Waterfalls near Deep Creek Lake

Posted in deep creek lake activities with tags on March 21, 2012 by deepcreekmudybech

Waterfalls near Deep Creek Lake

Do you want to experience a fun day trip? This weekend I took a step off the everyday path and took a Sunday drive to Blackwater Falls, which is a stone’s throw from Thomas, West Virginia.  The drive is about 45 minutes or so from the resort end of Deep Creek Lake. The drive alone is worth the price of admission, passing through beautiful rustic farm country and ascending & descending some of the highest mountains that Maryland and West Virginia have to offer. The reward at the end of the line is Blackwater Falls State Park, a fantastic place to experience with your family and friends. From the welcome center, it is only a short walk down the gorge until you are literally in the mist of this mighty waterfall.  There are many tiers along the walkway so you can experience the falls from many different vantage points. This can be very therapeutic for those of you who live the busy city life and whose lives get caught up in a web of daily gridlock.  Take the family on a little spin South of Deep Creek Lake and experience Garrett County and beyond.

 

Wisp Resort Closed For The Season 3/18/12

Posted in wisp resort with tags on March 21, 2012 by deepcreekmudybech

Wisp Resort Closed For The Season 3/18/12 

Wisp Resort has closed the doors this weekend as the springtime temperatures have finally decided to consistently stay warm enough to make snowmaking impossible. It has been a very successful winter for Wisp even though Mother Nature made them work harder than normal to keep snow on the ground. Thankfully the temps dipped periodically throughout the season, and when they did, Wisp was ready on every occasion to maximize their snow making efforts to keep excellent ski conditions throughout a very mild winter season. I talked to a lot of folks who weren’t complaining about skiing groomed corduroy trails with temps in the 50’s-60’s. Thanks Wisp Resort for a great winter season!

The American Chestnut Tree

Posted in deep ceek lake maryland, Uncategorized with tags , on January 18, 2012 by deepcreekmudybech

 

The American Chestnut Tree

 

I had a fantastic morning before work snowboarding & skiing with local folk hero/historian, Ed King, who has 77 years of life lessons and life long memories & experiences that provide much more insight than a Google search!  Ed is a colleague of mine here at Long and Foster who is respected immensely by the people of Garrett County.  While on the chairlift the other morning, he shared his memories of the blight that destroyed the queen of timber in the Appalachians, The Chestnut Tree.  Our fascinating and unique history here in the United States always revolved around perseverance and ingenuity when faced with disaster, and the chestnut tree has engrained itself in the fables. The chestnut tree has run a full circle of life going from a huge part of the economy, then being wiped out, reclaimed, recycled, reused, and eventually re-established for the future.

The lightweight American chestnut tree was of huge economic importance to the people of Garrett County for many reasons. It was an extremely important component because it could grow to 100’ tall with huge diameters around the base, equating to a large amount of lumber.  The tree has a reddish-brown color characteristic that was lightweight, soft, easy to split, very resistant to decay and did not shrink or warp, which made it a goldmine for a developing country.

Unfortunately, a very deadly blight/fungus was introduced in 1904 from the Orient and after 40 years of contamination the Chestnut stands were completely demised throughout Garrett County and the Appalachians. Because of their natural resistance to rot, these dead trees stood for many years as ghosts in the vast forest. The fact that they were very dry was a serious concern for the National Parks, as they were considered fire hazards. Mr. King told me that back then you could go the National Forest and ask for a certain amount of trees and they would give you a paint color to use so you could paint the trees you wanted to cut at a later date. You can imagine that this cheap valuable resource became the go-to wood for locals here at the lake.

When looking for real estate here at the lake, you will often hear of homes where they have reclaimed wormy chestnut and used them in construction details. You probably wonder how the tree got their famous wormy characteristics.  After the tree stood year-after-year, the worms started to bore through the lifeless trees so that after harvesting them it would give them the patented black wormy trails through the beautiful red-brown chestnut grain.

The next time you run into a home decked out in wormy chestnut while looking for real estate here at Deep Creek Lake, remember the interesting history associated to this special tree.

Snow Making Wisp Resort

Posted in deep creek lake activities, wisp resort with tags , on November 18, 2011 by deepcreekmudybech

Snow Making Wisp Resort

It is Friday, November 18, 2011 here at DeepCreekLake, one week before Thanksgiving.  Wisp Resort has fired up their state-of-the-art snowmaking system in preparation for the upcoming winter sports season. Temperatures are perfect for snowmaking at the moment, with humidity down to 50%, crucial for getting that coveted light champagne powder. Wisp Resort is always on the pulse of preparation year-after-year, enabling them to deliver some of the finest snow conditions on the East Coast.

