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Explore the Ruins of Seneca Quarry

Rated 5.0 out of 5 from 23 reviews.Poolesville, United States

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Experience hosted by Garrett

2.5 hours
Up to 10 people
Hosted in English

What you'll do

On this 2.5-hour walking tour, we’ll make our way along unpaved trails to view the ruins of Seneca Quarry, notable for producing the distinctive red sandstone used for the Smithsonian Castle and many other D.C. buildings.

We'll gather at the beautiful Seneca Aqueduct — the only aqueduct on the canal made with Seneca redstone — and learn how the canal and quarry's histories were intertwined. Bring your camera! You'll have plenty of time to take photographs of the distinctly rust-colored structures. We'll take a 1.5-mile hike through the woods to see Seneca Quarry. We'll climb up to see the beautiful quarry master's house, a unique structure that housed the site superintendent and is now part of Maryland's Resident Curatorship Program. The capstone of the tour is a visit to the site where the stone for the Smithsonian Castle was excavated. From there we'll hike back to the Seneca Aqueduct and wrap up our experience.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic underway, the entire tour will be conducted outdoors and in accordance with social distancing guidelines. Your host will wear a face mask and bring hand sanitizer, and guests are encouraged to wear facial coverings as well. Experiences will have no more than 10 people.
On this 2.5-hour walking tour, we’ll make our way along unpaved trails to view the ruins of Seneca Quarry, notable for producing the distinctive red sandstone used for the Smithsonian Castle and many other D.C. buildings.

We'll gather at the beautiful Seneca Aqueduct — the only aqueduct on the canal made with Seneca redstone — and learn how the canal and quarry's histories were intertwined. Bring your camera! You'll have plenty of time…

Garrett's commitment to safety

This host has committed to Airbnb’s COVID-19-related safety and cleaning guidelines – including adhering to social distancing guidelines, practising good hygiene, and ensuring that all participants wear a mask.
Learn more
From ₹2,426
/ person
Sat, 21 Nov
10:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Join 5 other guests
₹2,426 per person
₹2,426 per person

Meet your host, Garrett

Host on Airbnb since 2019
  • 23 Reviews
  • Identity verified
Hi. I'm Garrett, a member of the Atlas Obscura community.

I am an author, historian, and tour guide in the nation's capital. I discovered Seneca Quarry while I was researching a guide book about the Potomac River. Before I knew it, I was writing another book called "The Smithsonian Castle and the Seneca Quarry." It was a lot of fun to research, mostly based on archival and field research. It was like going on a treasure hunt. I can't wait to share Seneca Quarry with you!
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In partnership with Atlas Obscura

Selected by Atlas Obscura
This experience is offered directly by a member of the Atlas Obscura community and has been selected by Atlas Obscura.


Founded in 2009, Atlas Obscura is a global community of explorers, who have together created a comprehensive database of the world’s most wondrous places and foods. Community members also host their own experiences, providing special access to the world’s hidden wonders, local marvels, and gastronomical wonders.

Where you'll be

Few people know about the Seneca Quarry, as it's deep in the woods right off the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. On this fun outdoor hiking tour of a "lost" historic site, you'll explore hidden archaeological ruins and learn the amazing history of the quarry, and above all the people — including former slaves — who toiled at Seneca until it closed in 1901.

Rated 5.0 out of 5 from 23 reviews.

Imelda
February 2020
Garrett did a wonderful job in leading our group on the tour of Seneca Quarries. We really learned a lot of history from him. He was extremely knowledgeable and had a lot of in-depth information. Although it was a cold morning, Garrett kept us moving and was very conscientious about any areas we needed to be mindful of when hiking.
Garrett did a wonderful job in leading our group on the tour of Seneca Quarries. We really learned a lot of history from him. He was extremely knowledgeable and had a lot of in-d…
Ewa
February 2020
We’ve lived in the area for a very long time... and discovered something completely unknown to us. We both found it to be an amazing immersion in history while hiking through a place that is close-by and yet appears remote. A very gratifying experience.
We’ve lived in the area for a very long time... and discovered something completely unknown to us. We both found it to be an amazing immersion in history while hiking through a pla…
Karen
February 2020
This was a great tour! I love things like this. I love abandoned stuff, especially when it's just out of sight. It's even better when it comes with a helping of history. I never would have known where the stone came from for the Castle, nor would I ever have known that there were any quarries there without Garrett pointing them out. Things like this make me feel like I'm traveling again, without having to go too far from home. He made sure we were all involved in the tour & I'm super impressed he remembered all of our names for the whole 2.5 hours!
This was a great tour! I love things like this. I love abandoned stuff, especially when it's just out of sight. It's even better when it comes with a helping of history. I never wo…
B
February 2020
Garrett enthusiastically conveyed his extensive historical knowledge, and imbued in us a strong appreciation for the history and need for its preservation. Highly recommended!
Meg
February 2020
This hike was an awesome look into local history through the Seneca Quarry. Definitely a unique experience and a wonderful way to spend a Saturday outside!
Thomas
February 2020
Garrett is a superb tour guide and very knowledgeable! His tour is very well researched and is full of details you cannot simply find online. If you want to find an experience off the beaten path, this is it.

Choose from available dates

1 available
  • Sat, 21 Nov
    10:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    Join 5 other guests
    ₹2,426 per person

Activity advisory

Expert industry partners
Every adventure follows industry guidelines. We partnered with the Adventure Travel Trade Association, expert leaders in adventure travel, to define best practices and standards for safety.
Know your comfort level
Please note that outdoor activities carry risks, and you may be exposed to dangerous situations as part of this experience. Make sure you can participate safely given your abilities and the conditions (such as location, weather, and equipment).

Things to know

Cancellation policy

Any experience can be cancelled and fully refunded within 24 hours of purchase, or at least 7 days before the experience starts.

Guest requirements

Up to 10 guests ages 18 and up can attend. Parents may also bring children under 2 years of age.

More tips

This event will run rain or shine.

What to bring

Water

Snack