Winter Getaways: Savage River Lodge
This getaway just over two hours away in Frostburg, Md., is a blend of outdoor fun and indoor comfort.
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.
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).
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.
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.
2 Hours, 5 Minutes
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).