My husband surprised me with a weekend away to celebrate the end of my 20’s and hello to my 30’s. A week ago I declared that August was my “Birthday Month,” and while he rolled his eyes and chuckled at my high-maintenanceness (is that a word?), he literally could not have made my leap into a new decade anymore special. Shout out – Thank you, Nathan!
We did not stray too far for our little getaway but being far was not necessary when you have natural beauty like Deep Creek Lake nearby. Plus, when you couple all this beauty and vacation lifestyle with great friends and family, you have yourself one fabulous birthday weekend celebration that makes you feel all special inside.
I have always enjoyed this part of Maryland. The deep forests, the 65 miles of water serenity shorelines and the small vacation town feel that makes city goers flock to its surroundings.
We tend to take for granted what is ours or right before us. While Deep Creek Lake is not mine, it has always felt like home. It was where I spent countless winters and summers growing up. It is where I landed my first “big girl” job. It is where I learned to drive white knuckled in Western Maryland snow and it is where Nathan and I eventually agreed upon as our wedding day location. So many fabulous memories are bubbled up in this region. It gives me all the wonderful feelings of happiness, comfort and windblown hair.
Deep Creek Lake is no longer a grand secret! Oh no. People travel from Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Washington DC and everywhere in-between and all around to scoop up a little slice of this heaven. However, as a semi-local, I feel like there are still some hidden gems that need revealed.
Deep Creek Lake, MD – Hidden Gems:
1. Deep Creek Doughnuts – This is a NEW dining location. Open daily from 7 am to 2 pm, Deep Creek Doughnuts is situated near the ever-so popular Lakeside Creamery (by the way their cake batter ice cream is delicious). Doughnuts are made to your customized order. You will wait a bit before you finally get your hands on your dozen or two. So, be prepared for that. Hungry kids may lose their cool. But, if you do not mind a wait, you can watch your doughnut be made through a glass window that displays the fry machine. Staffers then hand dip the doughnuts into your ordered coating and then complete with your topping choice. Hint – Try the Maple Bacon and Vanilla Fruity Pebbles. Yummy!
2. Whitewater Rafting – The world’s only mountaintop re-circulating whitewater course calls Deep Creek Lake, MD, home. Whitewater rafting, kayaking and river boarding are available for multiple water classes. Learn more.
3. SchoolHouse Earth – If you are interested in quaint shopping, this is an experience not to miss! I adore the owner, Stephen. He is warm and friendly and always knows just where to point you throughout the store. They have a great jewelry selection and an even better gourmet room. Opt for the Balsamic Vinegar! You will be hooked. And, save your bottle! You get a discount when you refill.
4. Deep Creek Beverage – Great beverage selections, drive-through shop (yes, there is a drive-through) and weekly specials. Need I say more?
5. Water Fun – Out of towner? No need to seek a pool, the freshwater lake is clean and refreshing and great for swimming. Visit that State Park which has a man-made beach, park your boat in one of the many lake cove’s or take a ride to nearby Swallow Falls State Park which offers waterfalls and swimming spots.
6. Antiquing in Oakland, MD – Just 15 minutes outside of Deep Creek Lake is the town of Oakland. Park your car near East Alder Street for some walk able shops.
7. FireFly Farms – Located in Accident, MD, a small town as you enter the McHenry side of Deep Creek Lake, is FireFly Farms. This Creamery and Market sells the best handmade cheeses and offers up pastas, sauces, spices, chocolates and even alcohol that make for a must stop before heading into the Lake town.
8. Mountain Coaster – Vacationers know Wisp Resort as Maryland’s only four-season resort and home to skiing and snowboarding, but many don’t know about the adrenaline the winds the resort’s slopes year-round. Experience 3,500 feet of downhill track over 350 vertical feet of the Wisp slopes on their Mountain Coaster. Riders will feel like they get air as they gain speed cruising through the trees and down the mountain. You will want to ride again, so I suggest their ride passes.
9. Dining Out – Deep Creek Lake offers a variety of dining options from Finer Dining at Dutch’s to more causal fare at Mountain State Brewing Co., there is an option for all. My advice, if you are staying at the Lake for multiple days, cook at your rental or order-in on weekends and opt for dining out Sunday through Thursday. Restaurants are very busy on weekends. Midweek business is slower and many restaurants offer great specials.
Ex. Black Bear
Monday Night – 50 cent wings & Thursday – Build Your Own Burger for $5!
Ex. DC’s Bar & Restaurant
Tuesday – Taco Tuesday featuring Margarita Happy Hour for $3.99
10. Adults Can Play Too – Yes, you can play too! Sorry the photo is grainy and small! We had very little time to snag pictures as we ran like 8-year-olds to the closing Go Kart track for a late night race. I suggest Smileys Fun Zone. The complex features Laser Tag, Bowling, Batting Cages, Arcade Games and much more. Grab appetizers and drinks at nearby Black Bear before burning some competitive energy. Smileys features Value Cards and All Day Passes if you are looking at participating in multiple activities. I would highly suggest, as it can add up when you purchase a la carte.