Downtown Oakland: A Look at Local History

Downtown Oakland is a great place to spend the day for a variety of reasons. All ages can find something to enjoy in the great small town.

There are three museums that are popular stops for history buffs. Each highlights unique aspects of Garrett County’s rich history. These family friendly venues are well-worth a stop when you’re out and about in downtown Oakland.

Please keep in mind, each one is staffed by volunteers. Hours may vary and it is recommended to call before planning a visit.

Downtown Oakland Museums

B&O Railroad Museum
This local landmark is a must-see when visiting Oakland! The museum is inside the train station that was built in 1884. It is a Queen Anne style building that was built with the help of county founder John Garrett. 

downtown oakland

It was built in conjunction with a resort hotel that was also owned by the B&O Railroad. The station welcomed visitors to the resort town. It played an important role in the economic development of the region.

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Lake Title: Taylor-Made’s New Sister Company

Lake Title, LLC is the newest addition to Taylor-Made’s full service Deep Creek Lake real estate division. Offering competitive rates, it is one more way that we are making transactions smoother for buyers and sellers.

lake title

About Lake Title

With the closing of another local title company, we identified a void in marketplace. Our agents have numerous real estate transactions. In order to best serve clients, this was a natural next step in Taylor-Made’s “one-stop-shop” approach.

We are thrilled to have David R. Collins join the team as our attorney. He is licensed in Maryland and West Virginia. His background includes more than ten years in litigation, real estate, and appeals in West Virginia. Mr. Collins graduated from West Virginia University College of Law, where he served as Publications Editor for the West Virginia Law Review. Prior to attending law school, Mr. Collins worked for the Preservation Directorate at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. 

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Work Here, Play Here: Deep Creek Lake Fall Getaways

Deep Creek Lake fall getaways give you the change to keep up with “real world” responsibilities and treat your family to a change of scenery.

fall hikes at deep creek lake

Working remotely? Virtual school for the kids? Experience the joys of mountain life at Deep Creek Lake. You can stay connected as much – or as little – as you like. Plus, there are lessons around every corner for the kids that make learning a little more fun. We know that homeschooling can be a challenge, and a new environment can help keep you kids engaged.

There are lots of reasons that fall is a favorite season here. Below we highlight some “must-see” spots. Be sure to confirm hours of operation with any of the locations mentioned.

Leaf Peepers Paradise

The vibrant colors of fall that decorate our mountainsides and surround the lake are some of the best in the country. You can take a relaxing scenic drive on quiet backroads. The Barn Quilt Trail is a favorite tour that you can take by car. It celebrates our farms, barns, & quilting culture in our beautiful Appalachian mountains.

While you are out and about, you can throw in some fun facts for the kids explaining why leaves change color.

autumn glory

Eight State Parks

When you need to stretch your legs and have some fun, look no further than our eight state parks. You can explore the outdoors and cover lots of bases for learning.

Miles of hiking trails lead you through pristine forests. that put science lessons at your fingertips. Rivers and lakes are ideal for fishing and they are filled with a wide range of species. The kids can enjoy “hands on” learning about the local environment.

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June 2020 Real Estate Rundown By Jay Ferguson

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” – Mark Twain

My name is Jay Ferguson and I am one of the owners of the real estate division of Taylor Made Deep Creek Vacations & Sales. I am entering my 19th year in the real estate business here in Garrett County and at Deep Creek Lake. If you are interested, you can click here find out more about me personally and my background.

I will be writing a monthly blog post about our local real estate market, sharing & interpreting statistics and offering some insights into the market as a whole…as I see it. These are my personal thoughts and musings about the market in general and are not intended as anything more specific. And, to be clear, I am an optimistic, glass half-full kind of guy.  

Lastly, every stat I reference is based on the official stats published by Bright MLS on or around the 15th of each month. My plan is to give you straightforward stats coupled with my analysis from the front lines and let you interpret what you read in your own way.

The month of May was a steroid shot for the Deep Creek Lake market. Even after being shutdown for the first half of the month, the second half of May was on fire. Vacation rentals are booked solid through the summer as demand ‘to get out the house’ finally gave way with the opening of our transient vacation rental homes.

You can see it in the numbers below – people are buying homes left and right. We continue to have inventory issues and thats good news for sellers, but buyers now have fewer homes to choose from. Many people that I spoke to about selling this summer have decided to keep their property for the time being and are spending their time here at the lake instead. That’s part of the inventory problem.

Continue reading June 2020 Real Estate Rundown By Jay Ferguson

The Drane House: A Look at Early Garrett County Life

The Drane House is a key landmark in the early history of Western Maryland and a vital part of its heritage. It is tucked away on a quiet country lane, just off of Rt. 219 in Accident. It is believed to be the oldest standing structure in Garrett County today.

drane house

The Drane House History

The Drane house was built in 1798 by William Lamar and was given to his sister and her husband, Priscilla and James Drane in about 1800.  The Dranes along with their eight children migrated to Western Maryland from the tobacco farming area of Prince George’s County. 

