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Garrett Troxell (age four) is shown participating in the Pedal Tractor Pull competition at the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show on Sunday, September 8, 2019. As you can see from Garrett’s attire, he is a true farm boy. His grandmother, Helen Troxell, said, “Most kids’ first word is mom or dad. Garrett’s was ‘bale’ like a hay bale.”

The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show has been held for the past 63 years. This event is multi-faceted, with a variety of activities taking place over the course of the weekend, beginning on Friday evening with the opening ceremony (see details on page 30), when local citizens and organizations are honored and the Catoctin High School FFA ambassador is selected. The opening ceremony is followed by the baked goods auction, where the baked goods that won Champion and Reserve Champion ribbons in the exhibits competition are sold. This is a big fundraiser for the event and an opportunity for local businesses to show their community support.

On Saturday, livestock are shown in the ag area and Champion and Reserve Champion farm animals are auctioned at the end of the evening. Meanwhile, entertainment, a pet show, exhibit displays, business displays, and dinner and food vendors attract a variety of visitors over the course of the day. (See exhibit and contest winners on page 31.)

On Sunday, log sawing and pedal tractor competitions are held in the ag area, a horseshoe competition is held on the grounds behind the school, and entertainment and a lunch continue to attract visitors until the show slows to a close in the afternoon.

This year, Community Show President Rodman Myers (pictured right) was given special recognition for his tenured contribution to the event, agricultural support, and community. Congratulations, Rodman!

Photos by Deb Abraham Spalding

Winterbrook Farms Fall Festival

Blair Garrett

The days are getting colder, the nights are getting longer, and the sweet scent of pumpkin spice is filling the air.

Fall is upon us, and there is no better way to kick off the new season than by having a blast with friends and family exploring local fall activities.

In Thurmont, a seven-week fall festival filled with good times and good fun beckons the local adventurer. Winterbrook Farms Fall Festival kicked off on September 21 and runs through November 3, giving the community ample time to get into the fall spirit and experience country adventure at its finest.

No matter what you like, there is surely something available for everyone to enjoy. Taylor Huffman has been managing the activities that go on for the Winterbrook Farms Fall Festival for the past eight years. She was happy to shed some insight on what makes this festival so great.

“We have over 20 activities,” Huffman said. “We have the pumpkin jumping pillow, apple cannons, mountain slides, a huge farm animal area, and ziplines. The big hit is actually the round bale rollers; you get in them and roll around like a hamster, and the kids seem to like that.”

The farm does not have any actual hamsters, but it does have a variety of playful and personable animals that aren’t afraid to come right up and say “Hi.” There are long-haired highland cattle, horses, and pigs and baby goats available to feed and spend time with.

One of the most coveted attractions for festival-goers is the tractor rides through the pumpkin patches. Nothing rings in the fall season quite like changing leaves, cooler weather, and pumpkins galore.  

The farm features a wide-open space to accommodate guests, with fun things to do scattered throughout the lot. One of the farm’s classic activities is the corn maze, which has become a staple of fall fun for kids and adults alike, and the Winterbrook Farms maze is unique in its own way.

“We have Maryland’s largest corn maze,” Huffman said. “This year, it’s 5.2 miles of trails.” It isn’t the beginning of fall until the corn mazes are up and running, and what better way to spend time with the family than journeying through a maze together to achieve a common goal. 

Since the event’s inception in 2000, the expansion has been steady and constant each season. “Year after year, we see growth as we add more activities and grow and change with the times,” Huffman said. “We did a big renovation in 2017, and we added about five acres of grass. On a busy October day, we’ll have about 2,000 people here, so it’s good to have the extra space.”

The farm does bring in people from around the Catoctin area, but the majority of patrons come from well outside Thurmont. “Most of our customers come from Baltimore and northern Virginia, but we’d love to have more locals.”

Bringing in the community to take part in fall festivities is what allows the corn maze, farm animals, and pumpkin patches to flourish year after year. And with continued community support, the events and activities can keep growing and developing as they have over the past two decades.

Though the festival season for Huffman and the crew only lasts a few short months, much more work goes into making Winterbrook Farms Fall Festival operate smoothly than meets the eye.

“This takes us months to prepare for,” Huffman said. “For a solid two months before we open, we’re out here every day, preparing and prepping new things.”

Months of prep work, paired with weeks of maintenance, brings together a product of which Huffman and the crew can be proud. With thousands of people visiting the farms each fall, it seems like all the effort and dedication is well worth putting smiles on the faces of families passing through. It’s not uncommon to hear the laughter of kids rolling around in the bale rollers, or the joy of families bouncing around on the pumpkin pillow. Everywhere you look is something completely different in its own fun way. 

In addition to the work put into running the festival each year, big plans are in the works for the end of the season. “This year is the first year we’re hosting the Great Pumpkin Run,” Huffman said. “It’s something they’ve held in Maryland before, but it was at another local farm. It’s November 2, and it’s a 5K that runs all over our farms.”

Pumpkin Runs are held all over the United States, but your local fall festival farm gets to add yet another open-to-the-public activity in which anyone can participate. There is also an added bonus to completing the 5K. “You even get a cup of apple cider and a small pumpkin at the end of the race,” Huffman said.

If distance running isn’t your style, and if pumpkin isn’t your cup of tea, perhaps picking strawberries or visiting markets is. Next summer, plans are in the works to let the public come and pick strawberries to take home.

“We’re going to be doing you-pick strawberries, so we’re hoping to expand our business and hopefully have a farm market here, too,” Huffman said. “So, we’re pretty excited.”

The 327-acre farm is only open for business a few more weeks, so if you, or a friend, are in the market to kick-off the fall season in a fun way, take a day trip on down to check out what Winterbrook Farms Fall Festival is all about. You can head down Saturdays from 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m., and Sundays from 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

There’s no better way to spend a Saturday this fall, so don’t be afraid to get out of the house and do something a little different.

Colton (front) and Daniel (back) Smith launch a few apples with the farm’s apple cannons.

Two boys test out Winterbrook Farms brand new bouncy pumpkin pillow.

Thelma (right) and Louise (left) poke their heads through the fence with a big smile to greet guests.

The Town of Thurmont held a Nominating Convention on Tuesday, October 24, 2019, for the upcoming municipal election in which two commissioner seats are up for election.

Five candidates were nominated (pictured right); incumbent Wes Hamrick, new candidates Elliot Jones, Sabrina Massett, and Kenneth Oland, and incumbent Bill Buehrer.

The Thurmont Lions Club will sponsor a Candidate Forum to be held at the town office, the date and time will be announced. Mayor John Kinnaird encourages all registered voters to participate in the election and predicted a 50 percent voter turnout for this election. Let’s prove him right, Thurmont residents!

Dates to remember:

October 1 is the last day to register to vote; you can register at the town office.

October 22 is the last day to apply for an absentee ballot.

October 29 elections will be held at the Guardian Hose Company Activities Building at 123 East Main Street. Polls will open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m.

Why are you running for commissioner?

Bill Buehrer

I was first elected in 2011, vying to preserve our past and save the future of Thurmont. This board has demonstrated such through infrastructure improvement. We have vigorously looked for and received state grants, thus bringing our tax dollars back to Thurmont. I want to continue those efforts.

Wes Hamrick

I am privileged to have served the Town of Thurmont as a member of this board for six years and the fulfillment it affords to being able to make a positive difference for this town. The current board and Thurmont staff have made many inroads to improve the quality of life in Thurmont with our parks, trails, amenities and services, and I want to be a part of the exciting future for our town. This past term has literally flown past and much remains in the works that I certainly want to be a part of in seeing to fruition. It is an honor and privilege to serve and represent this community as one of its commissioners.

Elliot Jones

We, in Thurmont, have the good fortune to have a local government that works hard for its residents, with elected officials that truly care about the town. I want that experience to continue, not only for our current residents, but our future residents as well. While volunteering for events like “Halloween in the Park” and “Christmas in Thurmont” and writing articles for the Gateway publication, I’ve learned just how much of an impact our local government makes on our community. As a commissioner, I would bring my own insights and experiences to serve the community with new ideas.

Sabrina Massett

I care about making sure that the concerns and needs of my friends and neighbors are heard and responded to. I’m running to ensure we maintain our “small town” identity, even as we grow and change. I have a vision of a town that continues to welcome and embrace diversity among our residents; provides affordable rental options and homes to purchase; provides a safe environment for families to raise children, free of the disease of addiction, and supports the services necessary to retire and age in place; a town that prioritizes attracting and supporting small businesses, light, green industry, and sustainable practices. I firmly believe we as citizens can choose what’s best for Thurmont.

Kenneth W. (Kenny) Oland

I spent 40 years in public service; 25 years in law enforcement (7 years with Frederick Police, 18 years with Maryland State Police, attaining the rank of Corporal before retiring on a disability from injuries suffered in a traffic collision), 4 years with the federal government, 4 additional years with the Maryland State Police, and 7 years with the Town of Thurmont. I had my own crash consulting business for 8 years. I want to, once again, serve the citizens of the town and community that I grew up in and moved back to over 16 years ago with my family, in a leadership position.

What are your goals as a commissioner?

Bill Buehrer

My goal is to continue improving our infrastructure to bring more businesses to Thurmont and to improve housing development in a conservative manner.

Wes Hamrick

One of the pressing issues facing us, as well as other municipalities, is the continued increase in the cost of doing business and the pressure it places on the annual budget. I want to continue to work as a board with our town staff and administrative heads to continue finding ways to save money and continuously make every effort to acquire all the monies we can obtain through grants and other revenue resources. As a commissioner, I make monetary decisions and vote through the eyes of the taxpayer as though it’s coming from my own checkbook.

Elliot Jones

Not only do I want to sustain the strong sense of community in Thurmont, but I have three key initiatives that I pledge to support. First, Thurmont can and should establish a municipally owned fiber internet utility in order to provide faster, cheaper, and more efficient internet to our residents and businesses. Secondly, Thurmont should pursue long-term sustainable development, maximizing our use of our developed areas and preserving our green areas. Thirdly, Thurmont should continue to support Community Policing, which strengthens the trust between our police and our residents and prevents crimes, rather than just respond to them.

Sabrina Massett

To attract visitors to our town by capitalizing on our proximity to State and National Parks, rural vistas, and historic sites. We need to continue to grow our town center by attracting and supporting unique, small businesses for residents and visitors to enjoy. It’s my dream that adolescents and young teenagers will once again ask their parents “can I walk uptown” because there are spots to visit for an ice cream cone, a small purchase, or to “hang out.”  To ensure that Thurmont grows in the manner that we, as citizens choose, rather than allow a “cookie-cutter” approach. Growth that provides housing and services for citizens to live out their lives here if they choose.

Kenneth W. (Kenny) Oland

I would like to determine if there is a way to lower our electric bills, continue to work to improve the town’s infrastructure, streets, electric grid, parks, and water/sewer systems. Ask the youth of our community if there is anything we could do to provide them with activities. Continue to support the seniors. Determine why the police department has a high turnover rate and what we can do to attract and retain quality officers, as well as maintain the allotted number of officers. Look into the retirement benefits of our employees. Responsible growth that will bring more tax monies, which will help spread the tax burden over a larger population. Businesses: attract more business to the town, which could/will offer more employment to our community. Continue to work with the county and state governments to bring monies into the town.

Why should people vote for you? 

Bill Buehrer

I have demonstrated impeccable integrity for eight years. I’ve been a passionate spokesman for our community and have been fiscally responsible and conservative with our tax payers’ money.

