Attractions from agriculture to art

April 24, 2005|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,SUN STAFF

From the Farm Museum to Union Mills Homestead, the Danele Shipley Arena to the Carroll Arts Center, the historic village of Uniontown to the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Carroll County teems with activities for all ages and interests.

Barbara Beverungen, manager of the Carroll County Office of Tourism, is the person responsible for promoting the county's tourist sites and activities, which the office publishes in an annual Calendar of Events.

Hundreds of thousands of people are drawn year-round to events such as the Farm Museum's Fall Harvest Days and Maryland Wine Festival; Union Mills' Old-Fashioned Corn Roast; concerts, art exhibits and the Christmas Wreath Festival at the Arts Center; Common Ground on the Hill's two-day music and arts festival; fire department summer carnivals; a dozen strawberry festivals; municipal spring and fall fairs; and parks and recreational activities.

"The Arts Center is going gangbusters," Beverungen said. "Three towns - Westminster, Taneytown and Mount Airy - are Maryland Main Street programs. The Whistle Stop in Patapsco has neat stuff: original artwork, antiques, food and a florist shop. You could spend hours there."

Last fall's corn maze at the Carroll County Agriculture Center was a big success, and the arena "is a huge thing. It's the largest free-standing kind of place in the county where you can do big things," she said.

Smaller, private sites such as Cascade Lake and the Four Seasons Sports Complex draw thousands to the county in the summer for sports and recreational activities, she said.

Other new attractions - the newly renovated Roops Mill, the recently opened Wheeler Village, private corn mazes, and a weekend-long Corbit's Charge Civil War re-enactment - add to Carroll's extensive list of things to do and places to see.

The tourism office operates a visitors' center at 210 E. Main St., Westminster, in the Historical Society of Carroll County's building. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, except for major holidays.

The center is staffed by volunteers who can answer questions and offer a variety of brochures on sites, facilities and events.

Promotional support comes from the all-volunteer Tourism Council of Carroll County, largely made up of tourism businesses such as lodging, restaurants and shopping. The council periodically publishes a small guide of places and events, and sponsors an annual Harlem Wizards basketball game in March as a fund-raiser.

The tourism office is at 224 N. Center St., Westminster. The Web site is www.carrollcounty tourism.org.

Information: tourism office, 410-386-2983; visitor center, 410-848-1388.

Union Mills Homestead

The Union Mills Homestead north of Westminster is the home of the Shriver family of Maryland. In 1797, brothers David and Andrew Shriver started building what was to become an empire: a farmhouse, grist mill, saw mill, tannery, blacksmith shop and cooper (barrel-making) shop on Big Pipe Creek. Their descendants are active in the preservation of the property through the Union Mills Homestead Foundation.

Today, the grist mill still grinds out corn, wheat and other grains that are sold in the gift shop. The farmhouse is furnished with authentic Shriver furniture and artifacts.

Several fund-raising activities are held, including a spring plant and flower sale in May, a Civil War encampment and ice cream social in July, and an old-fashioned corn roast in August. Director Jane S. Sewell said the homestead is seeking to have legislation passed to hold a microbrewery festival next year.

In September, Union Mills will host the Society for the Preservation of Old Mills international conference.

The homestead is open for guided tours from noon to 4 p.m. weekends only in May and September; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Friday; and noon to 4 p.m. weekends in June, July and August.

The homestead is at 3311 Littlestown Pike, Union Mills. Information: 410-848-2288.

Danele Shipley Arena

Opened for the 2004 Carroll County 4-H and FFA Fair last summer, the Danele Shipley Arena at the Agriculture Center in Westminster aims to boost tourism by offering major events that will draw thousands.

Manager Larry Collins said the 52,500-square-foot building has held bingos, meetings, receptions, luncheons, equestrian events and dog shows, as well as bull riding, which was so popular the first three months of this year that it has been booked for next winter.

"We just booked a regional cheerleading cheer-off for three years; we have three dates for a MarketPro computer show and sale; a muscle car/custom car show is coming Sept. 24 and 25; and we have a Westminster regional antique motorcycle show," he said.

Collins also is hoping to hold country music and other kinds of concerts in the arena, which can hold 7,500 people theater-style in chairs or 3,000 at tables and chairs.

The arena is on Smith Avenue. Its Web site, www. carrollcountyagcenter.com, includes a monthly calendar of events.

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