Heather Bien

writing and designing a colorful life

Travel Guide to Frederick, MD: Sip and Savor

Back in the fall, on the way back from a wedding in western Maryland, Adam and I decided to stop for the afternoon in Frederick, MD to break up the four hour drive. It happened to be an absolutely gorgeous mid-October day — 75 degrees and sunny — and we were completely smitten with the adorable historic downtown of Frederick. While we only had time for a bit of shopping and a soda at the North Market Pop Shop, we decided to add it to our list of getaways that we need to take ASAP.


I'll start this off by saying, when we booked our trip, I did not expect that we'd be facing a high of 15 degrees, so our itinerary had to adjust a bit for the weather, but we had a wonderful time! There are so many outdoor activities you can add if you're there when it's just a little warmer, but we found more than enough to keep us busy all weekend long. All that is to say, you can find something to do no matter the season.

Frederick is barely an hour north of DC, which makes it the perfect weekend getaway from Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, even if you only have one night. You're there in less than the time it takes to commute to work some days. So easy. 


Okay, I already said it's a quick, easy trip, but seriously, it's just up 270. We left on a Saturday morning and were there in 58 minutes, door to door — and I think my timing included getting to the car, which we know with DC parking adds a couple minutes. Don't have access to a car? The MARC train runs from DC to Frederick (by the end of the weekend, we may have been scheming with Adam wondering "Hmm if we bought a house downtown here, I could take the MARC train into DC for work every day, right?")


After going through all my pictures from the weekend, I've decided I need to dedicate an entire post to the bed and breakfast where we stayed, 10 Clarke. As I kept saying, "this is the most bed and breakfast-y bed and breakfast I've ever stayed in." It's decorated in an almost over the top Victorian fashion. Everywhere you look, you'll notice a new detail. I mean, just look at the ceiling in the picture below. And those windows! Stay tuned next week for a post that will dive in depth about our experience and the delicious three course breakfast that I'm still dreaming about.


Given that we were in Frederick on a frigid weekend, we decided to go all in on the distillery scene. We went to three different distilleries, each with a completely different personality and list of products. 

First up was McClintock Distilling Co. Housed in what appears to be an old warehouse, it's a big open space with cement floors, brick walls, large windows and that industrial feel that just takes a few pieces of art and well placed light fixtures to make it feel event worthy. There, we tasted a white whiskey that ended up coming home with us. I've taste white whiskeys before, and I've never had one that tasted this smooth. It's a traditional Maryland rye and it's my new favorite.

From there, we headed to the small, bright, white space that's home to Tenth Ward Distilling Company. If you're looking for the hip version of distilling, this is the place to go. It felt like everywhere we went had work influenced by Ralph Steadman, but I particularly loved the mural on the wall at Tenth Ward that you'll see below. Unfortunately, they were sold out of their signature Apple Jack, but we did get a taste, and I'll be back next time I'm in Frederick.

Our last stop, Dragon Distillery, was just on a whim at the suggestion of Tenth Ward, but it was well worth the uber to get there. Dragon Distillery's offerings are all over the place, in a good way. They make everything from a holiday vodka that was infused with orange and chocolate to a pomegranate vodka to a mint vodka, their best seller and the one we left with. Plus, one of their moonshine labels has the picture of the owner's grandfather, who was arrested for moonshining — how great of a family tradition?!


The drinks don't stop with the distilleries. There are also a ton of breweries to choose from. Attaboy Beer is located right off Carroll Creek Park, which is an ideal location if you've been shopping and strolling around downtown. How cool is this navy blue building with the sky reflecting off the windows?

More of a wine person? You have to check out Vini Culture on North Market Street, right downtown. You load a card when you walk in and then peruse the self-serve wine dispensers to pick your poison. There are choices from literally just a taste up to a full glass and you're charged according to amount and the specific wine. We loaded $20 on our card and both ended up trying several different wines. They have a cozy but open, artsy vibe and often have live music — this might have been one of my favorite stops.


When we got into town, we wanted to grab a quick bite before hitting the distilleries so we stopped by Pretzel and Pizza Creations. I got a Wisconsin Dog, which is apparently the most amazing pretzel-cheese-hot dog combo ever made and Adam opted for the Meat Combo pizza. Needless to say, this low-key spot left us more than ready to take on our day.

For dinner, we made a reservation at Firestone's Restaurant which has a solid Maryland menu. From crab dip to steak to rockfish, you'll find something classic and delicious here. Don't miss the Maine Lobster Bisque — it's ridiculously rich in the very best way. If you're in the mood for a nicer dinner, sit upstairs, but if you're in the mood for more of a bar evening, stick to the main floor. We sat upstairs and enjoyed the people watching from above.

On Sunday, we started our day with the amazing breakfast at 10 Clarke, but I'll dive into that in my 10 Clarke post. Luckily we stuck around town long enough to have lunch at The Tasting Room. I loved the open, gray, trendy space here and would love to go back for evening drinks. Here we got crab dip, soup and sandwich, and a burger...and, in terrible blogger fashion, I didn't take pictures of my food, just the aftermath which you can see below. That's a testament to how good it was, right?

One place we didn't get to was Volt, so you can guarantee we're planning a trip back.


On your way out of town, don't miss Flying Dog Brewery. There was a great crowd there for a Sunday late afternoon with people winding down the weekend with beer flights. While I stuck to small sips of Adam's beers, he did a flight of all the Flying Dog beers that aren't as widely distributed. From a sour beer to a stout, I enjoyed each and every one.


Now stay tuned, because I'll have two more Frederick posts for you! One will be totally dedicated to the adorable 10 Clarke bed and breakfast where we stayed and the next will dive into all of the incredible local shopping. If you're into antiques, vintage, or home goods, you'll want to check back!

Also, thank you to Visit Frederick for working with me on putting together the perfect weekend itinerary!

1 comment

  1. Ok, you've sold me on Frederick — I need to get there ASAP. Your pictures make it look amazing, and I've long heard good things — it's always recommended by Washingtonian!

    ​xx katie // a touch of teal