As the year turns and Autumn is soon upon us there is no better time to spend a day biking from Shepherdstown, WV to Antietam National Battlefield. Immerse yourself in history and commune with nature. With just a bit of planning it makes a perfect Autumn day. A bike, a route, and a meal are all you need to enjoy the day.
Bring your own bikes or rent them at Pedal and Paddle in Shepherdstown. All rentals include a helmet. They offer “Pedal Packages” with Comfort Bikes, Trail Bikes or Road Bikes to cycle Antietam Battlefield or a la carte rentals to meet any need. It’s best to reserve your bike or package in advance, especially on weekends or holidays. You can make reservations by phone, email or in person. They open at 10 am Saturday and Sunday and at 11 am during the week.
The best way to travel from Shepherdstown to Antietam? On the C & O Canal Towpath of course! Access the Towpath just across the Potomac River on the Maryland side (mile 72.8) and ride north to Snyder’s Landing Road (mile 77). Make your way through the town of Sharpsburg and turn left onto Route 65. The entrance to the Battlefield is about a mile ahead on the right. Stop at the visitor center and take advantage of their offerings. Then follow the driving tour through the park stopping as often as you like to read the markers and monuments or enjoy the beauty of the land around you. As you near the end of the driving tour, turn left onto Harpers Ferry Road and then right onto Millers Sawmill Road. Follow Millers Saw Mill Road to its end at Canal Road. Cross the grass to re-enter the C & O Canal Towpath (mile 71). Turn right (north) and ride to mile 72.8, the ramp to Shepherdstown. The ride totals about 18 miles, six on the towpath and 12 on the road or in the park.
The “Trail Guide, 12th edition”, the Official Guide to the C & O Canal and the Great Allegheny Passage has a map of this ride as well as all you need to know about biking anywhere along this marvelous 335 mile trail that runs from Pittsburgh, PA to Washington, DC.
Don’t have a Trail Guide? You can find a similar but slightly longer ride with a map here. Follow their route or plan your own.
The Sweet Shop Bakery has an extensive menu of sandwiches and wraps to suit most any taste. Sandwiches are pick-up only so call ahead to order at (304)876-2432. They open daily at 8 am. and are located at 100 West German Street.
Mellow Moods Cafe has an interesting menu of smoothies, juices, salads and sandwiches. They open daily at 8 am and are located at 119 West German Street.
If you don’t want to carry food with you there are several choices in Sharpsburg.
Battleview Market is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. Subs, sandwiches, pizza and home made soups are just a sample of what they have to offer. They are located at 5331 Sharpsburg Pike (Route 65 on your way to the Visitor Center).
Captain Bender’s Tavern at 111 East Main Street has been serving the public, meeting their needs for food and drink since 1936. Open every day for lunch, dinner and beyond.
When you are hot and need something cold and sweet head over to Nutter’s Ice Cream on the corner of Main and Mechanic Streets. Open seven days starting at 1 pm, Nutter’s was recently honored in “These 10 Restaurants In Maryland Have A Line At The Door But Are Worth The Wait.” Try them and see what all the fuss is about. You won’t regret it!
So, come to Shepherdstown with a plan. Bike to Antietam, immerse yourself in its history, eat great food and at the end of the day return to Shepherdstown to take advantage of all she has to offer. But then, that is a story for another day.