Lively getaways in dead of winter

UP FRONT

February 07, 2002|By Sloane Brown | Sloane Brown,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

HERE we are in the thick of winter again. Ah, that time of year when you feel the big chill. Sure, we've had some spectacularly warm days and not much snow to speak of. But bone-tingling cold weather is here for now, and an icy, snowy blast from Ol' Man Winter is surely heading our way -- it's February, after all.

On the heels of the blast will come the claustrophobia. You go to work; you go home. You get an antsy feeling, an itch to make a quick getaway. You need to find some place to go just for a weekend. An easy drive. Some place that provides both wintertime fun and a cozy refuge, so you can work off a little of that nervous energy during the day, then snuggle in for the night.

Have we found a getaway for you. Actually, we've found three. Each supplies a different kind of winter activity and a different kind of accommodations. And each is in a different part of Maryland.

Let's begin with snowiest setting. (Hey, we never said we didn't like playing in the white stuff.)

Savage River Lodge

How about a little cross-country skiing, sledding and snow-shoeing? At Garrett County's Savage River Lodge, you've got all that and then some. And it only takes three hours from Baltimore to get to the resort, located outside Frostburg.

Open just two years, Savage River Lodge offers guests their own cabins, a restaurant on the premises and indoor and outdoor activities -- equipment provided, if needed.

Cross-country skiers can rent skis, boots and poles from the lodge ($20 a day for adults, $12 for children), then ski off and explore some 15 miles of color-coded trails in the surrounding Savage River State Forest. The lodge also rents out snowshoes (adults $15, children $12) and sleds ($10 refundable deposit) for folks to use on the big hill just below the lodge.

Speaking of which, the main lodge is the first thing you see as you arrive -- a 10,000- square-foot classic mountain-log structure that houses a restaurant, gift shop, meeting room and library.

The centerpiece of the building is a great room -- with a two-sided stone fireplace in the middle, surrounded by comfy rustic lodge furniture.

A bar sits at one end of the room. There, guests can order the lodge's own microbrew, homemade root beer or one of the lodge's drinks, like hot apple pie -- a combo of hot apple cider, the Italian liqueur tuaca and whipped cream. Perfect for ending a day of chilly outdoor activity.

If fire-gazing isn't enough for you, check out the spectacular view over the sledding hill and across a valley -- through large glass doors that open onto a wrap-around porch.

The coziness doesn't end at the lodge. A five-minute walk up the road, and you're snugly ensconced in your very own log cabin -- one of 18 there. The homey living room comes complete with a fold-out couch, a gas log fireplace, coffeemaker and small fridge. The loft bedroom offers a queen-size bed complete with fluffy down comforter.

Outside on your own front porch, you'll find a basket of orange juice and homemade muffins each morning. There's also a rocking chair out there, but it'll probably be a bit too cold for you to enjoy that.

Savage River Lodge also is a dog-lover's delight. Not only are you welcomed by Bodhi -- the yellow Lab belonging to lodge owners Mike Dreisbach and Jan Russell -- but you can bring your own pooch. While guest dogs aren't invited inside the lodge -- that's Bodhi's territory -- they are more than welcome everywhere else, including inside your cabin. They even get their own homemade dog biscuits.

The lodge's restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Saturdays and Sundays, and for dinner on weekdays. Dinner entrees range in price from $16.95 to $29.95, and include items such as wood-fired oven salmon with Asian sauce ($18.95), New York strip steak ($22.95) and grilled American bison ($29.95).

A minimum two-night stay is required on weekends -- $300 two nights' single occupancy, $330 two nights' double occupancy. A one-night stay during the week runs $160 single occupancy, $180 for a double.

If you're planning on bringing your canine companion, the lodge needs to know ahead of time. Dinner reservations and ski-rental reservations are also requested in advance.

A couple of winter weekends are already completely booked at Savage River Lodge. For more information, directions and reservations, call 301-689-3200, or check out the Savage River Lodge Web site at www.savageriverlodge.com.

Pintail Point

Winter can be a particularly frustrating time of year for rabid golfers -- the weather generally gets in the way of shooting a few rounds. So how's this for something similar (sort of) but less weather-dependent: shooting a few rounds of sporting clays?

You can do it at your getaway on the Eastern Shore -- at the Pintail Point resort near Queenstown, on the banks of the Wye River.

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