Hip, Elegant, Charming, Fun
From museums and restaurants to shops and Winter Fest, Oakland, Maryland, has something for everyone.
Just 45 miles from Morgantown, Oakland, Maryland, has a lot to offer. Diverse opportunities for dining and culture start in its historic downtown, then radiate out into the countryside, where the wonders of glassmaking await at the Simon Pearce factory and shop.
The Greater Oakland Business Association provides free two-hour parking for several easily walkable blocks, making it an ideal location to start exploring. And the Oakland Cornish Café is a great place to kick off the day with a latte and a breakfast sandwich or fresh-baked pastry.
The Cornish Café is the city’s elegant Cornish Manor Restaurant’s hip little sister. Many of the cozy tables are illuminated with shaded lamps and paired with Hemingway Anson chairs—featuring tall, curved backs, wide and deep seats, and arms. At the back of the dining room are sofas to sink into with a good book or conversation partner. Take time here to plan your day.
Next door is an art gallery and across the street—South Second—are an independent bookseller and a museum. Down the street are St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, where Presidents Grant, Harrison, and Cleveland attended services, and a restored Queen Anne-style train station from the city’s heyday as a stop on the B&O Railroad. “We like to think of Oakland as the heart of Garrett County,” says Oakland Business Coordinator Michelle Ross. “Oakland is small-town at its best. We are a designated Main Street and have a wonderful walkable downtown with unique shops and dining that are full of personality and small-town charm.”
Chefs Don Champion and Jacques Hourtal opened Top Chefs on Alder (216 E. Alder Street, 301.334.2433) in November. The cozy bistro serves lunch and dinner Wednesday–Sunday and opens earlier for breakfast on the weekends. Chicken noodle and vegetable beef soups are as likely to be specials as lobster bisque. Soon you will be able to attend dinners created from menus of the B&O dining car and Oakland’s historic hotels that served rail travelers.
In 1959, Lou and Cecelia Cornish turned their home into an eatery and cocktail lounge, Cornish Manor Restaurant (830 Memorial Drive, 301.334.6499, cornishmanorrestaurant.com). Today, restaurateur Emily Berry welcomes fine diners for steaks, seafood, pastas, and various desserts, including Bananas Foster, cream puffs, cheesecakes, and pies.
For country cooking in a pastoral setting, drive 10 minutes from downtown to Heidi’s Bakery and Café (2249 Blue Ribbon Road, 240.321.5804). Fresh-baked sourdough bread is toasted for breakfast and is the foundation for most sandwiches. It goes out the door, too, by the loaf with customers who also buy cinnamon and raspberry rolls, whole pies, cupcakes, and pepperoni rolls.
Candyland at the Farmers Market (12679 Garrett Highway, 301.334.9146) displays 900 kinds of candy on one side of the store. The other side holds bulk foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, preserves, meats, and cheeses.
Oakland’s downtown has entertainment for a variety of interests. The Garrett County Museum of Transportation (East Liberty Street, 301.533.1044, garrettcountymuseums.com) has an original 1950s sailboat, the county’s first snowmobile, 1920s toy Buddy L Model T Fords, plus sleighs, buggies, automobiles, and more. A replica of a B&O train called “Little Maryland” may be seen at the Garrett County Historical Museum (107 S. Second Street, 301.334.3226). Stephen Pagenhart started building the fully operational replica when he was 16. It was featured in the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The town’s 1884 train station houses the Oakland B&O Museum (117 E. Liberty Street, 301.334.3204, oaklandbandomuseum.org).
Every President’s Day Weekend, downtown hosts Winter Fest (301.334.2691). More than 30 sculptures line the streets and Master Ice Carver Bill Sandusky gives demonstrations. There’s a Prince and Princess Ball, vendors, hot chocolate, sleigh rides, an ice bowling alley and slide, and wine tastings.
In 1999, glassware, tableware, lighting and home décor maker Simon Pearce (265 Glass Drive, 301.334.5277, simonpearce.com) opened a manufacturing facility in nearby Mountain Lake Park. From a wide catwalk, visitors can watch the entire production—from the glassblower gathering a glob of molten glass on the end of a blowpipe to its shaping and finishing, and to its annealing, or cooling, process. They can also shop in the retail store, which sells the whole Simon Pearce line plus “seconds,” or pieces with minor flaws.
More handcrafted art can be found at the Garrett County Arts Council’s Gallery Shop (108 S. Second Street, 301.334.8139). The spacious and bright gallery displays oil and watercolor paintings, mixed-media sculptures, photographs, woodwork, pottery, and textiles such as hats, knitted scarves, blankets, and hand-spun yarn.
The owners of The Book Mark’et & Antique Mezzanine (111 S. Second St., 301.334.8778, thebookmkt.com) pack a lot into their cozy, eclectic store, yet it doesn’t feel crowded. The independent bookseller displays current and backlist titles, a copious children’s selection including Melissa & Doug merchandise, and antique and vintage collectibles displayed on its mezzanine. visitdeepcreek.com
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