George Washington Really Did Sleep Here
“George Washington slept here.” You’ve heard it dozens of times. You’ve seen it printed on signs and brochures that promote historic attractions, inns, pubs and taverns throughout the 13 original colonies. In fact, one might wonder if Washington had narcoleptic tendencies. How else could one man sleep in so many places?
Records show that Washington, like so many of his fellow founding fathers, was a traveling man. He spent days, weeks, even months on the road during his military and political careers. And since Maryland was one of the original colonies -- and briefly functioned as the capital of the United States in Washington’s time -- the state can certainly claim its fair share of places where the first president ate, drank, entertained, addressed his contemporaries, planned revolutionary tactics, negotiated peace, and even dozed off every now and then.
So step back in time and walk in the footsteps of Washington. Visit the homes of his friends and business associates, admire the monuments built in his honor, stroll the roads he traveled on his way to battle -- and take a snooze in some of the places where he slumbered. Be sure to call ahead to determine dates and times of operation for these sites.
For a free travel kit, the public may call 800-719-5900 or visit the Maryland Tourism web site at www.visitmaryland.org.
A Sampling of Washington Sites in Maryland
Annapolis and Anne Arundel County
Annapolis is a former capital of the United States, and Washington spent a lot of time here. Call 410-280-0445 for more information about various tours of the city.
Jonas Green House B&B
This is the former home and place of business of Jonas Green, the printer for Maryland in the 18th century. Green was a middle-class man who traveled in wealthy circles and is considered one of the most respected men in Annapolis history. Washington made purchases from the print shop when he visited Maryland. Today the Jonas Green House is a full-service bed and breakfast owned and operated by Green’s descendants, the Brown family. 124 Charles Street, Annapolis, MD 21401, 410-263-5892, www.jonasgreenhouse.com
Maryland State House
Maryland has the oldest state house in continuous legislative use in the United States, and it served as the country’s Capitol from November 26, 1783 until August 13, 1784. It is here that Washington resigned as the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. The room where this took place still houses some of the original furniture. 91 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401, 410-974-3400, www.mdarchives.state.md.us
A person visiting Annapolis in the 21st century can dine where Washington reportedly feasted more than 200 years ago. This tavern is still a functioning restaurant that dishes up such specialties as rockfish, Steak Diane and Crab Middleton. 2 Market Space, Annapolis, MD 21401, 410-263-3323, www.middletontavern.com
Records show that Washington used the ferry at City Dock to travel from Annapolis to White Hall. A modern-day visitor can explore those same waters on narrated cruises that ply the harbor area. Slip 20, Annapolis City Dock, Annapolis, MD 21403, 410-268-7600, www.watermarkcruises.com
Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry
One of the oldest buildings of the Baltimore City campus of the University of Maryland and home to a popular Washington exhibit -- his “not-so-wooden” dentures. Interpretive displays explain how much pain Washington endured as a result of his bad teeth. 31 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, 410-706-0600, www.dentalmuseum.org
The market houses more than 100 vendors selling a variety of baked goods; fresh produce, poultry and meats; fresh and prepared seafood; and delicatessens. Founded in 1782, the facility is considered the oldest continuously operating market in the United States. It is rumored that Washington shopped here when passing through on his way to and from the nation’s capital. 400 W. Lexington Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, 410-685-6169, www.lexingtonmarket.com
Maryland Historical Society Museum and Library
The museum houses two exhibits featuring pieces from Washington’s time -- a chair that was in the White House during his term and a wax portrait of the president. He modeled for this relief, which is one of only three remaining wax portraits of any kind in the country. 201 W. Monument Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, 410-685-3750, www.mdhs.org
Washington Monument & Museum
This was the nation’s first architectural monument to honor Washington. Robert Mills, the architect responsible for the more familiar monument in Washington, D.C., designed the 178-foot column. The Baltimore version was completed in 1842. Visitors can climb 228 steps to the top. The climb will take their breath away, but so will the view. 609 Washington Place, Baltimore, MD 21201, 410-396-7837
George and Martha Washington lodged here in the Adam Goode Inn on July 1, 1791. Local legend says that the person responsible for making the tavern’s sign wasn’t quite on the mark; it ended up reading, “A dam Goode Inn.” The tavern was torn down in the 1890s, but this community is still a great area for a weekend getaway. Today an option is Antrim 1844 Country Inn, known as much for its elaborate meals as it is for its decor. Routes 140 and 194, Taneytown, MD 21787, 800-272-1933, http://tourism.carr.org
