Step Back in Time on the C&O Canal

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Looking for a unique place to have a socially distant vacation? Book a stay at one of the historic C&O Canal Quarters where lock keepers and their families once lived as they tended to the canal. 

Each of the seven lockhouses has been preserved so you can experience what life was like during the construction and height of the canal. Each house is furnished with a different time period in mind, telling the history of the canal as its story intertwines with the  Civil War, railroad industry, Civilian Conservation Corps, National Park Service, and more. 

Along the towpath in the C&O Canal National Historical Park, you’ll have easy access to the 184.5-mile trail and the Potomac River. Spend your days, hiking, biking, fishing, and paddling before settling in for a cozy night at the lockhouse. 

You will have the lockhouse to yourself, offering a safe place for your family to get away from the crowds and enjoy the outdoors. The lockhouses are being professionally cleaned between guests.

The C&O Canal will be celebrating its 50th anniversary as a National Historical Park in 2021, and there will be a lot of fun activities to explore. Our ten Canal Towns, quaint towns that line the Park, will be offering a variety of festivals to celebrate this milestone.

All seven locations sleep up to eight people and are less expensive than a hotel, quaint, peaceful, historic, and steps away from the scenic nature that lines the Potomac River. It’s the perfect choice for whatever vacation you have planned, from a romantic getaway to a family reunion. 

Choose from a variety of amenities depending on what kind of experience you are looking for. The full amenity houses are outfitted with central air conditioning, heat, electricity, and running water. The rustic lockhouses are similar to when they were first built, allowing you to truly experience life as the lock keepers did. Without the modern amenities, it’s like camping but with a sturdy roof and a comfy bed. Don’t forget to bring your own linens, pillows, towels, and food for your stay at all of the lockhouses.

The accommodations range in location from just a few miles outside of Washington, D.C. to Williamsport, Md. Visit different parts of the trail when you stay at each of the houses.

“Walking through the front door transports you back in time 60 years,” said guests John and Matt. “Remove all the technological trappings and you are left with peace and solitude that is rarely experienced this close to the nation’s capital.” 

Go for a boat ride across a restored aqueduct at the Cushwa Basin in Williamsport. Walk through the Paw Paw Tunnel, a 3,118-foot tunnel that took almost 14 years to build, or take the two-mile trail over the tunnel for stunning views of the area. Discover ghost stories from Haunted House Bend and Edwards Ferry or go rock climbing at Carderock. Explore canal towns like Harpers Ferry, W. Va. and Cumberland, Md. for a deeper dive into the regional history and culture. 

You can download the C&O Canal Explorer app on your phone for more hiking trails, parking lots, history, and nearby amenities. 

Since 2009, more than 20,000 guests from 46 states and four countries have gotten a taste of life along the canal. All of the revenue generated from the program goes back into preserving these historic lockhouses.

“What a gift for all of us,” said guests Terri and Alan. “The scenery, the wildlife, and the peace and quiet made for a well-earned respite.” 

Step back in time as you getaway to the C&O Canal Quarters, exploring the past and present while surrounded by nature. Visit canalquarters.org to make your reservation today as availability goes quickly. 

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