Wes Hamrick

During my almost six years on the board, I have always made myself available to the public. I firmly believe, as a public servant, that it is necessary to listen to the needs, concerns, and issues of our residents and to be a voice for them as an elected official. Thurmont has been my home for a total of 40 years, a town where I spent my youth and young adult years, and a town I returned to, after being away for ten years, to raise my family. I have a vested interest for the betterment and beauty of this town and will continue to be an advocate to maintaining the small-town charm and atmosphere, whilst being inviting and welcoming for newcomers. Foremost, I am actively engaged within the community and am proudly part of its pulse and heartbeat in many facets.  Above all, ethics, integrity, respect and transparency are not a cliché in my book, but traits that I live by and will not compromise.

Elliot Jones

I just want to do right by people in the best way I know how. I want our residents and newcomers to feel safe and welcomed in our town. I want for our businesses to thrive and for their employees to be happy they’re working in our community. I want even our most remote families to be able to access their job opportunities, telehealth, homework, and other online necessities at an affordable price with reliable service. People should vote for me if they want someone to take what they like about Thurmont and polish it to a greater shine.

Sabrina Massett

I recognize that Thurmont is unique, and that we as citizens can decide to maintain what’s good; to demonstrate what we value and shape our town around these values. I have been involved in shaping our town through a lifetime of community service. Additionally, 30-plus years of human services employment gave me the opportunity to learn about many things: poverty, homelessness and housing instability, severe mental illness, the disease of addiction. My experiences taught me how to talk with people, not to them, to learn to ask the right questions, and most importantly, to listen for the answer. As commissioner, I promise to listen and learn from you. Let’s Talk.

Kenneth W. (Kenny) Oland

I will be a full-time commissioner, being retired, willing to listen to and address your concerns. I offer the citizens a person that will work with and for them and the employees of the town. I will listen to those that have a question, an opinion, or a concern. Research their concerns and then address them the best I can with the Board of Commissioners and the employees at the Town Office. I will approach all situations with an open mind then work to find a resolution to their concerns, while working for the betterment of our community as a whole. My desire is to serve the entire community, all ages, and our employees, who deserve to have quality equipment, competitive pay, and benefits that this town can afford and provide. You will have a voice while I’m serving as your commissioner of the Town of Thurmont.

Joan Bittner Fry

This is interesting information published in 1878 as a Frederick County, Maryland, resource. It makes one realize just how much things have changed in more than 100 years.

Frederick County ranks with the largest Maryland counties, having an area of 642 square miles, and is bounded on the north by Pennsylvania, on the east by Carroll, south-easterly by Montgomery, south by the Potomac River and Virginia, and on the west by the Blue Ridge, or South Mountains, separating it from Washington County.

This is one of the richest and most beautiful counties in the state. The soil is mostly limestone, with some slate and considerable “red lands.” The surface is undulating, partly mountainous — the Catoctin Mountains dividing the county into two broad valleys that to the westward being known as the Middletown Valley, which is drained by the Catoctin River and its branches; and that east of the Catoctin range is the valley of the Monocacy. Both rivers flow southward into the Potomac.


Emmitsburg is situated at the terminus of the railroad of that name, and 7 miles from Rocky Ridge on the W. M. R. R. The location is in a fertile and diversified country, the surroundings of which are rich in mountain and valley scenery. To the west, Jack’s Mountain and Carrick’s Knob may be seen towering hundreds of feet in the skies and then sloping in graceful lines to the productive and beautiful valley below. The magnificent scenery, purity of the atmosphere, good mountain water, cordiality and refinement of the people make it a great place of summer resort; it is also enriched by educational institutions of great merit and celebrity. St Joseph’s Academy, conducted by the Sisters of Charity, and Mount St. Mary’s College, an institution of high endowment and character, are both near the town. There are also two public schools for whites, one for colored, and a Catholic Parochial School. The land adjacent is composed of red sandstone, quartz, and limestone; varies in price from $20 to $60 per acre, according to location and improvements; yields 15 to 30 bushel wheat, 20 to 40 oats, 50 to 150 potatoes, 20 to 50 corn; and 2 tons hay. Massasoit Tribe 41, I. O. R. M.; Junior Building Association. Population 900. Samuel N. McNair, Postmaster.

Pastors: M. E., Rev. H.P. West; Presbyterian, Rev. Lutheran, Rev. E. S. Johnston; Reformed, Rev. A. R. Kramer; Roman Catholic, Rev. Father Daniel McCarthy.

Town Officers: Burgess – John Hopp. Commissioners – Wm. Lansinger, J. H. T. Webb, Daniel Sheets, Isaac Hyder, Thomas Fraley and R. H. Gelwicks. Bailiff – Wm. Ashbaugh.

Agent R. R. and Express: Zimmerman, E R.

Barber: Parker, S A.

Basket Maker: Ellower, John.

Bakers and Confectioners: Hoke, Peter, Seabrook, J A, Tawney, JAS.

Blacksmiths: Adams & Zeck.

Brick Makers: Bell & Keilholtz.

Brick Masons: Lingg & Myers, Seabrook, Samuel.

Boot and Shoemakers: Bishop, George, Gelwicks, Theopholis, Hopp, J. F., Hoover, John, Lantzer, Jacob, Rowe, Jas. A.

Broker: Horner, WG.

Cabinetmakers: Bushman, Thomas, Sweeney, Martin.

Carpenters and Builders: Snouffer, Joseph, Tyson & Lansinger.

Carriage and Wagonmakers: Baker, L A F, Baker, Nicholas, Harley, Wm, Hess & Weaver, Houck, Wm H.

Cigars and Tobacco: McNair, SN, Scheek, Francis.

Clothing, Hats, & C: Rowe, J & CF.

Constable: Gillelan, Geo L.

Dentists: Bussey, JT.

Druggists: Eichelberger, CD, Elder, James A.

General Merchandise: Annan, IS & Bro, Bussey, Mrs. JP, Helman, JA, Rowe, GW & Sons.

Groceries and Produce: Hays, JT, Hoke, Peter, Waddle, JS, Zeck, Dietrick.

Hotels: Emmett, CS Smith.

Western Md: DG Adelsberger.

Justices of the Peace: Adelsberger, MC, Knauff, James, Stokes, Henry.

Livery and Sale Stables: Guthrie & Beam.

Lumber, Coal: Motter, Maxell & Co.

Marble Worker: Lough, N A.

Machinists: Praley, Thos & Son, Rowe, Nathaniel.

Millinery and Fancy Goods: Hoke, JL, Offutt, Miss H, Winter, Miss SA.

Millers: Bell, John M, Grimes, Charles, Hovise, Francis, Maxwell, Samuel, Motter, L M, Myers, Jacob, Sell, Peter, Septer, James.

Photographers: Rowe, J & CF.

Physicians: Annan, Andrew, Annan, RL, Brawner, John B, Eichelberger, CD, Eichelberger, James W, Eichelberger, James W Jr.

Restaurant: Lawrence, Daniel.

Saddles and Harness: McGuigan, James S, Stokes, Henry.

Stoves and Tinware: Adelsberger, Jas F, Hays, JT.

Tailors: Favorite, H J, Webb, J H T

Tanner: Motter, Lewis M

Watches and Jewelry: Eyster, G T & Bro.


Foxville is situated near the Washington County Line, 4 miles from Smithsburg on the W. M. R. R. Land ordinary, one-half cleared; sells at from $10 to $30 per acre, produces 14 bushel wheat, and 40 corn. M. E. and Lutheran Churches. Two public schools Population 250. Harvey Buhrman, Postmaster.

Attorney at Law: Harbaugh, John C.

Blacksmiths: Krise, E, Weller, Jacob.

Carpenters: Wolf, Henry, Wolf, Upton.

Constable: Hayes, H Clay.

General Merchandise: Brown, H , Fox, Thomas C, Ridenoner, Jacob.

Justice of the Peace: Fox, George H.

Physician: Buhrman, Harvey.

Shoemakers: Prior, Emanuel, Renner, Elias.

Timber Merchants: Brown, WB, Bussard, Samuel, Fox, George L. Moser, Ezra, Wyant, Yost.


Lewistown is situated on the Emmittsburg Road, 10 miles from Frederick and 5 from Harmony Grove. Land, red clay, and limestone sells at from $10 to $100 per acre; produces 12 to 30 bushel wheat, 50 corn, 40 oats, 100 potatoes and 2 tons hay. Crops are generally good. M.P. Church and two public schools. Population 175. A.N. Cramer, Postmaster.

Blacksmiths: Layman, Jacob, Weller, J P.

General Merchandise: Cramer, AN, Zimmerman, GT.

Justice of the Peace: Cator, Henry.

Physician: Leatherman, ME.

Boots & Shoes: Bishop, Jacob, Shaeffer, Jno FD.

Hotel: Clemm, Geo. H.

Millers: Gonso, George, Leatherman, Daniel, Taylor, CW.

Saddles & Harness: Maine, HM.


Mechanicstown (now Thurmont) is on the W.M.R.R., 56 miles from Baltimore, 15 by pike from Frederick and 27 by rail, and three-fourths of a mile from the Catoctin Mountains. The nearest streams are the Hunting and Owing’s Creeks; it is located in a pleasing and thriving country. The climate and health are good, business fair. Soil is of red shale, yellow slate, alluvial, and some limestone. The land is principally cleared, ranges in prices from $30 to $60 per acre, and yields 8 to 20 bushel wheat, 10 to 40 oats, 80 to 50 corn and 1 to 2 tons hay. The Catoctin Furnace is within 2 miles and in operation. The timber now remaining consists of oak, hickory, walnut, chestnut, poplar and beech. Population 700. John Root, Postmaster.

Agent-R. R. & Express: Horn, WA.

Barber: Lucas, Amos.

Blacksmiths and Wheelwrights: Firer, Benj F, Hess, Wm, Horn, Wm Loy, Wm, Webb, Wm.

Bricklayers: Eigenbrode, Dan’l, Moser, Cyrus.

Brick Manufacturer: Fleagle, John A.

Butcher: Damuth, Wm.

Carpenters & Undertakers: Creager, James, Dorsey, Geo B, Shaw, Thomas, Smith, E M, Weddle, Joseph A, Weller & Creager, Weller, Simon A.

Cigar Manufacturers: Orndorff, AF, Whitmore, KS.

Confectionery: Martin, JE, Constables, Peddicord, Caleb, Renner, John A.

Dentist: Radcliffe, Dr. HG.

Druggists: Gilds & Co.

Flour, Feed & Fertilizers: Cassell, Chas E, Stocksdale, Geo W, Witherow, SH.

General Merchandise: Gilds, NE, Johnson, Geo H, Root & Groff.

Harnessmakers: Freese, Joseph, Martin, DC.

Hotels: Central, Jacob Sprow, Gilbert, John B Gilbert.

Huckster: Damuth.C A

Justice of the Peace: White, Frederick.

Marbleworker: Hammaker, BF.

Millers: Jones, John, Martin, J & DC.

Milliners & Dressmakers: Gernand, Miss Jennie, Hesson, Miss Kate, Lony, Miss Mary, Stokes, Miss Susan.

Millwrights: Biggs & Carmack.

Painters: Adelsberger, Jas, Mackley Bros.

Photographer: Boblitz, BL.

Physicians: Marsh, Wm H, White, Wm, Zimmerman, AK.

Shoemakers: Cover, BN, Cover, JH, Picking, Leonard, Stull Bros.

Stock Dealers: Anders, Thomas, Barton, Isaac N

Stoves and Tinware: Osler, VP.

Surveyors: Landers, John, Picking, Leonard.

Tailor: Sleek, AB.

Tanner: Rouner, John.

