Is quarantine getting you down? Now that Governor Hogan has eased COVID-19 restrictions throughout the state (and especially in Carroll County), it's finally time to safely return to those small businesses and local attractions that make Westminster, MD unique.
Check out these 10 items to build your ultimate socially-distant bucket list for your summer in Westminster:
1. Pick your own fresh fruit at Baugher's Orchards.
At Baugher's, you can enjoy the countryside fields while you gather locally-grown fresh produce. The Orchards offer u-pick harvest days for strawberries, cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, apples and pumpkins; plus, their bakery offers pies that can't be beat.
2. Hike, fish, kayak, or camp at Lake Hashawha.
If you grew up in Carroll County, you probably have great memories from Outdoor School at the Hashawha Environmental Center. From conservation competitions and owl-watching night hikes to "The Game," the fun of Outdoor School is timeless – visiting the camp now will bring those memories rushing back. There's so much to do at Hashawha, and it's even better if you let your inner child out.
This gourmet coffee shop offers ethically-sourced and specially crafted blends that you're bound to fall in love with. Furnace Hills Coffee is a small business right on Main Street with a mission to help adults with developmental disabilities through job opportunities and philanthropy, and they're known for how strongly they give back to the Westminster community. During the COVID-19 crisis, they've committed to donating coffee to the Uniontown Food Bank and serving as a liaison for three local church services (and they're just as charitable around the world).
Stop in for coffee that'll make your day a little brighter!
See what I did there?
Established in 1947, Hoffman's is the undefeated best ice cream shop in CC, according to the Carroll County Times, and their 50+ flavors are unmatched. From sundaes and banana splits to root beer floats and milkshakes, there's nothing you can't get. Plus, nothing says summer like lounging in the grass out the shop's side and watching the sun set, cone in hand.
By the way, Hoffman's' black cherry is definitely the best flavor.
Old Bay and blue crabs. Need I say more?
Any Marylander knows that pickin' crabs is the best way to spend a sunny Saturday with friends (six feet apart, of course). Lucky for us Westminster-ers, one of the best Chesapeake caterers is just a few miles out. I've picked more crabs than I can count for decades, and so far, Salerno's is the best inland restaurant I've found that offers bushels and half-bushels of pick-your-own steamed crabs. Pickin' crabs makes a great meal, a great day, and more often than not, great stories.
6. Support local artists at the Carroll Arts Center.
The Carroll Arts Center isn't hosting events until June 29, but their gift shop gallery is open. Here, talented local and regional artists put their work on display; the shop is a perfect way to support the Westminster community and show off your love for the arts. Their shop offers a rotating selection of jewelry, pottery, scarves, glass, notecards, locally-authored books, Carroll souvenirs, and more.
7. Get a snowball at the Purple Polar Bear.
Here's another quintessential Maryland summer bucket list item: eating snowballs. If you're from out-of-state, you probably know this as shaved ice.
Just past Baugher's, the Purple Polar Bear in Taneytown is the Carroll County go-to for massive snowballs. Don't even get me started on how good the rainbow flavor is. And with marshmallow? *chef's kiss*
8. Hike through the Sawmill CWMA.
If you're looking for tranquility, Sawmill is calling your name. This 500-acre tract is just north of Westminster, off MD 97, and it's perfect for picnicking or nature photography (except during hunting season, of course). It's especially known for white-tailed deer sightings!
9. Explore the trails and ruins at Morgan Run.
The Morgan Run Natural Environment Area is a huge ~2000 acre expanse around south Westminster where you can hike, fish, and explore. It's full of songbirds and wildflowers, which makes it an absolutely enchanting atmosphere. If you're feeling adventurous, you can trek through an old barn, metal sheds, a wooden fishing platform, and the abandoned bridge.
The Sunflower Garden is the cutest little farm in town. They're a cutting garden, where you can pick your own bouquets and admire our environment. The name is somewhat misleading, since they've grown over 20 years to offer more than 10 different types of flowers and a vegetable garden too. Hit up your photographer friends for an adorable summer photo shoot here!
There are so many more small businesses, local restaurants, and environmental areas that make Westminster so unique. Take this summer to truly get to know your hometown, from Main Street and McDaniel to the outskirts — there's so much to do!