Community,  Editorial

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Scenic Byway Attractions

If you find yourself traveling along Route 15 in Frederick County, whether heading north or south, you are in for a treat on the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Scenic Byway. Designed with road trippers in mind, this 38-mile stretch of highway is dotted with attractions just a short detour away. Take a break from your journey and explore some of the amazing places to stop along Route 15! From the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton to Cunningham Falls State Park, Downtown Frederick to the National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes, and the serene Covered Bridges to the beautiful Catoctin Breeze Vineyard, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Capture the wonders of nature at Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Lilypons, or indulge in delicious eats at Dublin Roasters, Pretzel & Pizza Creations, Black Hog BBQ, and Surf House Island Cantina. And after an eventful day, rest your weary feet at one of the comfortable accommodations along the way, such as Sleep Inn & Suites Emmitsburg, Cabin in the Woods, Clarion Hotel and Frederick Events Center, Comfort Inn, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Frederick, or 10 Clarke Bed & Breakfast. Dive into the rich history of this scenic byway, which served as a vital transportation route for early German immigrants and witnessed significant moments during the Civil War. In 1999, the entire Maryland section of US 15 was designated a Maryland Scenic Byway, and in 2005, the Catoctin Mountain Scenic Byway received national recognition as one of America’s Byways. Embark on this extraordinary journey through hallowed ground and create memories that will last a lifetime. Don’t miss out on the hidden gems and delightful experiences that await you on Route 15!

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Scenic Byway Attractions

Attractions Along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Scenic Byway

The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Scenic Byway, also known as US-15, offers a spectacular route through Frederick County, Maryland. This 38-mile stretch of road is dotted with numerous attractions that are perfect for road trippers and travelers looking for interesting stops along their journey. From historical landmarks to natural wonders, there is something for everyone to enjoy along this scenic byway.

National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

One of the must-see attractions along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Scenic Byway is the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. This beautiful shrine is located in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and is dedicated to the first American-born saint. Visitors can explore the stunning basilica, stroll through the peaceful gardens, and learn about the life and legacy of this remarkable woman.

Cunningham Falls State Park

Nature lovers will find paradise at Cunningham Falls State Park. This expansive park is home to Maryland’s largest cascading waterfall, which plunges down a dramatic 78 feet. Visitors can hike along picturesque trails, go swimming in the lake, or simply relax and enjoy the serene surroundings. With its breathtaking beauty and abundant recreational opportunities, Cunningham Falls State Park is a hotspot for outdoor enthusiasts.

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Downtown Frederick

Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and history of Downtown Frederick. This charming historic district is filled with beautifully preserved buildings, eclectic shops, art galleries, and award-winning restaurants. Take a leisurely stroll along the quaint streets, admire the architecture, and explore the unique boutiques. With its lively atmosphere and diverse offerings, Downtown Frederick is a must-visit destination along the scenic byway.

National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes

Discover a place of spiritual serenity at the National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes. Nestled in the scenic foothills of the Catoctin Mountains, this peaceful sanctuary is a replica of the famous grotto in Lourdes, France. Visitors can take a meditative walk along the stations of the cross, light a candle at the grotto, and enjoy the tranquil beauty of the surrounding nature. The National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes offers a serene retreat for reflection and prayer.

Covered Bridges

Travel back in time and admire the picturesque covered bridges along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Scenic Byway. These charming structures harken back to a bygone era and offer a glimpse into the region’s rich history. From the historic Utica Mills Covered Bridge to the iconic Loy’s Station Covered Bridge, these architectural gems are not to be missed. Take a scenic drive and marvel at the beauty of these iconic landmarks.

Catoctin Breeze Vineyard

Wine connoisseurs will delight in a visit to Catoctin Breeze Vineyard. Nestled in the rolling hills of Thurmont, this family-owned vineyard specializes in producing boutique wines of exceptional quality. Visitors can take a tour of the vineyard, learn about the winemaking process, and sample a variety of handcrafted wines. With its stunning views and superb wines, Catoctin Breeze Vineyard offers a truly memorable experience for wine enthusiasts.

