Harford County’s Small Wonders
by Kristina Lopez
At first glance, Harford County may look like a collection of rural countrysides and tiny towns, but deep in its backyard are hidden gems of wonder and adventure. For those who have lived most of their lives in Harford County, these places are well-known and easily accessible. For tourists, these easy-access spots to locals are the small, hidden wonders of the state of Maryland. Many of us see a vacation as a means to get away from our rural, small-town life. However, as the warm summer months come, we fail to realize that we can have a mini-vacation right here in our home of Harford County.
When it comes to exploring the outdoors, the options are endless. Whether tubing, kayaking or taking a scenic nature walk on a hiking trail, there is a lot to discover in our local hometown. Perhaps the most popular and well-known trail to hike is the King and Queen Seat at Rocks State Park. As one of the first state parks in Maryland, the state ensures the protection of one of the most loved natural resources that Harford County offers. Here you can hike up various trails to get to the King and Queen Seat, a 190-foot high ridge that overlooks Deer Creek and the 855 acres that surrounds it.
Another well-known area to explore is the Eden Mill Nature Center. Located in the valley of Deer Creek in Pylesville lies 118 acres of a small slice of paradise that offers a wide range of amenities. What once was a historic grist mill is now a learning center, museum, canoe launch and fishing hole for those who love to go there. With a wide range of habitats of meadows, wetlands, and forests, to the diverse wildlife that inhabits Eden Mill, there is no shortage of wonder and adventure at this nature center. Tourists can choose their “adventure” within the three miles of hiking trails coursing throughout this area and maybe even see a few friendly creatures along the way.
Not far down the road from Eden Mill is another outdoor wonder to explore. Down along a scenic trail, within the expansive forest, lies one of the most hidden treasures. Kilgore Falls, located off of Falling Branch Road, is a sweet spot of serenity and home to a 17-foot waterfall that never fails to catch the breath of those who venture to find it. If you feel like having a nice relaxing day trip at a small rock beach, this is the spot for you. Feel free to take your pets, a picnic basket and some good friends for a great day out in the sun. Remember to pack a bathing suit if you want to do more than dip your toes in the water!
If you want to go a little out of the comfort zone of Harford County, nor mind taking a drive, Loch Raven Reservoir is always a great place to visit. The Loch Raven Reservoir is a lake and recreational park fitted with a small beach where many like to go shore fishing. The reservoir offers convenient parking close to the beach. If you are in the mood for hiking, there are plenty of trails from which to choose. With a rich history, beautiful scenery and some of the best views to watch the sunset, this is the perfect place to end the day. It’s also a great location to have yourself a close-to-home romantic getaway with a special someone.
If you’re the kind of tourist who wants to immerse yourself in some local history, a multitude of places lie within a few miles. The Historic Jerusalem Mill located in Kingsville offers a look into the past with its preserved buildings, houses and nature center. Take a step back and live in the 18th and 19th century Quaker Village whose story began in 1772 when a small merchant mill became the centerpiece for local farming communities.
In the center of Harford County lies a Palladian Mansion that serves as the heart of this little town. The Liriodendron Mansion, built in 1898, is the historical estate of one of the founding fathers of Johns Hopkins Medical College. The estate, which is now open to the public, houses 100 acres of beautiful botanical gardens and a spectacular view of the breathtaking historical property. Once you have finished breathing in the fresh aromas of the gardens, take a tour inside the walls of this captivating architectural wonder. Enjoy rooms full of historical artifacts and photographs, and feel yourself go back to a simple and more elegant time.