Pa.'s picturesque Carroll Valley lures the inn crowd

Ski Liberty is another draw in the nearby resort area


Road Trips

Regional Events

December 30, 2004|By Joanne E. Morvay | Joanne E. Morvay,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Just north of Carroll County sits a picturesque Pennsylvania valley with little more than a ski resort, two golf courses and a historic restaurant and inn.

But those attractions are more than enough to draw travelers to Carroll Valley, Pa., and the neighboring town of Fairfield.

But for the Mason-Dixon line, Maryland could still claim this area as its own. Both boroughs (Pennsylvania's designation for incorporated villages) stand on land that was originally part of a decree granted by Lord Baltimore himself.

Of course, Maryland's loss was Pennsylvania's gain. But Carroll Valley's proximity to Baltimore means we don't really suffer. It's only about a 90-minute journey.

Main attractions

Liberty Mountain Resort (78 Country Club Trail, off Route 116, Carroll Valley; 717-642-8282): Ski, snowboard and tube your way into 2005. Barring any complications by Mother Nature (who's been a little slow this year in helping ski resorts start their season), the slopes at Ski Liberty will be open until 10 p.m. tomorrow. McGee's Tavern will rock past midnight with the adult contemporary tunes of Tommy Can't Count (patrons must be 21 and over after 9 p.m.). The tavern will offer dinner beginning at 7 p.m.

Liberty Mountain's winter schedule really revs up in January. "PA Learn to Ski and Board Day" is set for Jan. 6. Skiers age 8 and up pay $10 for a lesson, rentals and lift ticket. There are two four-hour sessions, and reservations (required) fill quickly. The Fresh Air: Women's Clinic and Demo Day on Jan. 9 offers an eight-hour lift ticket, a clinic, breakfast and lunch for $90. Proceeds benefit the American Lung Association.

The resort's College Nights start Feb. 2. College students with ID get a $20 lift ticket, free rentals and discounted lessons 5 p.m.-10 p.m. every Wednesday through the season. On Feb. 9, the resort offers Operation Thank You - a free eight-hour lift ticket for all active military, law enforcement and emergency personnel with ID.

For condition reports, call 717-642-9000 or look at the Web cams at

Carroll Valley Resort (Route 116 and Sanders Road, 800-548-8504): Open year-round, weather permitting, the resort offers two 18-hole golf courses. The Carroll Valley course was given 4 1/2 stars by Golf Digest magazine. Mountain View Golf Course just down the road in Fairfield received four stars in the same "Places to Play" survey. Golfers play on sprawling greens with the Catoctin Mountains looming in the background. The resort's two on-site restaurants include Pennsylvania's own Tavern on the Green.

The Fairfield Inn (15 W. Main St., Fairfield; 717-334-8868): Everybody from Revolutionary War patriot Patrick Henry to the 34th president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, has stayed at the Fairfield Inn. Other famous guests include the Confederate generals retreating from the bloody Battle of Gettysburg.

Modern diners can sample the generals' historic menu of ham and bean soup and chicken and biscuits, followed by a slice of fresh-baked pie. Or try more modern fare like pasta, seafood and game. Sunday brunch tempts palates with crab Benedict, grilled steak and eggs, slow-roasted loin of pork and more.

The inn's period entertainment on scheduled nights includes an illusionist performing Civil War-era magic and Celtic music. Reservations strongly suggested.

Other things to do

Ventura's Restaurant and Pizzeria (100 E. Main St., Fairfield; 717-642-8202): Traditional pizzas, pastas and subs with a small, decent wine list. Thursday's "Wing Night" offers 14 sauces including Cajun Ranch and Chesapeake. Big-screen televisions let guests keep up with the wide world of sports. Diners range from local families with small children in tow to packs of college kids who come in after a day on the slopes.

Carroll Valley Borough Park (Route 116): A creek runs through this picturesque park, and there are benches to sit and watch the water meander. Jungle gyms, a trail and soccer fields are among the park's other attractions. Pets on leashes are allowed if their owners clean up after them. Pavilions and lots of shady trees make this a popular warm-weather picnic destination as well.

McKesson House (18 E. Main St., Fairfield; 717-642-8013): This gift shop in a historic home features pottery by artisans in Bolaslawiec, Poland, as well as paintings and Colonial-style floor cloths by the mother-daughter owners. The pottery - with its appealing cream, blue and red folk art patterns - traces its beginnings to farmers in the early 16th century.

Getting there

Take Interstate 695 to Interstate 795 North toward Reisterstown. Get off at Route 140 and follow it west through Westminster, Taneytown and Emmitsburg. When you cross into Pennsylvania, Md. 140 becomes Pennsylvania Route 16. Continue for about two miles past the state line. Turn right onto Route 116 East and follow for about two miles into Carroll Valley. Liberty Mountain and Carroll Valley resorts will be on your right. To get to Fairfield, continue on Route 116, which becomes Main Street in Fairfield.

More information

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For more regional trips, see Page 32.

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