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 Ghost Tours of Historic Frederick and Mount Olivet Cemetery History 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.
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.
In 1992, Dewey Heffner and his son George started selling black tire tubes out of their truck under a sign that read, "Butts Tubes." Through the years, the seed of this roadside tubing company sprouted 11 different outdoor activities and matured into Harpers Ferry Adventure Center.
At Harper's Adventure Center, single- and multiday adventures fuse adrenaline-packed thrills with the scenery of the Potomac and Shenandoah River regions. More than 100 species of birds, 60 types of butterflies, and flocks of wild birthday balloons fill the sky on hiking trails, which wind through hilly terrain. The crashing sound of Bull Falls forms the soundtrack for whitewater-rafting trips, and treetop canopies serve as the decor for ziplining.
Drawing from these activities, Harpers Ferry Adventure Center's crew can design custom adventure packages or help customers to choose a predesigned trip. They also lead team-building retreats using outdoor activities to teach universal skills such as working toward a common goal or ziplining to the stage for business presentations.
River & Trail Outfitters owners Lee and Eunsook Baihly have been acquainting customers with the area's natural beauty since 1972. Their outdoor-exploration company's more than 70 friendly staffers accompany customers on relaxed, informative rafting, kayaking, canoeing, biking, and tubing excursions. In addition to having mastered river- and boat-safety skills, staff members are experienced in first aid, CPR, and the correct way to ask dolphins for directions. River & Trail Outfitters also accommodates businesses, organizing team-building events and rock wall rentals or hiking trips. The Baihlys' environmental commitment extends to an in-house recycling program and the use of biodiesel fuels.
When leaves start changing colors and floating on cool autumn breezes, Jumbo's Pumpkin Patch opens its gates to become a flurry of family fall activity. Visitors hop on a hayride that takes them to the 15-acre pumpkin patch, where scores of bulbous gourds lie ripe for the taking. Also accessible by hayride, a sprawling Fairy Tale Trails Maze themed corn maze tests families' navigational skills and/or willingness to eat their way back home. Back at the farm, kids hop on pony rides and mini-wagon rides or try on a new face from a face painter. A petting zoo offers visitors close encounters with friendly farm animals, from rabbits and sheep to pigs and cows. The patch and attractions are located on the grounds of the Huffer Family Farm, which was purchased by the family in 1870. Seven generations later, the Huffers still cultivate the land for crops—when they're not cultivating corn mazes and armies of really nice scarecrows.
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 200-year history with actual equipment designed to catch ghosts, from cameras and digital recorders to EMF meters.
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.