Telegraph Operator: Horn, WA.

Wagonmaker: Stokes, Joshua.

Watches & Jewelry: Hoff, David T.

rocky ridge

Rocky Ridge is on the W. M. R. R., at the junction of the Emmittsburg Road, 51 miles from Baltimore and 7 from Emmittsburg and 16 from Frederick City. The soil is red slate and is valued at from $20 to $50 per acre; produces 8 to 25 bushel wheat, 15 to 30 oats, 80 to 40 corn and 2 tons hay. Lutheran, Reformed and Baptist Churches and public school. Population 60. H. D. Fuss, Postmaster.

Agent Express & R.R.: Eichelberger, MJ.

Blacksmith & Wheelwrights: Appold, George, Campbell, JE, Wood, Basil.

Carpenter & Builder: Engler, OA.

Commission Merchants: Biggs & Eichelberger.

General Merchandise: Fuss, HD, Lickle Bros.

Hotel: Ecker, Hanson.

Justice of the Peace: Norris, AL.

Millers: Biggs, Joshua, Martin, Jeremiah.

Shoemaker: Troxell, Frederick.


Sabillasville is on the W. M. R. R., 66 miles from Baltimore. Land is mostly cleared, can be purchased at from $15 to $40 per acre, and produces 12 to 25 bushel wheat, 20 to 50 oats, 100 to 200 potatoes, 20 to 40 corn, and 1 to 2 tons hay. German Reformed Church, Rev. H. Wissler; United Brethren, Rev. Mr. Freed; and a public school. Population 50. H. S. Duphorne, Postmaster.

Blacksmiths and Wheelwrights:  Arnsparger, Dallas, Freshour, Nelson.

Broom Manufacturer: Stein, Henry.

Carpenter: Willard, Joel.

Constable: Stotelinger, JC.

Dressmaker: Homerick, Susan, Manahan, Jane.

General Merchandise: Crawford & Bro, Hiteshew, Charles.

Hotel: Stern (Stem), John.

Justice of the Peace: Luckett, WF.

Miller: Kenna, Simpson.

Physicians: Luckett, WF Watson, J.G.

Shoemaker: Duphorne, RS.

The men and women of Emmitsburg’s community fire, rescue, and emergency medical services proudly announce their annual Fire and Life Safety Open House on Thursday evening, October 10, 2019, from 6:00-8:30 p.m., at the Fire Station, located at 25 West Main Street in Emmitsburg. This will be the 64th year that Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) personnel have sponsored this always-popular event. Fire and injury prevention in Emmitsburg is a year-round effort done in concert with area residents, businesses, schools, institutions, and governmental agencies, but it’s during Fire Prevention Month that department personnel seek to especially underscore the importance of prevention and preparedness.

Fire Prevention Week is October 6-12, 2019. The theme for National Fire Prevention Month 2019 (October) is: “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape: Plan and Practice your Escape.”

As part of the VHC’s continuing efforts to educate everyone in our community about essential elements of smoke alarm safety, this year’s Fire Prevention Open House will include: information and demonstrations to help families and individuals prevent unwanted fire; Emergency Medical Services providers will be on hand to showcase their life-saving skills; VHC personnel will be showcasing smoke detectors; “STOP THE BLEED” (courtesy of the Junior Fire Company of Frederick), with insights on the national awareness campaign that encourages bystanders to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives; information regarding opportunities for residents and business alike to help their First Responders; information regarding the countywide “Gear-Up” Campaign; Frederick County Resident Deputy Sheriffs will offer crime prevention materials and a range of important safety insights; fire truck rides; free refreshments; door prizes; and more! For more information, visit

The Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum is pleased to invite you to the the dedication of the William Cochran etching “volunteers” on October 4, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. at the Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum in Emmitsburg.

Thurmont & Emmitsburg Celebrate National Night Out

James Rada, Jr.

Excited children mounted police motorcycles, climbed into the driver’s seats of fire engines, and poked their heads out of the top hatch of an armored SWAT vehicle, as they met local police and emergency services personnel during National Night Out on August 6, 2019.

Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler is a big supporter of National Night Out. “You can build more trust between the community and police,” he said. “We can build a partnership with the community for community policing.”

Thurmont and Emmitsburg communities saw hundreds of people turn out to learn more about the people who protect their communities, to have fun with hands-on activities, and to enjoy great food.

The goal of National Night Out is to “heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for participation in anti-crime, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships, send a message to criminals letting them know that neighbors are organized and fighting back.”

National Night Out has been around since 1984. Initially, National Night Out involved citizens sitting out on their front porches to show they were united in the fight against crime. The event has grown to include block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts, and safety demonstrations in more than 16,000 communities. Thurmont has hosted an event since 2005, and Emmitsburg has participated since 2017.

Thurmont held its event in the parking lot of the Thurmont Police Department. Children enjoyed pony rides, jumping in a bounce house, and meeting Thurmont’s K-9 officer. Various community organizations, such as the Boy Scouts, Thurmont Addiction Commission, and Thurmont Regional Library, had booths where visitors could learn more about what the organizations do. Thurmont Police also offered tours of their police station.

Sarah Campbell, the public information officer with Frederick County Fire and Rescue, said, “National Night Out allows the community, especially adolescents and youth, to do hands-on activities, to meet people, and to be educated.”

In Emmitsburg, National Night Out filled Community Park. It not only featured local emergency services personnel and their equipment, but also the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.

Kenyon Beeman attended National Night Out for the first time, accompanied by his girlfriend and her children. “It’s a nice event to bring people out,” he said. “I think it definitely helps the police seem more human.”

Emmitsburg’s National Night Out featured K-9 demonstrations, SWAT demonstrations, music, a petting zoo, pony rides, and more. Emmitsburg Commission President Cliff Sweeney pointed out that all of the free food and activities were donated to the activity.

Cover Photo (by James Rada, Jr.): Hayden McKenney, 12, of Emmitsburg, tries on SWAT gear used by the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office during Emmitsburg National Night Out.

Hundreds turn out for Thurmont National Night Out, held in the parking lot of the Thurmont Police Department on August 6.

At the Emmitsburg National Night Out celebration, kids are excited to see the inside of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office armored SWAT vehicle, a Lenco Bearcat that seats up to 10 people who are protected inside from firearms rounds.

Katelyn Klink, 7, of Thurmont, enjoys a pony ride at the Thurmont National Night Out celebration.

(from left) Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, Emmitsburg Commissioner Elizabeth Buckman, Emmitsburg Commissioner Glenn Blanchard, and Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs enjoy the Emmitsburg National Night Out celebration in Community Park.

James Rada, Jr.

Here’s your chance to get to know the three candidates (Glenn Blanchard, Elizabeth Buckman, and Frank Davis) who are vying for the two open Emmitsburg town commissioner seats during the town election on October 1, 2019.

Why are you running for commissioner?

Glenn Blanchard: I am running for commissioner to continue the good work of the board. I believe the town is moving in the right direction, and I want to continue this into the future. I like serving the citizens of Emmitsburg and taking on the challenges of this community. I have lived in Emmitsburg for 28 years, and I have raised my children in this community.     

Elizabeth Buckman: I am running for reelection because the people of my town are amazing, and I believe I have the experience, skills, and energy to be on the frontline to ensure that Emmitsburg is governed not only well, but governed with empathy for the needs and concerns of all its citizens.

Frank Davis: My term as president of the fire department is up in December, but I still want to be involved in the town. I also feel that it is good to give the citizens a choice on Election Day.

What do you bring to the board that is needed?

Glenn Blanchard: I bring to the board almost 14 years of elected service. It has given me experience on the issues facing the town and its citizens. I have seen the town change over the last decades and have a good idea on where we have been and where we should be going. I think there is a value in continuity. As a teacher in Frederick County Public Schools, I have invested a good portion of my life in the children of this county. My children have attended the local schools, and my experience as a teacher helps me serve my community.

Elizabeth Buckman: I have served three years as commissioner, collaborating with my fellow commissioners and municipalities for Emmitsburg’s benefit. As a teacher; a founder of Emmitsburg Cares (that has attracted statewide attention for our town); and a participant on the Council of Churches, Seton Center, and our civic associations, I am out in the community listening to your concerns. Being a commissioner is hard work, but it is rewarding that so many citizens feel comfortable coming to me with their concerns. As the only woman and mother on the board, I have greater sensitivity of the views and concerns of women and children.

Frank Davis: I will bring a fresh set of eyes to take a look at the town as a whole. While I’m deeply involved in our community,  I don’t have a specific interest or project on my agenda. I will work diligently with all parties involved to prioritize the town’s needs and get work done in a fair and favorable manner.

What are your goals as commissioners?

Glenn Blanchard: First and foremost, my major goal is to continue moving the town of Emmitsburg in a positive direction. This goes for both the citizens of this town as well as the businesses in town. To do this, I feel that we need to invest in our parks, infrastructure, and an expansion of both our business community as well as residential development. Another one of my goals as commissioner is to continue to have civil discussions at the meetings and avoid division and distrust among its members.

Elizabeth Buckman: Emmitsburg is a small town with similar problems to urban areas. We have roads and parks that need maintaining, poverty, homeless, addictions, and health issues. Solutions are often beyond the capacity of our resources to solve. I will continue to seek county, state, and federal resources. An important goal of mine is to support Mount Saint Mary’s building of an urgent care center. While Emmitsburg is a safe place to live and to raise a family, I would be more comfortable if the police coverage was expanded from two deputies to three to provide coverage seven days a week.

Frank Davis: Make the town user-friendly. Have the staff help citizens solve their problems and reach a favorable outcome for both parties. Take a hard look at the town’s infrastructure and put together a plan to correct and repair issues. Review fees that are being passed on to the citizens. It seems like the citizens that want to make repairs and keep their properties up are being punished by paying fees.

How can you achieve them on the board?

Glenn Blanchard: I feel I can achieve my goals as commissioner by doing the same things I have done in the past. One, working with the town staff and the mayor to get correct information on projects and purchases. Two, work with my fellow commissioners to get the job done. Find common ground. Division and conflict might make headlines, but the citizens and businesses of this community are not being served by that kind of behavior. Putting the Town of Emmitsburg above any personal interests is important. Remembering who I work for has been a critical part of my service to Emmitsburg.

Elizabeth Buckman: My answers above apply here, but I believe the most important contribution I can make to achieve my goals, and more broadly the goals of the mayor and entire board is to listen deeply to the concerns or our citizens and to be open to bold new solutions to meet our needs.

Frank Davis: Have a good working relationship with the other board members. Do research to see what other towns are doing and see if it is successful. Set priorities and develop short- and long-term plans that are achievable.

Why should people vote for you?

Glenn Blanchard: People should vote for me if they want someone who will continue to listen to them and help keep moving the town forward into the future. People should vote for me if they want civil discussion at meetings, and someone who is willing to compromise when necessary. After 28 years, I have roots in this community, and I believe in Emmitsburg.

Elizabeth Buckman: I will never give up being alert to our community’s needs. I will never give up seeking efficient and sound ways of governing. I will never give up seeking outside resources for our community. I will never give up Emmitsburg Cares. I will never give up promoting cooperation between our religious and civic institutions, and I will never give up on seeking ways to help the least among us. I love Emmitsburg, and I feel honored to serve my hometown. You are my friends and my neighbors, and I hope to continue pressing for our quality of life, safety, and well-being.

Frank Davis: My family and I are life-long citizens of Emmitsburg and are very proud of our town. I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of Emmitsburg over the years and want to make sure we don’t repeat bad history. Being retired, I have time both day and night to attend meetings and respond to citizen concerns.

