The mountain air sparkles with crisp snow. Tree-capped slopes wear a blanket of the blinding white powder perfect for downhill skiing, a cross-country jaunt, or just simply to admire from the warmth of a cozy lodge. No, this isn't the Swiss Alps. Welcome to western Maryland.
The area doesn't cower inside waiting for Old Man Winter to blow over. Rather, visitors will find a host of activities, shopping, and dining to keep them entertained. Follow these suggestions for a weekend of fun.
Look at a map of Maryland--you're going as far westward as possible without driving straight into West Virginia. Town names such as Friendsville and Accident will let you know you're getting near home base for the weekend, Deep Creek Lake. You'll have to drive here, but you may shorten your trip by opting to fly into either Pittsburgh or Baltimore/Washington International. Expect a two-hour drive from Pittsburgh. Add another hour if you land in Baltimore. Either way, try to rent a four-wheel-drive car. While most roads are well-plowed, some of the more remote restaurants and state parks may be easier to get to with that option.
Head straight for the Lake Pointe Inn; 1-800-523-5253. The area around Deep Creek Lake is peppered with good motels, hotels, lodges, and bed-and-breakfasts, most of which can be found on www.garrettchamber.com. But the Lake Pointe Inn is our favorite, even though rates range from $163 to $249 per night. Trust us, it's worth it. Stroll into the historic home, and chances are you'll be greeted by a crackling fire and a glass of wine. Upstairs there are eight charming rooms and two suites, some offering steam showers, whirlpool tubs, fireplaces, down comforters, and magnificent views of the lake.
Eat dinner across the street at the Wisp at Deep Creek Mountain Resort's DC's Restaurant; (301) 387-4911, ext. 2165. Okay, this restaurant does have a certain Swiss Miss feel, but the steaks, seafood, and hearty desserts will take the chill out of the evening. Entrées cost up to $24.95.