My wife and I have always loved Western Maryland. Only a three-hour drive from Washington and Baltimore, Garrett County is an ideal weekend getaway. In the winter, there is skiing and playing in the snow at Wisp Mountain Resort. And in the spring, summer, and fall, there are so many things to do and see that it’s impossible to pack everything into only one trip.
For fun on the water, the 3,900-acre Deep Creek Lake is a boater’s paradise. Kayak and canoe excursions and rentals are available. There are pontoon boat tours, fishing trips, and water skiing and wakeboarding lessons. Or, try stand up paddle boarding along the banks of this extensive mountain lake.
Next, challenge the whitewater at Adventure Sports Center International — the world’s only mountain-top artificial whitewater course. Pumps generating a flow of up to 250,000 gallons per minute and hydraulically operated flaps tune the water to run from Class II to Class IV along the circular, one-third-mile course. The center offers guided two-hour rafting trips, single-person inflatable kayak (“duckie”) instruction and rentals, and whitewater kayaking classes. You can also attempt the course on a river board, riding through the torrents of water on basically a boogie board, face first, through the rapids.
Off the water, adventures continue at ASCI with rock-climbing classes on 60-foot-high cliffs, and mountain biking and hiking within the Fox Run Recreation Area. The county features state parks with miles and miles of hiking trails in serene and verdant forested mountains.
Wisp Resort’s varied offerings
At Wisp Resort, warm weather activities include mountain biking down trails adjacent the ski slopes, geocaching, disc golf, and scenic chair lift rides.
For an absolute hoot, take a mountain Segway tour. Ride up and down the slopes and through the woods atop a Segway specially fit with large, knobby tires. It’s just plain fun. Or, scream down through the woods on the Mountain Coaster. This gravity-fed coaster allows riders to careen along 1,300 vertical feet of serpentine metal track in individual cars. Brakes may be used to control velocity through the twisting turns. But, for maximum fun, don’t touch those brakes! Wisp also now boasts three aerial adventure parks.
For those looking to enjoy the treasures of the county at a slower pace, the charming town of Oakland is a great place to unwind with cafés, antique shops, boutiques, and a wine bar.
You can simply enjoy the fresh air and gorgeous scenery while playing golf. Wisp Resort has two courses — the Fantasy Valley Course, which is ranked one of the “Top 100 Must Play Courses in the Mid- Atlantic,” and the Lodestone Course designed by top golfer Irwin Hale.
No matter what your budget, Garrett County can accommodate with discounted family hotel packages at Wisp, camp sites and RV areas, rental cabins, and a variety of bed-and-breakfast locations. A wide array of mountain and lakeside houses and condos also are available to rent.
For more information
Garrett Co. Tourism: visitdeepcreek.com