Winter Getaways: Savage River Lodge

This getaway just over two hours away in Frostburg, Md., is a blend of outdoor fun and indoor comfort.
Srl Lodge Jenniferdobson02


For many Pittsburghers, the idea of a classic Maryland vacation sparks visions of crushing soft-shell crabs or crab cakes by the Chesapeake Bay — or water activities in Deep Creek. But I’d also consider a winter visit to the spine of the Appalachian Mountains that runs through the state’s western panhandle. I stayed overnight at Savage River Lodge in Frostburg in February and was enchanted by the blend of outdoor fun and indoor comfort.

Here’s a nice bonus: Pets are welcome, too. I brought my pup, Cleo.

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The property’s 43 acres feature a 14-mile system of clearly marked trails. They were coated with a mix of snow, ice and muddy patches when I was there, which proved a challenging, though not impossible, hike. Cleo and I rambled through the rolling hills surrounding the lodge and into the adjoining Savage River State Park for a couple of hours. The next day, we hit one of several terrific hiking trails a short drive away.

Savage River Lodge’s 18 cabins — 14 of which are pet-friendly — are a short walk from the main lodge. You might bump into your fellow winter travelers if you’re taking your dog for a walk, but you’ll otherwise feel a sense of privacy in your cabin. On the other side of the lodge are eight tricked-out yurts for guests who desire wintertime glamping (no pets allowed in those).

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My cabin was super-cozy. Downstairs was a comfortable couch and a cushy armchair. After the hike, I lit the gas-fueled fireplace, settled into that armchair and got lost in a book. There are no televisions. Upstairs, a king-sized loft bed was lined with plush bedding. Around 8:30 each morning, the staff delivers a breakfast basket to your porch with housemade muffin and orange juice. You can also order additional items.

I enjoyed my evening meal at Savage River Lodge’s restaurant, Catalpa, which featured a sort of upscale, slightly Appalachian-influenced modern American menu. There’s quite a good wine list, heavy on California and French classics but with interesting global detours, too. Be sure to make reservations before your stay.

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The restaurant is attached to the main lodge, which has a grand, double-sided fireplace as a central focus. Its current dog-in-residence is Kokopelli, and owners Mike Dreisbach and Jan Russell pay homage to ​​Bodhi, their beloved first dog, throughout the property.

The 1½-mile road that leads to Savage River Lodge can be a bit bumpy, particularly for cars without four-wheel drive. But no worries: The lodge’s warm hospitality extends to the property boundary; when the driveway is impassable, someone will pick you up in a shuttle.

Winter rates are $265-$295 for the cabins; $295 for yurts. Peak season is up to $325 nightly. Pet fee is $30 nightly — no restrictions on breed or species. People have brought pigs and ponies in the past.

Drive Time
2 Hours, 5 Minutes

107, East

Where To
1600 Mt. Aetna Road, Frostburg, Maryland 21532


Good to Know
This place is very pet-friendly. It even offers a Bone Appetite Pet Menu, complete with Mutt Loaf ($7) and Chicken and Rice dish ($6).

Categories: Winter Getaways