“Take Me Home, Country Roads” was inspired by Clopper Road in Gaithersburg and Germantown. Though some believe the name of the song was going to be “Take Me Home, Clopper Road,” that has been confirmed to be untrue. Bill Danoff was inspired to write “Take Me Home, Country Roads” as he drove on Clopper Road in Gaithersburg (then a country road) on his way to a family reunion with his then-girlfriend Taffy Nivert, who also helped with the song (the duo was known as Fat City).
He and John Denver sang the song together the next night and recorded it the following Monday. Danoff has confirmed that Clopper Rd. was the inspiration in various interviews. Our featured photo is a shot of Clopper Road in 1945, courtesy of Steve Michaels. It looks a little different than the road that is part of Exit 10 on I-270 today.
A short section of the old Clopper Road is still in use today. It is the start of the Great Seneca Trail from the office parking lot in Seneca Creek State Park, 11950 Clopper Road, Gaithersburg. The stone footings for the old bridge are still visible at the creek, engulfed in brush.
Just saw a story on NBC4 about this. It’s an urban legend. They had Bill Danoff on and he said it had nothing to do with Clipper Road. Just country roads in general.
Danoff himself cited Clopper Road: Songwriter Bill Danoff, in a 1997 article he wrote for The Washington Post (in tribute to Denver, who’d just died), said he had begun writing the song while driving to a family reunion along Clopper Road, near Gaithersburg. He and his future wife, Taffy Nivert, completed the song in December 1970 with Denver’s help. “Back then,” Danoff wrote, Clopper Road “was still a country road.” (It isn’t anymore, apparently, thanks to development over the past 49 years.)
Here is a link to the audio clip of Bill Danoff on WTOP, specifically saying that Clopper Road was the inspiration for the song: https://wtop.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/jaffesong.mp3