Day trip: Autumn Glory Festival in western Maryland

There is little argument that fall is one of the most beautiful seasons of the year. And spending some of it among the mountains of Western Maryland is a sure bet, even if all you do is take in the views. So if you're looking for a change of scenery from your office cubicle, this week's Autumn Glory Festival in Garrett County is more than worth the trip.

The 43rd annual fest offers dozens of activities taking place at a host of venues near Deep Creek Lake. There's a Haunted Mountain Coaster at Wisp. A corn maze at Cove Run Farms. A Heritage Craft Festival and Quilt Show. An Oktoberfest Celebration in Oakland. A Great Pumpkin Festival at Adventure Sports Center International. And not to mention, a Grand Parade with marching bands, clowns and floats and a Royalty Court. That's just the beginning of the fall fun at the five-day event, which was named the "#1 Fall Festival in the World" by msn.com.

The plan: Before you leave home, go to visitdeepcreek.com and download a festival brochure and map. It's a bit of a drive to Garrett County, so plan on staying overnight. Depending on the weather, there should still be a few days left for camping, too. Once you decide on a base camp, fan out to whatever suits your fancy. The options are plentiful.

Maybe check out the Harvest Farmers Market & Craft Show during the day. If you're looking ahead to winter, drop by the High Mountain Sports ski and snowboard swap. Spend a spooky evening at Wisp, touring haunted houses that come to life. Whatever you do, don't miss the parade at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Reserve space on your dance card for the Official Maryland State Fiddle Championship later that evening.

The details: Autumn Glory Festival is Wednesday through Oct.10. Many activities are free, but some require admission tickets. For example, the fiddle contest is $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Go to autumngloryfestival.com for more information.

michelle.deal@baltsun.com

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