Washington’s diaries mention that he stopped at a site called Elkridge Landing, a short distance outside of Baltimore. Today the town of Elkridge is home to historic sites and a fine restaurant called the Elkridge Furnace Inn (circa 1744). Howard County Tourism Council, 410-313-1900; Elkridge Furnace Inn, 5745 Furnace Avenue, Elkridge, MD 21075, 410-379-9336, www.elkridgefurnaceinn.com
May he rest in peace. Not George . . . but his horse. This town just south of Baltimore bears the distinction of being the place where Washington’s horse died on July 18, 1795, while the pair was en route to Valley Forge. (As the story goes, the horse got stuck in the mud as he crossed the Patuxent River into Howard County.) Washington himself had better luck with the area. His favorite place was an establishment called Spurrier’s. Today the site is home to the Holiday Inn Columbia, though the historic marker can be found down the road a bit on the grounds of the Waterloo State Police Barracks. Howard County Tourism Council, 410-313-1900; Holiday Inn Columbia, 7900 Washington Boulevard, Columbia, MD 20794, 410-799-7500
George Washington’s Headquarters
Built in 1754-1755, Washington used Fort Cumberland when he was the commander of the Virginia military forces in the French and Indian War. In 1794, he returned to Fort Cumberland as the president to speak to his troops before the Whiskey Rebellion. It is said that this meeting was the last time that Washington ever appeared in his military uniform as a military commander, so he began and ended his military career here. Riverside Park at Greene Street, Cumberland, MD 21502, 301-777-5132, www.mdmountainside.com
This attraction is filled with antique furniture and other domestic items from the 19th century. The tie to Washington is the Military Room, which features a model of Fort Cumberland as it looked in the 17th century. 218 Washington Street, Cumberland, MD 21502, 301-777-8678, www.historyhouse.allconet.org
Washington traveled through this area on many occasions, beginning in 1748 as part of a surveying crew. From 1751 to 1755, he traveled along what is today called “the National Road” during the French and Indian War. In 1784, when he was studying the possibility of creating a canal system, he drank from the spring that now bears his name and became fascinated with the Youghiogheny River.
Herrington Manor State Park
During his 1784 mission to Western Maryland, Washington’s favorite campsite was the Murley’s Glade area in this park. 222 Herrington Lane, Oakland, MD 21550, 301-334-9180, www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/western/herringtonmanor.html
The Little Crossings
Four bridges cross over the Casselman River on the eastern edge of Grantsville at a place called The Little Crossings. Washington named this area in 1755, when he crossed the river with General Edward Braddock’s British troops. They had forded the stream and cut through the Old Braddock Road from the wilderness in Fort Cumberland. The historic Casselman River Bridge continues to stand in this picturesque environment. Route 40 (The National Road), Grantsville, MD 21536, 301-895-5453, www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/western/casselman.html
Washington County was named for George Washington in 1776, when he was Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.
Fort Frederick State Park
Fort Frederick was erected in 1756 at the outset of the French and Indian War and was the cornerstone of Maryland’s defense. It is considered to be the best-preserved, pre-Revolutionary War stone fort in the country. Washington visited the fort while it was under construction to ensure its safety and strategic location. The C&O Canal runs through the park, which offers hiking, biking, camping and boating. 11100 Fort Frederick Road, Big Pool, MD 21711, 301-842-2155, www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/western/fortfrederick.html
Washington Monument State Park
This park derives its name for the first monument dedicated to George Washington -- a rugged stone tower erected on a rocky mountainside by the citizens of Boonsboro in 1827. Hikers enjoy the challenge of the Appalachian Trail and other mountain trails leading through the park, and a history center includes exhibits of firearms and Civil War artifacts. This should not be confused with the Washington Monument in Baltimore City, which was the first architectural monument dedicated to Washington. 21843 National Pike, Boonsboro, MD 21713, 301-432-8065, www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/western/washington.html
In 1790, Washington met with General Otho Holland Williams, founder of Williamsport, to study the site for the potential of making it the U.S. capital. A survey of the area revealed that large ships could not navigate the rapids on the Potomac River, so the capital was moved “downstream” to present-day Washington, D.C. 301-791-3246, www.marylandmemories.org
Prince George’s County
Washington recorded in his diaries that he passed through, visited or spent the night in Prince George’s County on at least 60 occasions.
