You don’t have to be a barn aficionado to enjoy the annual Barnstormers Tour. I attended my first one this past Saturday.
The sun was shining and the farmers were literally busy making hay in the fields. But that did not keep hundreds of city slickers from roaming around their barnyards and poking our heads into outbuildings and sheds, while chickens cackled and cows bellowed in the background.
The tour covered a gamut of barns. There were true working barns with grease spots and hay strewn floors. Others had livestock. However, one had actually been converted to a private party barn, complete with dining table, curtains, couches, wood stove, pool table and a full sound system!
I witnessed a variety of architectural features, carpentry techniques, and old machinery. If you are not into the barns themselves, you may be interested in antique tools, vintage tractors, etc. Volunteer docents are present to help you interpret what you see and answer any questions.
If you are a shutterbug, you may get access to rustic locations that are otherwise off-limits. I noticed dozens of photographers with all types of equipment. One man was trying to snap photos of barn swallows who were swooping in tight circles around a very picturesque stable door. After he finished and started to take down his tripod I remarked casually, “Aren’t they pretty?” He responded “I don’t know yet. I took hundreds of shots at 32 frames per second. I’ll have to see if anything shows up.”
Perhaps more interestingly, you can observe the many plein air artists who work at a much slower pace. They create fresh paintings on their easels right in front of your eyes. I was particularly struck by the unique scenes some of them chose to paint. It made me see the various tableaux from a different perspective. In one case a woman was painting an old orange tractor in a corner stall which was half in sunlight and half in shadow. I would have walked right past otherwise. All the artworks are for sale at the end of the afternoon.
Most folks travel by car, but it would be possible to do the tour on bicycles, although some of the roads could be winding and narrow.
The farms featured each June change as the event shifts around to different parts of the county, located in central Maryland. The experience is organized by the Frederick County Landmarks Foundation. Tickets cost $15 and may be purchased in advance, or on the day of the event (at the host barn).
If you choose to stay with us at the Frederick Inn Bed and Breakfast the night before, feel free notify us in advance and we can pack you a picnic lunch to take along. Otherwise, there will be a concession stand at one of the stops.