In the fall, the 2 1/2-hour drive from Baltimore to downtown Cumberland feels like no time at all, thanks to the serene views of mountains and changing leaves you'll pass on your way through Western Maryland.
Nicknamed the Queen City, Cumberland' charms are apparent on arrival. Its mix of history (the old rail cars parked in front of the Western Maryland Railway Station) and the new (the downtown shopping continues to grow more chic) makes Cumberland worth a weekend visit, especially in the crisp autumn weather.
Cari Cannon, owner of the recently opened women's clothing store Lew Lew Belle Boutique, moved here from Florida, and has no regrets about leaving the Sunshine State behind.
“It's an untapped area,” Cannon said. “I hadn't spent much time here prior to opening the store, and now I can't get enough of it.”
For those curious about visiting Cumberland, check out these suggestions on where to go, what to do and events on the horizon.
Allegany Museum: The Allegany region — which includes Allegany and Garret counties in Western Maryland, as well as areas of West Virginia and Pennsylvania — is rich with history, and the Allegany Museum has done its best to house the artifacts in one place. Learn about the region's roles in the Whiskey Rebellion, glassmaking, tire production and more. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. 3 Pershing St. Free, but donations accepted. alleganymuseummd.org.
Arts & Entertainment District: Art lovers should find plenty to like in Cumberland, from watching productions at the nearly 30-year-old Cumberland Theatre (101 N. Johnson St.) to strolling through art exhibition spaces at the Saville Gallery and Schwab Mountain Maryland Gallery (both located at 9 N. Centre St., the Allegany Arts Council's headquarters). cumberlandtheatre.com; alleganyartscouncil.org.
George Washington's headquarters: Used during Washington's service in the French and Indian War, this one-room cabin in Riverside Park has stood since 1754. Take a look through the window and listen to an audio description of the building. 38 Greene St. 301-777-5132.
Rocky Gap Casino and Resort: Visitors feeling lucky can head to this casino and resort — located less than 10 minutes by car from downtown Cumberland — which features slot machines, blackjack, craps and roulette. There are also four casual restaurants, along with live music at its Event Center. 16701 Lakeview Road, Flintstone. rockygapcasino.com.
Western Maryland Scenic Railroad: For arguably the best views of the area's landscape, take this 32-mile round-trip trek on a restored diesel locomotive. New in its 27th year: The Evening Paradise Train, a 2 1/2-hour ride that includes a three-course meal ($65-$100 this month). 13 Canal St. For schedules and pricing, go to wmsr.com.
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park: Once a transportation route for delivering coal throughout Western Maryland, this nearly 185-mile-long pathway throughout Maryland, D.C. and West Virginia offers camping, public boat rides, hiking and biking. Start at the Cumberland Visitors Center at the Western Maryland Railway Station/Cumberland Visitor Center, 13 Canal St., Room 100. nps.gov/choh.
Great Allegheny Passage: This passage, which connects with the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal path, offers 150 miles of biking and hiking from Cumberland to Pittsburgh. Along the way, visitors can stop off at trail towns like Frostburg (Mile 15) and Meyerdale, Pa., (Mile 32). Free. gaptrail.org.
Rocky Gap Golf Course: For those more interested in golfing than gambling, this 7,000-yard, 18-hole course is Maryland's only course designed by all-time great Jack Nicklaus. That comes with a price — $129 for players without a Rocky Gap Rewards Club Card. 16701 Lakeview Road Northeast, Flintstone. rockygapcasino.com/golf.
Rocky Gap State Park: With more than 3,000 acres of public land to hike, bike, canoe and kayak through, it's no surprise this is one of Maryland's most popular parks. Staying the night? There are 278 individual campsites, along with mini-cabins and the fully furnished Easter Hill Chalet. (Call 1-888-432-2267 to make a reservation.) 12500 Pleasant Valley Road Northeast, Flintstone. dnr.maryland.gov; 301-722-1480.
Constitution Park: Let the kids burn off some energy at Constitution Park, which features two playgrounds with swings and slides. There are also tennis and basketball courts, along with a duck pond. Fort and Parkview avenues. 301-759-6635.
Queen City Creamery: What's a family trip without dessert? Try the homemade frozen custard and sorbet at this sweet shop, which features a special flavor of the day, every day. Open 7 a.m.- 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday; 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday. 108 W. Harrison St. queencitycreamery.com.
Tri-State Zoological Park: Check out the wide array of wildlife — from snakes and turtles to goats and African lions — at this 16-acre park. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. $6-$8 (ages 2 and under are free). 10105 Cottage Inn Lane Northeast. tristatezoologicalpark.com.
White Oak Lanes: With 32 lanes for bowling, a snack bar and plenty of video games, White Oak Lanes should keep the kids busy. Open noon-10 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday; noon-midnight Friday; 9 a.m.10 a.m.-midnight Saturday; 2 p.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. $4 per game per person and $2.50 per shoe rental. 1649 E. Oldtown Road. wolanes.com.
Azad's of Cumberland: Located at the Qashqai Gallery, this Persian rug store sells silk, silk-on-wool and all-wool rugs that will add style to a bare floor. The store also offers rug repair and hand-cleaning services, and sells local art and home decor items. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. 37 N. Centre St. azadsofcumberland.com.