Joan Bittner Fry

The following recipes, or receipts, are given as found in “my stuff.” Many were handwritten; others came from old books. Most recipes for wine follow one model. Clean the berries, blossoms, fruit, or any other edible to be used. Bring to a boil for a while, cool, and set until fermenting is complete. In the days of these recipes, wine-making was for anyone. Nowadays, special kits and equipment are available, all of which sound very sterile.

Many containers exploded from bottling before fermentation was complete.  I’ll bet you’ve heard those stories, too.  A long time ago, my neighbor and I made rose petal wine. At the time, my father-in-law proclaimed that it was a lady’s wine. I took that as a compliment.

Dandelion Blossom Wine

2 quarts dandelion blossoms

1 gallon boiling water

½ yeast cake

1 orange

1 lemon

4 pounds white sugar

Pour boiling water over blossoms. Let stand 24 hours. Strain. Add sugar. Stir thoroughly. Warm slightly, then add yeast. Slice lemon and orange and add to mixture.  Let set 6 or 8 weeks.  Strain, bottle and seal.

Dandelion wine is used a great deal for the kidneys.

Dandeline Wine

(1972 Mrs. Geesaman)

I remember the Geesamans providing communion wine for Jacob’s Church.

1 gallon dandeline blossoms

Pour 1 gallon boiling water over the blossoms.  Let stand overnight.

Strain in the morning and add 4 lb. sugar, 2 slices lemon and 1 yeast cake.

Mix all together and let stand for 10 days.  Put in bottles and let ferment.

Blackberry Wine

When blackberry season is at hand, we furnish a simple receipt for making the wine that is as good as any of the complicated ones requiring so many strainings, such a variety of spices, and so much time in filling up the cask or stone jug during the process of fermentation. First, the blackberries should be fresh and perfectly ripe. Then, to every gallon well-bruised berries, add one quart of boiling water. Let the mixture stand for 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Then strain off into a clean cask or stone jug according to the quantity, adding two pounds of good brown sugar to each gallon of the liquor. Cork tight immediately and let it stand until October. The wine will be perfectly delicious. The mace, nutmeg, cloves, white of eggs, and other things so often recommended are totally unnecessary and the wine of this simple process is much the best. If the maker of the wine is too impatient to wait until October, have a jug set aside to begin on in a month, but it will be found that the October jug or cask will make the lips smack the most. The best wine is made from berries when the season is going out. They are sweeter.

Grape Wine

4 pounds sugar

1 ½ quarts grapes

Fill gallon container with water and let work 10 days. Makes 1 gallon.

Apricot Wine

1 lb. dried apricots                        2 sliced oranges

2 ¼ cups brown sugar                  6 ½ cups white sugar

2 sliced lemons                             1 tablespoon ginger

4 quarts hot water             1 package yeast

1 ½ cups raisins

Chop apricots and put in large crock. Add hot water, sugars, fruit, raisins, and ginger. Then add the dissolved yeast and mix well. Cover top loosely and let stand for 2 weeks, stirring occasionally. After fermentation ceases, strain first through a colander, then a cloth, and bottle.

Unfermented Grape Juice: The Fairfield Favorite Cook Book compiled by the Ladies of the Mite Society of The Lutheran Church, Fairfield, PA. Rev. C. L. Ritter, Pastor, 1904

Press out the juice from grapes without mashing the seeds, adding water one pint and sugar one-half pound for each pint of juice; then boil a few minutes, skimming any sediment or scum that rises, and bottling while hot, corking tightly.  Cutting off the corks and dipping the tops into wax and keeping in a dry cool place gives a wine that no one would object to.  It is in every way suitable for communion, as it is not intoxicating.

Installation of a large three-panel glass etching, featuring a 1920’s-era fire engine departing the old Independent Hose Company (IHC) fire station in Frederick, got started during mid-August at the Frederick County Fire/Rescue Museum on South Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg. Measuring over 15 feet across and nearly 9 feet tall, the impressive display is to be dedicated on Friday evening, October 4, 2019, during National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend.

The etching originally arrived in March 2018 by way of the Emmitsburg Glass Company (EGC). It had been removed while in the process of installing new window panels at the historic original IHC engine house, formerly located at 12 West Church Street in Frederick.

Created by well-known designer William N. Cochran of Frederick in 1988, the etching is made-up of three panels, weighing a total of 1,500 pounds (the largest of the panels is 900 lbs.). Cochran is responsible for Carroll Creek bridge murals in downtown Frederick, among many other art projects. The new owners of the West Church Street building donated the large etching to the Museum, working in concert with members of the IHC and the Museum.

Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs, a strong supporter of this opportunity, as well as the museum, earlier stated, “Having a piece of artwork done by Mr. Cochran will be a wonderful addition to the town.” The overall transfer included coordination with the new owner of the W. Church St. building, the Emmitsburg Glass Company, IHC Member Dewey Foreman, etching designer William Cochran, the Town of Emmitsburg, and several Museum personnel.

The current installation is being overseen by John Wantz of S&W Wantz Construction, a local firm, who is doing excavation and foundation work, working jointly with the EGC who will be placing the etching into a frame and housing display. It will be pleasingly lighted from the interior and certain to be a source of joy for area residents and visitors alike.

EGC President Dan Reaver was onboard with this project right from the beginning. One of his key foremen, Kenny Simmers, oversaw the etching’s removal and transfer to Emmitsburg for storage inside the Museum until now. A fundraising project led by Museum President Chip Jewell has allowed for its completion. More will be forthcoming on the October 4 evening dedication ceremony.


Mayor Don Briggs

I was at the President’s ‘State of the Mount’ opening day presentation to the university team. President Tim Trainor delivered an inspiring ramp-up to prepare for the year. First impressions are important, and everyone was readying to help the next day with the first-year student move-ins. The program included the status of major projects. First, a much-needed student multi-purpose building is ready for use. Next, plans for the Frederick Memorial Hospital (FMH) Urgent Care Center, a partnership with the Mount, is at the final conceptual plan phase. Opening may be as early as December 2020. Then, potential development of a county regional park on 130+ acres of Mount property. If that wasn’t enough, the potential development of a Mount School of Health Professionals graduate school program in town.

Alas, the final town pool party of the summer happened with a DJ music, ice cream truck, hot dogs, lemonade, hamburgers, and cheeseburgers. Thanks to Jubilee, Carriage House Inn, and  McDonalds. Over 200 people swam, ate, and danced. Libby, Maddy, Amy, Frank, Don, and Glenn worked the food stand.

After two years of working toward it, there will be a Boys and Girls Club in Emmitsburg this fall. The club will be held at the elementary school when the school is open and at Christ’s Community Church on the other days.

National Night Out 2.0 was special. Over 500 people attended the event in Community Park to enjoy the pleasant evening as guests of the town and Sheriff Jenkins. There was a K-9 team exhibition, the SWAT team members and vehicle, Vigilant Hose fire truck, and for the town’s part, 30 vendors ranging from ice cream, hot dogs, EBPA, Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, and many county service departments were on-hand. There were pony rides and a petting zoo to boot.

On the calendar: The 63rd Emmitsburg & Thurmont Community Show weekend is coming up September 6 through 8. Always special, the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend is coming up in October. Ninety-two firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2018 and 27 firefighters from other years who met the inclusion criteria will be honored.

Construction of the William Cochran glass etching commemorating firefighters in action has begun. The etching will be located in front of the Frederick County Fire Museum. Mr. Cochran is nationally known for his public art projects. Locally, he is well-known for the “Community Bridge” a trompe l’oeil mural that spans over Carroll Creek in Frederick, Maryland. The glass etching will be a wonderful addition to what Emmitsburg offers.

Congratulations to Francis E. Smith, who by unanimous board approval and proclamation, became the Town of Emmitsburg Poet Laurate. Francis, who turned 94 years young in August, has lived in Emmitsburg since he built a home for his family in 1971. Professionally, Francis taught high school English and Latin for over 40 years at then Taneytown High School and then Francis Scott Key High School, and has published several books of poems. He is a special person. He contributes monthly to The Catoctin Banner Newzine, and from time to time, his poems will be included on the town Facebook page and website.

Finally, school is back in session; stay alert and be careful.

AUGUST 2019 Meeting

Town Starts Rain Barrel Program

The Town of Emmitsburg has started a rain barrel program to gain credit towards our stormwater management (MS4) program and to help the environment. The town will purchase the rain barrels from the non-profit Scott Key Center in Frederick. The barrels are manufactured by developmentally disabled adults, and they are made from recycled olive barrels. You can purchase a rain barrel from the town office and attend a workshop to learn to use it properly. The workshop will be help on October 1 at 6:00 p.m. Frederick City Sustainability Manager Jenny Willoughby will be the instructor. For more information, contact the Emmitsburg Town Office.

Emmitsburg Town Election on October 1

Emmitsburg citizens can vote for two open commissioner seats during the town election on October 1. Incumbents Glenn Blanchard and Elizabeth Buckman and Vigilant Hose Company President Frank Davis are running for the seats. Registered votes can cast their ballots at the town building at 22 East Main Street from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Town Selects Poet Laureate

The mayor and commissioners of Emmitsburg selected Francis Smith to serve as the Emmitsburg Poet Laureate. It is a two-year, honorary position. Smith will encourage reading, writing, and the sharing of poetry. Smith taught English and Latin in area high schools for 40 years before retiring. He is also a published poet who writes for The Catoctin Banner.

New Complaint Procedures for Off-Campus Mount Students

The Town of Emmitsburg, Mount St. Mary’s Univeristy, and Frederick County deputies encourage everyone to call the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office immediately if you are experiencing any issues related to noise complaints and/or destructive behavior, as soon as you experience it, with any Mount students. Don’t wait. It is harder to follow up about the problem when there is a significant time delay. Non-emergency number is 301-600-2071 or the emergency number is 911.

Pool House Rehabilitation Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners awarded a $66,329 contract to Omega Contracting and Consulting to renovate the pool house. The company specializes in this type of work and will warranty its work for a year. Program Open Space funds will pay 75 percent of the cost with the town matching the rest.

Sign Ordinance Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved the town’s new sign ordinance on a 3-2 vote. Town staff has been working since February at refining and updating the sign ordinance to include new technologies being used to advertise businesses and events.

Commissioner Joe Ritz, III, said, “If a revised ordinance was really needed, why couldn’t it have been kept simple? Just list what’s allowed.” He also objected to what he called “excessive fines.”

Town Manager Cathy Willets took exception to Ritz’s negative characterization of the sign ordinance. She reminded him that not only was the new ordinance less stringent than the previous one, the EBPA supported the new ordinance. She also said that town staff had worked hard to not only gather community input but to address any concerns raised.

Commissioners Cliff Sweeney, Glenn Blanchard, and Tim O’Donnell voted for the ordinance and Commissioner Elizabeth Buckman and Ritz voted against.

Town Sells Trees

The Emmitsburg Commissioners voted to sell a selected group of trees as part of the town’s forestry management plan recommended by the State of Maryland. Tipton’s will pay $46,000 for the trees and will be responsible for removing them with minimal damage to any of the town’s trails in the area. The vote for 4-1 with Commissioner Joe Ritz, III, voting against the proposal.


Mayor John Kinnaird

Here we are at the end of summer; where has the year gone?  School is about to start. I encourage everyone to be especially careful as our children head off to school. Kids will be walking on the sidewalks and getting on and off buses and may not always be aware of their surroundings. Be sure to obey all a speed limits, school crossing guards, and school bus warning devices. I hope all of our children have a great time at school.

