Heading down the towpath from Cumberland, the Spring Gap Post Office is a short trip up Md. Route 51 from the drive-in campsite/picnic area that shares its name (mi. 173.37). Driving down the road, this piece of Americana caught my eye for two reasons: I’m (obviously) pretty enthusiastic about the nearby C&O Canal NHP, and I’m also a city letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. If you’re as absent-minded as I am, accidentally placing your unposted bills in your pannier or backpack isn’t entirely out of the question. The solution? Take your mail to the Spring Gap Post Office and put it in the handy, dandy collection box! If this reads like a commercial, I apologize.
Back in October, the NPS was forced to close the C&O for sixteen days because of government cutbacks, and the USPS hasn’t fared much better. Many small post offices have been closed in recent years, and I was very pleased to see that this one is still open–although business hours are kind of bare bones: 2-4 pm Monday-through-Friday and 9am til noon on Saturday. There are two boxes on the front porch; one is for collections and the other is a relay box. I’m unsure whether the mail placed in the relay box is for PO boxes inside the building or left for a rural carrier to sort before delivery. Perhaps it’s both. The wooden arrows on the far right post point to the federal prison and local jail heading west, and Oldtown and Paw Paw heading east. Who says postal workers don’t have a sense of humor?