One of my best friends, Julie, is moving away from Pennsylvania to sunny California. Before she hopped on the plane, we decided we needed a girlfriends’ getaway, just the two of us, to have fun together and make a few more memories.
I’ve been eyeing up Frederick, Maryland, and have been wanting to come check out this destination, which is conveniently located less than an hour from Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Gettysburg. And this was the perfect opportunity! We left the kids at home and took off for a seriously fun-filled trip!
You’ll want to stop at the Frederick Visitor Center to start. I’ve been in a bunch of visitor centers and this one is beautiful! It’s really well-organized, making it easy to gather ideas for what to do, where to eat, and more during your stay.
Read on for all of the best stops in Frederick for a girls’ day out.
Strolling Carroll Creek Park
Carroll Creek Park began as a flood control project but you’d never guess from just walking along the creek. It’s GORGEOUS, and we were there in late May, and it was kind of overcast with some drizzle here and there during our visit. Just try to imagine as the summer goes on and the creek is a riot of color. It’s going to be stunning!
They plant flowers right inside of the water, and in beds all along the perimeter. If you’re looking for a leisurely place to chill with your girlfriend, a pretty place to walk your pup, or a gorgeous photo opp, Carroll Creek fits the bill.
Isn’t it so pretty? We paused several times to take photos and just hang out near the water. There are some shops and restaurants right along the creek so it has a really fun vibe, a combination of an active town and nature’s beauty.
As you can imagine, Carroll Creek Park is a great place to host a variety of events, and they were setting up for the Frederick Festival of the Arts while we were there. Another great photo opp for me on top of the bridge!
Check out the Events page on the Frederick website to see what’s coming up. Alive @ Five on Carroll Creek offers life music and happy hour, and that’s scheduled every Thursday evening through the summer. It looks awesome!
Shopping in Frederick
Julie and I spent HOURS shopping in Downtown Frederick. These shops are so cute, so many unique items and we found a lot of things that were made by local artists, which I always think is an added bonus. I love going home with a token that was actually made in the place I traveled to.
There are stores for foodies, toy stores, really neat clothing shops, and if you need a unique gift or something for your home, you’ll find it in Frederick. The shop pictured above, The Spice and Tea Exchange, is incredible. I could have spent hours in there sniffing teas and sugars and spices. I went home with a bunch of goodies for my pantry!
Many of these shops are dog-friendly too! We met the sweetest poodle in one of the stores.
Dancing Bear Toys and Gifts has a great selection of tech-free toys for all ages. I got my son a building toy, similar to LEGOs but something different that he doesn’t already have.
The store is beautiful and has so many really unusual toys. Don’t miss it if you’re traveling with the kiddos or if you need to take a gift home to a little one!
There are 3 main roads for the best shopping, and then other areas of Downtown are residential. So be sure to grab a map of downtown before you hit the pavement. You can do that at the Visitors Center, or just ask at any of the shops. Many of the owners offered us one when they found out we were from out of town.
This adorable pet shop was one of our favorites, for obvious reasons. The cat in the window was speaking to us, “Come pet me!” And so, of course, that’s exactly what we did. I also grabbed a few goodies for my doggie because you can’t travel and not come home with treats for the ‘kids’!
The Pasta Pallette is one of the most tasty and beautiful shops we visited. They make pasta look like a work of art, and the flavors are out of this world!
This is the perfect spot to grab a gift for the foodie in your life.
The whole shopping district downtown looks just like this: so cute and welcoming, colorful and fun. Every shop owner chatted with us and not only told us about their store, but also asked us where we were from and just made polite conversation. When is the last time that happened to you when you were shopping? I can’t even remember.
Frederick has that friendly, small-town feel, but it’s also jam packed with independent shops, amazing eateries, and so much to do. It’s the perfect level of ‘city’ to me. It’s just really a hip town!
And while you’re shopping, be sure to snap a pic at The Edge of Gravity Mural. It’s on the #FrederickBucketList, which you’ll want to look through before you visit. Isn’t Julie the cutest?! I love this pic!
The Frederick Food Scene
Omigosh, the FOOD. The only thing we loved more than the shopping was the eating. And the wine drinking. The downtown dining scene in Frederick is hard to beat. Our first stop for lunch was The Wine Kitchen, located right along Carroll Creek, and it was simply amazing.
We had the best server who recommended the specialty salad of the day. I’m still dreaming about this salad. It had strawberries, orange tomatoes, speck, goat cheese, and a delicious berry vinaigrette. It was amazing x1000.
Julie and I both ordered the same thing and shared a bottle of wine. Cheers to the first stellar meal we had in Frederick!
We planned our visit in the middle of the week because we both have busy weekend schedules, and I think that really worked to our advantage because so many places had a happy hour that we were able to hit.
We would shop a little, then pop into a restaurant and grab a drink, then go shop a little more. If that sounds like it was the best time ever, you’d be right. Any place called Taco Daddy is hard to resist, so we stopped by for happy hour: $3 sangrias and flautas, and for under $10 we had a fun little afternoon treat.
One of the places on the Frederick Bucket List is The Pop Shop, where you can choose your own ice cream to pair with one of over 400 flavors of soda pop and create your own float. This store is so neat, and the ice cream is delicious!
If you do happen to bring the kids to Frederick, this would be a great stop. Prepare to spend some time while they decide on their pop flavor. Look at that selection!
