Once known as both Mt. Pleasant and Frost Town, Frostburg came into being thanks to the National Road, which carried early 1800s travelers along an east-west corridor, past a small log home built by city founder Meshach Frost. The community became a stagecoach stop offering weary travelers drink and rest at local taverns and the service of blacksmith shops, or “smithies,” as they were commonly called. Soon coal and the railroad made Frostburg a commercial center for mining. By the early 1900s, it was also home to State Normal School #2 – today Frostburg State University.
The university’s first building, Old Main, could be seen from one of the town’s earliest homes – a stately brick structure inspired by Greek revival Italianate architecture. Constructed in 1865 by Henry B. Shaffer, the prominent Frostburg businessman and citizen made a home there with his large family. Several of his ten children remained long after Henry’s passing in 1897.
Today this wonderful old home – well known as the “Shaffer House” – still stands at 156 East Main Street. Registered as a historic property, it is finding new life as the Allegheny Trail House, Frostburg’s first and only farm-to- table bed and breakfast. The home is located in historic downtown Frostburg – within walking distance to the FSU campus, unique restaurants, shops and, yes, a “tavern” or two. Best of all, it is a short pedal from the Great Allegheny Passage, with the local trailhead situated just a half-mile or so from the B&B.
Whether by bicycle or automobile, once you’ve arrived in our community, Jes and Jason will be on hand to make sure your stay at the Allegheny Trail House is one you’ll remember – and an experience you’ll wish to return for again! The couple purchased the home in 2016 with a desire to showcase Frostburg’s beauty and history. Jes, an FSU alumna and owner of Shift, a farm-to- table, bicycle-themed eatery on Broadway Street, just a short jaunt from the B&B, moved to Frostburg in 2000. Calling Allegany County home since 2008, her husband Jason manages the Cumberland Trail Connection, a bicycle shop located at Cumberland’s Canal Place, where the C&O Trail meets the Great Allegheny Passage. Jason, a member of the Mountain Maryland Trails board and CTC race team, often describes his wife as a “serial entrepreneur.” She’ll admit this is true. Yet she fell in love with Frostburg on day one, and her dream since then has been to not only make this college community her home but to go one step – or maybe pedal! – further by stitching her own life into its distinctive fabric.
All these years removed from yet linked to its simple beginnings, Frostburg today offers what could be called “the perfect patchwork mix” of sorts – small town charm coupled with the cultural benefits most often known only to residents of more urban communities. Once welcoming stagecoach travelers, it now invites bicyclists making their way along the Great Allegheny Passage. In an interesting twist of fate, Jes and Jason, as resident hosts of the Allegheny Trail House, reside just down the street from where Meshach and his bride once made their home in the small log structure built on Frostburg’s “Lot 1.” They are most happy to open the doors of their B&B to each and every guest and, in welcoming them to stay and rest a while, provide an insider’s perspective on all that makes their town so special.