Welcome to Sugarloaf Regional Trails

We are here to help you enjoy the historic features of the Montgomery County, Maryland, and Sugarloaf Mountain rural areas. 

We recommend different trails, or paths (we call them Trail Guides). You can follow these in your car, on foot, or even in a canoe. Along each trail, we describe important and interesting historical features on your way, and give you as much (or as little!) information as you wish.

Mission Statement

Since its creation in 1974, Sugarloaf Regional Trails has focused on conservation of the cultural landscape in rural Montgomery County. Financed entirely by grants and donations from individuals and businesses, the non-profit corporation has conducted cultural research and educational activities, published historic theme trail guides and books and held conferences pertaining to preservation and environmental issues. Working with over 200 volunteers, SRT researched and published The Inventory of Historic Sites in Montgomery County which led to an ordinance and master plan for preservation.

The objectives of the organization are to educate the public about the Potomac highland region. Membership is open to everyone who is interested.

Remembering Peg Coleman

Sugarloaf Regional Trails President Margaret (“Peg”) Coleman would have turned 88 on August 5, 2017, so this seems like a fitting time to remember her and acknowledge how much we miss her. Peg died peacefully at her home in Boyds on October 7, 2016, after a short illness and a long, active, generous and productive life.

A Medicine Bundle Prepared by Mervin Savoy
Former Chair of the Piscataway Conoy Tribe
At the Time of Peg's Passing

Grandfather, today we return your daughter Peg to you.
We send her heavenly spirit to Father Sky with the air, wind, thunder, lightning and rain.
She travels with the four winds, she visits the four directions as she makes her journey home.
We give to her: Tobacco so her spirit may be cleansed,
The downy thistle to rest her head,
Cedar bough to lay her body after her long journey,
Sage to clear her mind of all she left behind,
Sweetgrass to nourish her soul,
The three sisters: corn, beans and squash so she may feast at journey's end,
A turtle so she may continue her chosen path,
A deer so her gentleness may go with her,
Wild turkey and blue heron feathers so she may speak to the spirits,
These things we gift her family so they may know she has found peace at her journey's end.

Because we considered Peg a FIRE CHILD, one who brings together people, ideas and determination, We, the Piscataway Conoy Tribe bestow ths medicine bundle in her name. Please know we considered Peg a true friend, one who did everything she could to bring about the hstory and appreciation of Maryland's indigenous people.

The turtle is considered a religious symbol; no matter what you do to assist it in its journey, it will start over and continue the way it wants; that determination is what has kept the turtle one of the oldest reptiles on earth. Amongst Native people the earth was created on the back of a turtle.

The deer is considered a gentle provider,
The wild turkey was the speaker,
The blue heron was our guide to fresh water and its many bounties.

We hope you will keep this as a reminder of our great friendship for Peg.

Mervin Savoy
Former Chair of the Piscataway Conoy Tribe

Volunteer, Teacher, Historian, Author, and Leader

Peg was one of the early members of SRT, joining the staff as a volunteer coordinator and teacher in the 1970s, when SRT had an office in a little white cottage at the foot of Sugarloaf Mountain and was headed by Montgomery County historians Fred Gutheim, Gail Rothrock, and Eileen McGuckian. Eventually, Peg was elected president of SRT, and she served in that role for many years, typically hosting the group’s quarterly meetings in her spacious kitchen over an array of her home-made sandwiches, salads, cookies and cakes.

As president, Peg worked with SRT board members to pursue grants for the group’s ongoing projects, including the annual Heritage Montgomery Days summer events and a series of trail guides to upcounty historical sites. The trail guides were initially based on SRT’s excellent 1999 book, “Circling Historic Landscapes,” but new guides were added over the years and they have been posted on this website.

Peg was the inspiration and chief driver behind the group’s most recent trail guide, “The Native American Heritage Trail Guide,” which was dedicated to Maryland’s Piscataway Conoy Indian Tribe, and which noted the tribe’s deep connections to rural Montgomery County. In two consecutive years Peg also facilitated SRT-sponsored performances and presentations by Maryland Piscataways along the C&O Canal during Heritage Montgomery Days.

