Well, hello! It’s been awhile. My travels haven’t been that exotic lately, but I wanted to tell you about a little getaway we took in October to West Virginia and Northern Maryland. The occasion? The Spook Hill Cider and Wine 4 Mile Run! Fall foliage, a nice run, and a reward of wine and cider tasting? Sign me up. I convinced Dana and Adam to come down from Ohio to get in some miles and toast to our birthdays, which happen to fall on the same day.
Little did I know, Burkittsville, MD, where the race took place, was also the location for Blair Witch Project filming. The movie was obviously fiction, but the town, and Spook Hill specifically, does have a “haunted” past. The Civil War Battle of Antietam took place nearby, and legend has it that the ghosts of soldiers come out at night.
The town is so small that we had to stay elsewhere. The closest Airbnb that allowed dogs was in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, just a short 15 minute drive away. Well, turns out Shepherdstown has been called the most haunted town in America, with plenty of paranormal activity. I don’t buy into any of this nonsense, but it was excellent lore for Halloween time.
I can’t say I’d recommend our Airbnb, but the pups enjoyed it! The owner also confirmed that his house was “definitely haunted”. Maybe not something you tell guests?!
I took a quick stroll around the Airbnb’s property, and it WAS a little creepy. What is that random little hut?
Or the lone chair in the woods? Is this the typical “rural junkyard” you find next to houses in the sticks that is filled with decaying cars and junk? Or is it more on the haunted side?
After not sleeping the night before worrying about ghosts and sweating profusely after realizing the windows were painted shut, we hit the road for Spook Hill! The weather was absolutely perfect, and the scenery couldn’t be beat. We ran through a vineyard, an orchard, and along quiet country roads. Dana won our age group, (and Adam and I placed in our age groups- yay for smaller races!), but Dana should really have won a prize solely for her shirt.
Maybe I should get an award for cheesiest race photo. There’s no way I am actually that happy after running up a hill.
After a quick shower, we headed out to brunch at Mellow Moods Cafe in Shepherdstown. They are dog friendly, and have plenty of options for gluten-free, vegan, etc. So delicious!
After we were caffeinated and fueled, we headed to our first stop of the day, Antietam Creek Vineyards, located steps away from Antietam National Battlefield. We actually drove through the battlefield on our way in, which was pretty cool. I’d like to go back when we have more time to really explore! The winery is just getting started, and is in the process of building a tasting room in the barn. When we visited, they had an outdoor bar set up with picnic tables. They are dog friendly.
First stop down, and back to the car we went. A little tight with 4 humans and 2 dogs. I think Casey got the short end of the stick with Magic sitting on her.
Next up, Orchid Cellar Meadery & Winery , where we had the BEST goat cheese from Cherry Glen Farms and rice crackers. So good that I had to find where to buy them. Turns out Walmart is really the only place to get them for a decent price. Ibotta had a 20% cash back offer, so needless to say, we are stocked up with 2 cases of the crackers….Also, dog friendly!
Enough about the food. The mead was good, too! We had a chance to talk to an employee at length about how mead is made, and the incredible amount of honey that is needed for continued production. Adam, I’m counting on you to recreate this mead at home now that you know the secrets.
Orchid Cellar has a wide range of meads available, ranging from sweet to dry. We really lucked out with the weather and were able to enjoy a tasting outside on the deck. Some people set up a picnic on the lawn, while others played corn hole or sat around the fire pit.
The last stop of the day brought us to Willow Oaks Craft Cider. One of the owners led us through a tasting of ciders, with a variety of sweet and dry options. I was pleasantly surprised to find a dry option that was almost like a red wine. They had a cute little farm stand inside with apples from their orchard, along with other local goods.
Willow Oaks is a true farm complete with cows!
And cats. Steve spent some time bonding with a farm cat while chatting with the owner.
We had a lovely afternoon on the deck sipping cider and learning more about organic farming from the owner.
On our way back to West Virginia, we stumbled upon the general store. It was packed to the gills with vintage items that looked fragile, so that was a real quick in and out.
After a full day of fun, we stopped through Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia for dinner. Yet another dog friendly spot! The town is tiny, but full of charm.
Haunted or not, Northern Maryland and the adjacent parts of West Virginia are worth a weekend road trip. No traffic, rolling hills of countryside, good food, wineries/cideries/meaderies, and of course, great friends. A perfect getaway!