C&O Canal National Historic Park
At the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad station is a small museum of the C&O Canal, with an information center. This is a good start place for learning about the canal. From here, you can visit the re-created canal boat that is on display nearby. Beyond that, if you have time, take a hike along the Potomac River, which flows south of here. Also, across the river from the station is a small log cabin. During the French and Indian War, in 1754-55, a young aide to British General Braddock set up his temporary headquarters here. His name was George Washington.
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
The C&O Canal ends here at Cumberland. The last part of it runs parallel to the Potomac River, which joins Wills Creek at Cumberland. Here at Canal Place are shops, cafes, and an information center that provides all that you need to know about touring the area.
On summer weekend evenings, live music is performed on the stage. See the schedule posted at the information center. Also visit the website below for more details.
- Food and Dining
- Arts and Culture
Queen City Transportation Museum
James Richard Thrasher spend decades collecting horse-drawn carriages and autos. In 1977, he opened a museum to share his collection with the public. His chose the site of the former Midland School, which he had attended. After his death, the county purchased his museum. There is a smaller branch of this museum in Frostburg (no photos allowed there).
This is one of the most impressive museums of this type. Its timeframe begins with the old National Road, that began right here in Cumberland. On one side of the main gallery is a hall inscribed with the names of all Cumberland residents who served in World War II. There is also a memorial to all who were killed in the war.
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
Western Maryland Scenic Railroad
Cumberland, in the foothills of the Alleghenies, offers plenty of outdoor activities. And the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad will take you through some of the best scenery in the entire state. The narrator also tells of the days of old, when the town was built, when the railroad came through, and some of the colorful characters who lived here. They even include a tale of forbidden, Romeo-and-Juliet love--one that ends in tragedy.
The locomotive is a real, old-style steam-driven type. No wonder diesels were such an improvement. The train had to stop once on the way out and once coming back to shovel more coal into the engine. Good thing we weren't in a hurry. And the smoke from the locomotive gets into your hair and eyes (and can throw off the camera's auto-focus feature). But the authenticity of it makes this a more memorable experience than the usual excursion train. Yes, this is how rail travel used to be.
The train goes from the Cumberland rail station to Frostburg, northwest of Cumberland. You enough time to look around a bit, before heading back. Lunch is available on the scenic trips. Dinner and special trips are available, too. See the website for more details.
The Spires of Cumberland
Cumberland is noted for its large spires on the rooftops dotted across the city. The city is very Victorian in its architecture. You definately get the feeling of going back in time as you walk the streets and look at the buildings. Cumberland is still under renovation. Much is being done to beautify the old city and bring it back to its once Victorian gandeur.
Cumberland - Not everything is historic
Although Baltimore Street has been transformed into a Victorian looking pedestrian walkway all is not historical. There was a rock band playing on the stage the day I was here. And there are modern pieces of art like this guitar on the side of the building to remind you that you have not completely been transported to a different time.
Cumberlands Pedestrian Street
The main shopping district still has many of the original buildings. Most of these are on Baltimore Street. Baltimore Street has been blocked off and paved with red bricks for a pedestrian walkway. There are many resturants with out door seating and shops to be explored along Baltimore Street. There is also a farmers market here. The afternoon I was here there was a band playing at one of the stages and many folks dining at the sidewalk restaurants. There are fountains and floral gardens to complete the picture.
Cumberlands Large Victorian Houses
Walking up Washington Street you will see many large and beautiful Victorian Mansions. These homes have been kept up and renovated. They add a lot of charm to this city. I enjoyed walking up the hills and see them.
George Washington Really Did Sleep Here
Cumberlands history dates back to Fort Cumberland. The city was established in 1787. George Washington had his headquarters here during the French and Indian War. This is the original headquaters of Washington. I saw this and had to have a picture of it and began planning my VT tip. But I do hate it when a perfect VT is ruined by true facts and history. This little headquarters building is located on Wills Creek just next to the Potomac River. Its almost directly underneath a large bridge thats part of the Interstate Highway going through the city. I was going to make a tip here about the irony of the headquarters located here being overshadowed by the Interstate today. However it was not actually located here. I found out later as I walked up Washington Street and followed the path of the original fort that the Headquarters was located up higher on the hill and had been moved to the spot it is now located in for easier access and to be more prominent to the tourist area. So although Washington slept in the building, here really did not sleep under the Interstate.
Cumberland - Sculpture at the train station
If you have read any of my other pages on Virtual Tourist you will notice that I always mention street art, sculptures and memorials. I really love to see these when I travel to different cities. Here is a small statue and fountain located just in front of the Western Maryland Railway Station.
Take a train ride in Cumberland Maryland
Western Maryland Railway Station is the starting point for many visitors to Cumberland. There is a parking lot located across the street from the station. There is a fee to use the parking lot during the week but it is free on the weekends. You can ride in a 1916 Baldwin Steam Locamotive located at the station. The train will take you on a three hour round trip across the mountains to Frostburg Maryland. There is also a small museum at the train station with many historical photos of Cumberland and its residents. The museum is very impressive for a small town museum in my opinion. The museum is free although there is a place to leave donations for the upkeep of the museum.
The day I visited Cumberland I arrived just as the train was preparing to take off. The loud whistle blew and the train began to make its chugging sound as I watched it pull out of the station.
Cumberland Maryland - On The Potomac
Cumberland is a beautiful little town in the mountains of Western Maryland. Its located on the Potomac River and Wills Creek. If you cross the Potomac you will be in West Virginia. It sits amoung some of the most beautiful mountain ridges in the area in Allegany County. Cumberland is historically known as the "Gateway To The West" as it was a major transportation center which included the first National Road. This later became Route 40 and stretched all the way across the United States.
Western Maryland Scenic...
Western Maryland Scenic Railroad
The WMSR goes from downtown Cumberland to Frostburg in Maryland. It rides through the scenic Allegheny front. This ride offers spectacular views of the Allegheny Mountains and the Upper Potomac Valley. I took this during early fall, it was quite scenic. Unfortunately, I was in Graduate School at Indiana University of Pa. and left my camera home in New Jersey. So I had no pictures to share.
This is Cumberland's "main drag", where people meet and greet each other. It's a pedestrian zone stretching several blocks. There are restaurants, shops, theaters, and a Sunday Market.
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