For the new year, I resolve to do more day trips and explore new areas around Harrisburg.
As a head start to the new year I recently took a trip to Frederick, MD — just over an hour away — to celebrate Lauren’s birthday and was pleasantly surprised with how much there is to do there.
If you’re looking for adventure just a short drive away, here are a few spots I recommend you check out during your stay.
Frederick has been experiencing an exciting craft beer revolution over the past few years with new breweries popping up all the time. In just about every bar around town you’ll be able to find beers from Flying Dog Brewing, what I would consider to be the Troegs of Frederick, the hometown brew.
Brewing since 1990, Flying Dog Brewing was originally based in Colorado but purchased their Maryland facilities in 2006 and moved all production to the east coast in 2008.
You’ll recognize their year-round beers like Raging Bitch and Doggie Style, but what’s unique about their tasting room is their “Brewhouse Rarities” collection. These beers are created from ideas presented at their annual company retreat where all employees have the opportunity to pitch a beer idea. We were lucky to try the Cinnamon Porter and Vineyard Blond from this series during our visit.
In the newer brewery category, check out Monacacy Brewing, which just opened in 2012. Their small tasting room is made entirely of sustainable materials including recycled paper and bamboo flooring which definitely makes it a site worth seeing. They very recently began partnerships and distribution north of the Mason Dixon Line, so you’ll be able to find their flagship beer, Riot Rye, around Harrisburg shortly. We fell in love with Brewtus, their imperial stout brewed with coffee beans from a popular local coffee shop.
Also in the new brewery category, I recommend Milkhouse Brewery at Stillpoint Farm, located just outside of the town of Frederick and an easy stop on your route back home. Housed in a farmhouse atop a hill, Milkhouse prides themselves on using locally sourced ingredients in their beer including hops grown in the surrounding farm. Their beer is available in their tasting room by the glass, growler, and in 22oz bottles, which we found to be great Christmas gifts. The group’s favorite was their farmhouse/saison style ale, named Dollyhyde after the road where the brewery is located, and the Bitter.
While wine may not be my top drink of choice, I’ll have my occasional glass when no one’s looking. We sampled 16 of Maryland’s finest wines at Linganore Wine Cellars and found them to be just a little different from our Pennsylvania wines. Most of the wines we enjoyed weren’t as sweet as many of the Pennsylvania wines we are used to, which for most of us was highly appreciated. The overall favorite was Bacioni, a dry blend of Chambourcin, Barbara, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
There are a few more wineries around for you to explore along Frederick’s Wine Trail including Berrywine Plantation, Catoctin Breeze Vineyard, Loew Vineyard and Elk Run. In the surrounding area, add Chrysalis Vineyard and Boxwood Winery just over the boarder in Virginia.
As far as food goes, another part of my New Year’s resolution is to slowly accept the fact that I’m becoming a foodie. We had some fantastic meals while in Frederick and I found myself quite full and happy when we got home.
My favorite eatery on our trip was The Wine Kitchen. Brunch is one of my favorite meals of the day and while here we were delighted to find that they host a 3-course prix fixe brunch every Sunday. Yes, a 3 course brunch.
While I opted instead to chow down on sausage gravy fries and home made cinnamon rolls, I saw plates of fried green tomatoes, quiche, Irish eggs benedict and more arriving at our table. We especially enjoyed their French press coffee and flights of champagne samples.
If you’re looking for dinner instead, try Brewer’s Alley. Be sure to call ahead because this place is poppin on a Saturday night! Brewer’s Alley is the first brewpub in Frederick County and offers an expansive beer menu as well as dinner menu. You’ll find wood fire pizzas, plantain crusted mahi, and conch chowder on tables around you as well as crab cakes of course and even oysters to pair with their 1634 Ale.