Oakland, Maryland

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After spending the morning driving through a few small towns and a lot of wilderness, Oakland, Maryland is a welcome change.  The town of about 2,000 people has a great downtown.  It’s the kind of place that makes you wish you had grown up here.

The town has several impressive buildings, including the Garrett County Courthouse, completed in 1908…

… and the old B&O Railroad Train Station.  You’ll pass it on the way into town from Swallow Falls State Park.  The 1884 train station has been restored, and is now home to a museum and shop that sells local crafts.

Obviously, the B&O Railroad is a big deal around town!

You’ll also find some antique shops and small stores along 2nd street, and parking meters that give you an hour for a nickel!

From Oakland, take US Hwy. 219 south to US Hwy. 50, then head east.

This is the kind of picture-perfect country scenery you can expect, around the intersection of US 219 and US 50.

That’s definitely not a road sign you’d expect to see in rural West Virginia!  Look for it near the Grant/Mineral County line, on US 50.

Saddle Mountain

Watch for an overlook along US 50, near the intersection with WV Route 42.  Aside from overlooking a mobile home (sigh), there’s also a good view of Saddle Mountain–so named because, well, it looks like a saddle.

The name seems a bit backwards, though: isn’t the “saddle” the gap between the mountains?  Actually, the gap is named Dolls Gap, and the mountain is New Creek Mountain.  But sometimes the mountain is also called Knobley Mountain.  So to review: the saddle is a gap, but it’s also a mountain, and the mountain on either side of the saddle has three different names, one of which is “Saddle Mountain”.  I’m sure glad I spent a half hour figuring that out.

I would have taken a better picture, but it was raining, so I shot this from inside the car.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but about an hour later, I ended up on the other side of Saddle Mountain.  The birthplace of Nancy Hanks, Abraham Lincoln’s mother, is just to the east of Saddle Mountain.  The saddle isn’t as noticeable from that side, though.

From the viewpoint, continue eastbound on US 50. 

Note: This trip was first published in 2008.

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