The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show is coming up on September 6-8. This Community Show is one of the largest community agricultural shows in Maryland and provides a wonderful opportunity for the display of crafts, livestock, baked goods, photography, floral displays, fruits, vegetables, and other items. There’s also plenty of delicious food available at the show, including the always popular turkey dinner, BBQ chicken lunch, and the tasty items at the Thurmont Lions Club food stand. I hope to see you all  at the Community Show!

With fall comes the Annual Colorfest weekend. If you are interested in setting up a booth, please be sure to contact the town office about permits and other important information. Colorfest represents one of the best fundraising opportunities for many of our local churches, service organizations, and youth groups. Be sure to visit our local organizations and support them during Colorfest.

Thurmont will be holding elections for two commissioner’s seats this fall. Here are some important dates to remember. The Nominating Convention will be held in the Town Meeting Room at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 24, 2019. The last day to register to vote in the town elections is close of business on Tuesday, October 1, 2019. The election will be held on Tuesday, October 29, 2019, from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Guardian Hose Company Activity Building on 123 East Main Street in Thurmont.

Please contact me at 301-606-9458 or by email at if you have any questions, concerns, or comments.

AUGUST 2019 Meeting

Town Launches Automated Speed Monitoring System

With the start of the new school year, the Town of Thurmont has launched its new automated speed monitoring program in an effort to slow traffic around schools. Vehicles traveling more than 12 mph over the speed limit will be photographed and the vehicle owners sent citations in the mail. The automated systems will be active Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the following school zones: Thurmont Primary School—Portions of East Main Street (RT. 77) located within one half-mile radius of the school; Thurmont Elementary School—Portions of East Main Street (Rt.77) located within one half-mile radius of the school; Thurmont Middle School—Portions of East Main Street (Rt.77) located within one half-mile radius of the school; Catoctin High School—Portions of North Church Street (Rt.550) located within one half-mile radius of the school.

The citations carry a $40 fine and no points.

Thurmont Turning Purple

The Thurmont Addictions Commission will be festooning Mechanicstown Park with purple ribbons and changing some of the town lighting to purple in an effort to raise awareness about substance abuse in town and reduce drug-related deaths and overdoses. The commission will also be selling purple light bulbs, T-shirts, and wrist bands to raise money to fight addiction.

Contract Awarded For Street Paving

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners awarded a $42,400 to American Asphalt in Baltimore to pave Center Street and Park Lane.

Rock Climbing

Blair Garrett

Living among the mountains certainly has its perks.

Just a short drive in any direction, there are beautiful sights to see, trails to pioneer, and peaks to reach. Of the various summer excursions available to the public, one not-so-often thought of may be the most riveting and challenging for adventure seekers.

Rock climbing in Thurmont is a thriving adventure, offering locals and visitors a chance to test their limits in a fun, new way they may not have done before. Most of the rock climbing in Thurmont and Frederick County stems from beautiful and natural rock formations scattered throughout the region’s national parks.

A few places of interest for climbers and those interested in getting out of their comfort zone include Wolf Rock, a 1.5 mile hike from the Catoctin Mountain Park Visitor Center. It is a place of boulders, crevices, and rock walls. Climbers can free-climb their way up the rock, or explore another climbing method on one of the many different rock faces. Nearby is Chimney Rock, a popular hiking destination and natural rock formation, overlooking a stunning scene of mountains and rolling hills. This semi-strenuous trail begins and ends at the east corner of the paved parking area by the Catoctin Mountain Park Visitor Center. The hike is 3.9 miles round trip and provides stunning views of the mountains from the top of Chimney Rock. Also worth checking out is Sugarloaf Mountain, a small mountain and park about 10 miles south of Frederick.

A rock range in Carderock, Maryland, northwest of Washington D.C. provides rock formations that are vast and offer varying degrees of difficulty, giving beginners an opportunity to learn and veterans a chance to push themselves. There are dozens of challenges to undertake, so a one-day trip may not be enough for avid climbers.

There are two main crags in Carderock: Jungle Cliff and Hades Heights. A crag is just a steep or rugged rock face, and these two have become extremely popular over the years for their accessibility year-round. Top roping these rock formations is the preferred method of climbing, but rappelling is also a commonly used technique in Carderock. There are a few styles of rock climbing that are different and challenging in their own ways, but let’s explore some of the options most beginners to advanced climbers find themselves doing.

Top Roping

As one of the safest methods of climbing, most beginners find their way into the sport through top roping, which includes a rope and anchor system to protect and prevent climbers from taking a nasty fall. Top roping includes a climber hooked into an anchored rope at the top of the climbing destination, and a belayer at the bottom, which is a person who takes the slack out of the rope secured with carabiners and a belay device to catch the climber should they fall. The person belaying uses a simple-to-follow method to pin and lock the rope while the climber finds hand and foot holds to advance on the route.

Top roping is a fun and popular climbing method, but it’s often limited to indoor rock climbing because placing new anchors can be damaging for rock faces. Utilizing pre-existing and permanent anchors are preferred for this method.


One of the widest performed climbing techniques used is bouldering, which involves free climbing without the use of ropes or harnesses on typically smaller natural or artificial rocks. Bouldering is considered a more dangerous style because of the lack of safety equipment, even if the fall is usually around just 10-15 feet.

Climbers bouldering often use horizontal movements to traverse tough terrain, which can be particularly difficult and strenuous even on the most experienced climbers. Bouldering competitions are also extremely popular in the sport, and most indoor facilities offer training or classes for bouldering.


Soloing, or free-climbing, is something that should only be reserved for the most experienced climbers. Free-climbing involves the use of many of the skills sharpened by other rock climbing techniques, but without the safety of a rope to prevent falls.

Soloing is a completely individual effort, too, so relying on a partner or friend for guidance or safety is off the table. It’s not recommended to free solo high off the ground, but seeking the biggest and best thrill is often what drives solo rock climbers to do what they do.

There are several other variants of climbing like sport and alpine climbing, and those who are serious about getting into the sport often find groups of like-minded individuals to take trips for the select disciplines in rock climbing.

An option for locals is to explore the different methods of rock climbing with a guided professional. Daybreak Excursions in Thurmont offers professional instruction in the rock climbing techniques previously mentioned, along with a few other exploration avenues like caving and kayaking. Interested participants can schedule a time and day to hit the trail and seek the adventures that draw them the most.

For all climbers, whether it’s your first time or your hundredth time, it’s always advised to know your routes, and climb with a trusted partner to keep you safe in all situations. Using a helmet is always advised, and taking the proper safety precautions for each climb ensures you have done everything possible to protect yourself.

Checking something as simple as properly tied knots for top roping or securely fastened shoes can make all the difference in the world for a climber. After all, the safety of you and your crew is the most important thing for a climber.

Whether it’s Wolf Rock in Catoctin Mountain Park, a peak at Sugarloaf Mountain, or a small rock formation in another local park, like Cunningham Falls State Park, there’s more to see than we could ever imagine. Rock climbing is yet another way to explore the great outdoors, so don’t be afraid to get out there and do it.

Sugarloaf Mountain

Pictured climbing is Alex Case.

Wolf Rock at Catoctin Mountain Park

Pictured climbing is Mckenna

Photos Courtesy of Daybreak Excursions

Blair Garrett

Deep in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee, is where it is said that country music stars are born.

Yet, in this case, Thurmont has produced a star of its own. Michael Gray (pictured above), a 1979 Catoctin High School graduate, is living the dream in Nashville, playing as the drummer, percussionist, and vocalist with Lee Brice (shown below on stage, left, with Gray, right). Lee Brice is an American singer/songwriter who has been churning out hits for the better part of the last decade and a half.

The group has put together an impressive history of top country songs, peaking at No. 1 in the nation five times over their careers. Their latest hit, “Rumor,” is their most recent top country song in America, reaching No. 1 in late June.

Gray now gets to tour the country, playing shows in America’s biggest cities and meeting loads of great musicians and people along the way. “I love living out of a suitcase because I get to see the entire country and the different parts of the world,” said Gray.

Most musicians get their start or inspiration to pick up an instrument as they develop their taste in music, but for Gray, drumming may have just been something he was born to do.

“It’s in my baby book: pots and pans when I was two years old,” Gray said. “At six years old, [my dad] started buying me drums, and I’ve been playing ever since.”

Gray’s affinity for drumming as a kid has lead him to a successful professional career, but it all expanded from his experience jamming around his hometown. “I was a weekend warrior in Maryland,” Gray said. “Any place in the tristate area, I played.” 

When the now 50-something-year-old artist was 42 years of age, and after playing countless local shows, Gray and his wife, Dawne, took a chance and set their sights for Nashville so that Gray could advance his country music career. “When I turned 42, and my wife and I had just gotten married, I said ‘let’s go to Nashville; I think I still have some gas left in me.’”

Gray began making waves in the honky tonks on Broadway, where he eventually linked up with Lee Brice, forming the band we know today.

The group began writing and recording, and finally struck gold with its 2012 album, Hard 2 Love, which featured several top hits, including: “Hard 2 Love,” “A Woman Like You,” and “I Drive Your Truck.”

It isn’t easy making it big in Nashville. Thousands of talented musicians have filled the bars and clubs with beautiful country music, decade after decade. For Gray, Nashville has rejuvenated his drumming career. “I went to one of the hardest cities to keep a gig, and it’s the longest job I’ve ever had,” Gray said.

Since the band’s Hard 2 Love album hit the streets, nothing has slowed down. Gray and company have five No. 1 hits together as a band, with their last topping the charts for several weeks and remaining in the Top 10 for nearly a month.

Despite Gray’s successes touring around the country, he hasn’t forgotten his roots in Thurmont. Gray donated his plaque for the band’s No. 1 hit “I Don’t Dance,” released in 2014, to the Thurmont Historical Society, where it now sits with other merchandise from Gray’s career. You can find those pieces in the Edwin Jr. Room at the Creeger House.

The band returns to Gray’s home state August 22, 2019, rocking the house in the MECU Pavillion in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray’s homecoming will be met by a fleet of friends and family. “A boatload of friends and family are going to come,” he said.

Grab tickets to the 4,000-seat amphitheater soon to support your hometown rockstar.

Cover Page Photo & Stage Photo (top of page) Taken by Jenny Brewer; Other Photos are Courtesy Photos

What’s Afloat on The Monocacy

Blair Garrett

The perfect relaxing day for an August Day Trip lies in the heart of the Catoctin area.

With the sun beating down, not much feels better than sitting on the water surrounded by good people. Fortunately, the Monocacy River is a natural lazy river, which flows from the Mason-Dixon Line around Frederick and all the way to the much larger Potomac River at Dickerson, Maryland. The river bridges Frederick and Carroll Counties, allowing all local kayakers and floaters a short drive for some fun in the sun.

The pace of the river is leisurely to say the least, so for kayakers or those fearful of rapids, the Monocacy is a great place to start learning or adapting to all of your water adventures.

There are entry points scattered throughout nearly every twist and turn, but the farther north in the river that you hop on, the longer the potential float. Popular drop spots include the MD 77 access point, the Creagerstown Boat Launch, Devilbiss Bridge, Biggs Ford Road, and Riverside Park Boat Ramp. Each of these locations grant riders easy access to smooth waters on a sunny day.

The process is easy and a blast with a great group of people. One person parks at an entry point, and one parks at the finish line, so the whole group can hitch a ride at the start on their tubes or kayaks and make it to the end point with a ride back to their cars or back home.

The trip itself can take several hours, or much less depending on where you want to end your ride. Floating is simple, though, and a great way to spend some time with family and friends. Grabbing a few tubes, stringing them together and playing some music while taking an easy stroll down the Monocacy can provide hours of entertainment, and the atmosphere is unbeatable on a nice day.

