For our March cover story, we wanted to highlight Western Maryland’s first and only podcast dedicated to exploring the life, history, and culture of our region. It’s called “Wildfulness,” and while the name may not be one that is easily remembered, or rolls right off the tongue, it expresses what it’s producer/creator calls “the essence of the magic of being in the mountains of Garrett and Allegany counties – the wilderness and natural beauty, the connection to an important part of our nation’s history and heritage, and the state of ‘mindfulness’ that seems to come more easily here than in a lot of other places.”

Lisa Cole began the podcast in July of 2017, and now with 46 episodes on a wide variety of topics, and two mini-grants from the Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area, the effort is really coming into its own. Each episode is painstakingly researched (often with the help of her history-major son), and the sound design features bits of songs, music clips, sounds, and audio clues and cues that help make it an immersive experience. Her favorite episodes include a two-part feature on The Legacy of Coal, a feature-length episode on the B&O Train Station in Oakland, the photography of Leo Beachy, the history of barn quilts, and most recently, the fascination and magic of the Cranesville Swamp, featuring an extensive interview with an environmental ecologist from the Nature Conservancy. She also produces episodes on new businesses in the area, such as the one on the Monkey Business Aerial Adventure Park. Upcoming episodes will feature maple sugaring in Western MD, springtime birding tips and tricks, and the 3-day Chautauqua event in Mountain Lake Park this July.

The recording process is the final step in a long process of planning, info gathering & researching, interviewing, scripting, sound design, etc., followed by extensive post production.

It all started when Lisa purchased a vintage, 1955, 900 sq ft cabin in Deep Creek in October of 2012, one week before Hurricane Sandy hit, and while that was not an experience she says she would like to repeat, the six and one-half year journey since then has been an amazing adventure that has brought a lot of learning, joy, and new relationships. In addition to beefing up her audio engineering skills (she was a music major in college but had some “upgrading” to do), she has become familiar with many of the local sights, sounds, and must-see features of Western Maryland, as she continuously works to share the magic of these mountains with others, through the Wildfulness podcast, “a one-stop vacation station that will connect you to these mountains and their treasures.” Listeners say they enjoy the podcast because they can listen on their earbuds while doing other activities, such as walking, working out, driving, or even house cleaning. (If you haven’t yet caught the podcast bug, here’s a great article from the Huffington Post on why you should!)

To listen to the Wildfulness podcast, subscribe through iTunes, Google Play, or any of the major podcast or music streaming platforms, like Spotify and Alexa. Detailed web-based shownotes include videos, photos and transcriptions of the audio.  Lisa welcomes suggestions for episodes (you can leave a voicemail on the shownotes website) and is currently seeking sponsors as well. Currently publishing bi-weekly. Contact her via email at lisamaureencole@gmail.com.

And it all started with a humble, 1955 cabin.