Whether you are exploring the Towpath or looking for an authentic town to discover, you will want to stop and explore Williamsport.
Williamsport, Maryland is located along the heavily traveled “Indian Trail” and occupied by the Iroquois, Delaware, Catawba, Algonquin and Massawomeck tribes. The settlement was known as Conococheague, an Indian name meaning “a long way” in Algonquin or “river of many fish,” in Massawomeck. Later on, Williamsport was at the crux of the Western Maryland Railroad and the C&O Canal and became an important transportation hub throughout the Industrial Revolution. Williamsport remains an important stop along the internationally known C&O Canal Towpath.
Start your exploration at the C&O Canal Towpath access point in the Cushwa Basin near the C&O National Historic Park Visitors Center. Take some time to explore the Canal in this area, since Williamsport is the only place on the Canal where multiple examples of major canal structures can be viewed within a half-mile. The Cushwa Basin, Trolley Barn, Lock 44 and Aqueduct are located in Williamsport in close proximity to each other.
Adjacent to the C & O Canal National Park is River Bottom Park, a great place to stop, picnic and even camp the night. Leaving the park and heading to town, you will find a welcome sign to the community. This business directory kiosk, installed as part of a regional initiative known as the Canal Towns Partnership, welcomes visitors and encourages them to stay and explore the history of the region and enjoy the many community services and businesses. The Williamsport sign provides you with a history of the town and the myriad of attractions and accommodations you will find in town.
A well-marked bike lane will lead you up the hill for about a quarter of a mile to Conococheague Road, where you can find Williamsport’s main street, lined with interesting commercial buildings, including the historic Town Hall, the Candlelight Inn and Desert Rose Café and Catering. In addition to Desert Rose Café, you have your choice of eateries, including Tony’s New York Pizza, Keith Kountry Kitchen, Sheetz Convenience store and deli, and Potato Cakes. Several other interesting shops, including River City Cycles for bicycle equipment and repair, are located in Williamsport and you can find a complete business directory and other town information at www.williamsportmd.gov.
Following lunch, travel a few miles further up Potomac Street to Springfield Land to visit a frequent stop of George Washington’s–the historic Springfield Farm and Museum. The Town of Williamsport restored the historic barn and is in the process of restoring the farmhouse. Visit the museum located in the barn and operated by the History and Museum Board and observe firsthand the rich heritage and history of Williamsport. Other points of interest in town are the Byron Memorial Park, the historic Memorial Library and Riverview Cemetery where General Abner Doubleday set up a battery of artillery during the Civil War. The cemetery overlooks the Potomac River and the Conococheague Creek and is the burial site of many of the original inhabitants of the town.
For more information on this area, please visit http://www.marylandmemories.com.