Let me first preface by saying that I love New York and the energy that comes with living in the city. Though every year as summer approaches, I feel an undeniable inclination to get away to find a slower pace. More specifically as the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, I find myself daydreaming about one of my favorite places, Deep Creek Lake.
Unless you’re from Western Pennsylvania or the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area, there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Deep Creek. The lake itself sits amongst the quiet mountains of western Maryland and boasts approximately 70 miles of shoreline. Aside from being a picturesque get away, it’s the location where my family comes together each 4th of July to enjoy a long weekend of boating, relaxing and enjoying time together.
When I think of my time spent at the lake, the relaxed, early mornings always come to mind. I have fond memories of sneaking out to play a round while the rest of my family sleeps in. I always look forward to my morning routine of sipping on my coffee and driving around the calm lake while the crisp morning air coming in through my windows wakes me up.
As the course is nestled on top of the mountain, it’s common I pass a herd of whitetail or even a couple turkeys meandering across the stone driveway leading up to the clubhouse. By the time I check in and arrive at the range to hit some balls, there’s usually a thin layer of fog on top of the mountain. Aside from being peaceful and idyllic, it’s honestly nice having the false perception of roping my long irons without being able to see my slice.
The course I typically play at Deep Creek is called Lodestone Golf Course. It’s a modern trail-style golf course whose design was dictated by the mountaintop terrain it sits on. The back nine boasts some scenic holes overlooking the lake and always helps me realize that no matter how bad my score may seem, I still have a whole day of boating and fun with my family ahead of me.
Escaping the city and spending time at the lake always gives me a great sense of perspective. Golf is not always just about playing great. Often, it’s just about feeling great and being out in nature. Sure, it’s nice to have a good score, but it’s also nice to leave feeling better than when you came.
If you ever find yourself at the lake, I’ve included a list of courses, restaurants and watering holes you should pay a visit:
Lodestone Golf Course - My favorite course to play when visiting the lake. Previously ranked as the 2nd best public golf course in Maryland and offers a natural grass range and separate putting / chipping area.
Thousand Acres Golf Course – Future 18-hole championship course designed by Craig Schreiner with the front 9 available for play. The addition of this course puts Deep Creek in the conversation for being a golf getaway destination (if not already).
Mystic Rock at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort – Former home of the 84 Lumber Classic PGA Tour designed by Pete Dye (located approximately 45 minutes away from Deep Creek Lake)
Shepherd’s Rock at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort – Nemacolin’s second Pete Dye designed course, which opened in 2017 (located approximately 45 minutes away from Deep Creek Lake)
Fantasy Valley Golf Course – I've never been able to put together a good score on this course. Challenging string of holes on the front 9 but things open up more on the back.
Oakland Golf Club – Home of the western Maryland amateur tournament and located minutes away from Deep Creek Lake.
Waterfront Greens – free links style 9 hole par 3 track offering unlimited replays
Firewater Kitchen & Bar - Fantastic lakefront bar and restaurant offering great food and craft cocktails. Can't beat the outdoor patio on a beautiful day.
Mountain State Brew Co. - Best pizza at the Lake. Guaranteed to hear "Take me home, country roads" played at least once while here.
Moon Shadow - Eclectic restaurant offering craft beers and a diverse menu of locally sourced foods.
Canoe on the Run - One of Deep Creek's only breakfast spots overlooking WISP mountain
Ace’s Run Restaurant and Pub - If you're looking to switch things up, give "Stir Fry Friday's" a go here
Trader’s Coffee House - Best cup of coffee in Deep Creek but make sure you get here early to beat the line.
Short Story Brewing Co. - Family owned craft brewery offering a great selection of IPAs (if your into that kind of thing)
Mountain State Brew Co. - So good, it got listed twice. Another great brewery offering more than just craft beer. Usually have live music here on the weekends.
Honi Honi Bar - Fun outdoor lakefront bar that fills up fast in the summer. Offers free dock slips if you need to make a quick pit stop while out boating.
Black Bear Tavern - The late night spot that always leaves you with some stories to tell the next day