TANEYTOWN, Md. (AP) — To lifetime Carroll County residents, the history of the area may be something they take for granted. But to those just moving here or in surrounding counties, it might be interesting to learn that all of Uniontown is on the historic registry and that to drive through it used to cost 3 cents in the 18th century.
These are just some of the things you can learn on one of the Carroll County Tourism Office's progressive lunch tours.
Bonnie Staub, manager of the tourism office, said they offer several tours but the progressive lunch tours are the most popular. The tour shows off some of the best places to eat in Carroll County while teaching about the history of the county. Staub said the tours draw in people from outside of the county, last week a group from Virginia came through.
"The main goal is to promote our county, to let people know what a great county we have and all the great resources we have within the county," Staub said. "We have a lot of good attractions, like the Farm Museum and Union Mills and I think it really helps to promote the county with all the different things we do have. . And it's a great place to live."
On a recent tour, a group of people made up of Howard and Baltimore county residents met at the tourism office and boarded a bus to Johansson's for soup and salad. The group of 24, led by Perla D'Amico, of Marriottsville, then got on the bus and took a drive through Uniontown, learning different facts about the area as they went.
Tour guide Ann Cox led the way, working with the bus driver to stop at different locations, such as the oldest house in Uniontown and the former post office. Cox shared an almost continuous flow of historical facts with the group of mostly retired people, who said they went on the tour because they could have lunch and learn about history at the same time.
The group traveled from Uniontown to Antrim 1844 in Taneytown, where they stopped for an entree and a tour of the mansion and grounds. From there, they headed back to Westminster to the Farm Museum, and then finished off at Gypsy's Tea Room for dessert.
Cox, a lifetime Carroll resident who recently moved to Hanover, Pa., said the tourism office works with each group to put together a unique tour, depending on what they want to see in the county.
"We can mix and match what the people want, depending on the mobility of our people," she said. "Union Mills Homestead is a real popular piece . and then we can go to Baugher's and they can get dessert there."
Cox has been a tour guide for more than five years with the office and says that these tours are not necessarily a new thing, but that they help to share the county's historic background with people who are interested in learning more.
"I think the goal is just to promote Carroll County to other people," Cox said. "The idea is to promote the sites of Carroll County and promote Carroll County and that's what we're trying to do with this. Hopefully it's working."
Angela Porrino, of Ellicott City, said she chose to come on the tour because it sounded interesting to her.
"I just wanted to know the history of the towns that surround where I live," she said. "When I moved to Howard County there was a class offered 'the history of Howard County' and I wish all counties did that so we could know what happened; because you live there and you don't know the history that surrounds you. "
D'Amico said she tries to organize two trips a month for this particular group, and this one sounded like something the group would enjoy. While she usually has to do most of the work to plan these outings, she said the tourism office made it easy and organized the whole thing for her.
"Bonnie did all the leg work," D'Amico said. "I didn't have to do anything. I just put my little flier together and I just advertised the trip. "
Kathleen Duckhorn said she liked finding out more about an area she has driven through and shopped in frequently.
"I enjoyed especially hearing someone tell about the dates," Duckhorn said. "It's been educational."
Cox said the tours are usually made up of people from outside of the county because people like to travel outside of their hometowns for trips.
"There's so much here that our local people miss out on; places they've not been or seen," Cox said. "We have such a treasure chest of places here to visit. It's kind of neat to share it with other people, but it would be neat to share it with Carroll County people, too."
Information from: Carroll County Times of Westminster, Md., http://www.carrollcounty.com/