Applefeld’s travels: Bedford Springs, Frederick, Atlantic City
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 14:16

From Bedford Springs to Atlantic City

by Eddie Applefeld

    It has been too long since I gassed up the car and headed out. So recently, I threw a few things in a suitcase, started the car and hit the road. 
    It wasn’t that “ad lib;” I did know where I was going.
    So it’s time again to share my travels as we depart on Part Three of my adventures.  First stop, the Omni Bedford Springs Resort in Bedford Springs Pa., a four-star and four-diamond property.
    There are 216 rooms spread out over many buildings, most of which are historic. Space doesn’t allow me to re-trace all the history, but it does go back many centuries.
    It was closed for nearly 20 years but re-opened in 2007. It’s situated in the mountains, but there is plenty to do regardless of the season.  
    Activities include Segway rides, fly fishing, volleyball, tennis, golf, hiking, mountain biking, swimming (there are two pools) and off road ATV rides. 
    A favorite activity in the evening seems to be roasting “s’mores” over an outdoor flame. One activity I strongly recommend is a guided hotel tour.
    The area is called Bedford Springs for a good reason; there are springs located on property and nearby. They are said to have medicinal qualities.  I can’t comment on that, but I did try one. The hotel is on the Historic Hotels of America list.
    Rates range from $269 to $329. Packages are available. For dining you have your choice of the Crystal Room, Frontier Tavern or the 1796 Steakhouse. 
    From Baltimore the resort is about two and a half hours. (Visit online at omnihotels.com/bedford.)
  

Back in the car, I pointed it south and headed for the National Zoo in Washington for what turned out to be my first visit. The zoo is located at 3001 Connecticut Ave. in Rock Creek Park. You can get there by car or via the Washington Metro Red Line; just get off the Woodley Park exit.  
    The zoo has about 2,000 individual animals from 400 species. Be prepared to do lots of walking, but you’ll hardly notice it because of all the terrific animals you’ll see along the way. 
    To really see the zoo, you should allow about four hours — more if you like to linger at the cages.  The big news during my visit was the arrival of a baby panda.   
    Activities will include face-painting for the kids, a carousel for everyone to ride, food, demonstrations and caricatures.  Your best bet is to pick up a map when entering and simply head to what you want to see. I suggest you see it all. But if you came by car and parked on Connecticut Avenue, which many people do, be advised you need to be back to the car by 4 p.m. 
    Oh yes, one other minor detail: the zoo is totally free, not counting food.
    My next step was only a few miles away.  One turn off Connecticut Avenue and I was almost at the front door of the Hillwood Museum, former home to Marjorie Merriweather Post.  The actual address is 4155 Linnean Avenue. 
    Miss Post bought the home in 1955 and moved in two years later. As you might know, she was the daughter of the founder of the Postum Cereal Company. She inherited the company and turned it into what is today General Foods.
    She was married four times, and one of her daughters is the actress Dina Merrill.
    The mansion and grounds are located on 25 acres adjacent to Rock Creek Park.  The mansion is of the Georgian style and was built in 1926.  The name Hillwood comes from the Post estate on Long Island. Some of those magnificent mansion rooms include the French Drawing Room, the Russian Porcelain Room, the Pavilion, the Library and the ornate Dining Room. 
    There is no charge, though they do ask for a donation. You can take a guided tour (highly recommended) or there’s an audio tour available. If you get hungry, there is a café on the grounds serving lunch only.
    By the way, definitely stroll the grounds. Miss Post is actually buried there.  (hillwoodmuseum.org)     
    Now let’s head back north and a bit to the west and stop in Frederick. If you haven’t been there in a while, you’d be amazed by what’s happened.  Your first stop should be the Visitor Center on South East Street.  Ask questions and pick up brochures.   Then head to the Community Bridge, a creative collaboration of the Frederick community. Stop and check out the wonderful mural. It is 3,000 square feet with more than 3,000 stones. While there, take a leisurely walk along the canal.  
    There was much more to see in Frederick than I thought when I was driving in. In no particular order, here are a few suggestions:  the Museum of Frederick County History, Trinity Chapel (where Francis Scott Key was baptized), Harry Grove Stadium, home of the Frederick Keys baseball team  — and I think a walk along Market Street to check out the stores and restaurants would be a good idea. 
    Any trip to Frederick would be incomplete without a visit to Mt. Olivet Cemetery, the final resting place of Francis Scott Key. He has a lovely monument with a statue at the top. The Key monument was erected in 1898 after a massive fundraising effort.
    Key was originally buried in a vault beside St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Baltimore. In 1866, the family moved him to Mt. Olivet.   He loved the Catoctin Mountains, so his plot faces it. 
    Key died in 1843 at age 63 at the home of one of his 11 children in Baltimore.  At Mt. Olivet, he is buried in the company of hundreds of War of 1812 veterans. All four verses of “The Star-Spangled Banner” can be seen cast in bronze on the rear of the monument. By order of Congress in 1949, the American flag flies continuously. If you didn’t know, Key’s handwritten manuscript is on display at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore. 
    If you get hungry while sightseeing, have a meal at Brewer’s Alley, 124 North Market St. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, this is very much an American pub. It’s casual and is situated in a historic building. It offers live music three nights a week (at least during the summer) and a parking garage behind the restaurant — and they love to pour beer brewed by the company in a building just two miles away.  (Visit www.brewers-alley.com)
    For information on the Frederick area, which would make a great destination for a weekend getaway, call 800-999-3613 or go to visitfrederick.org.
    And finally, before I totally collapse, one last stop. We go to Atlantic City to check out some of the upcoming entertainment and attractions. 
    Places you may not have known of might include the Absecon Lighthouse on Rhode Island Avenue, the African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey at Kentucky and Adriatic avenues, the Atlantic City Historical Museum on Garden Pier and Historic Gardner’s Basin, which includes an aquarium and fishing charters.
    Some of the performers headed this way include Engelbert Humperdinck, Travis Tritt, Gregg Allman, Frankie Avalon and Neil Sedaka at the Taj; Cheap Trick at Harrah’s; Bonnie Raitt at Caesar’s; Joan Rivers, Wanda Sykes, The Rascals  and Frankie Valli at Borgata;  Larry the Cable Guy at Revel; Lynyrd Skynyrd at the Showboat and championship boxing at Boardwalk Hall.
    Of course, while here, take advantage of the boardwalk, the wide beaches and – yes – the shopping.  There are lots of outlet stores just two blocks from the boardwalk. And may I also suggest a ride to Ventnor and Margate, two nearby towns worth a look. (See doatlanticcity.com)
    To satisfy that feeling of hunger while patrolling the boards, stop in Harry’s Oyster Bar and Seafood at Bally’s Casino. They offer many kinds of oysters that are brought in fresh daily. Of course, the menu has many other items, but people seem to really like those oysters. 
    It’s owned by two locals, so you know they keep a close eye on the daily operation. And that’s a good thing.
    I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted.  I have to go back to my travel books and plan my next multiple-city adventure. Hope you can come along.