Garrett County, Md., justly boasts excitement and discovery 365 days of the year with 90,000 acres of public land, seven state parks, and two state forests ensuring there is never a boring or slow time as the calendar turns from season to season.
An estimated 1.1 million visitors annually play on and around Deep Creek Lake in all seasons. They climb, ski, boat, fish, ice skate, fly on snow boards, and even thrill to whitewater rafting.
Add to all of this one indisputable truth: Garrett County is at its most stunning when wearing fall colors. And, there are plenty of activities to enjoy along with the natural scenery.
The Deep Creek Lake Art and Wine Festival kicks off the seasonal calendar Sept. 9–11 in McHenry. This three-day celebration benefits the HART for Animals, along with the Garrett Lakes Art Festival. Friday’s big opening takes place in several local restaurants with wine-pairing dinners.
Saturday and Sunday, the party moves to the Garrett County Fairgrounds, where tastings of more than 200 local and national wines delight the pallets of newbie and connoisseur alike. When not sipping, visitors can browse and purchase the works of regional artists that include handcrafted wood works, jewelry, pottery, and oil paintings. No need to leave the grounds for a bite to eat. Artisan foods are available to be eaten to the strains of live entertainment.
“This festival has grown into one of the top events in Garrett County,” said co-chair Paula Yudelevit. “Guests love the laid-back grass-roots atmosphere of the fairgrounds.”
Insider tip: Festival lodging packages are available in local hotels and bed-and-breakfast establishments.
Celebrating autumn glory
Few words in the English language conjure such beauty in the mind’s eye as “autumn glory.” So, in this county of unparalleled natural splendor, why not have a festival to celebrate it?
The 49th Autumn Glory Festival takes place Oct. 12–16 at multiple locations.
“The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce puts on the Grand Feature Parade on Saturday of Autumn Glory, the craft show at the Garrett County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall and the … kickoff reception at Wisp Resort,” said the chamber’s Sarah Duck.
“The Oakland Volunteer Fire Department puts on the Thursday Oktoberfest and Fireman’s Parade and the town of Oakland puts on the Maryland State Banjo, Mandolin and Fiddle Championships on Friday and Saturday night.”
Additionally, the festival features fall foliage driving tours, concerts, art exhibits, the Maryland Tournament of Bands, and antique and craft shows. According to Duck, in 2015 “… Good Housekeeping listed Oakland as one of 50 small towns across America with the most beautiful fall foliage.”
Lori Zalgoa, who promotes Wisp Resort, said fall is “… my favorite season in Garrett County. There’s just nothing like those warm days with deep blue skies, followed by cool, crisp evenings that warrant a sweatshirt and fire.”
The resort offers fall golfing on Loadstone Golf Course, pontoon boat tours, scenic chairlift rides, and whitewater rafting at Adventure Sports Center International.
The beautiful fall foliage continues to form the backdrop for exploring other county offerings, such as the Mountain Fresh Farmers Markets every Wednesday through Saturday through Oct. 29.
Garrett Co. Tourism: visitdeepcreek.com
Wisp Resort: wispresort.com