I thought I'd take a brief weekend interlude from house updates to tell you guys about our vacation this year. Every year, the week of my birthday (August 28th, if you care), we take a week's vacation and go out to western Maryland, where there is a huge man-made lake and surrounding vacation community called Deep Creek. It's a four-season destination, as there's a good ski mountain right at the north end of the lake. We like it so much that we're hoping to buy a vacation house there soon -- we're talking to a realtor and everything. Anyway, this year we went out with three friends and had an awesome time. Don and I actually took the opportunity to drive out two days early, and stayed at Rocky Gap Resort in Cumberland, a place we've stayed before. It was a pleasant little private vacation extender, and one of the coolest things we did all vacation happened the very first day: we took a ride on an old steam train. The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad runs from Cumberland to Frostburg and back again, generally twice a day on weekends. It's a beautiful trip -- you start at the old train station in Cumberland, go through some astonishingly gorgeous mountains, rumble along past farms and small towns and valleys and cliffs while you listen to the chuff-chuff of the engine and, if you're Don and I, stand in the open-air vestibule and get coal dust all over you -- a totally authentic experience, I assure you -- and wind up in the college town of Frostburg, where you can get lunch and watch the engineers turn the engine around on the giant train turntable. Then you go back again, and ogle all the scenery you might have missed on the way up. Don took probably hundreds of pictures, but this is one of my favorites:
Check out that steam! If you ever find yourself with a day free out in western Maryland, this is definitely a trip worth taking.
The rest of the vacation was full of books, games, friends, boating, relaxing, swimming, and just generally enjoying the peace and quiet of the little chalet we rented, tucked away on the side of a mountain. Don took lots more pictures -- I'm getting him his own camera for Christmas this year, incidentally -- and this one definitely captures some of the spirit of the week.
That's Molly, perched on the deck, surrounded by nature and reading, reading, reading. We went to the library together before we left for the trip, and we may have shocked our fellow library patrons by the sheer volume of books we took out. I read every single one. It was glorious.