At the end of the road, an idyllic little Detour Bypass: The town of 80 hardy souls lies on the western edge of Carroll County. And for a peaceful stretch of time, it's snowy streets were undisturbed.

January 11, 1996|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,SUN STAFF

DETOUR -- Even the snowplows seem to detour around this postcard village of Victorian and Pennsylvania-German homes tucked in a hollow along the Carroll and Frederick counties' border.

At least for a while. Several hours after the curtain closed on the great blizzard, which, some say, dumped up to 42 inches of snow here, a snowplow ambled through Detour, opening one lane of the main road from Keymar, Route 77.

Even as late as midafternoon Tuesday, the road to Detour remained impassable, state highway officials said.

"There was a sense of isolation," said Patti Marley, a physical therapist who weathered the storm from her home along the town's main street. "There's a village atmosphere here. It was quiet and peaceful. But not too many people come through even when there isn't snow."

Roxanne Burrier, who runs the only store in Detour, the Village Store, where folks can buy milk, bread, meat or rent videos, posted a sign on the door early Monday letting neighbors know they could knock on her door down the street if they needed groceries.

"A few people knocked and I came down and opened the store," Ms. Burrier said. "I opened from about noon to 5 p.m. but there wasn't much business. It was peaceful."

Her store was restocked with bread and milk yesterday.

Ms. Burrier said residents took to the street with shovels and plows Tuesday to clear parking spaces, alleys and sidewalks. They dumped the snow in Double Pipe Creek, a meandering stream that is notorious for periodically flooding Detour.

"Everyone worked together. It was wonderful. I hadn't seen anything like that in a long time," said Michael Smith, who owns several apartment houses in town.

Mr. Smith speculated that the sense of isolation that enveloped Detour on Monday and Tuesday was probably harder on newcomers, many of whom commute to jobs in Frederick and elsewhere.

"This is a lot like a bedroom community," he said. "And some of these people just weren't equipped for the storm."

With or without snowfall, folks here will tell you that Detour is a quiet kind of place.

Located in the hills of extreme western Carroll County, the unincorporated town, population about 80, is an out-of-the-way destination. There's no bank. No gas station. The post office moved a few miles out of town a couple of years ago.

The estrangement is sort of permanent. Not being able to escape town for a day or two didn't seem to bother most people.

"The town just sort of sat still," said Robert Matthews, a construction worker. "There wasn't nothing to do. We were just here."

Ralph Bostion, a truck driver who lives on the other side of town, said being stuck at home for a couple of days was no bother.

"We just took it easy, that's for sure," he said.

Dave Smith of the State Highway Administration in Westminster said snowplows ran through Detour on a regular basis throughout the storm. He said the plows may have taken longer to return in some instances because of drifts and problems elsewhere.

"Detour is part of our regular run," he said. "I can tell you that it wasn't skipped."

Even so, that sense of being a place that people, time and snowplows bypass, lingers.

"We're at the end of the road coming out of Frederick and we're the last road out of Carroll," Mr. Matthews said as he shoveled his sidewalk yesterday.

"I guess we're the last place people think about. So there you are."

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