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On a recent vacation, we visited a bed and breakfast that provided a series of walk/run routes of the area. It was a great way to see the sights while enjoying some exercise.

But why wait until you're on vacation to take advantage of this concept? With the help of Sarah Carias, fitness director of the Westminster Family Center gym, you can stroll your way to fitness while partaking downtown's great streets.

Of course, some diversions are included to help distract you from your hard efforts while enjoying all that Westminster has to offer. Please note that the route distances are estimated with accuracy by Carias. Alas, in spite of her best efforts, her timing of these routes is derailed by the field trips suggested in this article.

Be warned that a 45-minute stroll could become an all day shopping fest.

McDaniel Overlook

This route is approximately three miles and should take about 45 minutes walking.

From the Westminster Family Center at Longwell Avenue, complete one lap around the City Park. You can even begin your walk after a set of tennis on the courts.

After your lap, move to Main Street. On your route you can check out Nancy's Gifts, then stop to get your ring cleaned at Pomeroy's jewelers while picking out some jewelry.

Browse at the Hidden Pearl or ArtWorks and Apparel Boutique for clothing you'll wear now that you're in such great shape. Buy some soap to clean up with after your walk at Arts & Hearts. A favorite is the shop's aromatic bath bombs. Grab a book at Locust Books to relax in the tub with after your workout.

Now that you're refreshed with shopping and browsing, it's time to get down to business. Take a left onto Bond Street and right onto Green Street and follow Green to New Windsor Pike.

(To add some steps to your walk, instead take a left onto Green Street to check out the new finds at the Hickory Stick and Olde Liberty Shoppe. Then double back to Green Street in the "right" direction.)

At New Windsor Pike, take a left onto Ridge Road, follow to end and then double back and take a right onto Old New Windsor Pike.McDaniel College is right in front of you.

For extra steps, walk through the campus. It's an amazing place. Then take Main Street back toward Longwell Avenue. Stop at the Arts Center and check out its fall class schedule -- there's certainly something for everyone.

Stop by Ain't That a Frame and see breathtaking American craft and visual art. Make a left onto Longwell and a right onto Paide Way, which is the Westminster Family Center's parking lot.

Hospital Hop

This route is about 3.5 miles in length and should take 50 to 55 minutes for moderate walkers.

From Westminster Family Center make a right onto Longwell Avenue. Take a right onto Willis Street, then a right onto Court Street.

You can continue by crossing over Main Street, or take a stroll down the other side of Main Street and check out A Little Bit of Tuscany, the city's newest Italian destination.

Walk a bit further and check out Sidetracked behind the library.

From Court Street, head west on Main Street. Make a right onto Center Street. If you're hungry, Rooney's Café is right in front of you -- why not take a break and have a snack? Once you've rested sufficiently, continue onto Center Street until you reach Carroll Hospital Center.

At the hospital, take a left at the four-way stop sign onto Gist Road. Make a left onto Washington Road and then a left onto Green Street.

Take a right on Center Street, cross over Main Street. Take a left onto Willis Street. Take another left onto Longwell Avenue, and your route is complete.

Now that you're right by the Westminster Family Center, why not stop in? The gym has a variety of classes including cycling, pilates, yoga and aerobics, plus personal training and lots of weights and equipment. It's a fun and convenient place to work out right downtown.

Happy walking, have fun, and we'll see you around downtown.


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