This article is the first in a loosely planned series of articles that will highlight Garrett County, its people, places and opportunities from an "insider" perspective. The articles will appear at various times throughout the year and will be authored by Deep Creek Times Owners/Publishers Mike Tumbarello and Sarah Myers. We also welcome submissions from members of the community, visitors and other key stakeholders.
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Garrett County: A Great Place to Live, Work and Visit
Beautiful mountains, Deep Creek Lake, skiing, miles of hiking trails, waterfalls, white water rafting, cross country, a great artisan heritage and wonderful restaurants are just some of the things that make Garrett County a great place to visit. Over 1.3 million people a year agree and come to Garrett County to enjoy its beauty, activities and attractions. Some of us, however, get to experience Garrett County every day, all year long, as we are one of the 30,000 or so residents that call Garrett County home.
While some of our residents are lifelong, multi-generational occupants of one of the most beautiful places on the East coast, others, like me, moved to Garrett County for a variety of reasons. Some of us come for the beauty, others for the lifestyle and still others for work or as retires kicking back after a lifetime of work. As the second largest county in the state of Maryland, the stories and backgrounds of our citizens are diverse. On any given day, and at any given place, you may meet a farmer, a forester, a bank president, a coal miner, a tourist from Europe, a preacher, a rafting guide or a millennial just starting out on their career.
The natural beauty, combined with this interesting diversity of people, backgrounds and perspective, melded with the vibrant tourism sector, make Garrett County a great place to live and work. From Grantsville in the North, through Friendsville, Accident and McHenry, to Oakland, the County seat, and beyond to enclaves such as Crellin, Mountain Lake Park and Kitzmiller and all the other towns and hamlets in between, Garrett County provides a great place to work, raise a family and settle down.
I like to say Garrett County is just a few hours away from the big city (e.g., Pittsburgh, D.C., Baltimore) yet a world apart! Living here offers a great country lifestyle, yet proximity to all that a major metropolitan area has to offer. The "icing on the cake", beyond the County's beauty, attractions and people, can be found in the great K-12 school system, a vibrant, engaged community college, as well as the numerous organizations and groups dedicated to making the County a better place. These organizations and initiatives provide a rich opportunity for enrichment and involvement unique to the region.
One example of our community's coming together to make Garrett County even better is the recent efforts of the town of Oakland. Managed by Michelle Ross, Oakland's Business Coordinator, and led by Mayor Peggy Jamison, the initiative consists of community members working together on teams to "make things happen" in five key areas: Promotion/Marketing, Economic Vitality, City Scape, Clean and Green and Events. The teams are meeting regularly, and brainstorming ideas to build a plan in each area, including efforts around the "Keep America Beautiful" grant, a pedestrian gateway, a new dog park and evaluation and optimization of Oakland's websites.
According to Ross, "This is a very exciting time for Oakland and its continuing growth! There are so many caring individuals who want to volunteer their time helping to make Oakland an even better place to live, work and play!" Anyone interested in joining the effort can visit Michelle at Oakland City hall or call her at 301.334.2691.
There are many efforts "behind the scenes" in the County, with Oakland's being just one example, of our community coming together to make our mountain paradise an even greater place for all of us.