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Friday, December 18, 2015

Tips for Planning a Trip to Deep Creek Lake

To celebrate our 40th birthdays, my husband and I decided to invite our families to join us for a long weekend at a house in Deep Creek Lake. We've never done any getaway quite like this before, though we have done short stays at the wonderful treehouse. Typically we stay at hotels or resorts where we know there will be certain amenities or meals available. Hotels are great, but at Deep Creek the thing to do is get a house on a the lake. And the shared spaces in the big house meant lots of chances for quality time. 

Where: We stayed at a place called Sun Kissed Cove rented out by Railey Realty in the town of McHenry.  We had 18 people there at one point and there was plenty of room for all. We didn't know anything about Deep Creek prior to this trip, so we relied a lot on Google maps and online reviews to find a location that was on the water and in the woods. 

It turns out we were also very close to Wisp which offered a fun way to end our weekend! 

Our house was also located close to a little selection of shops. I never went into the grocery store, but my husband described it as a place that "had everything from Kraft Mac and grits to truffle oil and bison burgers." My husband was even able to use Apple Pay preempted his brother from picking up the tab. Sneaky. There was a fun gift shop nearby, an ice cream and candy store and a barbecue place called Archie's that was decent. 
When: We visited during the Columbus Day weekend and it turns out it was also the Autumn Glory festival. While we didn't participate in that event, it looks very nice. At this time of year it was still nice enough to be outside, in fact we had AMAZING weather, but it was also not hot or muggy or covered in mosquitos. 

What to bring:  Next time we do this, I'll have a better idea of what to bring. It's like a hotel, but also not like a hotel. There are towels, for instance, but no beach towels. I should have brought all of my bathroom toiletries, down to shampoo, conditioner and a hair dryer. 

We knew the kitchen would be stocked with dishes, pots, pans, etc. but we didn't know we'd need to bring a scrubbing sponge. They also didn't have kitchen towels. Of course we had to bring our own paper towels and toilet paper. 

The special ice maker in the kitchen was a welcome bonus. There was one dishwasher in the kitchen and we ran that thing like 3x a day. The day before our arrival, the rental company told us the dishwasher was broken and offered us $50 off. Luckily my husband stood his ground and said "no way." We couldn't pay someone to wash all those dishes for $50! So the rental company got the owners to buy a new dishwasher. And we used it. 

The hot tub on a crisp fall day was an absolute dream. I think we will always look for a place with a hot tub from now on.

We also learned the hard way that there is a special position to put the trash cans into their fancy wooden boxes. If you position them with the wheels out, raccoons can drag them to the ground and
spread garbage everywhere. While it sucked that it happened to us, we saw it also happened to a lot of people who put the rolling cans in wrong. Lesson learned.

There was also a learning curve with the TV remotes. We couldn't find the main one for the longest time, so my dad watched some football in Spanish. Good cultural opportunity. We eventually found it under a couch cushion, so keep that tip in mind.

Food: This house had two refrigerators and we filled them both to overflowing. Our whole party brought WAY too much food. We did not coordinate with each other in a very precise fashion who was bringing what general ingredients, so we ended up with overwhelming amounts of things like butter and cheese and beverages. Don't get me wrong, the food was INCREDIBLE. Things like custom grilled cheeses and homemade muffins and crab dip and pork tenderloin and of course the fancy cocktail contest - totally unforgettable. But the next time we head down there with a big group, I think we'll work on more coordination and less food waste. 

We didn't rent any boats or canoes, so I can't recommend a particular one. But I can say that it is possible to jump in the lake in October and survive. I can also say that it is necessary to have a washer and dryer when you bring kids on a weekend vacation. And that Deep Creek, while in the mountains, is not crazy hilly for running compared to Pittsburgh. 
Overall, we loved trying our weekend getaway in Deep Creek and definitely would be back again!

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