It’s National Plan for Vacation Day, and with the cool winter temperatures, we could all use a good reason to dream up our next getaway. Statistics say that more than half of Americans don’t use all of their vacation days in a year, but we want to encourage you to change that narrative and plan now to spend some of your hard-earned time off here in Allegany County, the Mountain Side of Maryland. Explore our offerings of abundant outdoor adventure, vibrant towns and scenery, and diverse culinary and craft beverage experiences, available all four seasons throughout the year. Need some inspiration? Here’s our top activities for each month of the year.
Book a stay at Rocky Gap Casino Resort.
Nestled on a woodland property adjacent to Rocky Gap State Park and Lake Habeeb, Rocky Gap Casino Resort offers a AAA Four-Diamond experience. Book a massage, dine in the resort’s upscale restaurant or indoor pool-side bar and restaurant. Enjoy the casino’s slot machines and table games, or venture out into the park for a winter hike, snowshoeing experience, or if it’s cold enough, ice fishing on Lake Habeeb. There’s a ton of adventure packed into this unique property, perfect for a winter getaway.
Book a romantic getaway at a bed and breakfast.
What’s more romantic than getting snowed in and snuggling by the warmth of a fire at a cozy bed and breakfast? The Allegheny Trail House is a historic house located in the heart of downtown Frostburg, offering the perfect bed and breakfast experience close to downtown shops and restaurants to plan your romantic weekend getaway. For a more secluded and scenic stay, book a room at the Town Hill Bed and Breakfast, completely surrounded by Green Ridge State Forest, giving you a sense of peace and serenity.
The trails are open for you.
March marks the opening of the Big Savage Tunnel, the tunnel that connects the Pennsylvania portion of the Great Allegheny Passage with the Maryland portion, welcoming riders traveling from Cumberland to Pittsburgh or vice versa. Let this be a time for you to shake off the winter thaw and plan a cycling or hiking trip on the Great Allegheny Passage or one of Mountain Maryland’s nearly 200 miles of developed trails.
You won’t want to miss peak redbud season.
It seems like fall gets all the glory in the mountains, but spring holds another one of nature’s brilliant wonders - the eastern redbud trees in bloom. Experience the radiant clusters of the purplish-pink flower along our scenic byways, our road cycling routes along Route 40, or in our state parks and forest. The striking blossoms make their appearance in early to mid April with a long-lasting flowering time of two to three weeks. Check out the best places to view the redbuds in bloom.
Come early, stay late, and celebrate Delfest.
Allegany County, the Mountain Side of Maryland, is home to one of the nation’s premier roots music festivals, DelFest, celebrating the rich legacy of Del McCoury music, with four days of world-class musical collaborations from some of the best-known names in bluegrass music, all within a family-friendly and distinctly unique atmosphere on Memorial Day Weekend.
Take in the views from a scenic overlook.
Photo by Janelle Muletz
Mountain Maryland has some spectacular overlooks, including the iconic Dans Rock Overlook, which sits at the highest point in elevation in Allegany County and features the most stunning views of the Allegheny Front. Head to Canyon Overlook Trail at Rocky Gap State Park, a quarter-mile-long trail taking you to the magnificent views of the mile-long gorge that feeds Rocky Gap Run. Town Hill Overlook is another iconic overlook perfect for bird watching during the spring and fall migration seasons. Or take in a series of majestic overlooks on the Green Ridge State Forest Scenic Overlooks Tour, which takes you on a 45-mile journey through Green Ridge State Forest to five different overlooks, including Point Lookout, which offers a panoramic view of the horseshoe bend in the Potomac River as well as views of mountain ranges from four states including Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia.
Beat the summer heat on the Potomac River Water Trail.
The Potomac River is a premier water attraction with nine public access points in Allegany County. Float and paddle trip itineraries span a few hours to multi-day trips. The water is perfect for inner-tube floats, canoes, and kayaks and features gorgeous scenery. The river’s mild current provides for a lazy but steady pace for floaters and paddlers. We recommend working with an outfitter to coordinate put in and take out, plus in-depth itinerary recommendations. If you plan your own trip, always be sure to check water conditions and river levels before your trip.
Climb on. Explore the crags of Mountain Maryland.
Historically speaking, August tends to be the driest of the summer months in terms of average rainfall, which lends itself well to exploring crags and cliff sides of Mountain Maryland. Maryland boasts over 30 rock climbing crags scattered throughout the state, and several of these hidden gems are right here in the mountainside. Each spot has its own unique charm, making Allegany County a treasured climbing destination throughout the east coast. Partner with an outfitter or climbing group to take on the nearly two dozen established routes, ranging from beginner-friendly to advanced, throughout Rocky Gap State Park. For more experienced climbers, The Narrows on the upper flanks of Wills Mountain State Park offer a climbing experience unlike any other in the state.
Immerse yourself in the arts and culture.
September is filled with festivals that highlight the region’s arts and culture. The Whiskey Rebellion Festival takes place on the eve of Heritage Days weekend and commemorates George Washington’s last journey through Cumberland to put down the Whiskey Rebellion and features tastings from more than a dozen small-batch distillers of whiskey, rum, and vodka. Heritage Days Festival highlights the region’s heritage with reenactments, art and craft vendors, and food vendors. Or attend the Appalachian Festival, celebrating Appalachian music, culture, and art, featuring a symposium, film festival, and festival activities including cultural programming, music, children's activities, traditional arts and crafts and more.
Soak in the fall foliage with Tracks and Yaks.
Witnessing the brilliance of autumn in Mountain Maryland is an unparalleled experience for all lovers of nature and the outdoors. With scenic overlooks, a world-class bike trail through the mountains, tree-lined scenic byways through some of the area's historic towns, and 70,000 acres of public land, there are plenty of opportunities to soak in all the views. One of our favorite ways is to ride the rails with Tracks and Yaks, Maryland’s only rail bike operator. Following the Western Maryland Railway line that sits adjacent to the Great Allegheny Passage, you will pedal along the rails on custom aluminum rail bikes through iconic mountain views, breathtaking foliage, and unique landmarks like the famous Helmstetter’s Curve.
Exploring early America’s moving history.
Beginning in the early 1800s, Allegany County served as a vital hub for the coal and other industries as well as the staging and outfitting point for westward migration. Where the C&O Canal, the Western Potomac, the National Road and railroads converged, the western region of America connected to the Eastern Seaboard. While the early railroad mainly transported coal and occasional passengers, another major passageway transported people in a different way: below ground, the original Fort Cumberland tunnels provided refuge and escape for enslaved people on their journey towards freedom just across the Mason Dixon line a few miles away. Explore our transportation stories at the Allegany Museum’s Crossroads of America exhibit or schedule a tour at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church to hear the oral history of the Underground Railroad.
All aboard the Polar Express Train Ride.
Experience the magic of the holidays on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. Inspired by the run-away hit movie, this holiday favorite comes to life when you and your family take a ride on The Polar Express™. Set to the music of the motion picture soundtrack, families will love their trip to the North Pole, complete with hot chocolate and cookies served on board the train. Passengers will enjoy singing, dancing, and a reading of The Polar Express™.