Visit This Underrated East Coast Destination To Learn More About The Civil War

The major cities of the East Coast like New York, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia receive quite a bit of attention from tourism. While this attention is warranted given the history and long lists of iconic locations, they can somewhat overshadow the coast's smaller gems. 

These hidden gems can have significant history as well, but without the crowds and traffic. Among these gems is Frederick, Maryland. Located just one hour away from Washington D.C. and Baltimore, this relaxing town has extensive Civil War history along with breweries, parks, and unique shops. 

Downtown Frederick features Carroll Creek Park. Originally serving as a way to protect the town from floods, it now stretches over one mile and includes pedestrian walking spaces, trees, and plantings galore. There is also an outdoor amphitheater which hosts live performances and movie nights. 

Breweries like Steinhardt Brewing and Idiom Brewing Co. are located within walking distance of the park. Both are locally owned and even pet-friendly. If you prefer wine over beer, Wine Kitchen on the Creek has a selection of over 40 wines and a lengthy menu of food as well.

Shops and historic sites in Downtown Frederick

On Market and Patrick Street in downtown Frederick, visitors can take their pick from the Treaty General Store for clothing and home goods, Venus on the Half Shell for vintage items, The Muse for handmade gift items, Curious Iguana for books, and many more. This shopping hub is just a block from Carrol Creek Park as well. Parking garages detailed on Frederick's website make it easy to visit the greater downtown area's shopping, restaurants, breweries, and the Carrol Creek Park.

Downtown Frederick is also home to the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. This may sound like a rather specific component of a much larger conflict in American history, but Frederick was the location of hospitals for soldiers of multiple Civil War battles, including Gettysburg. 

The museum showcases the medical innovations that went much further than the war and the healthcare workers who served on the front lines. On weekends from April through October, the museum offers walking tours throughout downtown Frederick to take visitors to former sites of Civil War era hospitals, churches, and schools.

Visit the Monocacy National Battlefield in Frederick

More Civil War history in Frederick is at the Monocacy National Battlefield (pictured above). The Battle of Monocacy occurred in July of 1864, shortly after Confederate troops entered Maryland and aimed to cross the Monocacy River, thus inching them closer to Washington D.C. General Lew Wallace and his Union troops were forced to retreat. 

Though the Confederates won the Battle of Monocacy, it slowed them enough for General Ulysses S. Grant to send reinforcements in order to protect D.C. This battle is now known as "The Battle That Saved Washington." Headstones and monuments for Confederate soldiers and Francis Scott Key — author of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and longtime Frederick resident — are at Mount Olivet Cemetery, just three miles from the battlefield.

Heritage Frederick and its Museum of Frederick County History aims to cover more of the town's history than the Civil War, detailing Frederick's history from its founding in 1745 and onward. Many of the exhibits are temporary, however.