NP-1 and Camp NP-2) operated by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), located along the canal near present-day Carderock Recreation Area from 1938-1942. Read More
Sharpsburg has arguably one of the most colorful histories of any of our Canal Towns. In 1763, a man named Joseph Chapline founded Sharpsburg (then called Sharps Burgh) in honor of his friend, Governor Horatio Sharpe. Chapline chose this tract of land because of its easy access to water. The “Great Spring” of Sharpsburg can still be seen in the large pool that sits in the middle of the block behind Town Hall. Read More
January getting you down? Look back at 2017 in the C&O Canal National Historical Park with each month’s photo contest winner! These photos capture the beauty of the park, which cannot be rivaled anywhere else. Next time you visit the park, make sure you bring your camera and submit a photo to our monthly contest. For more information on the contest and how to enter, visit our website. Read More
Life can be hectic, especially during the holidays. If you’re still searching for last-minute gift ideas for that special someone, we can help. We’ve compiled a list of affordable items sure to please everyone. Read More
It’s December, and winter is only days away. Snow may be sparse at this point, but it’s only a matter of time. You morosely put away your riding gear and bring out the ear muffs for your runs… but wait! There is so much that the C&O Canal offers during the winter that you might not know about! To commemorate the C&O Canal Trust’s 10th Anniversary in 2017, we bring you 10 of our favorite things to do along the C&O Canal in the winter: Read More
Winter is a wonderful time to experience the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal) on your own, with a friend, or by attending a special event or ranger program. The park is open daily and visitors are welcome to join rangers for the following fun and exciting activities, December through February. Read More
We are in the peak fall foliage season here in Maryland, and we have collected some of our favorite photos of the canal bursting with color!
Where possible, we have linked the photos’ descriptions to their locations in the C&O Canal National Historical Park so you can go out and see the beautiful fall color for yourself! Read More
Canal Quarters lockhouses are popular for their historic charm, proximity to the towpath, and unique overnight lodgings. Through the years, the lockhouses have also been the destination for marriage proposals. Recently, George Marshall contacted us to relate his story about his recent experience at Lockhouse 6. Read More
The 1870s are alive and well in the C&O Canal National Historical Park. Experience a history lesson, a unique boat ride, and the famous C&O Canal mules when you take a trip on the Charles F. Mercer canal boat at the historic Great Falls Tavern. It’s a great way to see how folks lived and worked along the canal during its heyday. Read More
Interested in a wild and wonderful combo of cutting-edge theater, outdoor adventure, and sight-seeing? If so, visit Shepherdstown, West Virginia in July! Read More
The C&O Canal National Historic Park has something for everyone when it comes to water activities. From a relaxing day of fishing on the Potomac River to kayaking along the canal, most folks can find a fun way to make a splash! Read More
Brunswick should really be called a “Railroad Town”, but we like them, so they are a Canal Town anyway! Unlike any of the other towns, the B&O Railroad built Brunswick far more than the canal ever did. While the Canal came through in the 1830’s, it was the decision by the B&O Railroad in the late 1800’s, to relocate their rail yard here that truly made the City of Brunswick. For a time, the six-mile long railroad yard at Brunswick was the largest in the world. Read More
May is National Historic Preservation Month! Historic preservation is very important to us here at the C&O Canal Trust, and much of our work involves partnering with the National Park Service staff to preserve the historic structures in the C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP). Read on to learn more! Read More
Harpers Ferry and Bolivar
Harpers Ferry and Bolivar have been an epicenter of historic activity since their founding. Today, visitors can immerse themselves in the historic fabric of these towns and can also enjoy the many recreational and retail opportunities that make them unique. Read More
This is our first installment of Canal Towns Spotlight which aims to show what makes the Canal Towns located along the C&O Canal National Historical Park so great. We’ll get started with the artistic enclave of Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Read More
Raise your hand if this has happened to you: A beautiful Saturday or Sunday dawns, and you pack your family into the car for an adventure in the C&O Canal National Historical Park. When you arrive at Great Falls to park, the line of cars to get in is a mile long! Read More
Take a look back at 2016 in the C&O Canal National Historical Park with each month’s photo contest winner! Each of these photos represents something that makes the C&O Canal National Historical Park great! Next time you visit the park be sure to capture some of the beauty you encounter and submit it to our photo contest. For information on how you can enter the photo contest visit our webpage at https://www.canaltrust.org/news/photo-contest/. Read More
We are looking for volunteers to help us in the Park during our 10th annual Canal Pride events, the largest volunteer events in the C&O Canal National Historical Park each year! We hope you will make plans to join us to help spruce up the Park for the upcoming season. Read More
We compiled this list of fun museums in our Canal Towns as a way for you to pass the cold winter months when temperatures make the Park feel slightly less appealing. We did not anticipate this warm, Park-worthy weather, but we are sharing this list with you anyway –save it for the April showers! Read More
To some of us, winter is a time to stay indoors by the fire. But why would you stay indoors when the C&O Canal National Historical Park offers some of the most scenic areas to explore during the winter months? So put on some warm clothes and come experience the C&O Canal as a winter wonderland! Read More
At the C&O Canal Trust, we’re celebrating our 10th anniversary of providing financial and programmatic support to the C&O Canal National Historical Park. Over the years, we have picked up some tips from our Park Ranger colleagues to make the most of our visits to the Park. Here, we share 10 of our favorite tips with you. Learn and know before you go! Read More