Catoctin Wildlife Preserve

Embark on a wild adventure at the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve. This expansive animal park is home to over 600 exotic animals from around the world. Visitors can take a safari-like tour and observe fascinating creatures such as giraffes, zebras, and lemurs up close. The Catoctin Wildlife Preserve also offers educational programs and interactive experiences for visitors of all ages. Get ready to be amazed by the extraordinary diversity of wildlife at this unique attraction.


Escape to a captivating aquatic wonderland at Lilypons. This beautiful water garden and nursery is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and gardening enthusiasts alike. Stroll along the tranquil ponds, admire the vibrant aquatic plants, and watch dragonflies dance in the sunlight. Lilypons also offers a wide variety of water plants, koi fish, and gardening supplies for those looking to create their own water garden. Lose yourself in the beauty of Lilypons and experience the magic of this serene oasis.

Dining On The Go

Exploring the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Scenic Byway can work up quite an appetite. Luckily, there are plenty of delicious dining options along the route to satisfy your cravings. From artisanal coffee to mouthwatering barbeque, these eateries offer a range of flavors to please every palate.

Dublin Roasters

Start your day off right with a visit to Dublin Roasters. This local coffeehouse is known for its exceptional coffee beans and expertly crafted brews. Whether you prefer a classic espresso or a specialty latte, Dublin Roasters has a wide selection of caffeinated delights to choose from. Pair your drink with a freshly baked pastry or breakfast sandwich for a perfect on-the-go meal.

Pretzel & Pizza Creations

For a quick and tasty lunch option, look no further than Pretzel & Pizza Creations. This cozy eatery offers a unique twist on traditional pretzels and pizza. From savory pretzel sandwiches to creative pizza combinations, you’ll find a variety of mouthwatering options to satisfy your hunger. Don’t forget to try their signature pretzel bites served with a side of homemade cheese sauce.

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Black Hog BBQ

Indulge in some mouthwatering barbeque at Black Hog BBQ. This family-owned establishment serves up tender and flavorful smoked meats, including pulled pork, beef brisket, and smoked chicken. Their homemade sauces and sides complement the meats perfectly, creating a truly satisfying dining experience. Whether you choose to dine in or take your meal to go, Black Hog BBQ is sure to satisfy your cravings for delicious and authentic barbeque.

Surf House Island Cantina

Transport your taste buds to the coast with a visit to Surf House Island Cantina. This lively restaurant specializes in coastal cuisine with a Latin twist, offering dishes such as fish tacos, ceviche, and island-inspired cocktails. The vibrant atmosphere and flavorful menu make Surf House Island Cantina the perfect spot for a fun and delicious dining experience.

Chubby’s BBQ

If you’re in the mood for more finger-licking barbeque, Chubby’s BBQ is the place to be. This local favorite serves up generous portions of classic barbeque favorites, including ribs, pulled pork, and smoked sausages. Their homemade sauces and sides add the perfect finishing touches to the meal. With its friendly atmosphere and mouthwatering food, Chubby’s BBQ is a must-visit destination for barbeque lovers.

Spend the Night Along the Way

If you’re looking to extend your journey and spend a night along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Scenic Byway, there are several excellent accommodation options to choose from. Whether you prefer a comfortable hotel or a cozy bed and breakfast, these establishments offer a warm welcome and a restful night’s sleep.

Sleep Inn & Suites Emmitsburg

Located in Emmitsburg, Sleep Inn & Suites offers comfortable and modern accommodations for travelers. With spacious rooms, complimentary breakfast, and convenient amenities such as free Wi-Fi and a fitness center, this hotel provides a relaxing stay for guests. Its central location makes it a convenient base for exploring the attractions along the scenic byway.

Cabin In The Woods

For a rustic retreat, consider staying at the Cabin In The Woods. This charming log cabin nestled amidst the natural beauty of the Catoctin Mountain is the perfect getaway for those seeking tranquility and seclusion. With its cozy interiors, modern amenities, and picturesque surroundings, the Cabin In The Woods offers a unique and memorable overnight experience.

Clarion Hotel and Frederick Events Center

For a full-service hotel experience, the Clarion Hotel and Frederick Events Center is an excellent choice. Located in Frederick, this hotel offers comfortable rooms, an indoor heated pool, a fitness center, and a range of amenities to ensure a pleasant stay. Its convenient location near downtown Frederick makes it an ideal choice for exploring the city’s attractions.

