- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 13, 2001

Ready to break away from the stress of city life and experience a slower pace? Historic New Market in Frederick County offers a glimpse of an earlier era with its architecture and friendly shopkeepers.

Stroll Main Street and browse through antique shops housed in 19th-century buildings. Stop at the General Store for homemade fudge or a cup of Green Mountain coffee. Visit the Village Tea Room for lunch or enjoy upscale Mealey's Restaurant for lunch or dinner.

"New Market is a wonderful little historic town," Mayor Rick Fleshman says. "It has 50 Federal-style houses and 25 antique shops."

Several miles southeast of Frederick, Md., New Market is known for its antiques trade. Main Street is lined with antique shops and other interesting shops in historic buildings.

The town was placed on the National Register of Historical Places on Dec. 6, 1975.

New Market has an interesting history that dates to 1793. The town was laid out in 1788 along a wagon trail known as the Baltimore Turnpike. Because of its strategic location, the town grew rapidly and soon became a hub for travelers moving to and from Baltimore and beyond.

The town's first hotel was built in 1799. The construction of the National Road, beginning in 1811, which connected Baltimore and the District to Ohio, resulted in a number of taverns and inns being opened to serve travelers. By 1812, the town had several factories, blacksmith shops, dry goods and grocery stores, inns, livery stables, distilleries and a "House of Entertainment for the Genteel." As many as a dozen inns and hotels were in existence by 1830.

The first stagecoaches carrying mail stopped on Main Street. Today, the brick step up for entry to the stagecoach can still be found next to the House of Kindness "Thistle Stop," a Scottish import business owned and operated by Isabella Kindness.

Mrs. Kindness is from Scotland, but New Market has been her home for 29 years. The Scottish shop used to be the National Hotel in the 1800s and later became an office for the stagecoach.

New Market's growth stopped in the 1830s when the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad replaced the traffic on the Baltimore Turnpike. The town shifted from a turnpike stop to a rural community center, and buildings such as the Episcopal Church (circa 1872) were built on Main Street.

Earlier churches were not on this strip of prime real estate, which marks a shift from serving travelers to meeting the needs of the local community. Village inns and taverns became places for local residents to get news, be entertained by traveling performers and participate in politics.

In 1862, New Market was patrolled by Confederate troops under the command of Gen. Fitzhugh Lee at the time of Gen. Robert E. Lee's invasion of Maryland in September of that year. A historic marker on Main Street makes note of this event.

The town was incorporated in 1878.

Today, New Market serves as a refreshing oasis in the fast-paced stream of daily life. Part of the town's appeal is its architecture and streetscapes that pay homage to an earlier era.

The General Store, established in 1881, offers a chance to experience what an early mercantile shop was like. A variety of candies, antiques, arts and crafts, preserves, and jellies are available for purchase.

The Village Tea Room provides an opportunity to relax with a cup of tea or enjoy lunch.

For something more upscale, don't miss Mealey's Restaurant at 8 W. Main St., which is open for lunch and dinner. Hostess and co-owner Pat Salaverri greets guests and makes them welcome.

Mrs. Salaverri knows about the history of the building and says that the main dining room was once an open courtyard that served as a place for watering horses. A red pump can still be seen as a reminder of this history.

Another of the dining areas formerly served as a bar with swinging doors that opened to the street. And another dining room was once known as the whiskey room.

"It had a trap door where the booze would be brought in," she explains.

The restaurant was formerly the Utz Hotel and also served as a school, Mrs. Salaverri says.

As a reminder of its history, New Market celebrates New Market Days every September. This is a two-day event with old-time entertainment, a Civil War encampment, horse and buggy rides, and juried crafters and artists.

In addition, the town is decked out for its Christmas festival in early December with a tree lighting, strolling carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides and a visit by Santa.

But don't wait until then to enjoy a visit to this town.

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