Weekending in Cumberland, Maryland

Find the right amount of rustic in the Old Line State’s westernmost mountain range.

Cumberland Maryland

Traks and Yaks in Cumberland, Maryland / Photography via

Looking for a change-up from the Poconos? There’s an alternative mountain escape about a four-hour drive west of Philly that features an incredible confluence of history, geography, dining, and family-friendly adventure. Let’s road-trip out to Allegany County, Maryland.

Where to stay

The Rocky Gap Casino Resort + Golf (rooms from $160) sits adjacent to a state park of the same name and is just 10 minutes from downtown Cumberland, a cute mountain hamlet with Jim Thorpe vibes. (The town is undergoing a massive renovation that’s expected to wrap up this fall.) Opt for a lakeside room; the misty morning views will take your breath away. And should golf be your thing, check out Maryland’s only Jack Nicklaus-designed 18-hole golf course.

For quaint digs closer to the main drag, try the Cumberland Inn & Spa (rooms from $89), a charming 13-room bed-and-breakfast with a full menu of modern self-care services.

What to do

Start your morning with a tour of Emmanuel Episcopal Church. It may sound dry, but stay with me: You’ll be standing on the site of Fort Cumberland, where George Washington began his military career during the French and Indian War. The riveting 90-minute tour — try to book docent Marcy Brack — details the spot’s evolution from military bastion to a Gothic Revival house of worship featuring multiple original Tiffany & Co. windows. (The church also served as a stop on the Underground Railroad.)

Later, if the weather is nice, take a rail-bike tour via Tracks and Yaks. The all-ages activity lets you ride the operator’s custom-made bikes through miles of pristine wild-erness on retired mountain-railroad tracks.

Where to eat

For Creole-infused pub grub with a Maryland spin, pop into Baltimore Street Grill, which has a welcoming atmosphere and a solid craft beer list. The Centre Street Collective is an eclectic tasting room serving healthy international options for all palates. Across Centre Street is Italian stalwart Ottaviani, a bustling hub for wine and pasta.

The Can’t Miss List

Cumberland Maryland

A vista from the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal.

1. Sharpen your woodsman skills at Fore Axes, a vast new indoor ax-throwing bar with golf simulators, cornhole and shuffleboard to boot.

2. Stop at Queen City Creamery for a sweet treat. They offer homemade custard in a range of custom flavors.

3. Cumberland is the northern terminus of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, a feat of Early American engineering. Stroll, bike, or pay a visit to the museum.

Cumberland Maryland

1812 Brewery in Cumberland, Maryland

4. Suds fans must make a pilgrimage to 1812 Brewery, where they grow their own hops on a 100-acre farm.

5. Book a ride on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, featuring one of the largest steam locomotives in the world.


Published as “Jaunt: Weekending in … Cumberland, Maryland” in the July 2024 issue of Philadelphia magazine.