Saints & Sinners Tour
Three Days and Two Nights
From “Saintly” Elizabeth Ann Seton to the notorious Blazes Still, Frederick County is rife with do-gooders and some not-so-do-gooders!
Elizabeth Ann Seton, Grotto of Lourdes, Walkserville and Catoctin Mountain National Park
Begin your day with a tour of The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. Here, your group will tour the home of the first American born Saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton. Self-guided tours of the grounds include a video presentation depicting Elizabeth Seton's life and accomplishments, a tour (with museum docents) of the original 1770's farmhouse and the colonial style "White House" (built in 1809) that served as her home. Finally, tour the beautiful basilica dedicated to her memory. Approximately 1.5 hours is recommended for touring.
Continue on to the National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes. Here, your group will tour the oldest replica of The Grotto of Lourdes in the Western Hemisphere. Nestled in the glorious foothills of the Catoctin Mountains, the grotto is a peaceful place to relax. Approximately 30 minutes is recommended for touring.
Enjoy lunch in the area and perhaps a scenic ride on the Walkersville Southern Railroad. Your trip departs from Walkersville station, a small turn-of-the-century station built by the Pennsylvania Railroad in the late 1800's. Enjoy the views as the train rolls past a 100 year old lime kiln, working farms, wooded areas and rolling countryside. You'll get an impressive peek of the Catoctin Mountains and the Monocacy River as the train passes over a railway bridge, 25 feet above the water.
At Catoctin Mountain Park, relief from the Great Depression took several interesting twists and turns in the late 1920's and early 1930's. From an early beginning as a form of currency and a medicinal treatment, distilling whiskey grew into a form of tax protest and big profits. Moon shining was very profitable and the quality of Catoctin moonshine was common knowledge as far away as New York. In 1929 the Blue Blazes Still was raided by the Frederick County Sheriff's office, resulting in one of the first line of duty deaths of a Frederick County deputy sheriff. Today the Blue Blazes Still serves as a reminder of the past and is a 0.25-mile walk from the Catoctin Mountain Park visitor center.
Just a few years after the raid, a second tragedy occurred in Catoctin Mountain. On October 31, 1933, Bessie Darling, a businesswoman who operated a summer boarding house for the tourist trade, was murdered. A love affair gone wrong produced the tragic results; thirst from a Depression era community struggling with hard times and the daily grind of living produced sensational headlines. Both of these events occurred on the eve of the birth of Catoctin Mountain Park, an area administered by the National Park Service, after the Great Depression. Park Rangers will meet your group and fill in the details of these colorful people and the stories that are part of our heritage. Approximately 1 hour is recommended for touring.
In the evening, visit downtown Frederick for dinner on your own and afterwards, stop by the Weinberg Center for the Arts for a performance in this restored 1920's movie palace.
Downtown Frederick and Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
Sit back and take in the view from the coach as your step on guide tells the stories of historic Frederick. From our famous "clustered spires," to notable Federal-style architecture, this tour offers a tranquil way to enjoy your Frederick County experience. With just the right mix of historical interpretation complemented by homespun local lore, these tours are guaranteed to make Frederick's colorful past come alive for your group. Your tour will include a stop at the nationally acclaimed Community Bridge Mural, where an artist has transformed a plain concrete bridge into a permanent illusion of an old stone and ivy covered bridge. Your day may also include tours of: The Museum of Frederick County History, Schifferstadt Architectural Museum or Rose Hill Manor Museum.
Tour the National Museum of Civil War Medicine to hear about the story of care and treatment of the wounded during the Civil War. 7,000 square feet of life-like exhibits tell the story of courage and devotion amidst the death and destruction of war.
In the evening visit nearby Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in Charles Town, West Virginia. Your group can enjoy a variety of casino games and live thoroughbred racing year round (racing Tuesday - Saturday). Enjoy a delicious buffet meal or opt to dine in one of the many restaurants.
Frederick County’s Covered Bridges
Spend the morning touring the area's three historic covered bridges. All three bridges are listed on the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places. The Utica Mills, Loy’s Station, and Roddy Road covered bridges all cross streams in northern Frederick County, within twelve miles of one another. Besides their beauty, the bridges are also structurally interesting, as all three have different truss systems (which is what keeps a bridge standing).
Please contact the following for tours, prices and operating hours:
- The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, no admission fee, but donations are encouraged, (301) 447-6606www.setonheritage.org
- National Shrine Grotto of Lourdres, (301) 447-5318, no admission fee, no reservations needed, www.msmary.edu/grotto/
- Walkersville Sounthern Railroad (301) 898-0899, www.wsrr.org
- Catoctin Mountain National Park, www.nps.gov/cato, no admission fee.
- Weinberg Center for the Arts, (301) 600-2828 www.weinbergcenter.org
- National Museum of Civil War Medicine, (301) 695-1865, www.civilwarmed.org, admission fee
- Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, (800) 795-7001, www.hollywoodcasinocharlestown.com
For further information please contact:
Becky Bickerton, Director of Sales, (800) 999-3613 or 301-600-4050 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Group Tour Details
- The Fort, The Flag and The Poet
- Presidential Playground Tour
- Saints and Sinners Tour
- Maryland Civil War Trails Tour
- Civil War Tour
- Historic Houses and Gardens Tour
- Life, Labor and Liberty Tour
- Catholic Heritage Tour
- Covered Bridges & Fall Foliage Tour
- The Holidays in Historic Frederick
- Bold Women of Frederick County Tour
- Girlfriends Getaway to Frederick County
- Apple Pie à la Mode Farm Tour