Frostburg, Maryland, Is the Sleepy Mountain Escape We All Need Right Now
Once a thriving mining hub, this tiny college town now lures with its Allegheny Mountain vistas and historic charm.
Spend a weekend in Frostburg, Maryland, and it's easy to see why locals and visitors alike instantly dig it. Wrapped by panoramas of rolling green, the quiet escape is tucked away in the Allegheny Mountains on the sliver of Western Maryland's panhandle that separates Pennsylvania from West Virginia. (Throw a stone from its epicenter and you could practically hit each one.) Home to a quaint, brick-lined downtown and a state university that shares its name, the mountain town getaway also boasts a rich and diverse arts and culture scene.
But Frostburg wasn't always so charming. Centuries ago, the town grew up around the National Road—the nation's first federally funded highway—and quickly became a commercial hub for the coal industry. Its mining roots are still evident in the town today, with 19th and 20th century relics—from an old train depot to former homes of coal magnates—lining Main Street and beyond.
It's that history, coupled with its natural assets, that makes Frostburg the perfect recipe for a blissful weekend away. Ready to plan your trip? Add these activities, restaurants, and stays to your bucket list.
What To Do
With cool springs that stretch into mild summers and kaleidoscopic autumns, Frostburg is the ideal destination to get outdoors. The Great Allegheny Passage—a 150-mile nature trail that stretches from nearby Cumberland all the way to Pittsburgh—cuts right through town. Grab a bike or your hiking shoes and hit the pavement for some of the best mountain views around. For something a little tamer, wander the grounds of Frostburg State University and make a pit stop at the school arboretum.
Here for the culture? Meander down Main Street to window shop a variety of eclectic art and retail shops. The General Art Store is a mom-and-pop outpost offering art supplies as well as works depicting the local landscape. Up the road, Western Maryland Gallery showcases artist James C. Groves' well-known oil paintings. In the evenings, catch an indie flick at The Palace Theatre, a vintage Frostburg landmark.
History buffs looking to explore the town's 19th and 20th century roots have no shortage of stops. The Frostburg Museum on Main Street (set in an old schoolhouse) displays a collection of memorabilia, including instruments from the town's 19th-century community band, along with a replica of a working coal mine. Nearby, you can hop on a historic steam engine at the Frostburg Depot, a once-thriving railroad hub, and explore more early modes of transportation at the Thrasher Carriage Museum, which hosts one of the top collections of horse-drawn vehicles.
What to Eat
Continue your historic tour with a stop at the longstanding Princess Restaurant, whose claim to fame is that President and Mrs. Harry S. Truman once dined here in the '50s. (Request the Truman booth for a real thrill.) You'll find casual fare and Old West vibes in the Sand Springs Saloon & Steakhouse; for something a little more posh, The Toasted Goat offers house-made wines and Chesapeake crab. Of course, what college town would be complete without craft beer? Find local brews on tap, plus stuffed sandwiches and hand-cut fries, at the Main Street Pub.
Where To Stay
In the heart of Main Street, Hotel Gunter boasts a long and storied history. Built in 1897, the building has housed guest suites along with a café, barbershop, petting zoo, and jail. Renovated in the '80s, the hotel now offers 12 rooms, a restaurant, shop, and ballroom for hosting weddings. Another Frostburg relic, Allegheny Trail House Bed & Breakfast sits in the former 1865-built home of a once-prominent businessman. Because of its proximity to the Great Allegheny Passage trailhead, it's a popular outpost for adventure seekers.