Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve
Montgomery County, Maryland’s Agricultural Reserve comprises 93,000 acres of farmland, fields, forests, and historic small towns and communities. The Potomac River, C&O Canal, state and county parkland, and myriad historic sites lie within its borders with Sugarloaf Mountain just to its north. Though only 30 miles from the nation’s capital and in bustling Montgomery County, it offers a peek into an earlier time and a more pristine environment. Residents and visitors enjoy hiking, biking, boating, fishing, hunting, and patronizing local farms. Protecting and preserving the precious Ag Reserve includes recording and sharing its unique stories, including spooky folklore.
Preserving Ag Reserve Folklore
The western Ag Reserve area is rich in natural resources, history, and folklore, including mysterious legends and tales of the supernatural. Its earliest Native American inhabitants, European settlers, enslaved African-Americans, and current residents weave an incredible tapestry of experiences and beliefs. This project aims to collect those stories.
Mysteries and Legends
Residents and visitors report mysterious experiences in its wild woods, historic buildings, old cemeteries, and open vistas. Civil War era ghosts, a shapeshifting man-dog apparition, a Bigfoot-type creature, a UFO sighting, a haunted golf course, phantom horses, a cloaked figure holding a lantern along a dark road, a former church in an abandoned graveyard with its first pastor buried beneath the floor–these experiences and more have all been reported in the northwest Ag Reserve. It seems the serenity and solitude here allow people to perceive the strange and unusual more easily.
The mysteries and legends of the Ag Reserve are being captured in a book by co-authors with personal connections to it and a passion for preserving history and exploring the unknown. This book will be not only a collection of local folklore and legends but will also capture the rich history and unique beauty of Montgomery County’s western Ag Reserve. The stories are being gleaned and developed from site visits, interviews, and primary and secondary sources. The book can be enjoyed no matter your stance on the supernatural, whether stories to ignite your imagination about the unknown or simply inspiration for exploring the history and beauty of this area.
Click here for a video presentation to learn more about the project, meet its authors, and hear some of their favorite spooky stories, all sparked from the mysterious photo below.
Co-authors Lennon Gross and Christine Rai bring distinctive and complementary skill sets to this project. They are currently conducting interviews and site visits and are in the early stages of drafting the book.
Lennon Gross is a current graduate student at Johns Hopkins focusing on museum studies. As an avid haunted house explorer, they have a keen interest in all things spooky. Though they live in the city now, they were born and raised on the Ag Reserve and can still often be found skulking about the historic sites.
Christine Rai is a professor, writer, and Poolesville resident who is passionate about folklore and history. She has been leading the Historic Medley District’s annual Haunted History tours since 2018. As a kid growing up in rural Frederick County, Maryland, one of her favorite books was Ghosts and Legends of Frederick County and she looks forward to curating a similar spooky collection of tales for the Ag Reserve.
Call to action
We need your help to make this book a success. This project needs community input and support, whether you are an Ag Reserve resident or visitor. We want to craft a book that is expansive and inclusive and invite you to help us in the following ways:
- To share a story or contact Lennon and Christine, please email them at MLARcontactus@gmail.com.
- Join the Mysteries and Legends of the Ag Reserve Facebook page.
- Spread the word to friends and family who might be interested or have a story to share.
- Subscribe to this page for updates on our progress and upcoming events.
- Check out the resources below to learn more about the Ag Reserve.
Learn more about the Agricultural Reserve and its history at these sites.
- Montgomery Countryside Alliance
- Historic Ag Reserve Properties
- Sugarland Ethno-History Project
- Historic Medley District
- Warren Historic Site
- Sugarloaf Regional Trails
Support Ag Reserve Local Businesses
When you visit the Ag Reserve, be sure to support local businesses. Please check operating days and hours via business websites and social media. Many of these are small, family-run operations with funky opening hours/days. I recommend:
- K2 Cafe Grab a quick bite to eat, a coffee, or local honey
- Landmade Brewing Friendly on-farm brewery and general store
- Mexican Grill Best Mexican food in MoCo
- Rocklands Farm Historic farm and vineyard
- Savage & Sons Farm Their farm store offers meats, eggs, and food products, including local honey
- White’s Ferry Grill The ferry may still be closed but the Grill is making tasty sandwiches and snacks
- Windridge Vineyards Vino and food trucks with a view
- COMING SOON: Locals Farm Market A cafe, restaurant, and market in a historic 1840’s house
Thank you for your support
Thank you for reading about our Mysteries and Legends of the Ag Reserve project. We hope you enjoyed learning about it and hope it sparked your imagination. We appreciate your support–be sure to join our group on Facebook and follow this page for updates.
About Taste Travel Teach & Christine Rai
- Click here to learn more about me and my credentials.
- Check out my shop for unique products with my creative flair, including my book Rainbows in the Rain and Stars in the Dark.
- Contact me here about leading a tour or giving a talk.
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Copyright Christine Rai, 2021