Vacation Home: Make your home away from home in Deep Creek Lake

The four-season atmosphere allows for peace of mind when investing in a second home because you can enjoy it all year long.

Deep Creek Lake
Photo courtesy of Garrett County Chamber of Commerce

Vacation homes are meant to be places of solitude, places to gather with friends and family, to get away from daily life and find some kind of serenity. So why not buy a place where this can be found at all times throughout the year?

Deep Creek Lake, with its serene setting and convenience to entertainment, culture and family-friendly dining, is a four-season escape that can be enjoyed by both thrill-seekers and loungers. And it is a vacation getaway that has a generational pull.

“It’s a place where you can make memories with your families, and we see that going on for generations,” says Betsy Spiker Holcomb, co-owner of Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations & Sales.

The four-season atmosphere also allows for a bit of peace of mind when investing in a second home because you can enjoy it all year long.

Families buy at the lake to partake in the many water sports in the summer, be entertained at the festivals in the fall, hit the slopes in the winter and take to the trails in the spring.

Deep Creek Lake Real Estate’s Mike Kennedy says there are a lot of young families buying in the area and taking advantage of everything it offers. He calls Deep Creek Lake the Lake Tahoe of the East Coast. “You can’t go anywhere on the East Coast and find an area with a freshwater lake with 65 miles of shoreline and a full-fledged ski area that is right there,” he says. “You can go hiking, mountain biking. We have the Youghiogheny River for kayaking and fly-fishing. It is an activity-based community with boating, fishing, waterboarding and sailing. Skiing is also huge with Wisp right there. There are eight state parks within a 10- to 15-minute drive, and there is a lot of Civil War [attraction] for history buffs.”

Real Estate

The Deep Creek Lake area is a spot that many can see themselves in. On the north end of the lake, you can find single-family homes, townhomes and condos close to the action but still enjoy the breathtaking views of the lake and Wisp Mountain. Here you’ll also find the commercial area with dining and shopping options. For those looking for more of a secluded spot, the south end is what Taylor-Made’s Betsy Holcomb calls “tranquil and pastoral with larger lots. You go to the south end if you want less action and more privacy.”

On the waterfront about 60 percent are vacation homeowners who don’t rent out their homes, while 30 percent of the homes are rented out, and 10 percent are full-time residents, according to Mike Kennedy with Deep Creek Lake Real Estate. But both ends of the lake still have the community feel, he says. “You have less transient people coming for the week and have people leaving, so a lot of people around the lake, you know your neighbor—they’ll come up on the weekend,” he says. “Though there are rental houses where that happens.”

The opportunities for home purchases range from pre-existing homes to land lots to teardown homes. “There is plenty of opportunity for people to buy a building lot and build a house in a lot of the neighborhoods,” says Kennedy. And Holcomb says that building has picked up recently. “People are investigating if they can find something they like, and if not then they are looking at lots and building something new or buying old and tearing down and rebuilding. We saw a lot of that in the boom years, but now there are more vacant lots than there are teardown but not a plentiful supply.”

Minimum acreage varies, says Holcomb, and new building calls for 1-acre parcels with older properties being grandfathered into the new zoning. Lakefront properties have between 50 to 150 feet of lakefront.

And for those looking to rent out their home, only a Transient Vacation Rental Unit license is needed, and it costs about $300 every two years.

(September 2017)