Four Weekend Getaways Within Four Hours

Whether you're looking for adventure or romance, these destinations are an easy drive from Delaware.


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Crystal Springs Resort’s clubhouse lit at night.//photo courtesy of Crystal Springs Resort.

 

When cabin fever strikes, there’s no surer cure than a weekend road trip. Whether you’re in the mood for an exciting new adventure, a romantic
rendezvous, some much-needed relaxation or a new way of experiencing a favorite place, there are perfect destinations just a four-hour-or-less car ride away.

ADVENTURE

WHERE: Garrett County, Maryland
TRAVEL TIME: Three hours, 50 minutes from Newark

 

Swallow Falls State Park.//Photography by Timothy Jacobsen — Garrett County Chamber of Commerce

 

» WHY «

With six state parks, three state forests and a full-service ski resort, this scenic part of western Maryland offers all the outdoor activities you could want for an adventurous getaway. Adding to the serene beauty of this area is the centerpiece 3,900-acre Deep Creek Lake.

» WHAT TO DO «

Whether your sport of choice is skiing or snowboarding, Wisp Resort, on Marsh Hill Road in McHenry, has 172 acres of terrain and 34 slopes for downhill thrills. Lift tickets are $49-$59, equipment rentals are $34-$49 plus $9 for helmet. On Deal Day Mondays, you can get the whole shebang—lift ticket and equipment—for $49. Snow tubing shoots you through 750-foot-long chutes ($24). Wisp’s Mountain Coaster twists, turns, dips and rolls you for a 3,500-foot downhill run that’s sure to give you an adrenaline rush. Single rider $14, double $19. (301) 859-3195, wispresort.com.

If Nordic skiing is more your speed, you’ll find 10 miles of cross-country and snowshoeing trails from beginner to intermediate tucked away in the woodlands at Herrington Manor State Park, on Herrington Lane in Oakland. You’ll feel like a kid again when you take to the park’s hills on a sled. Rentals of skis, boots and poles or snowshoes are $10 per hour, $25 per day. Sleds are $6 per day. (301) 334-9180, dnr.maryland.gov.

 

(FROM LEFT): snow tubing at Wisp Resort.//photo by Timothy Jacobsen; Dinner at Savage River Lodge.//photo by veronica varos photography

 

» WHERE TO CRASH «

Get cozy in a two-story log cabin or yurt tucked amid the 700 state forest acres of Savage River Lodge on Mt. Aetna Road, Frostburg. All accommodations include gas log fireplace and a morning delivery of a basket of fresh juice and muffins. Pet-friendly cabins are available. $250-$270 double occupancy for cabins, $270 for yurts. (301) 689-3200, savageriverlodge.com.

The cabins may be tiny (200 to 300 square feet) at Blue Moon Rising, on Blue Moon Rising Way in McHenry, but they pack a lot of charm and comfort into their small footprint within their 15-acre forest setting overlooking Deep Creek Lake. Made of reclaimed and recycled materials, each is uniquely designed and furnished with loft-style and/or Murphy beds and kitchens. $199 weekdays double occupancy, $249 weekends. (240) 442-5287, bluemoonrising.org.

» WHAT TO EAT «

Wild game often makes appealing appearances in dishes such as elk sausage and wild boar riblets at the restaurant at Savage River Lodge. Even the signature meatloaf gets gussied up with a wrap of maple bacon. Small plates are $8-$18, full entrées $25-$35.

Reuben sandwich aficionados will be pleased to know that the corned beef is brined in-house and the serving is generous at Moonshadow Café on Bumblebee Road in McHenry. The dinner menu features creative twists such as Steak Barrymore topped with lump crabmeat and Béarnaise sauce and African Spiced Peanut Chicken, as well as an exotic item or two—think Korean BBQ Pork Cheeks. Sandwiches $12-$14, small plates $8-$14 and entrées $15-$42. (240) 442-5542, moonshadow145.com.

