2017 Canal Boat Excursions Season Opens at Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center in Potomac, Maryland

Hello Level Walkers – the following notification is from the National Park Service. Contact Pete Peterson, Supervisory Park Ranger, pete_peterson@nps.gov 301-767-3702 for further information. – LWC

Potomac, MD – Nineteenth-century mule-drawn canal boat excursions resume for the 2017 season at the Great Falls Tavern on Saturday, April 1, 2017. Come aboard the Charles F. Mercer, a reproduction packet boat to experience what it was once like to travel up and down this historic waterway. Cruise on the canal at a mule’s pace and experience rising and falling 8 feet in a lift lock. Hear tales of what life was like for the families who lived and worked on the canal.

Public Boat Excursions: April- October, Saturday and Sunday at 11:00 am, 1:30 pm, and 3:00 pm. June-August, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11:00am, 1:30pm and 3:00pm. To confirm the boat ride for your visit, please call 301-767-3714 for details as special circumstances may affect this schedule. Prices: $8.00 for adults (ages 16-61), $6.00 for seniors (ages 62 +), and $5.00 for children (ages 4-15). Children aged three and under ride free. In addition to the boat fee, there is an entrance fee to the park of $10.00 per single vehicle.

Ten or more people are required to make advance reservations. Otherwise, seats are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. To charter the Charles F. Mercer for evening excursions, please call 301-767-3709.  The Charles F. Mercer boat capacity is 60 people. The boat programs last approximately one hour.

The Charles F. Mercer operates at the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. The address is 11710 MacArthur Blvd. Potomac, MD 20854. Check our website and Facebook page for additional special event and ranger-led programs: www.nps.gov/choh, www.facebook.com/chesapeakeandohiocanal . Join in the conversation this summer! #candocanal #great falls #towpath #mules #potomac

Photo – An excursion on Charles F. Mercer departs Lock 20; September 13, 2014 – Level 7

C&O Canal Volunteers-In-Parks Speaker Series Program Presents: “Seneca Quarry Bike Ride”


Hello Level Walkers – the following notification is from the National Park Service about a program for the park’s volunteers. Contact: Dorothy McQuaid, dorothy_mcquaid@nps.gov, 301-639-6940 for further information. – LWC

On March 26th, 2017, at 9:30 a.m. Ric Jackson, longtime volunteer with the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal), will share his knowledge of one of the park’s hidden gems. Did you know that less than 10 miles from Great Falls, there was a sandstone quarry and stonecutting mill that provided the red Seneca sandstone for the Smithsonian Castle? Join Ric, as well as other volunteers from the park’s Bike Patrol, for a trip to the quarry ruins to see this unique site and learn its story.

The trip will feature a bike ride from the Great Falls Tavern to the Seneca Stonecutting Mill, a hike up to the Seneca Quarry, a visit to the Quarry Master’s House, and of course, commentary and knowledge from our volunteers. The bike ride will be about 20 miles round-trip on the towpath, and the hike less than an hour, on possibly rough terrain. Attendees are asked to bring snacks, water, their bike helmet, bike, and lock for their bike. The group will return to the Great Falls Tavern around 1 p.m. The event is weather permitting, if heavy rain is predicted or if the paths are too muddy it will be rescheduled. Cancellation will be announced on the park’s Facebook account no later than 8 p.m. on March 25. Because the ride will be strenuous, it is not recommended for children.

The program is free, but there is an entrance fee to the park of $10.00 per single vehicle. Space is limited to the first 25 guests. If you would like to attend this event, please RSVP with your name and how many will be in your party. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Dorothy McQuaid, Education Intern, at dorothy_mcquaid@nps.gov. The Bike Loaner Program has bikes available to borrow. If attendees need to borrow a bike, they will need to notify Dorothy in advance and arrive early on the day of the event!

The park entrance to Great Falls Tavern is located at the intersection of Falls Road and MacArthur Boulevard in Potomac, Maryland.

Photo – Seneca Creek Aqueduct Arches 1 and 2; October 29, 2016 – Level 10