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What to Do, Where to Stay

Monday, May 4, 2009 3:28 PM

Travel staffer Christina Talcott spent a recent weeknight at Inn BoonsBoro in Boonsboro, Md. Here is her reporter's notebook.

DRIVING TIME

About one hour from the Beltway

COST

Total: $330 | Gas: $20 | Dinner: $30 | Lodging: $280

GETTING THERE

Take Interstate 270 north to I-70 west; then take Exit 49 to Alternate U.S. Route 40 toward Braddock Heights/Middletown, and follow it about 11 miles into Boonsboro. The inn is at Main, Potomac and St. Paul streets.

WHERE TO STAY

Nora Roberts's Inn BoonsBoro (1 N. Main St., Boonsboro, 301-432-1188, http://www.innboonsboro.com) has six rooms and two suites. Rooms are $220 to $280 Monday-Thursday and $250 to $300 Friday-Sunday, including breakfast for two. No children or pets. In nearby Sharpsburg, the Inn at Antietam B&B (220 E. Main St., Sharpsburg, 301-432-6601, http://www.innatantietam.com) has five suites. Prices are $120 to $160 Monday-Thursday, $145 to $185 Friday-Sunday; weekday specials and holiday restrictions exist. For more local options from Sharpsburg to Hancock, contact the Hagerstown and Washington County Convention & Visitors Bureau (888-257-2600, http://www.marylandmemories.org).

WHERE TO EAT

Roberts's son and daughter-in-law, Dan and Stacie Aufdem-Brinke, own Vesta Pizzeria & Family Restaurant (2 S. Main St., Boonsboro, 301-432-6166), which serves pizzas, huge salads and soft drinks, beer and wine. Vesta, like the Inn BoonsBoro, has a sensational story: Its original location was destroyed in an electrical fire in January 2007, eerily echoing a plot point in Roberts's 2005 novel "Blue Smoke." Across the street is Palettie (1 S. Main St., 301-432-0500), which serves bistro fare, including steak, pasta and quiche. Also in Boonsboro is Mountainside Deli (311 S. Main St., 301-432-6700), which opens weekdays at 6 a.m. for breakfast (8 a.m. Saturdays, 11 a.m. Sundays) and makes a killer pit beef sandwich (get the barbecue sauce and horseradish) for $5.25. Nearby Sharpsburg has other options as well.

WHAT TO DO

Roberts-related sites in town are Turn the Page Bookstore Cafe (18 N. Main St., 301-432-4588, http://www.ttpbooks.com), where Roberts hosts book signings every few months. (The next one is July 11.) Next door, Gifts Inn BoonsBoro (16 N. Main St., 301-432-0090, http://www.giftsinnboonsboro.com) has three floors of local arts and crafts, including the scented toiletries from the inn.

About eight miles from Boonsboro is Antietam National Battlefield (5831 Dunker Church Rd., Sharpsburg, 301-432-5124, http://www.nps.gov/anti), site of the bloodiest one-day battle of the Civil War. A small fee ($4 per person or $6 per family) gets you access to the signposted driving tour, the cemetery, monuments and movies, lectures and displays at the visitor center.

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