Deep Creek Lake Travel Information

After hearing about Deep Creek Lake I of course had to check it out for myself. After all, I can’t resist a road trip to a new place with legendary scenery, roads and activities! I was amazed at what I found and visited on several more road trips. Then I embarked on a mission to introduce hundreds of fellow HOG members to Deep C reek Lake by helping organize the 2012 Maryland/Delaware State HOG Rally at the Wisp Resort. I accepted the position of Site Coordinator and my wife, Diana, assumed the position of Volunteer Coordinator. We collected information and started checking out the hotels and activities for the rally. We used up a lot of vacation time preparing for the rally by visiting Deep Creek Lake and staying at several different hotels. Diana mapped out a dozen motorcycle ride loops and we drove over 2000 miles test driving those routes in our Toyota Corolla. The work paid off. The rally was a big success! The weather was great and we had over 600 registered participants! Our fellow Harley-Davidson® enthusiasts enjoyed Diana’s ride routes immensely! It couldn’t have gone better!

Now we have all this information about road tripping to Deep Creek Lake including: how to get there, where to stay, where to eat, where to drink, where to shop and best of all… where to ride! I have only recently discovered Deep Creek Lake and in comparison to others I am probably nowhere near an authority on Deep Creek Lake and the surrounding area. However I have this information and feel it is my duty to share it.

Where Can A Marylander Escape To?

So where is the wilderness? Where can we go to get away from urban sprawl and enjoy a truly rustic experience in Maryland? How can we escape the hustle bustle of strip mall hell, maintain a reasonable drive time and find loads of fun affordable activities? Is there such an oasis of outdoor fun in the state of Maryland? The answer is “yes!”. There is such a place in Garrett County, Maryland and it is called Deep Creek Lake! It is such a well kept secret that hardly anyone I know has ever heard of it!

After having lived in Delaware and Maryland for over twenty years a friend mentioned to me that she was going to Deep Creek Lake for a few days on her motorcycle. At the time she was the Director of our local chapter of the Harley Owners Group and I was the Assistant Director. She needed me to cover for her while she was on vacation. Like most Delawareans I was at a loss because I had no idea where or what Deep Creek Lake was. My wife who grew up just a smidge west of Baltmore knew about Deep Creek Lake. It turns out her parents honeymooned in Deep Creek and took the kids there on a number of family vacations. She hadn’t been to Deep Creek since she was a kid and has fond memories of horse back riding and other outdoor activities. She is one of the few Marylanders I’ve met who knows the state doesn’t come to an end at Hagerstown!

I asked some of my friends at the First State Chapter of the Harley Owners Group what they knew about the area. Those who knew Deep Creek got excited like all bikers do when you ask them about famous scenic roads like the Blue Ridge Parkway and Route 129 in Deals Gap, North Carolina; better known as Tail of the Dragon! My fellow bikers would go on and on about how twisty the roads are and how beautiful the scenery is. They described gorgeous mountain vistas, babbling brooks, cascading waterfalls and came back to our favorite topic… twisty hilly roads. Us flat landers have one track minds! They painted a picture for me of a motorcyclist’s oasis at the furthest western border of the state of Maryland with twisty back roads that make you want to run out and buy a new Suzuki GSX and full racing leathers. What they didn’t tell me is that Deep Creek Lake and the surrounding area is a year round vacation paradise with a plethora of activities for anyone and everyone! DCL is the perfect road trip destination for anyone seeking refuge from urban sprawl along the mid Atlantic!

Fire on the Mountain on 4th of July Deep Creek Lake, Maryland

After slaving away both in the planning and execution of the Maryland/Delaware State Rally for 2012 we were ready to visit Deep Creek on our motorcycles as a trip just for us. I was originally planning to stay in Deep Creek for a few days and actually ride the routes we made up for the rally. We haven’t been able to ride them on two wheels. But I mentioned to Diana we could drop down into West Virginia from Deep Creek and then a plot started to unfold in her mind.

She plans great trips although they sometimes get a bit challenging.  Someday they may chill out and get a little more relaxing. This trip would be an epic 4 day journey. Day one would be called Fire on the Mountain! We would travel to Deep Creek Lake Maryland from Delaware without taking any interstate highways and not going through any major towns like Frostburg or Cumberland. Not an easy task but if anyone can figure it out it would be Diana. We would stay at Wisp at a steeply discounted price as a thank you for the work we did on the rally. We would get to see the 4th of July fireworks at the Wisp Ski Resort called Fire on the Mountain!

It took us 10 hours to cut across Maryland, shoot up into Pennsylvania and then down into West Virgina before cutting back into Maryland to Deep Creek but we did it! It was a hot day to be covering 290 miles but we were in and out of forests and shade most of the day. We stopped often to drink Gatorade and eat snacks we brought with us in a small Igloo cooler mounted to my passenger seat. I got the cooler at Rite Aid the night before our trip for about twelve bucks. It kept the Gatorade cold for half the trip.

