Winter, without the white stuff

Snowzilla, snowmageddon, snowpocalypse — whatever you called it, Jonas left his mark. Living in the Allegheny Plateau of Western Maryland, we’re used to a fair amount of snow. (In fact, the average annual accumulation of 120 inches is more than Fairbanks, Alaska — one of the area’s favorite weather claims.) But it’s typically spread out in periodic snowfalls, a few inches at a time between December and March. After what’s begun as the greenest winter in memory, could it be that the entire winter’s worth of snow fell in one weekend?

Mike measured 37.25″ as our official count for the 36-hour storm. But, as we’re typing this only three days after the flakes stopped falling, it’s 40 degrees and melting quickly. Back to banana weather, it seems.

Visitors from surrounding metropolitan areas seek our mountaintop location in the winter because of the chance to see that rarified form of precipitation: fresh snow. But even without the white stuff on the ground, there’s still plenty to keep you busy.

Revive the lost art of wandering on our 14 miles of trails. If you prefer to walk with a purpose, rent GPS units for a geocaching mission around the property. Bird-watching can be improved in the winter without foliage to camouflage bird sightings or to muffle their calls. Buy a Winter Tree Identification guide from our gift shop to take out with you on the trails for another sort of scavenger hunt. Woodland trails can be soggy, so make sure you have a good hiking boot with ankle support. In icy conditions, pick up a pair of YakTraks from Savage River Trading Company.

Once you’ve exhausted our thick woods, take a thirty-minute drive to New Germany State Park with ten more miles of trails to traverse. Warm up with some hot cocoa at the concession area overlooking 13-acre New Germany Lake after your hike.

Savage River Lodge & Mount Aetna Tract Trails
1600 Mount Aetna Rd., Frostburg, MD 21532. 301-689-3200.

New Germany State Park. Open 8am to sunset.
349 Headquarters Lane, Grantsville, MD 21536. 301-895-5453.

Our sister businesses in nearby Grantsville can provide a full day of diversions, worthy of a trip any time of year, and only twenty minutes over rolling countryside from the Lodge.

Browse tables and tables of merchandise in two buildings at lifestyle store Grant’s Mercantile, chock to the brim with gourmet foods from across the region, the coziest scarves in every color imaginable, your new go-to handbag, interspersed with essentials like colanders and pasta spoons.

Meander through Spruce Forest Artisan Village for more uniquities, crafted on site. The artists keep varying hours throughout the winter, but if you take your chances you’ll likely encounter at least one of the resident artists at work in their historic log cabins.

Hop across to the street to The Cornucopia Cafe, the second restaurant in the Savage River Lodge family, just opened in September 2015. It’s a knife and fork type of place, without being fancy. You’ll want to linger awhile in front of the fireplace, in front of the huge wall of windows overlooking the Casselman River, or at the bar underneath a chandelier of Edison-style bulbs. Even if it’s still brisk out, you can enjoy al fresco dining under heat lamps on the deck. A rotating selection of craft draft beers and a well-edited wine list round out a meal of elevated classics, with inventive spins on classic dishes like deviled eggs or meatballs, and even the burger gets a twist.

If you’re not ready for a sit-down meal, grab a latte and a sweet treat from the bakery case and walk a few hundred yards down to Casselman River Bridge State Park’s picnic benches. Take in the slow stream at the site known to General George Washington as Little Crossings in the shadow of a handsome 200-year old stone arch bridge, once the largest in the world.

Possible extensions to your Grantsville itinerary could be a loop through Amish country near Springs, PA, or a scenic drive with two whistle-stops on the Garrett County Barn Quilt tour.

Grant’s Mercantile. Open daily 9am to 5pm.
146 Casselman Rd., Grantsville MD 21536. 301-895-5495.

Spruce Forest Artisan Village. Hours by chance Monday to Saturday 10am to 4pm.
177 Casselman Rd., Grantsville MD 21536. 301-xxx-xxxx

The Cornucopia Cafe. Open daily 7am to 9pm.
146 Casselman Rd., Grantsville MD 21536. 301-895-8142

The Cornucopia Cafe in Grantsville, MD

A fifteen minute drive northeast of us is the quaint city of Frostburg, home of Frostburg State University. (Go Bobcats!) The historic, red-brick lined main street is punctuated by spires historic chapels and storefronts with small town charm. Peruse the shelves of Main Street Books for the best in fiction and non-fiction, and plenty of gifts for the literarily inclined. The shop is staffed by book lovers who can help you select your next vacation read, that you’ll devour from the comfort of a big chair in front of the fireplace in your cabin or yurt.

Across the street, down-home diner Princess Restaurant has been serving up all-day flapjacks with a side of short order cook sass since 1939. Chrome stools line a long counter in front of the open grill line, and original booth jukeboxes History buffs can stop in at the Frostburg Museum for a brief tour. An exhibit of the Braddock Stone, original mile marker from the Braddock Road, illustrates the town’s link to the original east-west corridor of Braddock Road, then the National Road, and now Interstate 68. Regional art is on display as well, including a collection of musical instruments from circa 1877.

Main Street Books. Open daily, hours vary.
2 East Main St., Frostburg, MD 21532. 301-689-5605.

The Princess Restaurant. Open Monday-Saturday 6am to 8pm.
12 West Main St., Frostburg, MD 21532. 301-689-1680.

Frostburg Museum. Open Thursday-Saturday 12pm to 4pm.
69 Hill St., Frostburg MD 21532. 301-689-1195.

The Princess Restaurant in Frostburg, MD from @wabigyspy


In the middle of an ordinary field only an hour away is the Flight 93 National Memorial, a monument to the extraordinary bravery of its 33 passengers and seven crew members. The Visitor Center officially opened to the public on September 11th, 2015 and contains the oral histories of 815 men and women directly connected to Flight 93.

Flight 93 National Memorial. Visitor’s Center open daily 9am to 5pm, grounds open sunrise to sunset.
6424 Lincoln Hwy., Stoystown, PA 15563.

Instead of chasing adventure across the area, opt for a massage performed in your private cabin or yurt for the most relaxing experience. We are affiliated with some of the best licensed massage therapists in the area who offer one-hour treatments. Follow it up with an in-cabin dinner service in front of the fireplace and you may never want to leave.

Savage River Lodge Massage Services, from $100.
Subject to availability. 301-689-3200.

If the snow is still calling you, we are less than one hour from Wisp Resort, which keeps their snow stash usually at least through St Patrick’s Day. Maryland’s only ski resort offers 32 trails and 500 vertical feet on 172 acres of terrain for alpine skiing and snowboarding. A host of other winter activities are on site, too, like an outdoor ice skating rink and the popular Mountain Coaster.

Wisp Resort. Open daily, hours vary.
296 Marsh Hill Rd., McHenry, MD 21541. 301-859-3159.

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View from the slopes of Wisp Resort from


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