City Escape: Washington, D.C.

Text: James T. Parks • Photography: James T. Parks

A relaxing ramble through rolling Maryland farmlands and the Blue Ridge Mountains with challenging curves and scenic vistas. The best times to go on this loop are May, June, September, and October.


Approximately 186 miles.

Meet-up spot

Starbucks at 14941 Shady Grove Rd (Fallsgrove Shopping Center across from Shady Grove Hospital), Rockville, MD.

Lunch stop

Buffet style home cooking. The Cozy Country Inn, 103 Frederick Rd., Thurmont, MD, (301) 271-4301.


Charming villages, expansive vistas from mountain ridges, historic sites, museums, and more.


Generally light.


Frequent route changes, some limited sightlines and tight curves, and numerous elevation changes.

Road conditions

Mostly well-paved, two-lane, secondary roads, some narrow, unmarked pavement.


1. Westminster, MD: 
Charming college town.
2. Uniontown, MD: 
Historic one-street village.
3. Union Bridge, MD: 
Western Maryland Railway 
Historical Society.
4. Loys Station Covered Bridge: near Creagerstown, MD.
5. Pen Mar High Rock Park, MD: 
Sweeping vista of Cumberland 
6. South Mountain Creamery: 
West on U.S. 40A from Middletown, MD. Tasty homemade ice cream.
7. Middletown Valley Overlook: 
near Jefferson, MD.


To download the free tankbag map and GPS file, look on the webpage side bar (on the top right side), under "Article Media."