 The temperatures will fluctuate a bit warmer during the week, but that doesn’t mean that this is some vain fire drill and time wasted.  After all, snowmaking is a very complex system that has miles and miles of pipe, valves, snow guns, and nozzles that have to be turned on and pressurized to assure that all the bugs are out of the system before the season starts. Wisp Resort is meticulous regarding every aspect & detail, to guarantee a problem-free experience for everyone that visits the mountain. We have closed the chapter on the summer season and the presence of active snowmaking machines is a signal to locals (like the leaves changing in the fall) that the snow season is about to begin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Foliage

Posted in deep creek lake activities with tags on November 1, 2011 by deepcreekmudybech

Fall Foliage

I sit reflecting on the fall season looking across a still mirror lake that reflects off the water the last remaining leaves on the stubborn oak trees that seem determined not to give into old man winter. Looking back a few weeks ago we were fortunate to experience a stellar fall foliage spectacle here at Deep Creek Lake. This particular season seemed to hinge on perfection as every hue of nature’s color spectrum flexed magnificently around the lake and Garrett County. Fisherman out to capitalize on the fall bite witnessed a spectacle from their boats on God’s canvas here in the great mountains of Maryland. Leave the stress of life behind and join us next year for the brilliant fall foliage experience at Maryland’s favorite get away destination.

 

 

1884 Oakland Train Station

Posted in deep creek lake activities with tags , on October 4, 2011 by deepcreekmudybech

1884 Oakland Train Station

 

History Buffs, have I got something to share with you that is a mere 15 minutes up the road from Deep Creek Lake. Next time you are here at the lake get on 219 south and head to Oakland; you will be rewarded for your efforts once you get to the 1884 Oakland Train Station!  This beautifully architected building is actually the 3rd building to occupy this location through the years.  The first was a small two-story wooden building that was constructed after the railroad arrival in 1851.  Unfortunately, a fire from the nearby Glades Hotel consumed the railway structure in 1874.  During the interim, a one-story building was erected to serve as the train station until the current masterpiece was built in 1884.  Original architect E. Francis Baldwin described his creation by using the term “Queen Anne Style”, which is highlighted by the rounded telegraph tower and roof that really gives the building its signature personality

The town of Oakland purchased the entire train station property in 1998.  It has since become the center piece of Oakland’s “revitalization work” that was finished in 2000.  There was a time in history when steam locomotives were the norm, and a 250,000 gallon water tank that stood 50’ tall occupied the East side of the station.  It remained in tact until the 1920’s when it was de-constructed.

Oakland was once a very busy hub for transportation greeting 8 long distance express passenger trains a day in the 1940’s and 1950’s.  During this time you could hail a train in St. Louisand be in Washingtonin in almost 24 hours.  What a remarkable trip that must have been winding and carving through this amazing land at a wonderful time in history.  Take your own trip back in time and try to put yourself back where the roar of the train whistle echoed through the foothills of beautiful Garrett Countyand the roots of train travel were paving the way to the industrial revolution.

The Ohiopyle BikeTrail

Posted in deep creek lake activities with tags , on September 15, 2011 by deepcreekmudybech

The Ohiopyle BikeTrail

Normally I do not encourage folks to stray too far away from our utopian vacation heaven here atDeepCreekLakebecause of the wealth of activities we have here. But, I have discovered a superb place just twenty-five minutes North of GarrettCounty inPennsylvaniathat is a bike peddlers dream in the fall (or anytime for that matter). The ride is a great way to experience the legendary fall foliage that is not too far away from firing.Choose your starting point either atConfluence, PA or atOhiopyleNational Park, which are separated by eleven miles. The kicker is that the bike path between the towns runs parallel with the beautifulYoughioghenyRiverwith gentle, consistent elevation changes, making for pleasant peddling. There is only a 2% grade running downstream fromConfluence towards Ohiopyle that makes this 22 mile round trip perfect for those of us who don’t have the legs and lungs of Lance Armstrong.  The trip allows many opportunities to stop and take in the relaxing peaceful calm that theYoughRiveris famous for. You will see many kayak and raft tours cruising down this easy flowing section of the river. Bring the family and a backpack with a nice lunch and a few ice cold Powerade’s and spend a special afternoon enjoying another chapter of God’s country.

 I suggest if you do not bike a lot to begin by starting at Ohiopyle, which makes the first eleven miles 2% uphill all the way toConfluence, that way if you get too tired you can cruise with less effort on the slightly downhill run back to Ohiopyle. Expect rubbery legs the next day, and the urge to make biking a new part of your life. I know the summer season has ended, but take some time as fall approaches to step away from work, load up your bikes and bring the family to enjoy a memorable day just a stone’s throw from DeepCreekLake.

The State of Wisp Resort, Deep Creek Lake, MD

Posted in wisp resort with tags on September 7, 2011 by deepcreekmudybech

 

The State of Wisp Resort, Deep Creek Lake, MD

 

I’d like to try to clarify the state of Wisp Resort and the surrounding real estate on the mountain. There have been rumors and sensationalism in some of the headlines and I would like to try to state the facts as I know them.