Sometimes you just crave an omelet or pancakes in the middle of the afternoon. And you can get breakfast all day long at Annie’s Kitchen on Main Street in the town of Accident. You won’t believe how much good stuff they pack into the Kitchen Sink Omelet, a true measure of one’s intestinal fortitude. $2.75-$14.95. (301) 746-8578, annieskitchenrestaurant.com.

RELAXATION

WHERE: The Skylands, New Jersey
TRAVEL TIME: Three hours from Wilmington

 

The Grand Cascades Lodge.//photo courtesy of Crystal Springs Resort

 

» WHY «

Let the stress of the everyday melt away as you commune with nature on the back roads of the 60,000 acres of state parkland, rolling farmland and mountains dotted with sparkling lakes and rivers that make up this off-the-beaten-path destination in northwestern New Jersey. A little retail therapy can boost your mood as well and you’ll find both the antique and handcrafted shops lining the main streets in The Skylands’ charming small towns.

 

Crystal Springs Resort’s enclosed Biosphere Pool Complex.//photo courtesy of Crystal Springs Resort

 

» WHAT TO DO «

Expend some of your pent-up energy with a hike in the Kittatinny Mountains and along the numerous waterfalls in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. For a breathtaking tri-state view, climb the 220 steps to the top of High Point Monument.

You don’t have to fly to a South Seas island to tan in a tropical paradise in the middle of winter. The unique (first in the U.S.) roof of the 10,000-square-foot, glass-enclosed Biosphere Pool Complex at Crystal Springs Resort, on Wild Turkey Way in Hamburg, is made of a special material that allows for year-round sunbathing. To complete the island-like ambiance, the complex has heated pools with waterfalls, Jacuzzi, sauna, underground aquarium, exotic plants, gorgeous mountain views and even a tiki bar serving creative cocktails. (855) 977-6473, crystalgolfresort.com.

If you’ve never had a four-hand massage, you’re missing the pampering of a lifetime as two therapists work in unison to relax and rejuvenate you at Reflections Spa at Crystal Springs Resort.

Main Street in the 18th-century town of Chester is a handcraft enthusiast’s haven, showcasing 50 local artists at The Ant and The Grasshopper
(908-888-2633, ant-and-grasshopper.com) and 50 national artists at Chester Crafts & Collectibles (908-879-2900).

 

(FROM LEFT) A Studio Suite at the Grand Cascades Lodge; Bedroom Suite at the Grand Cascades Lodge.//photos courtesy of crystal springs resort

 

» WHERE TO CRASH «

Crystal Springs Resort has two distinctive luxury hotels, 12 dining spots from fine dining to pub casual and two full-service spas. At the Grand Cascades Lodge, you have your choice of a studio, traditional one-bedroom, and outdoor fireplace deck suites of up to two bedrooms, which also feature fully equipped kitchens; some have jetted tubs. One-bedroom rooms and suites are $309-$409 weekdays double occupancy, $369-$469 weekends.

 

Beef Chuck at Restaurant Latour at Grand cascades lodge .//photo courtesy of crystal springs resort

 

» WHAT TO EAT «

Watch the sun set over the mountains as you experience the chef’s culinary prowess at Restaurant Latour at Grand Cascades Lodge at the Crystal Springs Resort. Two menus feature such upscale offerings as Osettra caviar oyster tart and Muscovy duck with black mission fig. The award-winning wine cellar boasts 105,000 bottles. Four-course prix fixe dinner $115, wine pairing $55; chef’s tasting menu $155, wine pairing $65.

Happy Days are here again at The Chatterbox Drive-In, a casual eatery on State Highway 15 in Augusta, where poodle skirts and saddle shoes fit right in. Get an Angus burger any way you like it or a specialty sandwich such as the Big Bad John (mac and cheese, pulled pork, fried onions and cheddar cheese on sourdough bread). For dinner, try the fried chicken. $5.49-$9.99. (973) 300-2300, chatterboxdrivein.com.

