Baltimore – Maryland -Pa., NCR & Heritage Trail & MA& PA

We have done variations of this great 42 mile bike ride starting in Ashland/Cockeysville, Maryland and ending in York Pa. This time, we started from Glenn Rock but for the blog I will start from the beginning in Ashland, Maryland and take you to York on the NCR and Heritage trail.  The Norther Central Railroad provided an important link between Washington, D.C. and points along the northern path to Lake Ontario and upstate New York. It was built in 1832, ran between Baltimore and Sunbury Pa, passing through York and Harrisburg Pa. and was one of the oldest rail lines in the country. The railway serviced the growing Baltimore, York and Harrisburg industries, had 46 stops, 22 of which were in Maryland, and operated for 134 years. During the Civil War, the railroad was a target of the Confederate Army before the Battle of Gettysburg. The Confederate Army’s troops tried to isolate the Union’s capital by damaging the railroad, telegraph wires and bridges. On November 18 and 19, 1863, President Lincoln traveled on the railroad and stopped at Hanover Junction before giving the Gettysburg Address. His burial schedule is attached further on down.

Increasing truck and automobile transportation marked the decline of the railroad, and in 1972 Hurricane Agnes washed out bridges and made the line impassable. In 1984, the DNR converted the abandoned right-of-way into a multi-use trail. The trail is really nice and is about 10 feet wide with a stone dust surface and the surface allows one to ride after a rain

TODAY: Northern Central Railroad trail or (NCR) starts in Cockeysville and as it crosses the Pennsylvania border is called the heritage trail and it ends in York, Pennsylvania and is about 42 miles or 84 miles round trip. On the Pennsylvania side:  The York County Heritage Rail Trail is located along railroad tracks that operate as a tourist train.  

Cockeysville (the start of the NCR) was named after the Cockey family who helped establish the town.  Joshua Frederick Cockey (1765–1821) built one of the first homes in the area in 1798 and built the first commercial structure, a hotel, in 1810 in what would become the village of Cockeysville. His son, Judge Joshua F. Cockey (1800–1891), was a lifelong resident in the village. As a businessman, in the 1830s he built the train station. The current trail is designated as the “Hall of Fame” for “Rails to Trails”


The NCR Rail to Trail, follows the Gunpowder river for much of the way towards Pennsylvania providing beautiful views along the way

While the train operated over those 134 years, it encouraged the growth of small towns such as: Ashland, Phoenix, Sparks, Glencoe, Corbett, Monkton, White Hall, Parkton, Bentley Springs, and Freeland. In Sparks,  John Wilkes Booth (who assented President Lincoln ) went to school at the Milton Boarding school which is now the Milton Inn below

During the Civil War, the Pennsylvania Railroad served as a major transportation route for supplies, food, clothing, and material, as well as troops heading to the South from Camp Curtin and other Northern military training stations. Hundreds of Union soldiers were transported south on the railroad. Abraham Lincoln traveled on the Northern Central on his way to deliver his famous Gettysburg Address, and later his body would be transported to Harrisburg via these same rails after his assassination by John Wilkes Booth 

Also Wallis Warfield Simpson who married King Edward 8th causing the king to abdicate went to school at Oldfields School and that school is still operating in Sparks and is very close. We passed the old Monkton railroad station below.  


Those towns had operating businesses and below is a photo of an old bank that operated in Parkton decades ago that is now converted to a home 

The Railroad was a major link in the exchange of goods between these rural communities and the City of Baltimore. These included flour, paper, milk and farm products, coal, and later the U.S. Mail. Because of the rail road there were hotels and guest houses  along the route like the one below that is now a personal home in Monkton

The width of the trial allows for two way bike , hike and horseback riding .

The trail also provides access for fishing, tubing, kayaking and canoeing along the gunpowder.  Here we are kayaking and there is a man fly fishing up ahead

The Pennsylvania Side:  After one crosses into Pennsylvania,  it continues another 20 miles to York Pennsylvania and in Pennsylvania it is called the “Heritage Trail”  and you ride beside rail road tracks (below) that are used today and it continues for another 20 miles 

New Freedom is the first town one rolls into after crossing from Maryland and here one can ride the train. One can take a train ride to Stewartstown or up the track to York and I would recommend this activity . We have taken the train and it is great fun

The train passed us on our last trip above at New Freedom, Railroad and Glenn Rock and we stayed in Glenn Rock Inn and it was located on the tracks/trail so perfect 

The Glen Rock Inn below and dinnig was great and our rooms were great 

We dined at the Glen Rock Inn and the food and ambiance was fantastic

In Glen Rock town there is an art center that has great art


The Glen Rock Carol singers (below) are famous here and the entire town participates. The Carol singing tradition has continued in Glen Rock unbroken since 1848 and has a strong following 

Along the way, there are a variety of places to stay along the way like the Jackson house below in Railroad PA. 

