We ate lunch at Shift, which had I eaten there on the trip would have definitely made my Top 5 list of places to eat along the trail! I tossed gluten-free caution to the wind and ordered the Mush-Reuben, because I absolutely love veggie reubens (tempeh or mushroom usually) and just find it too hard to pass it up. D had a veggie burger and E had the soup (veggie chowder) and salad, all of which were delicious. The name of the restaurant - Shift - is used here as in bicycle gears...we were at a bicycle cafe!! Originally I had thought as in work shift, like someone's shift is 9 to 3,then the next shift is 3 to 9, etc. I was pleasantly surprised by all the bicycle art and references in this farm to table cafe. (Modern Appalachian! Everything is about Appalachia lately!)
Then we headed to the GAP trail! I left the Trailbook in the car, which was a mistake, because this was a fairly steep uphill climb, and it would have been nice to know exactly how far we had to go!
Our first excitement was the Borden Tunnel, which is 957 feet long with no lights. But see how you can see the other end? How dark could it get? (Answer: VERY dark!) It is amazing how dark it is in the center of the tunnel - you can't see the ground or anything around you, just keep your eyes on the light ahead and hope for the best!!!
Next we reached the Mason-Dixon line, the line dividing the North (PA) from the South (MD). I thought there would be information about slavery, north and south, civil war, but there was not. Just today I learned in this article in the New Yorker that there is NO federal monument remembering our country's 250 years of slavery nor commemorating those slaves who lived their lives shackled. A runaway slave reaching the north DID NOT equal freedom. In fact there was a Constitutional law saying Northerners HAD TO return slaves to Southern slave owners: the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Freedom wasn't until they reached Canada, and many runaway slaves instead went south to Spanish Florida, Mexico or the Caribbean. Check the article out if you get a chance, "The Perilous Lure of the Underground Railroad; Hardly anyone used it, but it provides us with moral comfort—and white heroes," by Pulizer Prize winner Kathryn Schulz.
We were heading further uphill toward the Big Savage Tunnel (much longer but lit) and the Eastern Continental Divide, when the gray black clouds above began to rumble. We didn't realize how close we were to Big Savage Tunnel, and thought better of heading up to the top of a mountain during a thunder/lightening storm, so we turned around and headed back down: easy coasting all downhill. We waited out the rain in the Borden Tunnel, eating the two delicious gluten-free cookies we had brought from Shift, and then coasted back to Frostburg.
We ended the day browsing the mostly-closed town (it was around 7 pm). We did find an amazing bookstore open though, Main Street Books (no website, though they have a facebook page), definitely worth stopping in on a trip to Frostburg.
All in all a great day! I'm happy I got to see Frostburg, which was the one town I have regretted not stopping to see ever since the trip last October. Of course just being on the trail made me long for another trip!!