Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

Rocky Gap Casino and Resort

This month we decided to take a little longer drive for our monthly road trip. With the summer heating up we decided to head to the mountains and drove to Rocky Gap Casino and Resort in western Maryland. It is a bit of a drive but the roads are great. If you enjoy the freeway the I-70 drive can be done on the interstate. Take the beltway to I-270 through Frederick, MD, Hagerstown and Hancock until you reach I-68. After another 40 miles or so you will come to Rocky Gap State Park and here is where you will find the resort nestled in the mountains and on the shores of Lake Habeeb. The drive is about 170 miles and will take 2 ½ hours.

If you are more inclined towards the scenic route you can take Route 50 through Middleburg to Route 29 north to Paw Paw, WV, then pick up Route 51 to Cumberland, MD. Cumberland is only 10 miles from Rocky Gap and is a beautiful town to explore. About a mile after you leave Route 50 and pick up Route 29 you will come to Mick & Tina’s Country Tavern. This is a great place to stop for a cold (and I mean cold) one and a sandwich. The price is right too…very inexpensive. (See this months “On the Road” and meet Tina).

Taking the back roads will increase your drive time by about 30 minutes but the scenery is worth it. The winding roads pass through throw back towns and beautiful countryside. Both routes would be spectacular in the fall when the leaves are changing to yellows, reds and gold.

The Rocky Gap Resort and Golf Course was developed in 1998. A casino license was awarded in April 2012 to a subsidiary of Lakes Entertainment of Minnetonka, Minnesota, who completed purchase of the existing resort, including the 200-room lakeside loge, the Jack Nicklaus-designed 18-hole golf course, and other features in 2012. The re-named Rocky Gap Casino Resort opened on May 22, 2013, with 558 slot machines and 10 live table games. The park’s man-made lake covers 24 acres and sports white sand beaches. It sits below Evitts Mountain and is fed by Rocky Gap Run. Boats are allowed on the lake 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The resort offers kayaks and canoes for rent and the lake is home to largemouth bass, small mouth bass, black crappie, rainbow trout, brown trout, catfish, blue gill and sunfish.

The resort has Signatures Bar and Grill next to the new pro shop and offers light eats and beverages. The Grill opens up to the deck adjoining the pool and allows for out door seating with a view to die for. For more substantial dining there is LB’s Place. An extensive menu is available at very reasonable prices. I had the rotisserie chicken which was a breast and thigh and delicious. Cooked just right with a very tasty seasoning throughout that made my mouth water. Although the chicken was great the baked potato blew me away. A large, heavy skinned Russet, this potato was cooked perfect and served piping hot. This is where my cholesterol took a hit as I lathered the potato with mounds of butter. A little salt and pepper and this was the best potato that I had ever eaten. My companion ordered a medium rare New York strip steak. It was cooked just right for me but was not rare enough for her. She should have ordered it rare. Although vegetables came with the entrée, we also order their grilled Brussels sprouts. The grilling slightly charred the outer leaves giving the vegetable a great taste.

The resort has a pool as well as a jacuzzi. The shallow end of the pool is indoors but feeds to the deeper part through an opening in the glass partition. The pool is in a glass building, which opens at the top for summer swimming and closes in winter so the pool can be used year round. The whole pool and patio area overlook the shimmering lake.

Rooms in the resort are clean and nicely appointed. There is nothing really spectacular about the rooms except for the views of the lake and the perfect bed. The king sized bed is covered with heavy thread count sheets and large pillows. The cable TV offers a lot of stations for your viewing pleasure. As I mentioned, the resort is part of Rocky Gap State Park. The amenities of the park are along the lake right near the resort. The park has a roped-off swimming area as well as boat rentals. The casino is well laid-out with comfortable seats for the slots and a few having seats for two. If you are not a heavy roller, the Back Jack tables start at $5. This is a rare find in todays casino realm.

With fall right around the corner, Rocky Gap is a great place to take in the fall colors. Evitts Mountain has an elevation of 2,000 feet and the leaves start changing at the top and work their way down as fall progresses. Once again the drive to Rocky Gap would also be beautiful in the fall.

Written by: Bob Tagert

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