The capital of Garrett County, Maryland’s farthest-western county, Oakland, is a charming little town with a gorgeous Queen Anne-style railroad station that once welcomed captains of industry and presidents of the United States. The Episcopal church in town, St. Matthew’s was know as the Church of the Presidents for the four leaders who prayed in its pews.
They stayed at the grand, enormous and elegant Deer Park Inn (You’ve heard of the water? It came from here.). The inn is long gone but its lovely restaurant with a few rooms for overnight guests maintains the spirit of hospitality that makes people fall in love with this corner of the world.
The Deer Park—which gets a mention in INN BY THE LAKE—is partly my inspiration for the main setting of my novel, the Broadview Inn. If there’s time and we can get a reservation, the restaurant is a must.
When my family visits, almost every winter, we stop to take a look at the well-restored train station, peek in the town’s shops and visit the Garrett County Historical Museum.
Exhibits of the Deer Park and the honeymoon trip of President Grover Cleveland and his new bride, Frances Folsom, inspired the historical aspects of my new book. I have to acknowledge my gratitude to the staff there, especially Dick Potts, who was in the museum and helped me the last time I was there.
Small towns are so full of romance, history and fun. This little town by the side of the railroad is always a treat.