Romance meets adventure in the mountains of Garrett County

Matthew Graham

Deep Creek Lake mirrors the autumn colors of Western Maryland’s mountains. (Garrett Co. Tourism)

The Deep Creek Lake area, including the small town of Oakland, has been voted one of the Top 15 Honeymoon Destinations in the United States by TripAdvisor. And the simple reason is that Deep Creek and its surroundings are breathtakingly beautiful. 

But, you don’t need to be on a honeymoon to experience this scenic splendor. It’s a perfect spot for any romantic weekend getaway. 

Start by booking a room at one of the many charming inns, such as the North Glade Inn or the Haley Farm Inn and Retreat Center. Haley Farm is set on 65 acres of idyllic farmland and includes sumptuous suites, some with hot tubs and fireplaces. It specializes in weekend packages with yoga, meditation, and spa treatments. 

Or, escape to a cabin in the woods. Deep Creek features a seemingly endless variety of cabins with mountain or lake views for lovers who want to get away from it all. Check out Railey Mountain Lake Vacations or Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations. 

For a truly unique experience, book a yurt at the Savage River Lodge. These luxurious tent-like structures include radiant heated floors, king-sized beds, gas fireplace, skylights, and private decks. It’s glamorous camping, otherwise known as “glamping.”

Adventure on the water

Once at Deep Creek Lake, a world of adventure awaits. 

The Adventure Sports Center International operates the world’s only mountaintop manmade whitewater course, and guided rafting trips are offered. The “river,” which runs for a third of a mile, includes a conveyor belt at the end of the loop to allow repeated trips through rapids that can be tuned from class I to IV. 

Pumps can generate a flow of 250,000 gallons per minute, and hydraulically operated flaps, at the base of the manmade river, raise and lower to alter the torrent of water. With this ability to control the flow of the water, each time through the circuit presents new challenges as the rafts buck and twist and turn atop the torrents of whitewater. The final rapid drops several feet into a catch pool — here paddlers are encouraged to jettison out of the raft for a little airtime before splashing down into the pool. 

The center also offers single person rafts, or duckies, kayaking instruction, and river boarding — an opportunity to tackle the rapids face first on a boogie board. Off the water, ASCI leads guided hikes and geocaching excursions, as well as rock climbing and rappelling classes on 50-foot-tall cliffs at the nearby Fork Run.

At the adjacent Wisp Four Seasons Resort, couples can catch a thrill on the mountain coaster. Riders zoom down 1,300 vertical feet on the coaster’s serpentine metal track. High excitement continues at the Flying Squirrel aerial zip line course. The fun and challenging ropes course includes five zip lines, ranging in length from 180 to 400 feet. 

Couples looking for a little less of an adrenaline pumping experience can try a mountain Segway tour, riding the Segways up and down the ski slopes and into the woods. Or, chill out on the 3,900-acre Deep Creek Lake in a kayak or on a paddleboard. 

Deep Creek Lake also is a place you can be content while doing nothing. Sit on the balcony or deck with your special someone and take in the view. It’s simply gorgeous most any time of the year, but fall brings a special splendor to the Western Maryland mountains.

Don’t miss the 50th annual Autumn Glory Festival, Oct. 11–15. The festival includes parades, concerts, bands, a corn maze, car and crafts shows, and pumpkin chucking. It’s a great way to welcome the season.

For more information

Garrett Co. Tourism: visitdeepcreek.com 

 

 

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