After suffering the scorching heat all day we got into the mountains of Maryland just as the sun started to set. With about forty-five minutes to an hour left in the trip the temperatures started to get downright nippy. As we got closer to our destination I started to get cold and then it started to rain! Figures! We ride all day in scorching heat hoping for a little rain to cool us off and then when it starts to get cold it then rains! Worse yet, we did all this and now we might miss the fireworks! We pulled over to put the rain covers on the luggage and CB radios. I didn’t bring my raingear so I didn’t offer to let Diana put hers on, not to mention I was in a hurry to get to the hotel and off the road as soon as possible. Deer and bear cause a lot of road accidents up here and I wanted to get off the road ASAP. The closer we got to the hotel the harder the rain came down. There was lightning and thunder. We found out later that some of the area got hit with hail! We arrived at Wisp safe but soaked to the bone at about 7:45pm.

We checked into our room and unloaded the bikes. The rain started to let up. We put on dry clothes and went down to the bar to order Yuengs and wings! Nothing like cold Yuengling and great chicken wings to wrap up a day of riding. We finished up the wings and took our beers outside at 9:30pm to catch the fireworks which were still on! Even though I was walking around in sopping wet Timberland boots I was having a very satisfying evening. It was a good long ride and we got to see the fireworks! Awesome! It was a great start to celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary.

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Sorry for the lack of pictures but it was just too hot to mess with the camera that day.

1st Annual Fort Father’s Day Summerfest

The Fort

This event is happening concurrently with the upcoming Maryland/Delaware State H.O.G. Rally this week in Deep Creek Lake!

Kick off the summer of 2012 at Deep Creek Lake with outdoor bands, great food and the Family Olympics at the Fort in McHenry Maryland. Look for the full schedule of events online at www.DCLFUN.com or stop by any of the businesses in the Fort, McHenry Maryland 21541 along Route 219.

Join Smileys, Black Bear Tavern and Pine Lodge Steakhouse where a portion of the proceeds for the four day event will be donated to the Garrett County Community School Support Fund. This new fund administered by the Community Foundation will be available for classroom needs beginning in the next school year. Teachers may apply for the funds and any teacher volunteering or participating in the Summerfest event will have preferred priority for their funding needs.

The Fort Father’s Day Summerfest will begin at Noon Thursday with the first annual Family Olympics where two person teams can compete for over $1000 in prize money by posting the combined best score for mini golf, highest score at bowling and fastest time on the go cart tracks. Be one of five teams to qualify for the finale held Sunday June 17 at 1PM and you could win the $500 cash grand prize or a portion of the $1000 prize package. Qualifying play is open Thursday through Sunday of the Summerfest! Cost is $25 per team. Entertainment will begin at 6PM on Thursday June 14 with The Davisson Brothers Band on the new Fort outdoor stage and play until 10PM. Friday on the main stage The Mags will play from 6PM to 10PM. Three bands will provide entertainment Saturday June 16th Dustin McCray Noon to 6PM, then Jackson Monsour & Accompaniment from 6PM to 10PM and then in the club at Black Bear Tavern Lady Invidia will play from 10PM to 1AM. Back on the Fort outdoor stage Sunday at 2PM to 5PM entertainment will be provided by The Hillbilly Gypsies. Band cover cost is $10 per day or $25 for all four days.

dcl mini golf

Saturday from 3PM to 4PM Sherriff Corley will be holding a DUI Clinic on the Smileys Go Cart track where drivers young and old can experience the effects of driving impaired using special glasses through our obstacle course. Free to all participants in the Family Olympics and a $5 donation to the GCCSSF for others.

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Welcome HOG members and all Bikers! Summerfest would not be complete without the wind in our hair so we are promoting three Pokers Runs in conjunction with Summerfest! Friday 1PM to 5PM sign up for a run to the beautiful Parks in Garrett County where naturalists will provide a discussion/tour of some of the 104,000 acres of Park and Forrest land in Western Maryland. Saturday sign up for a morning Breakfast Run to see the historic town of Garrett County. Sunday at 10AM join us for a poker run tour of Deep Creek Lake. All rides are $10 per bike (four wheeled cars welcome too!)

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Backroads & Byways of Maryland – Book Review

backroads & Byways of Maryland

While checking out the quaint town of Oakland, MD just outside Deep Creek Lake I wandered into a fantastic bookstore that had great travel books and small town personal service with a smile. The store is the Book Mark’et & Antique Mezzanine. I was pleased to find this resource of backroads and byways in Maryland. The book is called Backroads & Byways of Maryland and includes all the great destinations in Maryland. The book has alot of interesting information about the history of these places, restaurants and inns. Personally I think it should be called something more like Great Destinations In Maryland because it is more about the destination spots than the Backroads and Byways. In fact I would say it isn’t about byways at all. As far as docovering new scenic roads it is no help but it is still a good resource, especially if you are new to traveling in Maryland. Click here for more information.

