Oakland: Close by the Lake and Worth the Visit

Special to Deep Creek Times by Michelle Ross (with Mike Tumbarello)

While Deep Creek Times is very much about Deep Creek Lake and its watershed and environs, we are about Garrett County and try from time-to-time to bring nearby events, features, and locations to our readers’ attention.  This month, we cover the small town of Oakland.  Oakland has a rich history, some interesting and fun destinations and can provide a nice change-up to the immediate lake-area for visitors and locals alike.

The Town of Oakland is a small town in Garrett County, Maryland near Deep Creek Lake.  Oakland is the county seat and hosts a wide variety of shopping, dining, services, history, trails and parks and was one of the first designated Main Streets in Maryland and has an Arts and Entertainment District.  It truly is an eclectic mix of old and new.

There are so many things people love about the Town of Oakland, one of them being its small-town charm and friendly nature.  “I say it all the time; Oakland is one of the most giving communities I have ever seen.  It is not just the businesses or the residents, it is everyone.  It is truly amazing how the community pitches in to help each other,” says Michelle Ross, Oakland Business Coordinator. Oakland is a wonderful place to live for so many other reasons as well.

Oakland has great public schools with small classroom sizes in rural communities, with outdoor learning opportunities.  Garrett County Schools offer competitive athletic, tech, and recreational programs.  It offers accelerated learning opportunities as well as skilled trade pathways. According to RewardExpert, Garrett County Public Schools is ranked as the 4th best public-school system in the Northeast region of the United States.  Garrett College, 20 minutes from Oakland, offers 2 years of free tuition to graduating Garrett County students!  Not bad for a small (population-wise) county tucked-away in the beautiful mountains of western Maryland.

Oakland also offers a wide variety of professional, entrepreneurial and skilled trade opportunities for those looking for stable employment.  Another perk of living and visiting Oakland is the lack of traffic congestion.  You can go 30 miles in 30 minutes!  Plus, Oakland communities are clean and safe.  Oakland maintains very low crime rates and residents have the luxury of the town with its own police department, water department, sewer department, and street department.

The Town of Oakland owns and operates Broadford Recreation Area which has a volleyball and basketball court, swimming area, five pavilions available for rent, grills, picnic areas, playgrounds, and a boat launch.  Non-motorized boats are the only boats allowed on the lake which make it excellent for fishing and relaxation.  Oakland is also only 10 minutes from Swallow Falls, Herrington Manor State Park, and Deep Creek Lake. Special note: If you are reading this and have not yet been to Muddy Falls at Swallow Falls State Park, you need to check it out.

Oakland offers many ways to indulge in healthy living.  It has several walking trails that are maintained by the town.  It has the Mountain Fresh Farmer’s Market two days a week where fresh meats, eggs, vegetables, and fruits are in abundance as well as homemade desserts and soaps, and gifts.  It operates on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10:00 am-1:00 pm June-October in the Mountain Fresh Pavilion downtown.  Garrett Regional Medical Center offers exceptional health care.  They are able to offer a number of services in our rural area due to their affiliation with WVU Medicine in Morgantown, WV.  Oakland is also the hub of specialty services, rehab services, dental and vision professionals.

Oakland is a very active community with year-round events that coincide with all four seasons and is most well-known for its stunning fall foliage and has been recognized in many national publicans for such. There is little to no humidity and the average temperature for the summer is 75 degrees.  There is a wide variety of outdoor activities that will benefit your mind and spirit including horseback riding, hiking, biking, swimming, climbing, snow and water skiing.  If outdoor recreation is not your thing there is a lot of history in this small town.  There is remarkable architecture including our 1884 Queen Anne Style train station that has been turned into the Oakland B&O Museum, the Garrett County Historical Society Museum, and the Transportation Museum, all worthy of a family visit.

Oakland hosts a wide variety of events throughout the year, most of which are free to the public. Some of the events include Winter Fest, the Winter Fest Wine Walk, Kick Off to Summer Event and Beer Walk, the Little Yough Summer Music Festival, Pocket Park movies, the Autumn Glory Festival, and A Great Small Town Christmas.  Check out our Upcoming Events section for more details.

Oakland’s downtown offers a variety of quaint shopping and dining experiences.  “…if you yearn for small-town experiences — church services and events, chicken barbecues, a diner-style breakfast or lunch, shopping in a good hardware store or collectibles shop, annual parades — pay a visit to the Garrett County seat. Oakland, a few miles south of Deep Creek on Route 219, would be a contender for Maryland’s Most Small Town-like Small Town”. There is free parking offered to patrons in the Town Parking lot.  Each business is unique and special.  You can spend an entire afternoon walking in and out of these businesses. You can have dinner in one place, dessert in another place and finish with a drink and live music somewhere else.  The personal gifts found in our retail stores are sure to make the people in your life feel special or you can find a great present for yourself or your home.  The allure is perhaps best stated by visitor Delonta Hicks, “All of my years coming to Deep Creek Lake, I never went past the Walmart. I love the small town, it felt just like home. 🙂 I will be visiting again. :)”

If you have not had a chance to visit Oakland, Maryland, make sure you do.  You will not be disappointed. If you visit here and love it, let us help you figure out how you can make this your permanent home. Here’s a list of a few select locations for you to visit, but there’s many more (check Deep Creek Times Business and Restaurant Directories along with Upcoming Events for additional ideas). Why not drive down some day, park the car and explore? Tell them Deep Creek Times sent you:

Book Mark’et and Antique Mezzanine – Mike’s favorite area bookstore

Englanders Antiques & Grill – An eclectic mix of collectibles, antiques and over-the-counter food and ice cream (on Alder Street, no website)

FlipSide Music – Vinyl records, rock-n-roll memorabilia and much more make this worth the trip

Garrett County Arts Council Gallery Shop – A great store with affordable, locally produced arts

Garrett County Historical Society – A great place to learn about the county and its past

Garrett County Transportation Museum – Some very cool items on display including early snowmobiles

Grand Central Furniture – They have two locations, one near the lake and one downtown Oakland

Oakland B&O Museum – Recently restored locomotive and lots of history here

SipSide Lounge – A new addition to downtown Oakland and worth the wait for the great atmosphere and carefully crafted cocktails. Try their strawberry Moscow Mule!

Photo of SipSide Lounge: