About the Area
Welcome to Frederick County, Maryland
For more than two and a half centuries, Frederick County, Maryland has been a crossroads of American history. Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge and Catoctin Mountains, this destination is less than one hour from Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and nearby historic Civil War sites of Gettysburg, Antietam, and Harpers Ferry.
Begin your visit at the Frederick Visitor Center (site in English), which is open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Located in a beautifully renovated circa-1899 industrial warehouse, the center boasts 2,200-square feet of interpretive exhibits, a state of the art theater featuring an award-winning multi-screen orientation film, maps, guides and information on regional attractions and events. Friendly, knowledgeable Visitor Center Hosts can help suggest sites and attractions to suit visitors' interests.
The Camp David Connection
Located in Catoctin Mountain Park in Frederick County, Maryland, Camp David has offered American presidents an opportunity for solitude and tranquility, as well as an ideal place to host foreign leaders. The Camp David site, originally called Camp Hi-Catoctin, was identified as a presidential retreat in 1942 during President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration. President Roosevelt named the site Shangri-La and visited it over 20 times during his lifetime. President Dwight Eisenhower was also a frequent visitor of the retreat, later renamed it Camp David after his grandson, David.
Camp David has been used extensively to host foreign dignitaries in the past. Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain attended the first such meeting in May of 1943. In 1959, President Eisenhower hosted Premier Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Union at Camp David. In 1973, Richard Nixon and Soviet Union General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev met at Camp David. Jimmy Carter hosted Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in 1978 for a summit that is now referred to as the Camp David Accords. In 2000, President Bill Clinton held the Middle East peace summit at Camp David with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat.
Although Camp David is off limits to the public, visitors can learn about the retreat's rich history at the Camp David exhibit located in the Cozy Restaurant in the town of Thurmont, Maryland.
Learn more about Camp David (site in English).
About Frederick City and County, Maryland
Frederick, Maryland is the largest city in Frederick County and the most popular visitor destination. It is home to more than 65,000 residents, nearly a third of Frederick County’s 2011 population of 232,104. The city dates to 1745 and is known for its 50-block Historic District, Federal period architecture, and rich American Civil War history. Downtown Frederick is a vibrant city that is home to galleries, specialty shops, antiques stores, and a thriving arts and entertainment scene. Visitors can dine at both casual and world-class restaurants, many of which feature fresh, local ingredients.
With the City of Frederick serving as a hub, historic roads and highways fan out through the countryside toward quaint towns and villages. Visitors can travel along the Historic National Road and Maryland's portion of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway and take in picturesque farmlands, vineyards, rolling mountains, and historic towns. These roads also lead to famous recreational areas like the C&O Canal National Park, Catoctin Mountain Park, Cunningham Falls State Park, and the Appalachian Trail.
Frederick County Commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War
Frederick County is renowned for its rich Civil War history and was truly at the heart of the Civil War. Today when visitors follow in the soldiers’ footsteps, they find thriving main streets, great restaurants, wineries, orchards, antiques and specialty shops, museums, and historic sites such as Monocacy National Battlefield and the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.
2012 marks the 150th anniversary of Gen. Robert E. Lee's 1862 Maryland Campaign, which led to the battles of Antietam and South Mountain. The American Bus Association announced that the Civil War 150th Commemoration of the Maryland Campaign is one of the Top 100 Events in North America for 2012. The commemoration explores the impact of Lee's first advance of the Confederate army into the north, beginning with crossing the Potomac River into Maryland, the Battles of South Mountain and Antietam, and concluding with Abraham Lincoln issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. Reenactments, living history demonstrations, lectures, concerts, special exhibits, commemorative church services and more will take place from August through October 2012, with key battle anniversaries falling in September.
More information on the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War (site in English).
Northern Frederick County: Thurmont, “Gateway to the Mountains”
Thurmont, located in northern Frederick County, Maryland, is known as the “gateway to the mountains.” It is nearby the presidential retreat, Camp David, and has a population of just over 6,000, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. This scenic mountain city has served as a retreat and popular visitor destination for decades. Known for its tranquility and serene setting, Catoctin Mountain Park is part of the National Park Service and offers visitors a wealth of scenery, wildlife, wildflowers, historic buildings, hiking trails, scenic drives, camping, and fly-fishing. Cunningham Falls State Park offers a lake with sandy beach, hiking trails, and more. Nearby, visitors can explore historic covered bridges, orchards, wineries, and other attractions. Thurmont, with its revitalized downtown area, is a designated Main Street Maryland community and boasts a number of specialty shops and restaurants.
Originally known as Mechanicstown, Thurmont once served as a bustling village of "mechanics" engaged in support professions like teamsters, wheelrights, blacksmiths, and tanners for nearby Catoctin Furnace. Early residents, comprised primarily of German descent, migrated here in the mid to late 1700's from the York and Lancaster areas of Pennsylvania. The Western Maryland Railroad arrived in 1872 and served as an important shipping point for local farmers and boon to timber related industries. The railroad also turned the town into a popular tourist destination, aiding Baltimore City residents looking to escape the oppressive summer heat in favor of mountain tranquility.
For area information and to discover other great things to see and do Frederick County, Maryland, visit the Tourism Council of Frederick County, Maryland website (site in English) or call 1-800-999-3613.
Other Resources - (sites in English)