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.


About one hour from the Beltway


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


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.


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).


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.


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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