Of the many ways of crossing the Potomac (or its North Branch), two of our favorites are the Oldtown Toll Bridge and White’s Ferry. The Oldtown Bridge is reportedly the last privately owned toll bridge in the United States. It was built in the 1930s and has changed owners several times, and current owner John Teter purchased the bridge for $66,000 in 2004. It is a wooden, low-water structure that looks a bit rickety, but a couple of locals have vouched for its safety. There is a railroad tie manufacturer on the West Virginia side, and many heavy trucks cross the bridge regularly. Those biking through Oldtown can take a short side trip from Lock 70 (mm 167) to see this piece of Americana. The current rates are 50 cents per-crossing (in a car!), and locals can purchase a monthly pass for $14.
White’s Ferry is the only operating ferry crossing on the Potomac River. It’s located six miles west of Poolesville, Maryland near Mile Marker 35 on the C&O Canal. Following the Civil War, Confederate office Elijah White purchased the ferry and named his boat after his commanding officer, General Jubal Early. White’s Ferry is also home to a small snack bar & grill that caters to hikers and bikers on the towpath. In June of 2011, the grill was closed because a prior flood had tainted the water supply. Thus, we took this picture while snacking on tuna and crackers while taking five along the river. I sure could have used that 10 oz. burger! The ferry takes all kinds of travelers and vehicles across the river, including cars ($5, $8 round trip), bicycles ($2), and pedestrians ($1), and there is generally a line on both sides of the river that keeps the skipper busy. (Photos are courtesy of our sister site www.pollythetravelfrog.com)