James envisioned himself a country gentlemen. He planned to raise a large acreage of tobacco.  Frontier life required long hours of arduous work to provide the basic necessities of life.  Their family was one of several who attempted tobacco culture in Garrett County’s early days.  These early settlers from Southern Maryland never achieved the prosperity from tobacco farming that they anticipated.  They did not realize the difficulties of farming mountainous terrain. Their efforts were thwarted by severe winters, poorly constructed dirt roads and the great distance to market.  Many were driven back to their former homes by the loneliness and isolation of mountain life. The Dranes changed their methods to general faming and occupied the home until their deaths. 

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COVID-19 Responder Vacation Giveaway Winners

COVID-19 responders are the everyday heroes that have been on the front lines. From grocery store workers and truck drivers to doctors and nurses, these are the people that have held our country together during this time of crisis.

Their dedication in the face of adversity is an inspiration. Our team wanted to find a way to give back by treating them to a trip to the lake. We received more than three hundred nominations. The response was overwhelming and the stories of selflessness were truly touching. Through the generosity and kindness of our home owners, we were able to give away Deep Creek Lake vacations to some very special people.

We are beyond thankful for these everyday heroes and cannot wait for them to enjoy a well-deserved vacation.

Here are a few of their stories.

COVID-19 Responders

Leah K. – Labor and Delivery Nurse

“My name is Leah and I am a Labor and Delivery nurse. The pandemic has presented quite a challenge for the small rural hospital I work for. We care for COVID positive mothers until delivery and then follow them to the COVID unit, helping to staff this unit until mother and baby are discharged. We work diligently to keep the mothers and babies that are COVID negative upon admission remaining COVID negative. I am a shift leader on this unit and do my best to stay up to date in order to help protect our staff. My husband is a paramedic so is also on the front lines of care. We have two young daughters and do our best to work opposite shifts in an attempt to limit childcare needs and potentially exposing others. We are happy to be of service during this time.” 

COVID-19 responder
Leah K. and Her Co-Workers

Heidi A. – Nurse Pracitioner

“I live in Delaware with my husband of three years, Jonathan, and I am pregnant with our first child who is due to arrive in August!  I work for a hospital in Philadelphia as a neonatal nurse practitioner in their NICU. Most of the children in my care are either premature or have an issue that needs our specialized attention.  I absolutely love what I do, even though it is very challenging some days. My husband and I love Deep Creek Lake!  It is our hidden escape and we try to get out there at least once a year.” 

Heidi and Her Husband Jonathan

Rodney R. – Waste Management Employee

Rodney was nominated by his wife, Laura, who said: “Rodney is an essential worker with Waste Management who has been going above and beyond to ensure all residential trash collection gets picked up regularly. Many people are unfortunately home now doing home remodels and projects. He tirelessly makes sure trash isn’t getting behind. When garbage is piled up rodents and bears can wreak havoc and even pose more threats to human health. He works 10-12 hours daily and never complains.”

Rodney R. and His Family on a Past Deep Creek Vacation

Katie M. – Nurse

Katie was nominated by her husband. He said she deserved a vacation because she is a “Hard working nurse keeping our community safe while on the clock and mother of 3 kids when “off the clock”. Humble and hardworking!!”

Katie and Her Husband in their Deep Creek Lake Gear

Ken M. – Department of Corrections

Ken has worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for more than twenty-five years. He was nominated by his wife, Amy. She pointed out that the Department of Corrections workers are an often overlooked first responder employee. When we contacted Ken, he said, “I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this fantastic prize, it came as quite a shock when I received the call that I had won. I also need to thank my wonderful wife for nominating me for this opportunity. Of all my years working, I have to say that the COVID-19 Era of 2020 has been the absolute most challenging time. This is a wonderful thing you are doing for first responders and front line workers.”

Ken and His Family at Disney
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May 2020 Real Estate Rundown By Jay Ferguson

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” – Mark Twain

My name is Jay Ferguson and I am one of the owners of the real estate division of Taylor Made Deep Creek Vacations & Sales. I am entering my 19th year in the real estate business here in Garrett County and at Deep Creek Lake. If you are interested, you can click here find out more about me personally and my background.

I will be writing a monthly blog post about our local real estate market, sharing & interpreting statistics and offering some insights into the market as a whole…as I see it. These are my personal thoughts and musings about the market in general and are not intended as anything more specific. And, to be clear, I am an optimistic, glass half-full kind of guy.  

Lastly, every stat I reference is based on the official stats published by Bright MLS on or around the 15th of each month. My plan is to give you straightforward stats coupled with my analysis from the front lines and let you interpret what you read in your own way.

