50 miles SW of Cumberland; 190 miles W of Baltimore; 120 miles SE of Pittsburgh
Garrett County's mountain scenery has beckoned visitors for centuries. Native American hunters combed these hills a thousand years ago looking for game. In Colonial days, this was the American frontier, populated mostly by Indians and trappers. Few settled here until the coming of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in the 1850s. Farmers, coal miners, and loggers were the first to arrive. During the Civil War, the railroad provided a needed supply link, and Garrett towns became the targets of Confederate attack. Once peace returned to the country, Garrett became a vacation destination. Three presidents -- Grant, Cleveland, and Harrison -- vacationed here.
Once Deep Creek Lake was created in the 1920s and the Wisp Resort built in 1944, leisure travelers had even more reasons to make the trip to Garrett County. Deep Creek Lake is now the state's largest freshwater lake, nearly 12 miles in length, with 65 miles of shoreline occupied by private vacation homes and chalets. The northern end is where the action is -- the commercial centers, the Wisp Resort, and the waterfront hotels and inns are all located here. Summer temperatures, averaging a comfortable 66°F (19°C), draw visitors escaping the heat and humidity of the big cities. In winter, Deep Creek Lake is Maryland's premier ski resort, with an average temperature of 28°F (2°C) and a yearly snowfall of more than 100 inches.
In recent years, Garrett County has become a four-season destination as well as the place for mid-Atlantic residents to buy a second home. It's centrally located between Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Washington, and eastern Ohio cities, a 3- to 4-hour drive from each. Visitors can hike or bike the scenic trails; go skiing, snow-tubing, or snowshoeing; take to the waters and try boating, fly-fishing, kayaking, or white-water rafting; and visit antiques and crafts stores. Or they can do nothing but sit back and enjoy the old-time charm that this region has long been known for.