Comfort Inn

Travelers seeking peace of mind and comfort will find it at the Comfort Inn in Frederick. This hotel implements Choice’s Commitment to Clean initiative, ensuring a safe and clean environment for guests. With its cozy rooms, complimentary breakfast, and friendly staff, the Comfort Inn provides a welcoming atmosphere for a night’s rest.

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Frederick

Conveniently located near major highways, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Frederick offers modern accommodations and excellent amenities. Guests can enjoy spacious rooms, a complimentary breakfast, a fitness center, and a refreshing indoor pool. Its proximity to the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Scenic Byway makes it a convenient choice for road trippers.

10 Clarke Bed & Breakfast

For a charming and romantic stay, 10 Clarke Bed & Breakfast is the perfect choice. This Queen Anne Victorian inn, featured on HGTV’s Restore America, offers beautifully appointed rooms and personalized service. Guests can indulge in a gourmet breakfast, relax in the elegant common areas, and experience the historic charm of this exquisite bed and breakfast.

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History of the Road

The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Scenic Byway is steeped in history, with origins dating back to the 1730s. This road played a crucial role in the early transportation and settlement of the region, serving as a major route for German immigrants traveling from eastern Pennsylvania to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Taverns and ordinaries sprung up along the turnpike, providing essential services to travelers.

Over the years, transportation improvements shaped the development of the road and its surrounding infrastructure. With the advent of railroads and the expansion of the nation’s transportation network, the road evolved to accommodate increased traffic and the changing needs of travelers. Lodging, dining, and various retail opportunities grew to cater to the demands of a growing population of road users.

The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Scenic Byway also holds significant historical importance due to its connection to the Civil War. During the war, this road witnessed troop movements and strategic maneuvers by both Union and Confederate forces. General Robert E. Lee and his Rebel army traveled north through the Carrollton Manor area of southern Frederick County en route to occupying Frederick City in the Fall of 1862. Union soldiers later utilized the north county turnpike to reach Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, for the historic battle. The road served as a vital transportation artery for the movement of troops and the transport of wounded soldiers.

In recognition of its historical and scenic significance, the State Highway Association designated the Frederick County portion of US-15 as the “Catoctin Mountain Highway” in 1974. In 1999, the entire length of the Maryland section of US-15 received the distinction of a Maryland Scenic Byway. Six years later, in 2005, the Catoctin Mountain Scenic Byway (US-15) earned national designation as one of America’s Byways from the National Scenic Byways Program. The byway is a key route for accessing both Frederick City and Gettysburg National Military Park, making it a destination for history enthusiasts and heritage tourism.

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Scenic Byway Attractions

Enjoy Delicious Roadside Eats

When hunger strikes along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Scenic Byway, you don’t need to settle for traditional fast food options. There are plenty of quick bites available that offer a break from the ordinary drive-thru fare. From local bakeries to food trucks, these roadside eateries will satisfy your cravings with unique and tasty treats.

Places to Stay

To fully immerse yourself in the scenic beauty and rich history of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Scenic Byway, consider making it a multi-day journey and spending a night or two in Frederick County. There are numerous places to stay, ranging from cozy bed and breakfasts to modern hotels, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

Play Along the Way Scavenger Hunt

Make your road trip even more exciting with a scavenger hunt along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Scenic Byway. Keep your eyes peeled for unique Frederick things as you drive, such as quirky landmarks, roadside attractions, or hidden gems. Challenge yourself and your fellow travelers to spot these treasures and make your journey even more memorable.

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Travel Packet

For a comprehensive guide to all the things to do along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Scenic Byway, be sure to request our free travel packet. Packed with informative guides, maps, and recommendations, this travel packet will assist you in planning the perfect itinerary for your journey. Discover the hidden gems and must-see attractions that make this scenic byway a truly unforgettable experience.

By following the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Scenic Byway, you can embark on a captivating adventure filled with historical landmarks, breathtaking natural beauty, and delectable dining experiences. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a food enthusiast, this scenic byway offers something for everyone. So buckle up, hit the road, and prepare to create lasting memories along this remarkable journey through Frederick County, Maryland.