A new feature for the blog – city guides! I often get questions from friends on where to eat and shop when travelling so I figured I would share those tips with the masses. For the first ACC Travels we are sticking close to home in Frederick, MD. This quaint historic town is about a an hour and 15 minute drive from downtown DC, making it the perfect day trip. I have been to Frederick probably a dozen or so times over the years but this most recent trip was definitely the most fun. Tons of new restaurants and hip stores have opened up so even if you have been before it’s definitely worth a follow-up trip. The impetus for this visit was a Frederick Keys game, the town’s minor league baseball team. Usually a minor league game wouldn’t be that big a draw since we have the Nationals playing right in our hood but the after game entertainment was too hard to resist – monkeys riding dogs, herding goats. Yea you heard that right. So Patrick and I immediately bought tickets to the game (a cool $12 for the best seats available) and even booked a hotel room nearby so we could get the full experience. Below are some of my favorite stops in Frederick and pictures from our trip – where is your favorite day trip stop??
VOLT restaurant – 228 North Market Street
If you have heard of Frederick, MD and are not a civil war geek then odds are it’s because of VOLT. This small town was put on the map when hip DC foodies began making the trek up 270 to eat Top Chef alum Bryan Voltaggio’s innovative food. It had been a couple of years since I had eaten at VOLT but its food and impeccable service were just as good as remembered. For day trippers there is an even bigger draw – a three course lunch menu for $35 that doesn’t disappoint. The restaurant itself is housed in an incredible old building where Chef Votaggio was careful to keep its original charm while also incorporating really modern touches. One thing that immediately sets VOLT apart from other high-end restaurants is the service. Unfussy but still formal, these folks make you feel right at ease the minute you sit down. Patrick and I started with 2 awesome drinks from their summer tiki drink menu. We then tucked into a nice leisurely 2 hour lunch that ended with terrific french press coffee and two mini coffee cakes to take home with us. Some highlights from the meal:
The Wine Kitchen on the Creek – 50 Carol Creek Way
This is a great spot to stop and grab a wine flight and/or some small plates. A carefully curated wine list includes some really fun bottles. They have preselected flights like “Pinot Envy” or “Whites of Fancy” or you can mix and match your own.
All the bartenders are really knowledgeable and can also whip up some pretty mean craft cocktails. Even better? They have daily happy hour specials at the bar, even on the weekends. Its right along the creek (hence the name) which is a beautiful place to stroll along and feed the ducks. The Wine Kitchen takes advantage of its location with a small outdoor seating area.
Black Hog BBQ – 118 South Market Street
This place is the real deal. Honestly, they could have been serving tires covered in BBQ sauce and Patrick and I would have been happy as the baseball game got totally rained out and we had to walk a mile back to town. By the time we arrived at Black Hog we were totally drenched and starving (pro tip – BBQ joints are the best place to go after a rainstorm as each table comes with its own paper towels!). However, we got super lucky because it not only provided shelter from the storm but also some of the best BBQ I have ever had. Yes do the ribs and please the mac and cheese. We also had the chopped pork and chicken which were delicious. It’s a pretty casual place and be ready to wait as its very popular with the locals. Luckily they serve local brews and there is a nice patio space outside while you are waiting for your ribs.
relish DECOR – 38 East Patrick Street
This store is absolutely adorable. They carry a nice mix of hispter type kitchen goods (mason jars abound) but also some really nice classic pieces. They carry Laguiole, a really well crafted French cutlery company, flatware and knives in every color possible. I already have an everyday set in black but was tempted to buy other colors. They have an online shop if you cannot make it out to Frederick but it’s definitely one of those stores that’s better in person so you can pick up and see everything first hand – also the staff is incredibly helpful and accommodating. How cute is this wall display of tureen tops?
Viniferous – 227 North Market Street
This wine shop has a little bit of everything so it’s a great place to browse. Don’t have a heart attack when you pick up a seemingly innocuous bottle to discover that its $575 – they carry lots of great bottles in the $15-30 range. In the back room they also have a small but decent selection of craft beer and a pretty extensive selection of magnum bottles. They even had a magnum of my green wine!!! Magnums are a great way to impress your guests and also means you don’t have to get up and grab another bottle in the middle of dinner. They do free tastings on the weekends and have case discounts.
Emporium Antiques – 112 East Patrick Street
Give yourself plenty of time to cruise around this enormous shop. Antique stores are pretty ubiquitous in these old towns but this place is one of the best in the region. Clocking in at 55,000 square feet it has anything you might be looking for or just the right thing that you never knew you needed. In particular there are great pieces of silver, medium size furniture and glassware for sale here. It’s really fun to mix and match older antique pieces with new modern stuff on your table and this place is inexpensive enough that you can buy a set of glasses or plates for a minimum investment. I came home with 2 small silver footed bowls to add to a set, a great silver shell bowl and darling anchor napkins.
Flying Dog Brewery – 4607 Wedgewood Boulevard
Unfortunately the day we were in town the brewery was closed to tours for a special event so we didn’t get to visit. However, this is some of the best beer made on the east coast so I am pretty confident that the tour and tasting is worth it. They do tours Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and have the tasting room is open on the same days plus Sunday. The tours are free and you can make your reservation online – if you go this summer definitely try Dead Rise make with Old Bay. Doesn’t get more Maryland than that.
You didnt think I was going to forget to post a picture of the monkey rodeo did you? The quality isnt great as there was a rediculous rainstorm but they made sure to get in the rodeo before calling the game. Enjoy.