Remember how I mentioned last week that I’m a bit behind on posting about some of the fun things we’ve done this summer? Well, I’m crossing another off my list with one that we enjoyed way back on Father’s Day. And just in time for Labor Day, because this would make for a great family outing over the holiday weekend.
It became our tradition to celebrate Levi every June with a crab feast worked into the plan. We usually do something active, either a hike or bike ride, or Levi does a long ride on his own, then we all go out for crabs after or pick them up at the Fish Market at The Wharf and have a feast at home. It’s a fun, tasty, and seasonal way to celebrate the day, and one that he really likes.
However, this year we happened to have crab feasted not long before and weren’t really up for it again so soon. So, when a friend asked if we wanted to join their family for a Father’s Day hike, we were into it. But we still wanted to make it special for the dads with a post-hike meal and fun, so my friend suggested going to Waredaca Brewing Company in Laytonsville, MD.
I’d heard good things about it, but she had actually been there and gave it a big thumbs up. With that part of the day planned, we just needed to find a hike. We did a little research on trails nearby, and decided on Patuxent River State Park in Gaithersburg, MD, just a few minutes’ drive from Waredaca. (KFDC Tip: Sometimes it’s better to plan a hike around the après-hike destination!)
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Patuxent River State Park
The park is fairly large, spanning nearly 7,000 acres in Montgomery and Howard counties. There are generally three areas of the park — the North End, the Wildlands, and the South End. We explored the south section, where there are marked trails; we read the other areas tend to have more social (unmarked) trails that are popular with hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, and hunters during the season.
As mentioned, we chose our area based on post-hike plan, and it was a good call, both for its proximity to Waredaca and the hike itself. We weren’t looking for anything hardcore that would take a long time; we just wanted to do something active outdoors before heading to the brewery.
There are only two trail options in the South End, one about a mile and a half, and the other two miles, and they conveniently connected for a nice walk in the woods. While there wasn’t anything unique about the hike, it was very pleasant. The trails were well maintained with some twists and turns and a few slight uphills, but nothing too strenuous. We could easily walk, talk, and keep track of our dogs who were along for the day. The path winds through an area of tall trees and plants blanketing the grounds, and it was all that bright saturated green of early summer. Blues skies and lovely mid 70s-degree temps rounded it all out perfectly.
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Waredaca Brewing Company
Where there used to be a camp for kids is now the beautiful Waredaca Farm that is the site of Waredaca Brewing Company. Located in a serene pastoral setting along with equestrian facilities, it was a great place for the “special” part of our Father’s Day outing. There is a beer truck near the entrance, where you check in (and get a brew or lemonade), and just beyond are picnic tables with umbrellas spread out around the grassy orchard. There is more seating inside the Tap Room and right outside it on a patio, where there was also a bluegrass band playing when we were there.
My friend knew to make a reservation, as it gets crowded on nice days, especially one when many people are celebrating. You can walk in, though availability is limited, and it’s on a first-come, first served basis. Waredaca is very family-friendly, welcoming kids and dogs, with some large in-ground tires to climb on and open space for running around and playing lawn games. They also occasionally have “Pet a Pony” days!
As for the house specialty, there is a wide selection of beer on the menu along with bar snacks like pretzels and charcuterie boxes. A food truck is also on site, but it varies by day. You can also bring your own food and just enjoy the brews. Our crew did a mix of everything — some of our own snacks, bites from the bar, burgers from Boxcar Burgers, and, of course, beers for the adults.
Cheers to a super fun Father’s Day (and finally getting this post done)!
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Patuxent River State Park – South End
Where: 11950 Clopper Road | Gaithersburg, MD
When: Daily, sunrise to sunset
Waredaca Brewing Company
Where: 4017 Damascus Road | Laytonsville, Maryland
When: Thurs-Friday 4-8pm | Sat-Sun, 12-6pm
Admission: Free (but plan to spend on brews and food)