Accokeek Foundation at Piscataway Park/National Colonial Farm Museum
This colonial farm is located directly across the Potomac River from Washington’s Mount Vernon home, providing visitors with a perfect photo opportunity. From June through September, the historic sites offer a round-trip boat service aboard a replica of a working riverboat from the early 19th century. Crewmembers share their knowledge of the Potomac River during the scenic 45-minute journey. 3400 Bryan Point Road, Accokeek, MD 20607, 301-283-2113, www.accokeek.org
Belair Mansion and Stable
Washington was a friend and contemporary of former Maryland Governor Benjamin Ogle, who owned a home, garden and stables located just outside of what is today Washington, D.C. The holdings included a deer park for hunting and a supply of venison to the household. (A deer park is a concept borrowed from great English estates and was considered a mark of gentility.) Records show that in 1785, Washington wrote Ogle to thank him for offering to provide several fawns for the deer park being designed at Mount Vernon. Ogle was serving as Maryland’s governor in 1799, when Washington died. He proclaimed Maryland’s official mourning period and led the procession and memorial service in the capital city. 12207 Tulip Grove Drive, Bowie, MD 20715, 301-809-3089, www.cityofbowie.org/comserv/museums.htm
Fort Washington Park
Fort Washington was built on the site of Warburton Plantation, land owned by the Diggs family and located across the Potomac River from Washington’s home at Mount Vernon. Washington visited this site often because he had social connections with this neighboring family. The first version of the fort was begun after Washington’s death, in 1808. It was destroyed by the British in the War of 1812, and then was rebuilt as an outer defense for Washington, D.C., Georgetown and Alexandria. 13551 Fort Washington Road, Fort Washington, MD 20744, 301-763-4600, www.nps.gov/fowa
The home of Major Thomas Snowden was constructed between 1770 and 1785, and he and his family welcomed many distinguished guests into the mansion. Records show that Washington stopped at Montpelier en route to Philadelphia as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in May 1787, and again that September on his way home. Martha Washington and her party stayed here in 1789 on their way to attend the inauguration of her husband as he became the first president. Route 197 and Muirkirk Road, Laurel, MD 20708, 301-953-1376, www.pgparks.com
Town of Prince Frederick
Washington stayed overnight in Prince Frederick on August 21, 1760. He was passing through on his way to pick up a custom-made boat from the town of Benedict in neighboring Charles County (see below). Though nobody is certain where he stayed, it’s likely that the British burned the site during the War of 1812. Calvert County Tourism, 176 Main Street, Suite 101, Prince Frederick, MD 20678, 410-535-4583, www.co.cal.md.us
Founded in 1683, this is where a vessel was constructed for Washington in 1760 (see Calvert County reference above). Charles County Tourism, 800-766-3386, www.explorecharlescomd.com
Durham Parish Church
A brick serpentine wall was erected in front of this circa 1692 church in 1932 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Washington’s birth. The parish chose to erect the wall in Washington’s honor because his diaries mention a visit here. 8685 Ironsides Road, Nanjemoy, MD 20662, 301-743-7099, www.edow.org/durhamparish
“The Retreat” and “Rose Hill”
These historic homes in the town of Port Tobacco once belonged to close friends of Washington. Both are now private residences, but there are historical markers on site and visitors can drive by to take a look. The Retreat was the home of Daniel St. Thomas Jenifer, the first president of the Maryland Senate (from 1777 to 1781). Rose Hill belonged to Dr. Gustavus Brown, who is buried at the site. He was one of the physicians in attendance at Washington’s death. Charles County Tourism, 800-766-3386, www.explorecharlescomd.com
Smallwood State Park
General William Smallwood was the governor of Maryland from 1785 to 1788, after serving as commander of the Maryland Troops. Those troops saved Washington’s Army at Long Island. Washington visited the general at his home, which is located within the park, in 1786. 2750 Sweden Point Road, Marbury, MD 20658, 301-743-7613, www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/southern/smallwood.html
In 1775 Washington bought 600 acres of land on Liverpool Point Road near the town of Nanjemoy. He retained the property, which is noted with a historic marker, until his death. Charles County Tourism, 800-766-3386, www.explorecharlescomd.com
Because of the Tavern’s strategic location on the main thoroughfare between Baltimore and Philadelphia, this was a favorite stopping place for Washington and other Colonial forefathers, as noted in his diary. 259 Broad Street, Perryville, MD 21093, 410-642-3703, www.perryvillemd.org
This college was founded in 1782, making it the 10th oldest chartered college in the United States and the first college of the new nation. The college was named for Washington, who was an early benefactor -- he donated 50 guineas toward its founding -- and a member of the Board of Visitors and Governors. Reports indicate that Washington granted the College of Chester permission to bear his name as a symbol of his appreciation for the patriotic acts of Kent County’s citizens, and to thank them for supplying flour to the Continental Army during the Revolution. 300 Washington Avenue, Chestertown, MD 21620, 410-778-2800, www.washcoll.edu
Wye Grist Mill and Museum
This mill provided ground wheat for Washington’s troops, thereby earning the nickname “the bread basket of the American Revolution.” Route 662, Wye Mills, MD 21679, 410-827-6909, www.historicqac.org
This quiet, waterfront village was once home to Washington’s mother. Self-guided walking tours lead visitors past plantation houses, historic B&B’s and the Whitehaven Ferry. Route 352, Whitehaven, MD 21856, 410-543-2765, www.co.wicomico.md.us/publicworks/roads.htm