Above: Built partially over a waterfall in Bear Run, Pa., Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1934 Fallingwater was named “best all-time work of American architecture” in 2007 by the American Institute of Architects. Previous page: Work on your rafting skills riding the world’s only adjustable white-water course at Adventure Sports Center’s mountaintop river park.
Summer without water is no fun at all. With the 3,900-acre Deep Creek Lake in the mountains of western Maryland as a still-water base, however, it's easy to keep the season's heat at bay. If lakeside living isn't exciting enough, nearby whitewater, waterfalls and a foray into Pennsylvania to view some architectural treasures guarantee a vacation full of thrills, chills and perhaps a few spills into the bracing water.
For a stay at Deep Creek Lake a few years ago with two of my sisters, we rented a four-bedroom lakefront house with private dock from Railey Mountain Lake Vacations ( railey.com , 800-846-RENT) . Lakefront and lakeview rental homes that sleep anywhere from two to 20 people are plentiful. For more pampering, stay at the Lake Pointe Inn B&B (800-523-LAKE) , a restful, Arts and Crafts-style inn on the lake with two suites and eight guest rooms, all with queen beds and William Morris fabrics. Amenities include kayaks, bicycles, an outdoor fire pit, wraparound porch and a massage room.
Left: Stay lakeside
at the Arts and
Pointe Inn B&B.
Since we didn't want to leave the lake in the evening, we cooked for ourselves. Stopping by DeBerry Farm Fresh Produce ( deberryfarm.com ) in Oakland, Md., for melons, tomatoes and salsa fixings added fresh, local ingredients to our meals. The Mountain Fresh Farmers Market ( mountainfresh.org ) in Oakland on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. has even more variety from area bakers, artisans and farmers.
If you've rented a boat, it's a double treat to zoom over to Lakeside Creamery ( lakesidecreamery.com ) . Dock the boat, climb the stairs and fill 'er up — your mouth, that is — with one or two of the 90-or-so flavors of homemade ice cream.
Only an hour's drive from Deep Creek Lake, Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece, Fallingwater ( fallingwater.org ) , nestled in shady Bear Run Nature Reserve, is the perfect way to escape the sun. It's hard to know which views are more amazing, those from the home's terraces, or those that frame the house in its natural setting. If the hour tour (advance reservations required; $18 adults, $12 children 6-12, no children under 6) doesn't sate you, more in-depth explorations are available, including brunch and landscape tours. Only seven miles away is the sandstone and cypress Kentuck Knob ( kentuckknob.com ) , another Wright-designed home that embodies the architect's Usonian ideals, emphasizing simplicity and economy. It offers a sculpture garden and a variety of tours as well.
Adventure Sports Center International ( adventuresportscenter.com , $65 and up) , overlooking Deep Creek Lake, offers the world's only adjustable white-water course, rocketing rafts through a man-made river with Class I-IV rapids. The two-hour guided raft ride features several spins through the course, with a boat conveyor doing the heavy lifting at the end of each run. For natural whitewater, contact Laurel Highlands River Tours ( laurelhighlands.com , 800-472-3846) in Ohiopyle, Pa., for family float trips or wild rides down the Middle, Lower or Upper Youghiogheny River. To stay dry, hike the trails at Swallow Falls State Park ( dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/western/swallowfalls.html ) and be wowed by Muddy Creek Falls, a more than 50-foot cascade.
Above: Skip a meal out and instead pick up some local fresh produce and baked goods at the Mountain Fresh Farmers Market in Oakland.