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Getting There -- From the east or west, take I-68 to exit 14 and drive south on U.S. Route 219.

Visitor Information -- The visitor center is on U.S. Route 219, near the bottom of the Wisp Resort's ski runs. It's open daily from 9am to 5pm. Ask for a vacation guide, which contains a calendar of events and information on local history, restaurants, hotels, and shopping. For information, call tel. 301/387-4386 or go to www.garrettchamber.com.

For ski conditions, call tel. 301/387-4911 or visit www.visitdeepcreek.com/skireport.php.

Getting Around -- Businesses in Deep Creek Lake sometimes have mailing addresses in McHenry or Oakland. Deep Creek Lake and McHenry are, for all intents and purposes, the same place, and you can count on those addresses to be on the lake or close by. Oakland, the county seat of Garrett County, is several miles south of Deep Creek Lake. Some businesses maintain mailing addresses there; others are actually just off the lake, outside the Deep Creek Lake/McHenry postal zone. Proximity to the lake resort areas is indicated in the listings in this section.

U.S. Route 219 runs beside the northern half of Deep Creek Lake and swings south toward Oakland. The Glendale Road Bridge crosses the middle of the lake and leads to Deep Creek Lake State Park (where you'll find the best public beach and a nature center). North of this bridge is where all the action is. South of this bridge, it's quieter and more remote. Most sailors sail their boats here; look for the weekend regattas.

Special Events -- Garrett County celebrates autumn with a 5-day Autumn Glory Festival (tel. 301/387-4386), usually held the second weekend in October. In early June, Scottish pride shows during the McHenry Highland Festival (tel. 301/387-3093) -- come for the sounds of bagpipe, harp, and fiddle, plus dance and athletic competitions, bluegrass music, crafts, and food. The Garrett Lakes Arts Festival (tel. 301/387-3082; www.artsandentertainment.org), a series of performances held March through September, includes a sampling of music and drama.

Venice in the Mountains -- Skip the car and head to lakeside establishments by boat in summer. Businesses have added piers so visitors can get to the store, the movies, and even church by boat. The visitor center has a "Travel by Boat" map listing all the places with docks. Call tel. 301/387-4386 for information. ESSENTIALS

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.