AROUND TOWN: Get back to nature at Renfrew Park

The beauty of nature is breathtaking at Renfrew Park. LEE GOODWIN/LOCAL.NEWS

WAYNESBORO – Sequestered ever-so slightly from the noise of passing cars is the gem of Waynesboro – Renfrew Park.

When you arrive at the bridge traversing the East Branch of the Antietam Creek, if you look right, you see the bridge crossing the same creek along Route 16 (Buchanan Trail). If you look left, you see trees, rocks and water.

Take a look to your left and you see a sight seen hundreds of years ago. Take a look to your right and you see modernization – paved streets and brick buildings of a modern age.

If truth is beaty and beauty is truth, Renfrew Park is both. Its beauty lies in its simplicity, residue of a former time unimpeded by technology and “progress.”

And, before you cross that bridge across time, the one that leads to the Royer house, the Fahnestock Barn, the spring house and what is now the visitor’s center and museum, to your left is the Edmajoda Trail – the one that meanders through the backwoods of the park that has been a virtual hidden destination for generations.

Like families living in close proximity to a beach but rarely enjoying what it has to offer, Renfrew Park is a place that locals might take for granted but should take time to see it all over again.

As the world grow more and more violent and encroaches on our sensibilities and our hopes, it’s nice to know that there is a place we can go to get away from it all.

Forged out of the natural terrain in 1975, the Edmajoda Trail is one of three named trails — the others being Old Mill and Salty Grimes — that meander through the park. If you’re a walker, a jogger, or just a nature lover wanting to take in the sights and sounds of a pristine environment in the middle of suburbia, a visit to the historical park wouldn’t be complete without venturing on to the Edmajoda Trail.

The Edmajoda Trail is named for four local me who contributed to its construction. LEE GOODWIN/LOCAL.NEWS

When you first see the sign just off the stone and dirt parking lot at Renfrew Park, you’d think it was named for a Native American tribe. Edmajoda. Then, you learn that the trail is named for the four men who contributed to its construction in the spring of 1975: Ed Miller, Mark Michaels, Joe Rankin and Dave Secrist.

Once on the trail, you’d never know — or care — that merely yards behind you is the bustling traffic along Route 16, the main thoroughfare traversing east and west through Waynesboro. In fact, if you listen in your mind’s eye, you can practically hear the sounds of old-time America, long before even the Civil War, when farming was an American way of life. Proof is in the sights — the Fahnestock house and barn, the Royer farmstead house and Victorian period barn.

Winding through the 107-acre park is the East Branch Antietam Creek. It becomes more prominent closer to the middle of the trail, where walkers can sometimes see a solitary figure in the middle of the creek fly fishing. Once off the trail and on the wider foot bridge, you can take a few minutes to admire the beauty of the sun glistening off the waters and maybe spot crawfish beside the rocks under the water.

Whether you want to just get out and walk or enjoy the simple pleasure of communing with nature, the Edmajoda Trail in conjunction with all that Renfrew Park has to offer, is not only a walk through nature but a journey through time.

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