One of my favorite places on earth is “Fair Hill” park in northeastern Maryland. Technically “Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area” this 6000+ acres of rolling countryside was assembled by William duPont, Jr. in the 20th century so he had adequate space to foxhunt and train racehorses. The state thankfully purchased it from his estate, creating one of the most amazing blocks of open land in the mid-Atlantic. Today about 5700 acres are park, with the remainder Fair Hill Training Center.
The park is an equestrian playground and competition site also open to hikers, bikers, and hunters. Long hosting the Fair Hill International 3 day event, in 2021 it hosted the first Maryland 5 Star, bringing the world’s highest level of eventing competition to Maryland! This is one of only 7 events in the world with this caliber of competition, and it’s incredible to have it so close.
Normally at Fair Hill, we’re too busy screwing off to take pictures, but I have collected a few over the years…
The varied terrain of vast fields intermixed with woods–plus all the bridges and tunnels–make for lots of fun driving and riding.
The arena in the background used to host the show jumping phase of the FHI*** while the driving hazard was used for the Elk Creek CDEs. Now the Maryland 5* has a completely new show-jumping arena inside the steeplechase track, and an expansive new cross country course designed by Ian Stark. I’m going to miss the old cross country course–at least I could easily find my way around!
The old red marathon carriage was just one of several that friends and I have thoroughly worn out. Too bad we don’t have a record of all the miles and hours driven to our vehicles.
I know there are other pictures floating around of both riding and driving at Fair Hill. Will keep an eye out for them!