Federick, birthplace of Francis Scott Key, has been a witness to many events in American history. Located an hour’s drive west of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., it was here that Meriwether Lewis stopped before joining William Clark on their famed trek westward, here also that Confederate and Union troops clashed on the streets during the Civil War. Civic pride in anticipation of the national Bicentennial (1976) spurred a rejuvenation, and today well-preserved 18th- and 19th-century buildings make up the city’s 33-block historic district.
|Maryland National, an Arthur Hills-designed course, opened in 2002. Bill Kamenjar|
More than any other mid-Atlantic state, Maryland has been leading a golf charge of late, with dozens of fine courses cropping up along the flanks of the Appalachian Mountains. Heading west from the capital, you enter a rural region of rolling hills and fertile valleys dotted with famous battlefields as well as many superb new courses readily accessible to a large portion of the nation’s population.
Friday If you’re flying in, the best gateway is Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI). Drive 45 minutes west to Ijamsville and tee it up at Whiskey Creek Golf Club , a rugged mountain layout with dramatic elevation changes, impressive rock outcrops, and 30-mile views of the Catoctin Mountains. Prohibition-era smugglers used a creek in play on the back nine to float whiskey bottles downstream. Looking for an easier start? Head for nearby Urbana, home of Worthington Manor , a gently rolling, links-style spread marked by slick, undulating greens. Very manageable from the white tees.
Check in to your hotel (see “The Deal”), then head into Frederick. Follow your nose along Market and Patrick streets, a lively quarter of town noted for its pubs and taverns. Try the Brown Pelican on East Church Street, a candlelit rathskeller that features superb veal and seafood dishes. Brewer’s Alley on North Market Street, set in Frederick’s former town hall and opera house, is a lively spot with good pub grub, and brewed-on-premises beer.
Saturday Start with a leisurely breakfast at your hotel, followed by golf at Maryland National Golf Club in Middletown 10 minutes west of Frederick, an excellent Arthur Hills-designed course opened last year. Stretched across former farmland dotted with lakes and wetlands, the layout is carved into hillsides. Greens are smooth and fast. Relax, have lunch, play again at the reduced twilight rate of $59 after 2 p.m.
History buffs can check out legendary battlefields on the outskirts of Frederick, including Antietam National Battlefield near Sharpsburg, where Union troops repelled Robert E. Lee’s invasion in 1862. Got kids? Hundreds of exotic animals are on display at Catoctin Wildlife Preserve & Zoo in Thurmont, north of Frederick.
Dinner at Old South Mountain Inn (circa 1732) near Boonsboro west of Frederick. Traditional dining rooms with fireplaces, also a garden area with fine mountain views. Superb continental cuisine.
Sunday Need a little exercise? A one-hour hike on the Appalachian Trail, which skirts Frederick, will bring you to steep cliffs and fine lookouts. Then, play Musket Ridge Golf Club , a majestic layout by Joe Lee opened in 2001 in sleepy Myersville near Maryland National. Lee routed fairways atop ridges, with the shot values a match for the long views of the Blue Ridge and Catoctin mountains. Nice mix of open and wooded holes.
Have lunch in nearby Hagerstown, a frontier town founded by German settlers in the 1700s. After lunch, return to BWI or head for the highway.
The Deal [As of May 2003] Frederick, a convenient hub for the courses described above, offers dozens of hotels and bed and breakfasts, with more than 2,000 guest rooms available.
Fairfield Inn by Marriott (301-631-2000) is newly renovated and has rooms starting at $74 per night. Holiday Inn-Express (301-695-2881), adjacent to the Francis Scott Key Mall, is easily accessible from Interstate-70 and Interstate-270.
For a special getaway near Maryland National and Musket Ridge, check out Stone Manor Inn (301-473-5454) in Middletown, a historic manor house circa 1760 with six luxury suites and an elegant restaurant. Room rates range from $150-$275 per night.
Course prices and contact information: Whiskey Creek: $90 Friday through Sunday (888-883-1174; www.whiskey.creekgolf.com); Worthington Manor: $60 Friday, $79 Saturday and Sunday (410-356-8355; www.worthington.manor.com); Maryland National: $79 Friday through Sunday (301-371-0000; www.marylandnational.com); Musket Ridge: $69 Friday through Sunday (301-293-9930; www.musketridge.com).
For more information about Frederick, contact the visitors center: 800-999-3613; www.fredericktourism.org.