The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, or simply the C&O, stretches for 185 miles beginning in the Georgetown neighborhood and ending in upstate Maryland. Back in the day when the canal was a key transport route, a system of locks raised and lowered the boats, to accommodate changes in water elevation over the course of the 185 miles. Houses were built for the lock keepers and their families. As reliance on the canal as a transport route faded, the lockhouses fell into disrepair.
Recently, I got a chance to spend the night in one of the lockhouses, thanks to the efforts of the C&O Canal Trust, which has set about refurbishing the original lockhouses and making them available to the public for rent. To date, six lockhouses have been rehabilitated and refurnished; more will come.
Each lockhouse is furnished according to a different era, and each offers different sleeping arrangements and amenities. Lockhouse 6, pictured above, is the closest one to D.C. and is the one in which I spent a weekend, with five of my friends. Although Lockhouse 6 is furnished, there are no televisions or Wi-Fi—we made a pact to turn off our devices. We had to bring our own food and bed linens. The nights were spent chatting and laughing, and the days were spent hiking and biking along the trail that runs alongside the canal and just enjoying Mother Nature. We felt like we were camping out, though we were barely five miles from the heart of Georgetown!