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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Please email if you are interested in registering for this Overnight Tour, so we may confirm your room arrangements.

Adventures on the C&O Canal

Overnight Tour

Depart: Sunday, October 20, 2019 - 8:30 a.m.
Return: Monday, October 21, 2019 - 6:30 p.m.
Code: 1NNACO
Paw Paw Tunnel (Photo: Garrett Peck)

Pack your gear for an overnight trip that explores the man-made wonders of the C&O Canal, as well as natural beauty of spring along the Potomac River, guided by writer and local historian Garrett Peck. On Sunday, visit the Monocacy Aqueduct, the most beautiful structure along the C&O near the foot of Sugarloaf Mountain, followed by a look at the bustling canal town of Williamsport, home to Cushwa Basin and Conococheague Aqueduct.  Then journey up the Potomac to Berkeley Springs, West Virgnia, the site of one of the country’s first spa resorts, for an overnight stay.

After a brief guided tour of the state park—including a look at the tub where 16-year-old surveyor George Washington once bathed—participants have a chance to explore the town on their own. Water jugs can be purchased—or bring your own—to fill with storied Berkeley Springs mineral water at the 1815 Roman Bath at no charge. For a true spa experience, book a massage or bath at Berkeley Springs State Park at your own expense (reservations are recommended). Enjoy a 3-course dinner at Tari’s Café.  Overnight accommodations are at the Country Inn of Berkeley Springs, adjacent to the state park and a perfect location for exploring the town on foot. 

Bring a flashlight and hiking shoes for a Monday excursion to the Paw Paw Tunnel, a 25-mile drive west of Berkeley Springs through magnificent scenery. The impressive half-mile-long brick tunnel was dug for the C&O Canal to avoid the Paw Paw Bends in the Potomac River, but nearly bankrupted the company. After passing through the tunnel on foot, join Peck for an optional guided hike over Tunnel Mountain forming a 4-mile loop, passing historic sites from the tunnel’s construction, is offered (the ability to make a moderate hike up and down the mountain is required). The group picnics at the tunnel, then ventures to Hancock, Maryland, and the amazing Sideling Hill Road Cut, where construction of Interstate 68 exposed millions of years of geological history. End the day with a stop at the Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick.

This tour involves hiking; appropriate walking shoes are required.


  • Cost includes bus transportation, lodging, all activities, and the following meals: one breakfast, two lunches, and one dinner
  • Overnight accommodations are at the Country Inn of Berkeley Springs.
  • Tour departs by bus from the Mayflower Hotel, Connecticut Ave. and DeSales St., NW, with a pickup stop at the Best Western Plus Rockville Hotel and Suites, 1251 W. Montgomery Ave., I-270, Exit 6B, at about 9 a.m.
  • Single-room supplement $60 (factored into the Single Room Member and Single Room Non-Member pricing).
  • Singles registering at the double-room rate are paired (on a nonsmoking basis) if possible, but must pay the single-room supplement otherwise.
  • Detailed information is mailed to registrants about four weeks prior to departure.
  • Registrants may want to consider purchasing trip insurance.

Detailed information for overnight tours
is mailed approximately FOUR WEEKS
prior to departure.