White's Ferry

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Editorial Review

Kids love the ferry's five-minute chug across the Potomac, during which the preposterously overnamed General Jubal A. Early ferry boat is tethered to a fat metal cable reaching from the Maryland to Virginia side of the river. While the trip lacks drama, kids appreciate the funky anachronism of the operation. It's a great way to get from upcounty Maryland to upcounty Virginia, and vice-versa, without getting drawn into Beltway hassles. Still, the ferry is best seen not as a destination in itself but as a memorable way to spice up a trip elsewhere — for Virginians visiting Maryland's Sugarloaf Mountain or Frederick, for instance, or Marylanders headed to Leesburg or Morven Park. If you like, however, you can treat the ferry as a day-trip itself. You can pick up the C & O Canal towpath from the Maryland side parking lot and hike or bike upstream or downstream. The small store on the Maryland side rents bikes and sells lunch and snacks. If you're interested in fishing, the store also rents boats and tackle; the area is said to be good for fishing, thanks to warm water just upstream coming from Dickerson.
– by John Kelly and Craig Stoltz
Words to the wise: The ferry is used daily by Virginia and Maryland commuters, so avoid weekday rush hours
Notes: The accompanying store/rental facility is open from mid-April through October, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. (8 p.m. weekends). Disabled riders probably won't be able to get out of the car and move around the deck, as most passengers prefer to do.
Nearby: Morven Park, Sugarloaf Mountain, Ball's Bluff Battlefield Park.