It’s pinkies up for an oh-so-civilized Victorian High Tea with finger sandwiches, a scone and mini desserts ($25.50) or Cream Tea with a scone and a sweet shortbread tart ($13.50) at Sally Lunn’s Tea Room & Restaurant on Perry Street in Chester. (908) 879-7731, sallylunns.com.

ROMANCE

WHERE: Loudoun County, Virginia
TRAVEL TIME: Two hours, 30 minutes from Dover

 

Lansdowne Resort exterior.//photo courtesy of Lansdowne Resort

 

» WHY «

Located in the northern part of the state, this is Virginia wine country, with more than 40 wineries. And what could be more romantic than a chauffeured tour to sip and sample some of them? Or take a long bike ride together along the Potomac River to soak up the scenery, followed by a couple’s massage in a glamorous spa.

 

The pedicure station at the Lansdowne Spa.//photo by kip dawkins photography

 

» WHAT TO DO «

On weekends, you can visit two wineries and leave the driving to the Express Wine Excursion Shuttle offered by Lansdowne Resort and Spa, Woodridge Parkway in Leesburg. $60 per person (tasting fees are separate). Add a picnic lunch for two for $30. (703) 729-8400, destinationhotels.com/lansdowne-resort.

It turns out that wine is as good for the body as it is for the spirit, so you’ll want to start or finish your day with a luxurious couple’s massage in front of the stone fireplace at Lansdowne Resort’s Spa Minérale. The spa is known for its vinotherapy wine-infused facials, body wraps, massages and nail treatments. (703) 729-4036.

Rent a bike at Lansdowne Resort for $10 per hour or $25 per day to explore the property’s 476 acres or the Potomac Heritage Trail on the bluffs overlooking the river. The trail will lead you to stop-worthy sites such as Ball’s Bluff, a famous Civil War battlefield with an interpretive trail relating its place in history; Rust Sanctuary, a wild habitat that’s great for birdwatching; and the sweeping views from Red Rock Wilderness Overlook.

 

A king guestroom at the Lansdowne Resort and Spa.//photo courtesy of Lansdowne Resort

 

» WHERE TO CRASH «

Check into a room or suite at Lansdowne Resort and Spa to take advantage of all the activities such as the wineries tour and bike rentals as well as amenities such as the indoor heated pool and hot tub. If you want to bring along the other love of your life, the resort welcomes pets, too. Rooms start at $188.30-$223.30. (703) 729-8400.

 

(FROM LEFT): Dinner at Lightfoot Restaurant; A Wine Flight at The Wine Kitchen.//Photos courtesy of Visit Loudon

 

» WHAT TO EAT «

Linger over bottomless mimosas and the Sunday brunch spread at the Riverside Hearth at Lansdowne Resort that includes made-to-order omelets, pancakes and Belgian waffles; carving stations; sweet and savory entrées and bakery-fresh pastries. $36 per person, $48 with mimosas.

The Wine Kitchen, on South King Street in downtown Leesburg, is a tiny dining spot, so be sure to make reservations. The pastas are all hand-made and the small plates and wine flights range from the whimsical to the inspired. If they’re on the menu, try the “Chicken & Waffles” (quail with bacon-braised kale on a Belgian waffle with bacon-caramel sauce) or the “Shake and Bake” pork chop with sausage-stuffed kale, roasted peaches and lavender jus. $9-$25. (703) 777-WINE, thewinekitchen.com.

Start with Chef Ingrid’s French onion and field mushroom bisque with three cheeses and truffle oil at Lightfoot Restaurant on North King Street in Leesburg, then go for the crab cake so explosive with flavor they’ve dubbed it “Atomic,” shrimp and grits with applewood smoked bacon, or lamb T-bones. Small plates are $6-$16, entrées are $23-$33. (703) 771-2233, lightfootrestaurant.com.

