On February 21, I managed to fit a Z4 trip in-between mountains of snow and even more mountains of work. With all the bad weather for the prior few weeks, I was anxious for the chance to get out again and to explore Northeast Maryland. Despite a month’s layoff, the Z4’s tires were at the correct pressures, and the engine started immediately. The car seemed just as eager to hit the road as I was.
At long last the weather in Maryland improved enough that I could set out on another trip of exploration. This time, I was looking for manors—yes, manors, not “manners.” Maryland is full of them, but most tend to be well off the beaten path.
My first stop was to visit a recreation of the home of Benjamin Banneker, a self-taught African American who studied astronomy and mathematics; wrote a series of almanacs with information on sunrise and sunset timing, solar and lunar eclipses, and other information; corresponded with Thomas Jefferson on issues such as slavery; and helped survey the area that later became the District of Columbia, using celestial surveying techniques. He lived from 1731 to 1806, leaving a legacy of outstanding accomplishment.
The fact that BMW Z4’s on performance tires are completely hopeless in the snow shouldn’t prevent one from venturing out anyway, right? On this doubtful theory, I set out 2 weeks ago to explore rural Maryland along the Mason-Dixon line, the day after a sizable snowstorm. As I drove from Catonsville to Westminster to start the tour, I began to question the wisdom of this decision—there were mounds of snow everywhere. I suspected that my destination of rural roads might prove “impossibly impassable” in a low-slung roadster with tires that are 10 inches wide.
The Eastern Shore of Maryland is enormously popular for its ocean beaches. But it’s also one of the most historic parts of the State, and I was looking forward to exploring as much of it as I could in 8 hours or so—and to motoring briskly from one site to the next.
The U.S.—and the East Coast in particular—is positively littered with old, abandoned, and mostly forgotten houses, barns, churches, cars, and other things that, in their gradual state of deterioration, can be scenic, historic, or sometimes merely poignant. On Sunday, November 8, I set off for Western Maryland and Pennsylvania to see what I could find.
Okay, fair notice: I’ve titled this post “The Ghost in the Chapel” in a desperate effort to get your attention. And there was a ghost—or something similar—in the chapel. Read on!
Back on October 12th, I set off on another RoadRunner Magazine tour, this one starting in Hancock, Maryland. It looped westward, then southward down into West Virginia, then eastward and northward back to Hancock. I found many “haunted houses,” suitable for use in concocting hair-raising stories for the purpose of scaring the daylights out of impressionable children (or RSF Trip Reporter readers).
The area surrounding Lancaster, PA is perhaps most famous for its Amish and Mennonite residents. My goal, however, was the usual: fun roads, pretty scenery, and interesting historical sites. Ultimately, I found all of the above.
On September 13, I set off bright and early for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and parts north. Along the way, I found a beautiful, sunlit bridge across the Susquehanna, the murderous story of “The Blue-Eyed Six,” a for-real paddlewheel ferry, and even some Holsum Bread.