It’s not uncommon to see families with a big tube in the middle, packed with coolers filled with drinks and snacks, but don’t forget to bring sunscreen and plenty of water to combat those hot August days.

The river flows at an average speed of 2-3 mph, and despite the trees surrounding the river providing shade toward the edges, there is plenty of room in the middle with direct sunlight. So, whether or not you plan on catching some rays, make sure to protect yourself from getting a nasty sunburn.

Depending on recent rainfall, the river may run much faster and may have deeper waters, so it’s important to be prepared and cautious for your day trip on the water. There are few if any rapids at all over the course of the Monocacy, but significant rainfall can and does affect the speed and intensity of the river.

The Monocacy passes plenty of beautiful landscapes and farmlands, but it also runs past a few points of interest that can be seen and heard during a typical floating trip on the northern half of the waterway. The river runs right by the Thurmont Sportsman Club, where they often have competitions and events at their gun range. 

The river also flows under Old Links Bridge, where you may just be able to take a pit stop and grab a bottle of wine from Links Bridge Winery.

Of course, the best part about the Monocacy River float is shutting out the rest of the world and enjoying quality time with loved ones and some of the freshest air Maryland has to offer.

Over the course of the Monocacy’s 58 mile stretch from PA/MD border to the Potomac River, there are plenty of places to fish or swim, so even if a long tube ride isn’t your cup of tea, there’s surely something to do for everyone. The river is also home to several species of bass, trout and sunfish, with each fish posing a different challenge to catch.

With the mountainous and forested landscape covering much of southern Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland, there are plenty of rivers, streams and tributaries that offer the public a great way to cool off over the summer. The Monocacy is just one of a few popular floating destinations in the area. For those of us north of the PA/MD border, the Conococheague Creek is another similar experience for adventurers to have a fun day on the water.

The Conococheague is a tributary in the Potomac River system, running 80 miles from start to finish. The majority of the creek lies in Pennsylvania, with prime floating locations near Greencastle, PA. Just 12 percent of the creek resides in Maryland before connecting to the Potomac River.

While both the Monocacy and the Conococheague eventually connect to the Potomac River, many of the sights to see and points of interest on the Monocacy tour are in and around the greater Frederick Area.

Historic locations like the Buckeystown Dam and the Monocacy National Battlefield run with the river, so a quick detour to do some exploring and to take in the history is an option worth checking out.

Whatever it is that draws you to the water, the Monocacy River float is a day trip the whole family can enjoy. Check out a location near you and grab a tube before the summer is over!

Wade and Alison McGahen kick back for a day of fun in the sun on the Monocacy River.

A group of friends hits the Monocacy waters with their favorite tubes on a hot summer day.

Accesses & Points Along the Monocacy

The Town of Thurmont is preparing to launch its automated speed monitoring program in an effort to decrease drivers’ speeds in school zones throughout the town. The primary goal is to provide consistent enforcement to make the streets safer for children, citizens, and motorists.

An automated speed enforcement system (ASE) is an enforcement technique with one or more motor vehicle sensors producing recorded images of motor vehicles traveling at speeds above a defined threshold. Images captured by the system are processed and reviewed in an office environment and violation notices are mailed to the registered owner of the identified vehicle.

Transportation Article §21-809 of the Maryland Annotated Code, effective October 1, 2009, authorizes local jurisdictions and municipalities to use automated speed enforcement systems in school zones. The Town passed and adopted local enabling legislation for the use of speed monitoring systems in school zones in February 2019. (Ordinance 2019-02, Chapter 127).

A school zone is a designated roadway segment within up to a half-mile radius of school buildings or grounds, along which school-related activities occur, and/or where there is a school crossing. The speed monitoring system will be in operation Monday through Friday, from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The Town of Thurmont designates the following school zones within the Town: Thurmont Primary School—Portions of East Main Street (Rt. 77), located within one half-mile radius of the school; Thurmont Elementary School—Portions of East Main Street (Rt. 77), located within one half-mile radius of the school; Thurmont Middle School—Portions of East Main Street (Rt. 77), located within one half-mile radius of the school; Catoctin High School—Portions of North Church Street (Rt. 550), located within one half-mile radius of the school.

Appropriate signage designating the school zones shall be erected pursuant to the Transportation Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland and the guidelines for school zones established by the Maryland State Highway Administration.

Violators must be traveling at least 12 mph over the posted speed limit for the cameras to activate. The citations are issued to the registered owner of the vehicle and carry a $40 fine and no points. The citations are not reported to insurance companies. The vehicle owner may elect to pay the fine or contest the citation in court. The citation explains how to pay a violation or how to request a hearing in court.

The Town, in accordance with the procedures prescribed by the State Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) and State law, may give or cause to be given notice to the MVA of all vehicles registered by the State that are the subject of any outstanding and past due automated speed enforcement citations and request that the MVA suspend the registration, refuse registration, or refuse the transfer of registration of the subject vehicle until notified by the Town that the violation penalty has been satisfied.

A warning period began July 15 and will end on August 23. Once the warning period is complete, actual citations will be issued to the registered owner of the vehicle.

The violation is a civil citation, meaning there is no impact on your license status, no points assessed, and no insurance impact.

Senate Bill 350 Speed Monitoring Systems Reform Act of 2014 stipulates that a local jurisdiction that authorizes a program of speed monitoring systems shall designate an official or employee to investigate and respond to any inquiries related to the Speed Monitoring Program within a reasonable time.

The Town of Thurmont has designated Sgt. David Armstrong as the employee who hears and investigates complaints/concerns regarding the program. Sgt. Armstrong can be contacted at 301-271-0905, ext. 118, or at

The Safe Ride Foundation, Frederick County’s only anti-drunk driving nonprofit, has an exciting announcement. The foundation’s local ride program, SOS Safe Ride, the mobile app that promises to get you and your vehicle home safe, recently launched an upgraded membership option known as Safe Ride PLUS! For those who use SOS Safe Ride regularly, the intuitive donation platform is now offering the Frederick community unlimited rides for just $39.00 a month. From Frederick to New Market, Thurmont to Mt. Airy, no matter where you go in Frederick County, it’s free and lightning fast!

The SOS Safe Ride app began operating in Frederick County back in 2015, with The Safe Ride Foundation now celebrating four years of impaired driving prevention. In fighting drunk driving in our area, the foundation recognized that one of the biggest challenges for consumers in using a ride-share service was having to leave their car behind. “When I started SOS Safe Ride here in Frederick, I wanted to fix a problem that I ran into when going out. I may have needed my car the next day, or simply didn’t want to leave it downtown and potentially receive a ticket, or worse, a tow. Most of us living in the area have that issue because we’re pretty spread out here in Frederick County; it’s the largest county in Maryland, after all. So when you go out and wind up leaving your car, trying to get back to pick it up the next day can be a hassle, an annoying one at that,” explains Wayne Dorsey, president of SOS Safe Ride. “As great and convenient other rideshare operators can be, a shortcoming was that they couldn’t solve that issue.”

The SOS model of bringing two drivers provides a safe solution to this problem. Since launching, SOS has given over 9,500 safe rides home to county residents and their vehicles, contributing in part to a 14 percent decrease of Frederick County DUI-related arrests since 2016, according to local law enforcement.

With the upgraded app and unlimited ride program, SOS Safe Ride serves ALL of Frederick County. “Our nonprofit has brought on significantly more drivers. More drivers along with the upgraded mobile app will allow SOS to reach driver numbers we couldn’t have originally anticipated,” said Wayne Dorsey. “This means we’re prepared to expand this program in a big way and effectively double the number of safe rides home, significantly reducing DUI arrests.”

SOS Safe Ride is also well known for putting on various shows and engagements in and around Frederick, such as The “Over the Limit” Comedy Festival at the Weinberg Center for the Arts, the Good Ole Days Fair at Blue Sky Bar & Grill, and of course the Pump Your Brakes Booth that you can find downtown on Market Street every other Friday during the summertime!

SOS Safe Ride is committed to combating driving under the influence by creating easy, safe, and reliable solutions for the Frederick County community. Frederick County residents (exclusively Frederick County residents) can use the low-cost program as they go, or take advantage of Safe Ride Plus, providing unlimited safe rides home for a small monthly donation to the cause. Learn more about the organization, its mission, and how you can volunteer by visiting

James Rada, Jr.

A small group of town and county representatives helped dedicate the three new waysides that are the hoped-for beginning of a historic Emmitsburg walking trail. The dedication took place Saturday morning, June 29, 2019.

The Emmitsburg Town Commissioners approved the development and installation of three markers in town to describe some historic sites in Emmitsburg.

The first is on the southeast corner of the town square and talks about the historical significance of the square.

“Just think for a moment,” Mayor Don Briggs said during his remarks, “We are standing where so many before have stood, moved around in Independence times, the Civil War, both World Wars, the Depression, and waved to President Eisenhower and Mamie on the way to their farm in Gettysburg.”

The other two markers are across the street from the Emmit House and the Doughboy statue. The Emmit House is a historical building with roots back to 1850, when it was known as Black’s Tavern.

The Doughboy is a historical statue erected to honor the town’s World War I Veterans.

Mayor Briggs; Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner; County Councilman Michael Blue; Emmitsburg Town Commissioners Tim O’Donnell, Cliff Sweeney, and Joe Ritz; and other county representatives were on hand to cut the ribbon, officially dedicating the waysides. Blue also read a proclamation from the county, declaring June 29, 2019, as Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day.

Briggs said that the square wayside dedication marked the end was nearing for the square revitalization and sidewalks projects. The town square revitalization efforts started in 2011. Since then, trees were planted, attractive brick work replaced cement, a town clock was erected, an informational kiosk installed, ADA-compliant curbing installed, and more. Briggs called it an “eight-year overnight success.”

“Once again, the square is pedestrian attractive, safer, and friendly,” Briggs remarked.

The waysides are designed and written by Ruth Bielobocky of Ion Design Firm and Scott Grove of Grove Public Relations.

The waysides are funded with a $9,000 grant from the Maryland Heritage Area Authority. The long-term goal is to create a historic walking tour through the town.

On June 29, 2019, Emmitsburg Town, Frederick County dignitaries, and community members gathered to dedicate the new wayside signs on a historic Emmitsburg walking trail through town.

Christine O’Connor

Poison Ivy

Most of us have heard the saying “leaves of three, let it be.” That oversimplification might cause some to dodge strawberry, clover, and many other attractive, innocuous plants.

Toxicodendron radicans, better known as poison ivy, is a widespread noxious plant, notorious for causing allergic skin reactions in the majority of humans that come into contact with this plant.

Poison ivy contains urushiol, an odorless, oily substance emitted by the plant when it is disturbed.  Urushiol is also found in poison sumac and poison oak, as well as a variety of nut trees and others.

Urushiol causes varying degrees of skin irritation, depending on an individual’s sensitivity. Reactions range from mild dermatitis and itching to large patches of painful, blistering skin.  

Poison ivy is not picky as to growing conditions, thriving anywhere from shady woodlands to sunny flower beds. It can resemble a shrub or imitate a tree-like habit, using hairy aerial roots to scale all manner of objects, from trees to power poles, stone fences, and masonry walls.

Many species of birds and mammals consume its high fat berry clusters or “drupes” when it fruits during the growing season and throughout the fall and winter. So, it’s no wonder these plants pop up in unexpected places from seeds that have passed through animals’ digestive tracts.

