Allegany County, the Mountain side of Maryland offers much more than great skiing in winter. Enjoy beautiful scenery in other seasons as well, while hiking or biking through forests or along the C&O Canal. Savor the serenity of fishing on scenic lakes, ponds and streams, or simply "kick back" and enjoy the magnificent view. Over 80,000 acres of public wild lands offer great recreational outlets.
Green Ridge State Forest affords some of the best mountain biking in Maryland. If you like a less rugged route, travel along the C & 0 Canal. The canal was George Washington's dream of a water system that would unite the Atlantic with the Ohio River. Traces of the canal, the locks and the nearby settlements are still here. Railroads came after the Canal as efficient means of transportation.
Today Interstate 81 and 70 cut through these mountains which block a straight westward trip. I70 heads north at Hancock to meet the Pennsylvania Turnpike, rather than directly west to west Virginia and Ohio. These geographical features isolating this part of the state have made it attractive to visitors. You will not, as yet, find thousands of tourists. You will find hospitality, tranquillity, nostalgia for the "old times," perseverance and beautiful mountain scenery.
Explore rocky Gap State Park or canoe the Potomac river. Day and weekend trips are provided by local outfitters. Try horse back riding, bird watching, camping or backpacking.
Summer means festival time in Allegany County and celebrations abound. from the historic Heritage Days to the music of the Drumfest Invitational Drum and Bugle Competition and the Rocky Gap Country Music Festival. Sounds of exaltation fill the mountain air. In July the City of Frostburg turns red with Redskins. Allegany County is proud to be their summer training home. October's color brings Railfest, a celebration of the railroading history.
Cumberland is considered the mibster capitol of the country. Marble players of this town surpass any others. Visit Constitution Park where there are two game areas with three marble rings each. in addition to baseball field, picnic groves, swimming pool, playground, railroad caboose, 1937 fire truck, army tank, horse shoe pits and courts for basketball, tennis, shuffleboard, volleyball and badminton. The park is off Williams Street in the southeast area of Cumberland. From Maryland Avenue, turn left on Williams Street to the park entrance.
Victorian Historic District begins at the western property line of 630 Washington Street and extends east to the east bank of Wills Creek. The western Maryland Station Center was in service from 1913 until 1976 and is now a museum dedicated to the history of railroading in this part of the country. The center houses the Allegany County Tourism Office, the Allegany Arts Council, the Allegany Central Railroad, the C & 0 Canal National Park office and an Industrial and Transportation Museum and Cultural Center.
The romance of early 20th century steam railroading is alive on the Allegany central Railroad, where passengers take a 17 mile ride combining mountain top scenery and rich transportation history. The Allegany Central features two locomotives in the G5C class, one built in Montreal in 1946 and the other in Kingston in 1948. Locomotive 1286 served in the Barbara Streisand film Hello, Dolly. Their restoration is the accomplishment of rail enthusiasts from the eastern United States and Canada. The cars were built in the 1920s by Pullman for the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac railroads. Riders view many important sights including the famous Cumberland Narrows (a natural 1000 foot breach in Will's Mountain known as the "Gateway to the West"), an iron truss bridge, Bone Cave, and Helmstetter's Horseshoe Curve.
You can drive to the top of either side of the Narrows for an amazing view of Cumberland and the countryside. Take Will's Mountain Road off Piedmont Avenue to the parking lot of Artmor Plastics, park and walk about two blocks. Other sights along the way include the one thousand foot Brush Mountain Tunnel, the Allegany Front, Victorian architecture, the C & 0 Canal, Rocky Gap State Park, Green Ridge state Forest, Buck's Horse Farm and the frontier town of Mount Savage, where America's first iron rails were produced. At the Frostburg terminus, enjoy a close-up view of the engineer and fireman and the locomotive turntable, which reverses the train for the return journey.
At the other end in Frostburg, the Old Depot Center complex has been restored and now features a restaurant, ice-cream parlor and bakery. The trip takes about two and a half hours, including a one hour layover in Frostburg, and you can return by bus if you wish. The train runs at 12:30pm and 3:30pm on weekends in May and September and six days a week in June, July and August. Additional trips are scheduled in October for fall foliage viewing. Call (800) TRAIN-50.
The Inn at Walnut Bottom
The Inn at Walnut Bottom, a classic country inn with gourmet restaurant is located in the heart of Cumberland. With 12 guest rooms to serve you, the owners offer charming and comfortable accommodations in either the 1820 Cowden House on one side of the inn or the 1890 Dent House on the other. Rooms are furnished in antique and period reproduction furniture. The old houses are combined, and the inn has been completely rewired and re-plumbed to give you modern baths and conveniences. All guest rooms have private telephones and individual TVs. Two parlors and a gift shop are available to overnight guests.
One parlor offers a variety of herbal teas and freshly baked confections amid comfortable plaid furniture around a fireplace. Another parlor contains white wicker furnishings with brass accents. Wide halls with beautiful newel posts on the stairs feature antiques of distinction. One bedroom to the right of one front door is in a tasteful rose and blue motif and is handicapped accessible. One family suite offers twin beds, toys and books for children and a queen size bed. Eight of the rooms have private baths and two rooms share a bath in each house. Fax and photocopying services are available as well as private meeting rooms and bicycles by reservation.
Innkeepers: Kirsten Hansen and Grant Irvin. Children but no pets. Country breakfast. 12 Rooms, 8 with private baths. Major credit cards. Skiing, biking, hiking and fishing. Rocky Gap and New Germany State Parks, Frostburg State University, the Savage River and Green Ridge Recreation areas, C & O Canal, Western Maryland Station and Museum, the Cumberland Theater, Historic Cumberland and Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater House. The Inn at Walnt Bottom Web Page
The Oxford House Restaurant
The Oxford House Restaurant offers a gourmet brunch on Sundays 10am to 3pm., featuring such items as blueberry pancakes, maple French toast, ham and cheese omelettes, Quiche Lorraine and several Eggs Benedict and other egg dishes. Breakfasts for inn guests might feature one of these hot plates and fresh fruit. Dinner is served Tues, Wed and Thurs 5-9pm and Fri and Sat 5-9:30pm. Appetizers might be Crab Remick in Artichoke Bottom, Shrimp Pernod on a crouton or Rose Egg, (smoked Salmon with egg and sauce). Some favorite entrees are INN-Perial Crab Blue Noodle, Shrimp and Scallops Victoria, Weinerschnitzel, Chicken Annapolis with cheese, ham and crab meat or Filet of Pork Grand Hotel (pork medallions in mushroom filled artichoke bottoms with bearnaise sauce).