The second month of COVID 19 was exactly what you would anticipate with regards to the real estate market. Bad. Almost our entire real estate market was on lockdown. Our office was shutdown to the public. The Governor had determined that the only ‘essential’ home shopping was for a primary residence, which really rules out 80% of our clientele that is coming to look at 2nd homes or vacation/investment properties. The strategy was a success, and as I write this, Garrett County is now re-opened, as of last Friday at 5pm.

Update on existing business, transactions are still closing on time. Lenders are getting the job done, even working remotely. Homes are still being listed for sale and often selling quickly. We are entering Memorial Day weekend and the traditional kickoff to summer. Based on how busy I have been over the past few weeks, I am confident the market will stabilize. Hopefully, this time next month, we have stronger numbers to report. All in all, the median prices are up, days on market is still down and we still have declining inventory, so the news isn’t all bad.

Continue reading May 2020 Real Estate Rundown By Jay Ferguson

Vacation Safely: 4 Tips for Responsible Travel

With families ready to begin traveling and vacationing once more, the Taylor-Made team has some tips on how to have a safe vacation and be considerate of the community. We want to help keep everyone healthy!

vacation safely

1.Follow Government Guidelines

It’s important to observe and respect rules and regulations in place for public safety. This includes but is not limited to adhering to recommendations or rules set forth by local or national governments with regards to how we travel and conduct ourselves in private and public settings. Stay aware of regulations that might impact your travel to Deep Creek. This includes guidelines for personal protective equipment (PPE) recommendations and social distancing.

Our county health department asks that visitors:

-Practice social distancing

-Wear a face mask (required) in all retail stores to prevent the spread

-Wash hands or use hand sanitizer when visiting retail establishments

If you have questions regarding COVID-19 while visiting DCL you can call the Garrett County COVID-19 Hotline at 301-334-7698.

2. Bring Supplies

Many communities around the country have limited supplies in grocery stores. Please plan to bring essential supplies and groceries that you can to ease the burden on local stores. This includes paper products, PPE, toiletries and cleaning products, groceries, laundry supplies, and other essentials. By bringing more of these with you, you’re ensuring you’ll have what you need for an enjoyable vacation. If you do need to visit local grocery stores, try to only send one person into the store to support social distancing.

You can also get groceries delivered to reduce visits to local stores. Destination Grocers is just one of the options. This also allows you to spend more time vacationing and less time shopping.

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Cranesville Swamp: A Unique Local Ecosystem

Cranesville Swamp is not far from Swallow Falls on the Maryland/West Virginia border. It gives us a glimpse into ice ages past and is home to plant and animal species not usually found in the mid-Atlantic region. 

cranesville swam

ABOUT THE CRANESVILLE SWAMP

The swamp is different than the surrounding area due to its “frost pocket effect.”  The lower elevation has cooler temperatures and is susceptible to frost. Moisture and cold air combine create a landscape more similar to Canadian boreal forests.  It is a natural anomaly created by a rare mix of altitude, temperature, and precipitation. 

It all started more than 15,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age. Much of North America was frozen by glaciers. This pushed northern latitude species south.  The area we know as Cranesville settled in a mountain valley. Surrounding hills catch cold air pockets and precipitation and push them into the valley. The valley “frost pocket” earns Cranesville its designation as a sub-arctic swamp. It is one of the coolest and wettest spots in Maryland. This provides an environment fo species normally found much farther north.

Continue reading Cranesville Swamp: A Unique Local Ecosystem

April 2020 Real Estate Rundown By Jay Ferguson

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” – Mark Twain

My name is Jay Ferguson and I am one of the owners of the real estate division of Taylor Made Deep Creek Vacations & Sales. I am entering my 19th year in the real estate business here in Garrett County and at Deep Creek Lake. If you are interested, you can click here find out more about me personally and my background.

I will be writing a monthly blog post about our local real estate market, sharing & interpreting statistics and offering some insights into the market as a whole…as I see it. These are my personal thoughts and musings about the market in general and are not intended as anything more specific. And, to be clear, I am an optimistic, glass half-full kind of guy.  

Lastly, every stat I reference is based on the official stats published by Bright MLS on or around the 15th of each month. My plan is to give you straightforward stats coupled with my analysis from the front lines and let you interpret what you read in your own way.

Our first month of ‘COVID 19’ real estate stats really wasn’t that bad, overall. I expected the month of March to be down considerably (because of Marylands lockdown/quarantine in place strategy), but what I have discovered is actually surprising. Stats are up. The market is doing fine, so far.

Transactions are still closing – on time – which is spectacular. Homes are still being listed for sale. We have modified our approach to get our agents, photographers and video/3D tour folks into homes one at a time – adhering strictly to social distancing policies. Our staff and marketing department are getting the job done – from home. The only challenge is coordinating buyer showings and keeping everyone safe, but we have great processes for that, too – reliance on ‘virtual walkthroughs/showings’ and videos. Our core principle of investing in technology is paying off more than ever. Its helping to keep a vital part of our economy moving!

Continue reading April 2020 Real Estate Rundown By Jay Ferguson