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DETAILS: Carroll County, Md.

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Sunday, June 8, 2008

GETTING THERE: Sykesville, the southernmost town in Carroll County, Md., is about 45 miles from Washington, about an hour's drive. From the Capital Beltway, take Route 29 north to Route 32 west to Route 851. To Taneytown, about 60 miles from Washington, take the Beltway to Interstate 270 north to Route 40 east to Route 15 south.

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WHERE TO STAY: The most elegant and luxurious choice is Antrim 1844 (30 Trevanion Rd., Taneytown, 410-756-6812, http://www.antrim1844.com). A former plantation, Antrim has rooms in the original mansion and in various outbuildings, and houses an award-winning gourmet restaurant. Double rooms begin at $160 weekdays, $235 weekends per night double.

The newly renovated Inn at Norwood (7514 Norwood Ave., 410-549-7868, http://www.InnAtNorwood.com) is in a historic home in the center of Sykesville, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Doubles range from $130 to $220, including breakfast. The Atlee House Bed and Breakfast (120 Water St., New Windsor, 410-871-9119, http://www.atleehousebb.com) was once the home of New Windsor's founder and now is owned by the town's mayor. Doubles in the rambling country home range from $105 to $175. Afternoon tea is served on request, and a small restaurant on the grounds serves breakfast and lunch.

WHERE TO EAT: Baldwin's Station Pub (7618 Main St.) in Sykesville offers upscale dining in a renovated train station. Dinner entrees start at $21; there's live folk and light jazz on Wednesdays. Harry's Main Street Grill (65 W. Main St., Westminster) is famous for its chili dogs. Johanssons Dining House (4 W. Main St., Westminster) features great ambiance in a historic building and is best known for its steaks, crab cakes and microbrews. Dinner entrees range from $16 to $24.

For down-home cooking, including homemade cakes and pies, head to Baugher's (289 W. Main St., Westminster). Dinner entrees range from $6.75 to $15.25 for the seafood platter.

Hoffman's (934 Washington Rd., Westminster) makes ice cream on the premises and draws crowds for milkshakes. The Butterburg Inn (9 Main St., Union Bridge near Taneytown) is beloved by locals for down-home cooking and incredible desserts. Dinner entrees range from $8.25 to $20. Antrim 1844 (see above) prepares gourmet, six-course, fixed-price dinners for $68.50 per person.

ACTIVITIES: The tourism Web site (see below) lists places to bike, hike, fish and boat. Antiques shopping is popular, and the area also offers Civil War sites and an arts center.

The county has two stables that rent horses for trail rides and offer lessons and boarding. At Lara B. Manor (2242 Bollinger Mill Rd., Finksburg, 410-552-0606, http://www.libertystablesmd.net), trail rides are $35 an hour. Misty Manor Riding Stables (7621 Ridge Rd., Marriottsville, 410-781-4810, http://www.mistymanor.com) also offers singles rides on Sundays.

INFORMATION: Carroll County Office of Tourism, http://www.carrollcountytourism.org, 800-272-1933, 410-848-1388. A visitors center is at 210 E. Main St. in Westminster.

-- C.L.


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