From here we rode North along great trails

and passed through  a cool tunnel 

We arrived at Hanover Junction and I visited the Hanover Junction Museum there
The Museum is focused on Lincoln and I stopped in and here is some info.
Hanover: The name Hanover was suggested by Michael Tanner, who was one of the commissioners who laid out York County in 1749 and owned large tracts of land southeast of the town. Tanner’s choice of the name came from the fact that he was a native of Hannover, Germany. The town’s founders, who wanted to please the German settlers, agreed to the name. Thomas Jefferson spent the night of April 12, 1776, on his way from Monticello to Philadelphia to attend the first meeting of the Continental Congress, where on June 10, he would begin the draft the Declaration of Independence.   During the Cilil War,  the Battle of Hanover was fought on June 30, 1863 and a sharp fight ensued in the town and in farm fields to the south, particularly along Frederick Street. The final encounter between Union and Confederate forces prior to the Battle of Gettysburg, delayed the Confederate cavalry on their way to the Battle of Gettysburg. The Hanover Junction Museum is a great museums: We continued North arriving at York passing many commercial canals:

YORK:  in York we had a great lunch  ( inside shot and dinning outside)

While in York, we visited some museums: The Agricultural and Industrial Museum, The historical Museum , The Fire Museum (below)

and the Golden Plough and The Box Hill Mansion. We spent considerable time in the Agricultural and Industrial museum (below) and it was interesting to know how many compares thrived at one time in York like the : York barbell company, Pullman car, The Dentist supply company (largest in the world) to name a few


Pullman above and York Barbell below

We also visited churches and religious functions like: Islamic prayers service,  Church of Later Day Saints and Catholic, Baptist and Lutheran Church’s. I walked through the grave yards and prayed.  

After riding we drove to and we dined at the York Country Club. The incredible York Country Club is the “go to” Club in the area to enjoy time with friends and family.  Located in the picturesque, rolling hills of southern York County it offerrs vast views of surrounding farmlands and stands alone as the premiere club in our area. Established in 1899 well over 100 years old, the Country Club of York is the leading-edge club in the community with state of the art facilities: golf, tennis, paddle, pickleball and provides an enjoyable atmosphere for everyone. All the while, the Country Club of York still strives to preserve our traditions and rich history and The Platinum Club of America has the Country Club of York ranked as 44 out of 150 Clubs in America. The magnificent club’s interior was decorated with fine art.  

The interior walls of the York Country Club were just beautiful below

The dining at the York Country Club was a wonderful experience and the food so scrumptious   

The next day we visited the Box Hill Mansion (below) . The mansion is a historic and elegant mansion.  The Mansion was constructed in 1928 and was originally built as a private residence by George and Purdon Whiteley who happened to be the owner of Dentsply, a leading manufacturer of dental supplies that still thrives today in York, Pa and is listed in the “Industrial Museum”. The Whiteley’s and their four children resided at the home and were surrounded by 419 acres of gardens, woodland and farmland-for nearly 50 years. The beautiful gardens were also developed in part by cuttings from Boxwoods and other shrubs transplanted from Europe after their many visits there. The décor is classic and timeless, and the open layout of the various dining areas allow for maximum flexibility and comfort. Private rooms for the wedding party, elegant entry ways, well-lit spaces, a gourmet kitchen, private bar and one of a kind outdoor spaces. The gently sweeping lawns, reflecting ponds, rose beds, and topiary accents of the formal gardens insure spectacular views and peaceful solitude for you and dining is just incredible.  You feel completely removed from the bustle of daily life with the chirping birds and the crescendo of fountains replacing the blare of the city.

We also rode past a most beautiful lake, lake Redmond below where you can kayak 

Various photos along the and a great time was had by all.   



The train station and active train below