The Book Center: So you've come to Cumberland to relax and enjoy the picturesque views of the Appalachian Mountains, but you forgot some reading material. Here's where to turn. In business for more than a half-century, this downtown bookstore has new and used titles, along with a large magazine selection. The store also serves as an off-site adoption center for the Allegany County Animal Shelter, so you could walk away with a new friend. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. 15 N. Centre St. thebookcenteronline.com.
Fort Cumberland Emporium: Historic towns like Cumberland tend to have antique shops filled with overlooked gems of furniture, pottery, vintage clothing and more. Those looking to discover their next collectibles purchase should head to this three-floor store, whose inventory is constantly changing. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. 55 Baltimore St. fortcumberlandemporium.com.
Lew Lew Belle Boutique: Cari Cannon opened her women's clothing store three months ago, and she's gotten a near-universal response from locals: “They say, ‘We needed this,'” Cannon said recently. They love the store's style and its prices, according to Cannon. “Ninety percent of what we have is under $50,” she said. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday. 61 Baltimore St. lewlewbelle.com.
Eat and drinks
Cafe Mark & Jennifer's Desserts: This spacious coffee shop celebrated its 12th anniversary this month, said owner Mark Rose. Locals hang out over breakfast and coffee, but Rose said they usually can't leave without a baked good made by his wife, Jennifer Rose. (Local eateries, including Puccini Restaurant, get their desserts from her, too.) “My personal favorite is her Sky High Peanut Butter Pie,” Mark Rose said. 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. 37 Baltimore St. cafemarkcumberland.com.
Charis Winery: Opened in 2013, the operation produces a wide selection of wines, including Chancellor, Barolo, Vidal Blanc, Catawba and fruit wines like cranberry and blueberry. Two types of flight tastings — dry to semi-sweet and semi-sweet to sweet — cost $7 each. In-season hours (through December) are noon- 6 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, noon-7 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Private tastings can be scheduled by appointment. 17 Howard St., Unit C5. chariswinery.com.
Curtis' Coney Island Famous Weiners: Since opening in 1918, this no-nonsense hot dog spot has endeared itself to the community, thanks to friendly service and an adherence to tradition. (You won't find beans in their chili here.) Just don't forget to hit the ATM first — Curtis' remains cash only. 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday; closed Sunday. 35 N. Liberty St. 301-777-0380.
Puccini Restaurant: Located inside a house built in the early 1800s, which the restaurant says served as a Civil War hospital, Puccini is now known for its wood-fired pizza. We sat at the bar recently, which had a decent selection of craft beer, and ate a heaping plate of chicken Parmigiana. It came with French onion soup, and cost only $19.59. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. 12901 Ali Ghan Road N.E. puccinirestaurant.com.
Ristorante Ottaviani: This family-owned and -operated restaurant has been a favorite of locals since opening in 2005 because of its comfortable atmosphere and takes on Italian cuisine, like the Frutti di Mare ($26.50), a dish of mussels, scallops, clams and shrimp served over linguine with red sauce. 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. 25 N. Centre St. ottavianis.com.
Halloween Spooktacular: Bring the kids for trick-or-treating, arts and crafts, a magic show and even a flash mob dance. Costumes encouraged. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 29. Corner of Liberty and Baltimore streets. Free. downtowncumberland.com.
Mountain Maryland Studio Tour: Each year, artists of many disciplines from Allegany and Garret counties open their studios to the public as a part of this free studio tour. Visitors can meet the artists where they work, discuss their techniques and purchase pieces. Various locations. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday and Oct. 29-30. To map out your itinerary, call 301-777-2787 or pick up a guidebook at the Allegany Arts Council's headquarters (9 N. Centre St.). alleganyartscouncil.org.
Third Friday Social Dance: This monthly, pressure-free group dance lesson teaches the styles of swing, salsa, rumba, cha cha, waltz, foxtrot and tango. The October edition has a Halloween theme, which includes a costume contest and bobbing for apples. You'll even learn the choreography from Michael Jackson's “Thriller“ video. $10 per person, $18 per couple. 7:15-9:15 tonight at the Allegany Arts Council, 9 N. Centre St. alleganyartscouncil.org.
Tree Lighting and Arrival of Santa Claus: The holiday season kicks off with this annual tree lighting, hosted by Mayor Brian Grim, in downtown Cumberland, corner of Liberty and Baltimore streets. 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Nov. 25. Free. downtowncumberland.com.
Bruce House Inn: Built in 1840, this European-style bed-and-breakfast has four rooms and a suite, and all offer high ceilings, free Wi-Fi and beautiful views of church steeples. 201 Fayette St. brucehouseinn.com.
Cumberland Inn & Spa: This cozy hotel attracts a “very high-end clientele,” according to manager Taylor Butts, thanks to its quaint charm. Breakfast isn't served, but the inn is located a short walk from downtown's restaurants. 120 Greene St. cumberlandinnandspa.com.
Fairfield Inn and Suites: For those looking for a more standard lodging option, this hotel has free Wi-Fi, an indoor pool and fitness center. Complimentary continental breakfast buffet included. 21 N. Wineow St. 301-722-0340.