Riding Trails and a Hewn-Log Barn
Greenwell State Park is the site of a fascinating complex of 19th-century farm structures: three interconnecting buildings that include two tobacco barns, a stable, corn crib and granary. The oldest section is a log tobacco barn built by John F. Sims in 1838 of hand-hewn logs, long before sawmills came into existence. The barn, now known as the Sims-Bond barn, is historically and architecturally significant. Originally a tobacco barn, the Sims-Bond barn was adapted for use as a stable by Dr. Walter Hanson Briscoe. The National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2004 named the barn to its list of the most endangered historic resources in America.
It’s clear that horses have long been a part of this property’s history, and they remain the central attraction to the park today. As an official Horse Discovery Center, as designated by the Maryland Horse Industry Board, it attracts visitors and riders of all ages and abilities. And it offers a unique therapeutic horseback riding program, one of the longest-running in the region.
Long before the Americans with Disabilities Act, John Phillip Greenwell envisioned a place where people with disabilities could come and experience the beauty of nature and the joy of outdoor recreation. In 1971, he donated his 166-acre farm to the State of Maryland. The state subsequently purchased the adjacent 430-acre Bond property, and joined the two to form the existing Greenwell Park. The park is managed in partnership with The Greenwell Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing outdoor accessible recreation.
Greenwell Park features a unique equestrian program. Veterans, active duty military and first-responders experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are served through its therapeutic riding program and through equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP) in partnership with Operation Warrior Refuge. It serves children and adults with and without disabilities through horseback riding lessons, camps for children, one-time rides, group rides and bucket list fulfillment.
The facility is open to the public during park operating hours (sunrise to sunset). A $3 parking fee supports the foundation’s programs. Additionally, Open Barn hours are held every Saturday morning, which allow people to visit, learn, ask questions and get a close-up view of riding lessons. Find out more at Greenwell’s website.