“I had no idea all this was here!”, my friend said as we walked down Main Street in my hometown of Hagerstown. We had met for lunch at Cafe 51 in the Across the Street Antique Mall and then visited a couple of the cute little shops next door. She had visited Hagerstown many times but usually in the evening to dine at Welliver’s (now Willie & Red’s) right across the street (the inspiration for the name of the Antique Mall), but never ventured beyond “Willie’s”. “I’ll definitely have to come back…and bring people with me”, she added. “My family will love to come here when they visit next.”
Hagerstown is a lovely place to spend an afternoon shopping, following a tasty lunch at Cafe 51, or the several other locally owned restaurants in town. Cafe 51 specializes in slow-cooked pulled-pork sandwiches, homemade soups, and other delectable sandwiches, salads, and desserts. My friend tried the pulled-pork sandwich on a Kaiser roll and the potato soup and said it was the best she had ever had. Tender, juicy, and not drowning in sauce. In fact they leave the addition of BBQ sauce up to you. I tried the soup (delicious) with a chef salad and it was hearty and great tasting, with large cubes of ham and turkey, eggs, cheese, tomatoes and mandarin oranges.
We were too full for dessert but the last time I was there I tried the caramel apple cake, with chunks of apples surrounded by spicy cake, topped with warm caramel icing and a dollop of real whipped cream — or try it with vanilla ice cream. Need I say more?
After lunch we browsed the antiques, collectibles, and hand-crafted jewelry in the 4-story mall, then went next door to The Corner Oak, a shop that specializes in oak furniture and primitive and country decor. We loved the beautiful wind chimes and metal wall words. Next we crossed the side street to The Two Sisters for two full floors of country gifts and collectibles. We were greeted by two of the fattest cats I’ve seen in a while. Two Sisters also sells Abbott’s Candy from the candy factory just around the corner, which has been in business for over 100 years (and is part of the Wayne County Chocolate Trail). Abbott’s also has a gift shop, but we didn’t make it that far since it was raining. We would have also liked to visit Bowman’s Bakery because we heard they were making bread and they have the best brownies around. Visitors will want to save time for Main Street Antiques Uniques or the Boot Box too.
Hagerstown is a quaint, quiet town on SR 38, 14 miles west of Richmond, which means it’s just about an hour east of Indianapolis, just north of I-70. Beautiful historic brick buildings, restored homes, and tree-lined streets remind you of an earlier day. Hagerstown is surrounded by beautiful rolling countryside and it’s not unusual to see an Amish horse and buggy or two tied up at Nettle Creek Hardware or at a hitching post in town, or clip-clopping around town.
The grass strip airport south of town hosts fly-ins a few times a year and a flying circus in the summer. Jubilee Day in August brings old fashioned hometown fun, with games for the kids, flee market tables, fair food, and a Grand Prix gocart race in 2010. There will be a Spring Festival on Saturday, May 21, with retail sales, food, music and fun & games for the family. You can see photos of Hagerstown and get more information at http://www.hagerstown.in.gov/ or by contacting the Wayne County Tourism Bureau (www.visitrichmond.org) at 800-828-8414 or firstname.lastname@example.org.