All parts of the plant contain urushiol, even after the plants have been dead for years, so great care must be exercised to safely dispose of yard waste. Extreme caution is required when burning brush, for errant poison ivy branches or wood with poison ivy vines clinging to it will result in urushiol being carried in the smoke and potentially into lungs of humans. Open burning of poison ivy is so dangerous, it’s against the law to do so in many states.

Domestic pets exposed to poison ivy can harbor urushiol on their coats, so its advisable to bathe pets after romps in the fields and trees.  Launder towels and wash collars,  leashes, and any pet toys that may have gotten urushiol on them. Urushiol can also be transferred to the skin if it’s left on clothing, footwear, gloves, and tools, so it’s important to thoroughly clean them after using. Rubbing alcohol is effective in removing urushiol, so keep a bottle or two handy when enjoying outdoor activities.

Some people have minor reactions to urushiol and will benefit from topical applications of  a variety of over-the-counter remedies; there is also a benefit to calamine lotion, baking soda paste, oatmeal baths, and cool compresses.

People who have a severe reaction to urushiol should seek medical attention. According to the Mayo Clinic, those include folks who have the rash on their face or genitalia, have blisters that show signs of infection by oozing pus, have a fever of over 100 degrees, or have a rash that persists for more than a few weeks.


Knowing what poison ivy looks like and the vast places it could be hiding allows us to give poison ivy a wide berth, avoiding the noxious plant. However, it’s a bit more challenging to stay off the menu of female mosquitoes that need human and animal blood to nourish their eggs’ development.

A significant number of mosquito-borne diseases have shown up in the United States, including encephalitis; yellow and dengue fevers; and West Nile virus, Zika virus, and the lesser known chikungunya virus. Reduce the odds of vulnerability to the bitey female’s needle-like proboscis by using some simple precautions.

Following a number of blood meals, the female mosquito lays her eggs in any amount of stagnant water. It can be a puddle or water in a cup left outdoors. Other typical offenders are buckets, saucers under flowerpots, clogged gutters, tarps, garbage cans, and a host of other places in the average yard.  Water troughs, water buckets, and birdbaths should be emptied and refilled every few days to prevent eggs from developing into “wrigglers,” the larval stage of mosquito metamorphosis.  Otherwise, add a device such as an appropriately rated pump to keep the water moving.

Female mosquitoes are known to be drawn to exhaled carbon dioxide, body heat, movement, and lactic acid exuded by sweat glands, especially during exertion.  Mosquitoes generally prefer moderate temperatures, around 80 degrees Fahrenheit; moderate to high humidity; and after a rain.  They are also a nuisance at dusk, dark, and dawn, but will avoid the hottest time of day when they can easily dehydrate and perish.

The first line of personal defense is to cover up as much as possible in light-colored clothing, for it is believed that the females are attracted to dark colors. And, as mosquitoes are notoriously weak fliers, save some outdoor pastimes for windy days. When sitting outdoors, an oscillating fan may be sufficient to mimic windy conditions and discourage the mosquitoes’ flight.

And, like with poison ivy, shower as soon as possible after exposure and treat any itching that might be present with any number of home or over-the-counter remedies.

Seek medical attention if symptoms persist or worsen.  

BY James Rada, Jr.

Depending on who you might talk to and where you are along the U.S. Route 15 corridor that runs through the heart of the Catoctin Region, the highway could be referred to by at least nine different names and that’s not even counting the names of the business routes and auxiliary routes.

U.S. Route 15

This is the official name of the nearly 792-mile-long highway that runs from Waltersboro, South Carolina, to Painted Post, New York. It passes through South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York.

The Catoctin Banner region encompasses an approximate 15-mile stretch of the highway from the Pennsylvania/Maryland (Mason Dixon) Line south of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to the area north of Frederick, Maryland.          

Route 15 is one of the earliest U.S. Highways, opening in 1926. However, the original U.S. Route 15 did not enter Maryland. What is currently Route 15 from Frederick, to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was called U.S. 240 at the time. In 1927, U.S. 240 became the major route between Washington, D.C., and Frederick and Route 15 was extended from Leesburg north into Maryland through Point of Rocks, Maryland, and connected with U.S. 240 in Frederick, and U.S. 240 from Frederick north became U.S. Route 15.

Journey Though Hallowed Ground

From Gettysburg to Charlottesville, Va., U.S. 15 Route has been designated The Journey Through Hallowed Ground. It is a 180-mile long, 75-mile wide National Heritage Area that includes 9 presidential homes and sites, 18 national and state parks, 57 historic towns and villages, 21 historic homes, hundreds of Civil War battlefields and thousands of historical sites. The Journey Through Hallowed Ground bills itself as “Where America Happened.”

“With more history than any other region in the nation, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground was recognized by Congress as a National Heritage Area and offers authentic heritage tourism programs and award-winning educational programs for students of all ages,” according to

James Monroe Highway

The northern portion of Route 15 in Virginia is also known as James Monroe Highway. Monroe was the fifth President of the United States who lived in Loudon County, Virginia at Oak Hill. To make matters confusing, the highway later changes from James Monroe Highway to James Madison Highway, named after the Virginian who was the fourth President of the United States.

Catoctin Mountain Scenic Byway

Along most of its nearly 38 miles through Maryland, Route 15 is known as the Catoctin Mountain Scenic Byway. This is because along that route, the highway runs along the east side of Catoctin Mountain. The break in this designation is from the U.S. Route 340 intersection to the Maryland Route 26 intersection north of Frederick. Route 15 was originally called Catoctin Mountain Highway beginning in 1974. The entire length of Route 15 in Maryland became a National Scenic Byway in 1999. It became the Catoctin Mountain Scenic Byway in 2005.

Jefferson National Pike

Route 15 and Route 340 run concurrently for a few miles in Frederick. This stretch of U.S. 15 is known as Jefferson National Pike. This is due to the fact that Route 340 through Frederick is also known as Jefferson Boulevard.

Frederick Freeway

From the Route 340 intersection to the MD 26 intersection, Route 15 is sometimes called the Frederick Freeway. This is the stretch of Route 15 that runs north-south through Frederick. It is the busiest section of Route 15 in Maryland.

115th Infantry Regiment Memorial Highway

The Maryland General Assembly designated Route 15 the 115th Infantry Regiment Memorial Highway. The 115th Infantry Regiment is a unit of the Maryland National Guard and it was a regiment of the U.S. Its history dates back to the Revolutionary War. The unit saw service in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. A large stone marker was erected in the median of the highway near Emmitsburg in 2006 to mark this designation.

Blue AND Gray Highway

The first of the two designations that Route 15 carries as it begins its trek through Pennsylvania is Blue and Gray Highway. This designation comes from the fact that the first 12 miles of Route 15 in Pennsylvania takes you from the Maryland border to Gettysburg, site of the most-famous battle in the Civil War.

Marine Corps League Highway

The Marine Corps League is made up of Marines and former Marines who support the United States Marine Corps. They are perhaps best known for the “Toys for Tots” Christmas toys program. Route 15 through much of Pennsylvania is named in their honor.

Business Routes and Offshoots

The above names cover the main route from Gettysburg to Virginia. However, Route 15 once passed through some small towns. As traffic increased, the decision was made to divert the highway around the towns and the original route through the town was designated Business Route 15.

Along the area The Catoctin Banner covers, this happens in Emmitsburg and Gettysburg. In Emmitsburg, Business Route 15 is known as North Seton Avenue and South Seton Avenue. In Gettysburg, the route is known along different sections as Emmitsburg Road, Steinwehr Avenue, Baltimore Street, Carlisle Street, and Old Harrisburg Road.

Route 15 also has five auxiliary routes in Maryland designated 15A, 15B, 15C, 15D, and 15G. These are all very small sections of road adjoining the main highway. The longest is less than .2-miles.

Call it what you will. U.S. Route 15 is still a beautiful highway to travel to see natural beauty and historic sites.

Article by Jane Savage, Administrative Secretary, Sabillasville Elementary

Many parents currently serving on the Sabillasville Elementary School (SES) Parent Group, Inc. are SES Alumni. They started chatting about all the great memories they had of the spring bazaar that was held years ago when they were students, and they wanted to give current students and the community an opportunity to create their own memories, as well, so they re-created the event. They hoped the bazaar would raise funds for the SES Parent Group. Currently, the Parent Group provides activities and educational resources for the students including field trips, cultural arts activities, subscriptions to online reading programs and books, magazines and classroom supplies, and events throughout the year.   

The SES Parent Group revived the bazaar three years ago, and it has grown significantly each year. This year’s Planning Committee consisted of Alisha Yocum (coordinator), Priscilla Blentlinger, Dawn Fisher, Dawn Harbaugh, and Kelsey Norris.  Parent Group members volunteered to put on the bazaar, as well as families, community members, and staff. Alisha Yokum said, “We tried to re-create the event so that it would just be a day of good family fun, while supporting the school. We included ‘old-fashioned’ carnival games, some of which were the same as when it took place 30 years ago. Back then, an auctioneer auctioned off donations from local businesses. This time, we changed that to be a silent auction. We received so much support from businesses within the community, as well as the surrounding communities, through donations to the silent auction.”  The school receives much support from the community and surrounding communities in many different ways all year. Contributors include individuals, businesses, and service organizations. In the past, the bazaar was held the Saturday before Mother’s Day; and plants that were purchased from the Ag classes at the high school were sold at the bazaar. This year, the bazaar was held the first Saturday in June.

In the past, a pie in the face contest, where the principal took a pie in the face from students who won a raffle, was a highly anticipated activity. (Mrs. Severance started this activity when she was the principal).

In sticking with re-creating just “good fun,” the Parent Group decided to broaden the Pie in the Face contest with four staff members volunteering to be candidates. Students cast their votes and Mrs. Krietz (Principal) topped the contest with just over 8,100 votes. Two lucky winners (Abbey Sparkman and Hope LeGore) were then selected from a raffle to smash the pie in her face on the day of the event. A pie in the face of the principal was sure to draw a crowd to the event because who doesn’t want to see the principal take a pie to the face!

About the cover photo: Dalton Wolfe (boy in orange shirt), Noah Bradbury (boy in tank top), and Maycee Grimes (girl in pink shirt) observe as Abbey Sparkman smooshes a pie in SES Principal’s Kate Krietz’ face.

Pictured above: Alayna Sowers (age 8) plucks a duckie for a prize.

Pictured above: Kyle Mullennex is the winner (safety yellow shirt) of a Cake Walk.

Pictured above: Baked goods have always been a big seller at the bazaar.

Pictured above: Even the smallest of tractors competes in the Tractor Show.

James Rada, Jr.

Geocaching is a fun way to find hidden treasures, not only locally, but across the world using a GPS device.

While you can purchase a GPS device, if you have a smartphone, you can download a free app that will allow you to get started right away. Once you enter the coordinates of the cache, the GPS device acts like a compass, helping you zero in on the cache’s location. The closer you get to the cache, the more it becomes a game of hot/cold since most GPS devices can only get you accurately to the cache’s hiding spot within 10 feet or so.

This article will highlight some of the caches hidden in The Catoctin area and allow you to add treasure hunting via geocaching to your recreational activities. You can find where hundreds of thousands of other caches are hidden at You can track caches you find, leave comments about caches, and upload pictures of your finds.

Good hunting!

Thurmont Park and Grab (Difficulty: 1.0/ Terrain: 1.0)

Coordinates: N 39° 36.989 W 077° 25.180

This cache is a quick find in a Thurmont shopping center. Should be an easy park and grab.

Hint: Light post cache.

Moser Cache (Difficulty: 1.5/ Terrain: 3.0)

Coordinates: N 39° 36.474 W 077° 24.139

Hidden on private property with permission. Parking at this cache is minimal, so please use the following coordinates to park: N39’ 36.458 W77’ 24.205. The actual cache is hidden at the above coordinates.

