The night sky lay heavy over the rolling hills of Gettysburg. In a tent among his fellows in the Union Army, Private Ron Angleberger woke from a restless sleep to the blaring of a cavalry horn and the earth-shaking rumble of hundreds of horses on the charge. He raced outside his tent with the other Civil War reenactors to discover that there were no horses present, and, in the eerie silence that followed the apparition, the regiments of actors realized they might have been privy to one of General Custer's July 3rd charges. This incident, along with a love for history and similar paranormal experiences on the many battlefields around Frederick, led Ron to form Candlelight Cemetery Tours.
Today, Ron's tours explore the bone-chilling histories of Frederick's most haunted abodes as he tells stories of their inhabitants both living and dead. Walking tours began in late March and end late in the year, depending on the weather.
Named after "The Star Spangled Banner" songwriter and Frederick County resident Francis Scott Key, the Frederick Keys have represented the Baltimore Orioles as their Class-A affiliate since 1989. In the decades since, they've claimed the Carolina League championship four times, most recently in 2011. During the seventh inning stretch, up to 5,400 fans rise inside Harry Grove Stadium for a rendition of "We're the Frederick Keys," a song that encourages fans to shake their car keys, house keys, or any Keys player that needs a stern pep talk.
Sarah Withers adores her hometown. To chronicle her forays into her beloved city's flourishing culinary scene, she started writing a blog. She soon set out to give her audiences a more hands-on experience, and now immerses them in Frederick's offerings with food and walking tours. Inspired by a tour she took in New York City, she recruited tour guides who can bring the burg's history to life and are familiar with the secret portals to 19th-century chocolate stashes. The experts guide visitors in storied jaunts through Frederick's center, where they sample painstakingly crafted cuisine and suds from the town's first brewpub while learning about its past and present.
Top Flite Super Range golf balls hurtle toward laser-measured targets on Westminster Island Green’s lighted range, where players practice their drives from 50 hitting stations. Guests continue to enrich their golfing skills during lessons with PGA-certified golf instructors, summertime junior clinics (with 7:1 student-teacher ratios), and ladies or couples golf clinics held every other Thursday. Westminster Island Green also accommodates putters with a fully lit 18-hole miniature golf course, with island-themed landscaping and goldfish ponds. Alternatively, baseball buffs can watch their homers fly through an open-air batting park unobstructed by nets. There, pitching machines launch softballs at up to 60 mph and baseballs at up to 70 mph, while batters control the height of each pitch and the speed at which they spit out sunflower seeds.
American Civil War Wax Museum, tucked in the historical and geographical shadow of the Battle of Gettysburg and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, immerses visitors in the history of the fledgling Union's internal war with realistic scenes and life-size wax figures dressed in historically accurate attire and equipment. Patrons embark on a self-guided journey through a number of detailed exhibits, such as the Battle Room, which simulates the battlefield experience with a digital audiovisual presentation, or the animatronic Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address, just as the first robot Lincoln did nearly 160 years ago. Across the way, Veteran's Park coaxes erstwhile museum-striders to soak in the historic surroundings on a bench or beneath a shade tree while relaxing among chirping birds. Since opening in 1962, the museum has broadened the historical knowledge of more than 8 million visitors and has hosted such notable orators as former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
Though spectral forms and shadowy figures still reside in The Haunted Cottage, its greatest legacy is as the occasional vacation home of assassin John Wilkes Booth. Also known as the Booth House, The Haunted Cottage is home to paranormal researcher Vince Wilson, who helms the haunted abode's ghost tours and maintains the paranormal library and history museum, where guests can spy a vampire skeleton among other supernatural exhibits. All this knowledge pours from Vince's mouth during tours and investigations, which pair breakdowns of the house's 150-year history with actual equipment designed to catch ghosts, from cameras and digital recorders to EMF meters delicately hoisting a morsel of cheese.
The Haunted Cottage also strives to school spirit-seekers with paranormal-research training that cycles through parapsychology topics such as extrasensory perception, hypnosis, and psychic healing.