Vini Culture is a wine bar, which I’d never experienced before. You can just order a glass or a bottle of wine like you would at any restaurant. But you can also fill a wine card with credits, and then use the credits to sample from the self-serve wine machines.
It’s like an arcade but with wine. So basically it’s amazing.
For our last hurrah for the evening, we chose a Thai place for dinner. Sumittra Thai Cuisine has a great menu, and Julie and I both ordered a delicious meal: I got the drunken noodles with soft shell crab, and she had a yellow curry with chicken.
It was so good, and by the end of the night we were absolutely stuffed!
The following day, we had time to sample one more local restaurant before we hit the road to come home, and we chose Hootch and Banter. This is a bar which also has a delicious menu, and we ordered the same thing again (you can see why we’re friends!): a Maryland crabcake with fries and a salad.
There wasn’t a drop left on either of our plates. Every little bite was amazing, especially that house-made ketchup. I’d highly recommend Hootch and Banter for a meal when you’re in town.
Wine Tasting At Catoctin Breeze Vineyard
After we finished all of our downtown eating and shopping, we made a few more stops on our way home. There are several wineries in Frederick, Maryland, and we stopped at Catoctin Breeze Vineyard for a wine tasting and a tour.
This winery is gorgeous, and it’s growing! See all of the little stakes to the right of the tasting room building? Those are brand new plants which are needed to meet the demand of buyers who can’t get enough of this wine!
And after a tasting, I can totally understand why.
The tasting room is actually a relatively new addition and it’s just gorgeous. This is such a fun place to go with a girlfriend, a group of friends, or your partner.
In addition to tastings, every Friday night they are now open late with live music and food trucks, making Catoctin Vineyard the perfect evening out with your friends.
Catoctin Breeze Vineyard wines have won numerous awards, which you can find on display in their tasting room. I feel like I know what kind of wine I like, and I don’t stray too far from that. Generally I prefer sweet and white, and yet at Catoctin Breeze I tasted a bunch of different wines that were a little drier and red, and I loved them.
It’s amazing that when you get a REALLY good wine, you can venture beyond what you think you like. I bought 3 bottles to take home before we left, and they were all varieties that I probably would not normally have tried.
The winemaker, Mike, came into the tasting room to talk to us for a long time and we totally peppered him with questions about their wine, how it’s made, the different processes for making red versus white, and more. It was a crash course in working on a vineyard, and he seriously knows his stuff.
But what we really walked away with, is the knowledge that the wine from this vineyard is hand-crafted. Vines are pruned by hand, not by a machine. They are tended to by real people, the wine is made in smaller batches, and the winemakers have a sense of ownership and pride in the product they put out.
Learn more about tastings and their special events on the Catoctin Breeze Vineyard website. This one is a must-do when you’re in Frederick. (And leave some room in the trunk for the wine you’re going to want to take home!)
Covered Bridge Tour
There are 3 covered bridges in Frederick, and we stopped at one of the most well-known, Roddy Road Covered Bridge.
This is the cutest little bridge, actually the shortest covered bridge in Maryland, and perfect for getting some great photos. There’s also a little park right next to the road so you could take a picnic and enjoy fun afternoon. Roddy Road is a good spot to take the children, because the park includes a playground and restrooms.
The creek that runs underneath the road is really pretty so we wandered down there to check it out, too. What a beautiful view!
Catoctin Mountain Orchard
Our last stop on our way out of town was the Fruit Market at Catoctin Mountain Orchard. There are large orchard fields growing adjacent to the market, but we didn’t venture into them because the ground was kind of wet and soft after a rainy morning.
Instead, we checked out the goodies in the market!
There were so many neat little food items, including a lot of homemade treats. They also had a bunch of delicious, fresh produce.
I’d definitely like to get back here for one of their pick-your-own seasons and go out into the orchards. They have fields of apples, blackberries, cherries, and blueberries. Yum!
Where to Stay
You can see we had a full couple of days in Frederick, so after day 1 we needed a solid rest. We stayed at the TownePlace Suites by Marriott, which was maybe 10 minutes outside of town.
The great thing about this hotel is that each suite includes a kitchenette (and we drove right past a grocery store on our way!). So if you were doing an extended stay and wanted to save a few bucks on food, you could easily make a few meals in your room.
The beds were comfy and we slept like two logs! Ladies, you’re never too old to have a sleepover with your best friend. DO IT. We had so much fun together on this trip and we even got to be in charge of the remote. Bliss!
TownePlace Suites by Marriott in Frederick offers a yummy breakfast bar, including hot items. So we grabbed our coffees and a bite to eat before hitting the road.
I love it when hotels offer breakfast and I don’t have to worry about where we’re eating first thing in the morning. This one was delicious and so convenient!
As you can see, there is no shortage of fun to be had in Frederick! Whether you’re planning a couples’ or girlfriends’ getaway (highly recommend!), or a family vacation, the Visit Frederick website is where you should start. There are loads of ideas for where to stay, what to do, where to eat, and more. Be sure to follow on social media, too, for the latest news: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
I’ve been telling all my friends – go with your husband! Go with your mom! Frederick is where it’s at. I had a total blast here with Julie and can’t wait to return, this time with my husband so he can see all the stuff I’ve been raving about for the past couple weeks!
Have more questions about planning your trip? Leave me a comment!