A 'Y' in the Road
Hancock is in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains of Western Maryland along the banks of the Potomac River.
Hancock was once on the frontier edge of Maryland. By the time of the Revolutionary War, the settlement boasted some twenty odd houses. The name Hancock came from Edward Joseph Hancock Jr., who operated the ferry here prior to his enlistment in the 8th Pennsylvania regiment. When the National Pike was extended westward (circa 1818) the town boomed. Hancock growth got another shot in the arm when the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which ran from Georgetown in Washington D.C. to Cumberland, MD, a total of 184.5 miles was built. It reached Hancock by 1839.
Now Hancock is a crossroads for several major highways - Interstates 70 & 68 and U.S. Routes 522 & 40. If you drive west on I-70, most people continue on up to the Pennsylvania Turnpike, but you also have the option of taking US 40 (the original National Road), or continuing west to Cumberland and Morgantown WV on I-68, or going down to Berkley Springs on US 522. Hancock also makes a convenient, easy access food and fuel stop.
There are several historic, ecological and geological sites of note in or near Hancock. The most prominent of this is Sideling Hill. Since there is no VT location for Sideling Hill, I've written it up under Hancock.
"May 27, 2004 - Start of Oberlin Trip"
In order to avoid the rush traffic on Friday, we started off on Thursday May 27th and took two nights to do the 530 mile trip.
After we fueled up the car (diesel at $1.78/gal), we drove up through Croom to US 301, and from there to I-97. We took route 100 over to I-95, and then took I-70 west.
We stopped for lunch at McDonalds in New Market after 100 miles. Lunch for two was $6.54. We left McDonalds at 12:11 and at 1318 after another 65 miles, we stopped at the Sideling Hill Visitor's Center just west of Hancock.
Here we went to the bathroom, picked up brochures, and looked at the exhibits about the geology and geography of the area (see the travelogue pictures), and left at 1343.
After we left the Visitor's Center we went on through Cumberland and entered West Virginia a little before 1500 (3 pm) and headed toward Morgantown to spend the night.