While Peg shared so much of her time, energy, and wisdom with SRTers, she somehow managed to make an amazing number of other valuable contributions to the community. She was a member of Montgomery County Historical Society, the Maryland Historical Trust’s Montgomery County Committee, Peerless Rockville, the Historic Medley District, the Monocacy Garden Club, the Sugarloaf Citizens Association, the Montgomery Countryside Alliance, and the Boyds Presbyterian Church. Peg founded the Boyds Historical Society, the Montgomery County Farm Tour and Harvest Sale, and Countryside Artisans. She worked to preserve and restore the Boyds Negro School.

In 2008, Peg deservedly received one of the county’s most cherished prizes, the Montgomery Countryside Alliance’s Royce Hanson Award, recognizing her outstanding commitment to protection of the Montgomery County’s famed Agricultural Reserve. In 2012, on behalf of SRT, Peg worked with MCA and other stakeholders to organize the “Farming at Metro’s Edge” conference, a day-long event at the Universities of Shady Grove in Germantown that highlighted the history, accomplishments, and ideas for the future protection of the Ag Reserve.

Peg was also an historian and author, lecturing frequently on local history, and publishing four books—“Montgomery County: A Pictorial History,” “Paul of Montgomery,” “Mama Wears Two Aprons,” and “Around Germantown.”

Inn-keeping, Farming, and Tending to Her Family

In 1980, Peg and Jim bought thirty acres of farmland in Boyds and built their lovely home. On the property was an abandoned cabin built in 1768, which Peg lovingly restored and operated for many years as a bed and breakfast called “Pleasant Springs Farm,” hosting guests from all over the world, serving delicious breakfasts, and even putting together wedding celebrations in the spectacular garden adjacent to the cabin.

Peg was also a farmer! She raised dairy goats and sheep in the field surrounding her charming pond, and she tended to chickens and collected their eggs in a chicken coop she built herself.

Somehow Peg also managed to have a rich and rewarding personal and family life along the way! She was born on Aug. 5, 1929, in Forsyth, Montana, but grew up in Snohomish, Washington. She lived for some years in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and with her first husband Robert Bivins had three kids, Robert Bivens and Ann Stevenson of Albuquerque, and Sarah Bivins of Mars, North Carolina. In 1964, she married James Coleman. They had a daughter Susan Ewing, of Takoma Park, Maryland, and eventually moved to Maryland. Peg was an active mom and grandma to both her local and far-flung family members, frequently traveling west and south to mark their milestones, or bringing them to Boyds for those celebrations. Peg and Jim were married for 50 years when he passed away in 2014.

Two of Peg’s daughters shared special thoughts about their mom. Susan Ewing said, “I miss her greatly and sometimes unexpectedly,” such as this year when the Fourth of July came along and there was no picnic with her. “Her potato salad is hard to replace,” Susan admitted. She recalled with shame the day that she, at age 12, accidentally broke off the top of Peg’s prized blue delphinium just as they were about to enter the flower into the Montgomery County Fair. Susan remembered her mom’s “obsession with using live traps to catch mice,” and how she once tricked her mom by tripping a trap with a paper cup. “I miss how she loved the holidays and was determined to make them fun,” Susan said.

Perhaps reflecting Peg’s later exploration of Montgomery County’s Piscataway Conoy history, Susan also noted that her mom was friends with Dr. Lionel deMontigny, the first Native American Assistant U.S. Surgeon General. DeMontigny was not fully accepted in the Colemans’ neighborhood, but Peg welcomed him, according to Susan. Peg always recalled with regret “the way Indians were stigmatized,” when she was a child in Washington State, Susan said.

You may have memories of Peg that you would like to contribute to this tribute. Feel free to write them down and send them to SRT president Chet Anderson at chetvet@aol.com or SRT secretary Carol Oberdorfer at coberdorferagain@gmail.com.

Introducing Our New Native American
Trail Guide

Please click here to
download this brochure!

On our website, you can choose among our fifteen Trail Guides, read selected trail guides, and download both a full or shortened version for your own use. Each Guide includes a map of the trail, as well as text, drawings, and pictures. You can even consult the website on your mobile phone for guidance from the trail - just click here!

Our website also includes other features, including access to a database of interesting materials, books, and many more photographs.

The guides are free, and carry no obligation. We do welcome comments and suggestions about the guides by phone or email and we always welcome new volunteers to help develop more trails!

We hope you enjoy your adventure in the country!


Peg Coleman, President
Sugarloaf Regional Trails

Watch the video
"A Fatal Beauty"

Funding for Sugarloaf Regional Trails
provided in part by
Heritage Montgomery
Maryland Heritage Area
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visit our blog.