Thursday, September 16 2010 @ 01:16 PM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
My much anticipated graduation from high school and a deservedly exciting June, July and August made the adjustment to college seem ever so slightly tedious. In just the first week of the semester, it became difficult to apply myself to my studies. So over the extended Labor Day weekend I made an escape…I dusted off my old bicycle and rode it on one of Maryland’s outdoor gems—the Torrey C. Brown Trail, formerly known as the Northern Central Railroad Trail (NCRT).
If you don’t already know about this trail, it’s nearly 20 miles of flat, stone and dirt-covered pathway, highly navigable by bicycle or by foot. The trail is within an easy driving distance from Goucher, Johns Hopkins University, College of Notre Dame, Loyola University, Stevenson University, Towson State University, UMBC and many other local college campuses. It extends from Ashland, which is just off York Rd. in Cockeysville, Md. to the Md.–Pa. line. The trail is part of the rails to trails conversion and follows the path of the now defunct North Central Railway.
Besides biking or hiking, you can tube down the Gunpowder River which runs parallel to the trail. Monkton Bike, Inc. rents tubes and operates the Tube Shuttle between Monkton and Bluemount Rd.
If you work up an appetite, ‘Natural Brothers’ run a deli and café at about the 7-mile marker in Monkton. They offer largely vegan fare and some of the most delicious ice cream—organic, of course!—that I have ever tasted. (Try the Coconut Almond Chip!)
If the great outdoors doesn’t provide enough escapist enjoyment (or food), nearby at York and Shawan Roads is the Hunt Valley Towne Centre with California Pizza Kitchen, Chipotle, Noodles & Company, and Panera Bread.
As a recommendation…If you venture to the trail, pick it up at Monkton or slightly north of there as the more southern points can get crowded.
For more information on the Torrey C. Brown Trail, contact the Department of Natural Resources about Gunpowder State Park.
Before returning to my studies, let me mention that in the coming weeks, I’ll be catching up with several local bands that have performances coming up at the Recher Theater in Towson and I’ll be highlighting some rising stars of the local theater scene as well as other interesting collegians in the Baltimore area!