The cache is a smaller ammo can (5.56mm) with NASCAR and GEOCACHE stickers on it. Since this cache was created by a huge Jeff Gordon fan, you’ll find a lot of J.G. swag, including a key chain, pictures from a race he attended at Texas Motor Speedway, Pez dispenser, log book, pens, official geocache congratulations “You’ve found it” notice, and a few other odds and ends. If you’re a NASCAR fan, you’ll enjoy this one.

Hint: Beware of the thorns and watch for the fallen tree and water.

FCMGT-Emmitsburg Doughboy (Difficulty: 1.5/ Terrain: 1.5)

Coordinates: N 39° 42.357 W 077° 19.954

This cache is part of the Frederick County Memorial GeoTrail.

Emmitsburg’s doughboy, the popular name for a WWI foot soldier, stands at the end of West Main Street in its own little grassy park about 10 feet square. The statue stands on the lawn of the Emmit House, once a hotel that frequently hosted Maryland governors, but is now an apartment house. It was erected in 1927. For more information, go to

Hint: Fake rock at base.

Hatchery and Ponds (Difficulty: 1.5/ Terrain: 1.5)

Coordinates: N 39° 32.128 W 077° 25.976

The Lewistown Trout Hatchery and Bass Ponds are located near this cache. The property was purchased by the State of Maryland in 1917. The area is well known for fish ponds, some of which are no longer used. The cache you seek is located near the marker. As a side note, in the early 20th century, Frederick County was the leading goldfish producer in the United States.

    Hint: GRC.


Cache: The hidden item. Caches can take any form and be hidden or disguised. Some have a piece of paper in them that you can sign and date to mark that you found it. Others have cheap swag. If you take a swag item, you are expected to leave one of your own behind.

Coordinates: The location of the cache given in latitude and longitude.

Difficulty: On a scale of 1-5, how difficult is it considered to find this cache.

GPS: Global Positioning System. This is an electronic device that uses coordinates you enter to direct you to those coordinates. Think: Mapquest, where the address entered are latitude and longitude coordinates.

Muggles: Non-geocachers.

Swag: Small items, such as might be found in a Cracker Jack box, that are left as a small reward for finding the cache.

Terrain: On a scale of 1-5, how difficult is it to get to this cache.

James Rada, Jr.

Note: The below article “Thurmont’s Oldest Citizen Turns 102” was featured in the July 2018 issue of The Catoctin Banner. Beulah Zentz passed away on June 23, 2019 at the age of 103. Our community has lost a friend in Beulah Zentz, and she will be missed. Turn to page 60 to view her Obituary.

Beulah Zentz may not have been born in Thurmont, but the town’s oldest resident has become a part of the town’s history.

She was born on May 26, 1916, near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Fresh out of high school, she met Ethel Hockensmith. Beulah went to help Ethel with housework at her home in Zullinger, Pennsylvania. Beulah stayed with her about a week before Ethel asked her, “Do you want a job?”

Ethel’s brother owned and operated the Munshour Dairies in Thurmont. So, Beulah made the move to Thurmont in 1932. She lived with the Munshours. Her work included milking sixteen cows twice a day, washing glass milk bottles, and bottling milk. Munshour Dairies delivered milk by horse and wagon to locations throughout Thurmont. Sometimes, Beulah would ride along.

“The only place she got to go while she was living there was the Lutheran church,” said Viola Noffsinger, Beulah’s daughter.

It was there that she met Albert Zentz, a local farmer. The two got along well, but before their relationship could really develop, Beulah moved back to Chambersburg. A friend of hers invited Beulah to come work at a factory in Chambersburg for $7.50 a week. Beulah was only making $3.00 a week at Munshour Dairies, so she jumped at the new job.

This complicated her growing relationship with Albert, who had to travel from Thurmont to Chambersburg to visit her. He finally told her that it was too far to travel.

Beulah had a choice to make, and she chose Albert over her job. She moved back in with her family, who were living in New Franklin, Pennsylvania. Once she did, Beulah said, “He started visiting more often.” They married on February 24, 1936.

Albert had taken over his family’s farm in 1934, and Beulah moved into the farmhouse at 158 North Carroll Street in Thurmont. “We had animals of all kinds,” Beulah said. “Hogs, calves, beef cattle, chickens.” They also grew vegetables to sell in town.

The farmhouse also became quite crowded. Albert’s parents, Wendell and Florence, continued to live in the house, and Beulah and Albert started their family. Jean (Heims) was born in 1939, Viola (Noffsinger) in 1940, Mary (Eyler) in 1942, and Wendell in 1954.

As the town grew, factories began building in town.

Meanwhile, Albert not only worked his farm, but he helped anyone in town who needed help. Albert got a reputation of being the person to go to if you needed a helping hand.

Beulah did her part to assist the family. She worked for a time at the shoe factory in town, but then she found a better way to help out.

The Zentzes owned a building next to the railroad tracks and near the shoe factory. The upstairs rooms were rented out as apartments, but the Zentzes had another idea for the ground floor.

“The shoe factory wanted something so people could have snacks and eat,” Beulah said.

And, so, the Sunrise Cafeteria was born. Employees at the shoe factory would place orders, and one employee would walk over to the cafeteria to pick up the order of milk and sandwiches that the employees would eat on their break.

The Western Maryland Railroad passenger trains also stopped at the cafeteria. “They made it a point to stop there and eat,” Beulah said.

The cafeteria operated for years until bureaucracy began interfering. Insurance rates climbed because the cafeteria sold fresh milk, not pasteurized. Then the health inspector told Beulah that they would need new coolers to hold the milk, which were too expensive. The cafeteria closed in the early 1950s.

Beulah continued working with companies like Claire Frock and Hillside Turkey.

Albert died in 2002. He and Beulah had been married for sixty-seven years.

Beulah is now 102 years old, making her Thurmont’s oldest citizen. However, she has had health issues this year, including pneumonia. When asked what her secret to long life is, Beulah said, “I never gave it much thought. I just went along and did whatever needed doing.”

Deb Abraham Spalding


Incidents of Lyme disease in people are on the rise in our area, while the incidents of Lyme disease in our dogs are on the decline. Our Blacklegged (Deer) Tick is the culprit. Other local tick species like the Brown Dog Tick and the American Dog Tick are not known to transfer Lyme but can transfer other diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever to pets and people.

Pets: Trish Hahn, a veterinary technician with the Catoctin Veterinary Clinic in Thurmont, explains that there’s a 99 percent effective Lyme vaccine available for your dogs, which substantially decreases the incidents of Lyme. There are also various flea and tick treatments, topical and oral, that are effective as well. These reliable flea and tick products kill the tick before there is a blood exchange, thus preventing disease.

Symptoms of Lyme disease in a dog are lethargy, loss of appetite, and kidney damage if left too long without treatment. From the point of the bite, symptoms may begin within 24 hours. Trish explained that we don’t see Lyme disease in cats.

People: Jenice Palachick, CRNP (Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner) in Dr. Cooper’s office in Thurmont, formerly worked with Dr. Timothy Stonesifer at the Cumberland Valley Parochial Medical Clinic in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. Dr. Stonesifer runs his clinic as a family practice, with a specialty in Lyme. Having prior experience with diagnosing and treating Lyme disease is a useful resource for Jenice while working in general practice at Dr. Cooper’s office, but she often consults with Dr. Stonesifer if she suspects Lyme.

Typical symptoms of Lyme can be difficult to diagnose because they mimic so many other ailments. They include fever, headache, fatigue, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, and, about 30 percent of the time, a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. Every case of Lyme disease is unique. Thus, treatment for each case is a journey of trial and error. Jenise said, “I’ve been fooled before. It’s not that simple.” The symptoms are so broad, especially in the chronic phase where symptoms have gone on for years.

Jenice suggests that the adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is in place when preventing Lyme. When outside in the tick’s natural habitat, wear long pants tucked into your socks. Buy clothes that are infused with pyrethrum, which is a natural repellent to ticks. Use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered ingredient, such as DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Wear light colored clothing. Do a tick check after being outside. Ticks love the scalp, behind the ears, and the groin area. Ticks can be as small as a pin head.

For more about Lyme Disease, read the ‘Ask Dr. Lo’ column in the Health Matters Section on page 56.


(Correction from this article in June’s issue: our water snakes are not venomous. The Cottonmouth water moccasin mentioned can be found in southern Virginia and other southern areas.)

There are two kinds of venomous snakes in our local area: timber rattlesnakes and copperheads. They are rarely aggressive. The easiest way to determine how to treat a snake bite is to look at the eyes of the culprit. Venomous snakes have elliptical pupils while non-venomous have round pupils. Venomous snakes have hollow retractable fangs while nonvenomous snakes lack fangs. Venomous snakes have a triangular shaped head while nonvenomous snakes have a rounded head. Please don’t assume that all snakes are venomous, but please do assume that all snakes can bite.

Pets: Though not all snakes have a deadly venom, a snake bite will still cause discomfort and stress for your pet, so please take your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible. If your pet was bitten by a venomous snake, it will need antivenom.

People: On May 19, 2019, while hiking with her wife Sarah, two dogs and friends, Lindsay Klampe was bitten by a rattlesnake (actual snake shown in photo).  She was wearing shorts and sneakers while hiking from Hog Rock in Catoctin Mountain Park to Cunningham Falls in Cunningham Falls State Park.

Lindsay said, upon feeling the bite, “Adrenaline took over. I jumped and started running.” She ran about a quarter mile from where the bite occurred to the falls parking lot along Route 77. Meanwhile, Sarah called 911.

Ambulance personnel transported Lindsay to Frederick Memorial Hospital where, within 1 hour and 15 minutes from when the bite occurred, she was injected with antivenom.

Lyndsay said she plans to get back to hiking but will wear hiking boots and pants in the future since she feels that ankle-covering boots could have served as a barrier of protection and prevented the bite from penetrating her skin.

UpToDate clinical first aid for a venomous snake bite suggests keeping the victim warm, at rest, and calm while initially elevating the injured part of the body to the level of the heart. Remove any rings, watches, or constrictive clothing from the affected extremity. Rush to the nearest medical facility using emergency medical services.

For Pets and People: In case of a non-venomous bite, clean the wound, apply a clean dressing, and go about your day while monitoring for any changes in condition like swelling, dizziness or clamminess, or changes in breathing. If any of these changes occur, seek medical attention.

In the case of a venomous bite, take emergency action to get to an emergency room where an antivenom can be injected.


The National Park Service has posted bear safety tips on its website. The biggest prevention tip is: Make a lot of noise. The bears in our local parks are black bears. They are not normally aggressive or threatening, and mostly just want to be left alone. So, being a loud hiker or camper may deter their interest. But, if you encounter one, keep in mind that they are very curious. That’s not to say they won’t be aggressive or threatening if they are protecting their young or hungry in pursuit of food, and you get in the way.

People: If confronted with a black bear, stand tall with arms stretched above your head so you appear bigger than you are. Talk in a normal tone to the bear, so it determines that you are a human and not a meal. Stay calm. Do not run away or climb a tree; a bear can do those things better than you.

Bear pepper spray is available for purchase and can be a part of your safety regimen while in the wild. Most importantly, if any bear attacks you in your tent, or stalks you and then attacks, do NOT play dead—fight back!

Pets: If you encounter a Black Bear while with your dog, keep your dog on a leash, calmly control your pet, talk in a normal tone, and make yourself big as explained above. Give a Black Bear enough room to retreat since Black Bears usually avoid confrontation.