SURPRISE

WHERE: Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
TRAVEL TIME: Four hours from Lewes

 

The Paymaster's Cottage at Speedwell Forge Bed and Breakfast.//courtesy of DiscoverLancaster.com

 

» WHY «

Maybe you’ve been to this pretty area of the south-central part of the state to experience the Pennsylvania Dutch culture. But there’s more to Lancaster County than shoo-fly pie, quilts and belly-busting buffets. You’ll also find a wealth of fine arts, lively entertainment and sophisticated food options downtown and in the surrounding small towns and villages.

 

Shopping in downtown Lancaster.//courtesy of discoverlancaster.com

 

» WHAT TO DO «

Along Gallery Row in downtown Lancaster, you can visit more than 40 galleries, museums and working artists’ studios representing a wide range of genres. The East King Street residence/studio of watercolorist and leader of the Precisionist Movement Charles Demuth in Lancaster has been preserved and now exhibits 40 of his paintings. Free admission. Donations are welcome. (717-299-9940, demuth.org). The Lancaster Museum of Art on Lime Street in Lancaster displays works by such greats as Willem deKooning, Maurice Sendak and a troika of Wyeths (Andrew, Jamie and N.C.). Free. Donations are welcome. (717) 394-3497, imapa.org.

It’s been more than a century since the last wild wolf was known to exist in Pennsylvania. But you can meet more than 40 of these majestic animals, many rescued from private residences or unable to live in the wild for other reasons, at the 80-acre-plus Wolf Sanctuary of PA on Speedwell Road, Lititz. Guided tours are available for $12-$15. On Jan. 19, adults can bring a blanket, hot dogs and marshmallows for a Full Moon Tour of the sanctuary followed by a bonfire. $20. (717) 626-4617, wolfsanctuarypa.org.         

You would never expect to come across a pirate, Roman emperor or person from medieval days in Lancaster County, but you can make the acquaintance of any of the above at a themed feast at Bube’s Brewery on North Market Street in Mount Hope. Or follow the clues to their often surprising conclusion during one of Bube’s murder mystery dinners. $50 per person. (717) 653-2056, bubesbrewery.com.

 

THE PAYMASTER'S COTTAGE AT SPEEDWELL FORGE BED AND BREAKFAST has a whirlpool bath.//COURTESY OF DISCOVERLANCASTER.COM

 

» WHERE TO CRASH «

On the same property as the Wolf Sanctuary of PA is a 1760 mansion that is home to Speedwell Forge Bed & Breakfast. Three rooms and three private cottages are available for overnighting. The Paymaster’s Cottage has a magnificent floor-to-ceiling brick gas fireplace and an oversize whirlpool bath. The two-story Summer Kitchen has a whirlpool tub, gas fireplace and kitchenette. Full three-course breakfast is included. Rooms are $150-$195, suites $275-$350. (717) 626-1760, speedwellforge.com.

 

Dinner at John J. Jeffries Restaurant.//photo courtesy of discoverlancaster.com

 

» WHAT TO EAT «

Luca, on Lancaster’s West James Street, is one of the hottest tickets in the city because this casual dining spot excels at rustic Italian food prepared in a wood-burning hearth and handmade Neapolitan oven, and pastas are made in-house. Small plates are $7-$13, entrées $15-$32. (717) 553-5770, lucalancaster.com.

Situated in the Lancaster Arts Hotel on Harrisburg Avenue in downtown Lancaster, John J. Jeffries Restaurant is all about organic meats and vegetables crafted into upscale small plates such as cornmeal-crusted eggplant and fresh goat mozzarella and full entrées like heritage pork gordita. Small plates are $8-$16, entrées $20-$36. (717) 431-3307, johnjjeffries.com.

Established in 1730, Lancaster’s Central Market, on North Market Street, is the oldest continually operating farmers market in the United States and has more than 60 vendors offering flavors from Italy, Greece, the Middle East, Puerto Rico and Thailand. Open Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. (717) 735-6890, centralmarketlancaster.com.