Diana sitting in front of the Book Market & Mezzanine

Diana sitting on a bench outside the Book Market & Antique Mezzanine in Oakland, Maryland


2012 Maryland/Delaware HOG Rally – Meeting #1

Deep Creek Lake Area and Garrett County Logo

The 2012 Maryland/Delaware State HOG Rally committee held it’s first meeting on site at the Wisp Resort in Deep Creek Lake during the last weekend of August. This was the weekend that Hurricane Irene terrorized the east coast and the meeting was just west of the storm’s reach. Unfortunately this kept us from riding our motorcycles to the meeting. We looked into renting a truck and even motorcycle shipping to get our motorcycles to Deep Creek Lake. But instead we took the Mustang. We had a great time anyway.

the wisp resort

Diana is serving as the Volunteer Corodinator and I am the Site Coordinator for the 2012 rally which will be in June. I arrived Friday morning to meet with the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce. After that Diana and I had lunch at the Boardwalk Cafe and then went on a mission to take pictures of the wild roads in Savage River State Forest.

cruis’n deep creek in the gt

hairpin turns in savage river state forest

s-turns in savage river state forest

savage river boat landing

cool hilly roads in garrett county, md

bridges and creeks

creeks and roads

along the creek

rusted old bridges are cool

the elusive s-turn shot

top of a cool hill in garrett county

We checked into our room at Wisp and walked around the facilities. Then we met up with some of the other committee members for dinner and drinks at the Honi Honi Bar on Deep Creek Lake. This is a biker friendly bar on the lake with a great view. It is part of the Uno Chicago Grill restaurant which is a popular restaurant in Deep Creek and serves way more than just Chicago style pizza.

The honi honi Bar and Unu Chicago Grill on Deep Creek Lake

the happy couble at Honi Honi

the view from the honi honi and uno on deep creek lake

Saturday morning the committee met for breakfast at Perkins. Then we headed over to The Fort to check out the Black Bear Tavern and the go carts and other fun activites at Smiley’s Fun Zone. Then we drove to the quaint town of Oakland to walk around town. From Oakland we went back to McHenry and grabbed lunch at the Mountain State Brewing Company known for their wood fired flatbread pizza’s. We returned to the resort to meet with our contact at Wisp. We started our meeting with a tour of the resort and then sat down to discuss official business and start planning the event. That evening we got dinner at Archie’s Barbeque. We got a little rain Saturday evening due to the hurricane battering the majority of the state.

making pizza at mountain state brewing company 

smileys fun zone is fun for the kids

go karts at smileys fun zone

black bear tavern dcl

The following morning Diana and I grabbed breakfast at DC’s Bar & Restaurant at the resort. After breakfast the committee members checked out of the resort and regrouped for a convoy to the top of the mountain. At the top of the mounatin is a man made water park that simulates the white water rapids that this region is known for. This waterpark is Adventure Sports Center International aka ASCI and I have never seen anything like it.

boat ramp at asci

rafters at asci

this is where the water shoots out

the rapids are man made at asci

i wouldn’t go down that in a raft

It was drizzling and not much going on at ASCI so after checking it out the committee members decided to take one last excursion before calling it a day. We visited the Penn Alps Restaurant & Craft Shop for lunch in Grantsville. Then we explored adjacent Spruce Forest Artisan Village which had little activity going on because it was Sunday. Usually this liitle village has several shops open where craftsman and artists create handmade gifts. The historic Casselman River Bridge is also located here. After exploring the bridge and the artisan village it was time for the committee to call it a day. We said our goodbyes and headed home.

the rally committee at spruce forest artisan village

iron works garden at spruce forest artisan village

spruce forest shops

historic casselman river bridge

is that diana up there?

Diana and I set out to take as many backroads home as we could and we found some very scenic roads in western Maryland. We came up a steep hill in Little Orleans, Maryland and came upon this really cool scenic overlook at Town Hill that had a Bed & Breakfast  right at the top of this amazing hill. Town Hill B&B must have been bustling back in the day when people first started traveling for leisure.

town hill bed and breakfast

Diana and the stang at town hill

the view of i68 from town hill

 town hill elevation sign

going down town hill

It was getting late as we traversed through Baltimore County. We found ourselves turning around a few times due to downed trees and large branches that closed small roads. It was getting dark and we were driving down through some forested roads in a heavily wooded area. Some huge trees had fallen down and dragged power lines with them. It was getting a little unnerving as this became more frequent and due to the darkness it was hard to see the downed trees until they were smack dab in front of us. When we came to one where someone cut out a slice of tree with a chainsaw just barely wide enough to clear our car we decided it was time to get on the highway. We got home safely pretty late in the evening. Once again we had ourselves a fun little adventure.