Carroll through British eyes

October 17, 1994|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Contributing Writer

On her 21st visit to the United States, and her second in as many years to Maryland, British travel writer and photographer Angela Humphery quickly noticed the differences and similarities between the two countries.

A free-lance writer who travels the world in search of stories, Ms. Humphery was visiting Maryland for a week at the invitation of the Maryland Office on Tourism.

On a walking tour of the Court Street area of Westminster last week with tour guide Mary Lou Dewey, Ms. Humphery declared that an old picture she had seen of the Main Court Inn on Main Street "looked a darn sight better than what's there now."

The Midtown Service Center, an auto repair shop, now occupies the northeast corner of Main Street at North Court Street.

At Ascension Episcopal Church, she wanted to know if Sunday services were well attended. In England, "Church congregations are very slim," she remarked.

In the courthouse's historical courtroom No. 1, she asked questions about the O. J. Simpson trial -- had the jury been picked yet, how long would the trial last, what would be the verdict?

When Ms. Dewey told her how proud the judges are of the historically correct 1838 courtroom, Ms. Humphery said, "I think it's nice that people are proud of these things."

She recognized a colorfully designed tile floor in the courthouse as being similar to those she'd seen in her native England. Mrs. Dewey's historical background on many buildings included facts British involvement -- such as the founding of Westminster by Englishman William Winchester and the design of Ascension Church in the Gothic style by another Englishman.

Unlike England's frequently overcast skies, Maryland weather last week offered bright blue skies and sunshine for her whirlwind tour of the western and central areas of the state.

"It's just beautiful," Ms. Humphery said.

Though she hasn't decided specifically what she will write about the state, Ms. Humphrey said she is counting on doing one story focusing on the Mother Seton Shrine in Emmitsburg for a Catholic magazine.

She also writes for national and provincial newspapers and magazines, she said.

Ms. Humphery traveled this year to ustralia, Newfoundland, Switzerland and France. Her passion, she said, is animal stories, especially those dealing with wildlife awareness.

In Carroll County, the focus of her one-day visit was historical sites.

Sharon Kirk, tourist information specialist, drove Ms. Humphery to the Antrim Inn in Taneytown, through Uniontown back to Westminster for the walking tour, then to Maggie's restaurant for lunch.

The afternoon was spent at the Union Mills Homestead and Carroll County Farm Museum. Ms. Humphery said she also wanted to visit Hampstead -- she lives in the Hampstead area of London.

"We're giving her a folder of attractions and information about things in the county that might be of interest to her," Ms. Kirk said. "They like history -- we found that out from the State Office on Tourism -- the British people like to come over here and explore our history."

Ms. Humphery found Carroll County "quaint and delightful -- far more like England than California or Florida."

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