 

First of all, Wisp Resort, which is owned by Recreational Industries, owns the ski resort and Wisp’s public golf course. Wisp Resort itself is a healthy, vibrant, profitable business and is poised to begin snowmaking for the 2011/12 season in less than 90 days.  The first scheduled date for ski area operations is Friday, November 25 and Wisp is about to complete a positive record-breaking summer operation.  To get an idea of the degree of success, gross revenues at Wisp have risen from $9 million to $16 million over a 5-year period with profitability increased more than three-fold.

 

 The Lodestone Golf Course and surrounding home sites were developed by Wisp Resort Development (WRD).  The decline in the economy couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Lodestone golf course and the surrounding homesites, putting a strain on WRD’s ability to meet their new obligations.  Just 20 of the 60 developed sites in Lodestone have been sold and the remaining 137 sites are still in the development stage.  Having spent the last 24 years of my life building golf courses that support the surrounding real estate development, I can testify that typically these developments sold out in a very short time.  The good news is that the Lodestone course has been ranked as #3 best play in Maryland and #7 best new course in the country; however, even with an extremely high quality golf course, the homesite market is still quite slow.  WRD reports that it is attempting to work with BB&T in an attempt to restructure its loan; meanwhile, there will be no interruption in activities at Wisp Resort.

 

Since its founding in 1955, Wisp has made Maryland’s westernmost county a year-round tourist destination. Vacation homes, some worth millions, ring the 3,600-acre lake. The ski resort is the county’s sixth largest employer with a workforce that swells from 225 in the summer to 650 in the winter.  I spoke to Karen Myers, who has ownership interest in both Wisp and Lodestone, who said with her familiar, optimistic smile, “We operate a successful, thriving recreation business at Wisp Resort and we will do everything in our power to turn around the real estate development side of the business as well.  Of course, we cannot control the national economy but we can make sure that our Wisp and Lodestone communities have the very best amenities and are offered to consumers at reasonable and affordable prices. Being a 10th generation Garrett Countian, I feel certain that the tenacity that has been passed down through the generations will see us through this economic crisis as well.”

Garrett County Agricultural Fair Deep Creek Lake

Posted in Uncategorized on August 23, 2011 by deepcreekmudybech

Try to remember through child eyes the fantastic moments you experienced at the local summertime fair. I used to love the feeling of riding the “Round Up” spinning so fast that you could pick your feet off the ground as if you were flying. Then after getting off the ride simply trying to navigate walking for the next ten minutes while your head is spinning like a tornado.  It can be as challenging as a tight rope walker. 

There are all the rides  that normally entice you to play like the scrambler, apple turn over, the star ship, and of course the ferris wheel. Cotton candy, funnel cakes, candy apples, fresh lemonade, beef brisket, hot dogs, local corn, and the famous rotary vinegar fries are just the start to Garret County fair cuisine.  The familiar sights, sounds, and smells are nothing short of perfection to the senses at this All American small town fair.

 

There are truck pulls, tractor pulls, dirt bike exhibitions, and my favorite ‘”the crash up derby”. People from all over the county put together make-shift ram rods to see who can take the least amount of punishment and survive the longest. The leaking radiators leading to blow motors and back wheels being plowed into the car frame seem to be the master of demise in this grand event.

 

Remember that this is an Agricultural Fair. A popular event is when animals come through the auction gates. People pack the fair bleachers to bid on a large selection of farm animals ranging from Cows, Lambs, and Pigs. There is something special about the auctioneer taking control of the bidding and the electricity of the crowd competing for these beautiful fair animals. There is also the standard competition of trying to get the coveted blue ribbon for the best vegetable, photograph, painting, quilt or wood working piece.

After the fair,  I went up to an special place overlooking the fair with the sun setting, the fair lights shining brilliantly, and the rumble of the crash-up derby all framed in by Wisp Resort in the background. What a great way to finish up the summer and the catalyst for the start of fall.

Garrett County History, Casselman Bridge

Posted in deep creek lake activities with tags , , on July 25, 2011 by deepcreekmudybech

 

Garrett County History, Casselman Bridge

 

Did you know that GarrettCounty has one of the oldest surviving span bridges in the country? Just a short 15 minute drive from Deep Creek Lake and you can visit The Casselman River State Park. The Casselman River Bridge was originally built in 1813 as a part of the old National Road. At the time of its construction, this 80 foot stone arch bridge was the longest single-span bridge in theUnited States. The bridge remained in service until 1933, when a new steel bridge was built nearby. Today, the bridge is listed as a National Historic Landmark and serves as a scenic remnant of Maryland’s history. Be sure to check it out on your next visit.