Southern Carroll County Barn Quilt Driving Tour

This four patch quilt block on a bank barn in Westminster was popular in the early 1900s.
This block was chosen by the farm owners to represent the soybeans and corn grown on their
80 acre farm. Four generations of the Nelson family have farmed this land since the farm was established in 1868. 

If you love barns, you’re in for a treat! Carroll County’s Barn Quilt Trail will draw you back to the county’s agrarian roots by bringing you to historic barns and old-timey quilt block patterns. Although not all the quilt blocks are of classic patterns — some are original designs by the farm owners that tell a story about their family or the farming operation where the barn quilt block is installed.

The maple leaf quilt block is installed on a rebuilt bank barn in Westminster. This property was purchased by the
Bollingers in 1945 when they were forced to leave their neighboring farm after it was taken by eminent
domain and flooded to create the Liberty Reservoir. Poplar timber from their previous farm was used to build this barn.

I started really exploring driving tours during the height of the pandemic, because I wanted to develop new content for MidAtlanticDayTrips but still maintain social distancing and minimize contact with others not in my immediate family. I also found myself, suddenly, with a lot of time on my hands! That’s why so many of these articles are appearing months after I actually went on the daytrip.

Although the website below doesn’t provide a recommended order, we’ve developed a suggested, 45-mile route that will bring you to 11 of the barns in the southern portion of the county. We went one evening after dinner. As a result, we had to contend with the setting sun, often darkening the photos. On the other hand, the late evening sun also lent a magical feel to the fields, as I’d hoped!

If you go to all 11 barns listed below, you can plan to be out and about between 90 minutes to 2 hours (which allows time for finding a good place to pull over to photograph the barns). In between barns, keep your eyes open — you’re likely to see many more barns along the way! We had no concerns with GPS along this particular tour, although a following visit to the barns in the northern part of the county, we struggled to maintain consistent connectivity.

This block (somewhate faded), installed on a late 1800s bank barn, is an adaptation of a traditional pieced
block called “Sister’s Fancy.” The owner altered the block pattern to include a Black-Eyed Susan in the center
block and further honored the State of Maryland by using the state fl ag colors of red, black, gold and white.

Keep in mind that most, if not all, of these barns are on working farms. Don’t pull in or obstruct the drives leading to the farms. And don’t trespass. All of these are visible from the road! Which leads to our next tip — carefully consider where you pull over, as some of the roads don’t have wide shoulders and inevitably, there always seems to be a vehicle right behind you when you arrive at one of the barns!

This sculpture, located at the Farm Museum in Westminster, was created by
Charlie Maiorana, a local multi-media artist, who was inspired by the barn quilt blocks throughout the county.

Although the area is loaded with farms, suburbia is creeping in. The upside is, if you want to stop for a bite to eat, you will pass plenty of places to do so.

1. 801 Hoods Mill Road, Woodbine, MD (Marked as Barn 13 on the barn quilt tour.)

2. 201 Liberty Road, Sykesville, MD (Marked as Barn 15 on the barn quilt tour.)

3. 2526 Bollinger Mill Road, Finksburg, MD (Marked as Barn 16 on the barn quilt tour.)

4. 1901 Old Washington Road, Westminster, MD (Marked as Barn 25 on the barn quilt tour.)

5. 1835 Nelson Road, Westminster, MD (Marked as Barn 17 on the barn quilt tour.)

6. 500 S Center Street, Westminster, MD (Marked as Barn 1 on the barn quilt tour.)

This quilt block, a pattern known as Eight Points Allover, is installed on a bank barn
rebuilt on the original stone foundation after a fire consumed the upper portion.

7. 718 Chapel Road, Westminster, MD (Marked as Barn 3 on the barn quilt tour.)

8. 1300 Old Westminster Road, Westminster, MD (Marked as Barn 25 on the barn quilt tour.)

9. 2425 Marston Road, New Windsor, MD (Marked as Barn 24 on the barn quilt tour.)

10. 3835 Baker Road, Winfield, MD (Marked as Barn 32 on the barn quilt tour.)

A beautiful horse wanted to be in all my photos of the Char-Lene Farm
in Mount Airy. He did whatever he could to get in the way!

11. 2504 Gillis Road, Mount Airy, MD (Marked as Barn 14 on the barn quilt tour.)

This traditional pieced four-square block on the barn behind this horse’s butt is one of the original 12 blocks

on the Barn Quilt Trail. This block got its name from the rail fences formerly used to define fields — you can

still see this type of fence in residential landscaping as well as around the fields at the nearby Gettysburg Battlefield.

Know before you go: if you go during the day, chances are you’ll have to contend with farm vehicles, including big trucks delivering or picking up from the farms. Be careful and considerate. There are often animals in the fields in front of the barns — don’t go reaching out and touching the cute farm animals — or if you do, and they bite, well, you’ve been warned. Don’t do that.


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