Nestled at the base of the Appalachian Mountains and on the banks of the charismatic Potomac River, Cumberland is a perfect travel destination for you to plan your next vacation. It is known for its rich history and astounding natural beauty. It provides opportunities for a vast array of outdoor recreational activities, such as hiking, biking, camping, boating, fishing, wildlife viewing, and more.
Explore the region on a scenic train journey, tour the numerous fascinating museums and historic buildings, appreciate art at the remarkable galleries, and escape into nature at the picturesque parks. Visit this city to take a break from the mundane life and relax. Here’s a list of the best things to do in Cumberland to jumpstart your planning:
Train Journey on Western Maryland Scenic Railroad
This is a scenic train journey on a former Western Maryland Railway line. The excursion winds along majestic mountains, offering breath-taking views of the region’s wilderness. Feast your eyes to the gorgeous views of the Cumberland Narrows, dense foliage, towering mountains, picturesque bridges, and Brush Tunnel. This is a 3.5 hours round-trip journey on vintage railcars setting off from Cumberland.
The journey terminates at Frostburg where the train lays over for 90 minutes for passengers to explore the town. Meals are served on the train for dining class passengers. A snack bar is also available for all guests. Additionally, Western Maryland Railroad offers themed journeys, such as Murder Mystery Dinner, Polar Express, Moonshine Dinner, Easter Trains, and more. Enjoy the thrilling experience of traveling on a train and appreciate nature’s astounding beauty.
Explore history at George Washington's Headquarters
Constructed in 1755, this historic cabin was originally a part of Fort Cumberland. The first president of the nation, George Washington, resided here multiple times in the 18th century while he was serving the US Army during the French and Indian War and the Whiskey Rebellion. The log cabin was moved 2 blocks away from its original site after the destruction of the fort. It is the only surviving building of Fort Cumberland. The cabin is closed to the public but visitors can explore the grounds and view it from outside. It houses several historical artifacts including weapons, furniture, flags, and more.
Camping at Rocky Gap State Park
Encompassing over 3000 acres, this park features a picturesque gorge, majestic mountains, an enchanting lake, scenic overlooks, nature trails, playground, picnic areas, dense foliage, multiple pavilions, an amphitheatre, and a resort. Explore the tranquil waters of Lake Habeeb by kayaking and fish in the lake. You can find numerous catfish, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout, and panfish in the waters. Beat the heat by diving in for a swim in the beaches at this park.
Enjoy an invigorating hike on the verdant trails and feast your eyes to captivating, panaromic views from the scenic overlooks. Make some delicious burgers on the grills and relish a nice picnic against the stunning backdrops. The park has close to 300 campsites that allow you to explore the wilderness and star gaze. Owing to the scenic vistas and tranquil atmosphere, this site happens to be a popular venue for weddings, reunions, and other social gatherings. The Rocky Gap Casino resort located on the grounds of this park provides lodging and features great restaurants, a popular casino, spa, golf courses, and more.
Visit Emmanuel Episcopal Church
Founded in the mid-19th century, this church is located on the site of the former Fort Cumberland. It boasts Gothic Revival style architecture and the interiors feature beautiful stained glass windows. You can also view remains of the ancient earthwork tunnels of the fort. Visit the church, appreciate its aesthetically pleasing architecture, and spend some peaceful moments here praying.
Tour the Gordon Roberts House
Built in the 19th century, this historic mansion was formerly home to a prominent judge and president of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, named Josiah Gordon. He lived here for two decades after which W. Milnor Roberts and his family moved in. Today, the house has been maintained to accurately represent how it would have looked like if the families were still residing there. I
t is a museum displaying original furniture, china, paintings, home décor, chandeliers, photographs, and more belonging to the families. The various exhibits include day nursery, drawing room, parlor, sitting room, kitchen, guest bedroom, servant’s room, and others. The mansion is also a popular venue for weddings, conferences, and other social gatherings. Tour the house and learn about the lifestyle of the elite of this region during the 1800s.
Experience nature at Great Allegheny Passage
This is a scenic trail extending from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C covering over 300 miles. It follows the route of a historic railroad and is very popular among hikers, bikers, and cross-country skiers. It features majestic mountains, sprawling greenery, mesmerising rivers, a scenic railroad, numerous tunnels, picturesque bridges, a horseshoe curve, outrageously coloured wildflowers, the Cumberland Narrows, and so much more.
This trail is a nature lover’s paradise and offers spectacular views in all four seasons. It also provides you the opportunity to explore the enchanting towns of Cumberland and Frostburg. Enjoy an invigorating hike on this trail and appreciate the region’s captivating natural beauty.
Admire thought-provoking art at Allegany Arts Council
The Allegany Arts Council operates two art galleries that highlight artistic works by local, regional, and national artists. Exhibitions are organised at the Saville Gallery every 3-4 weeks. It is also host to numerous events, such as photography competitions, plein air competition, fine art exhibitions, and plenty more. The Mountain Maryland Schwab Gallery showcases works by upcoming artists and art students. Tour the galleries and check out the inspiring artistic creations.
Riverside hike at C&O Canal National Historical Park
Constructed in the 19th century, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal runs parallel to the mesmerising Potomac River and extends from Georgetown in Washington, D.C. to Cumberland covering nearly 300 kilometres. The canal’s towpath is frequented by myriads of hikers and bikers. The trail offers spectacular view of sprawling greenery, the scenic river, historic buildings, majestic mountains, dense foliage, and more.
It provides opportunities for numerous outdoor recreation, such as hiking, biking, birding, wildlife viewing, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, camping. This park is a nature lover’s paradise. Explore the region’s wilderness and appreciate nature’s incredible beauty by hiking or cycling on the verdant trails.
Hiking at Paw Paw Tunnel
Located on the banks of the mesmerising Potomac River, this 3000-foot long tunnel dates back to the 19th century. You can explore the tunnel and enjoy the gorgeous views of the river that runs parallel to it and the majestic mountains. The area near the tunnel features a picturesque park ideal for admiring nature’s captivating beauty and relishing a delicious picnic.
The site attracts myriads of hikers and mountain bikers. You can camp at the Paw Paw Tunnel Campground at night to explore the wilderness and star gaze. The best time to visit is in Autumn so you can feast your eyes to the spectacular views of the fall foliage.
Visit Cumberland Visitor Center
This museum emphasises on the history of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal and Cumberland. It is located in the historic Western Maryland Railroad Station and features numerous interactive and educational exhibits. The displays include a model Paw Paw Tunnel, lock, boat building, a replica canal boat, mules, entrance of a coalmine, and more. The area outside the museum features a playground and scenic walking trails along the C&O Canal. Tour the museum and learn about the region’s fascinating history.
Explore Cumberland Historic City Centre
Located in downtown Cumberland, this historic district features a broad array of restaurants, cafes, antique shops, art galleries, boutiques, and more. Explore the area and check out the aesthetically pleasing architecture. The buildings here date back to late 19th and early 20th centuries and were formerly banks, department stores, and hotels. Some of the prominent buildings to visit are City Hall, Fort Cumberland Hotel, Second National Bank, Embassy Theatre, and Rosenbaum’s Department store.
Charis Winery is the first winery in the county and is renowned for its award-winning wines. It produces a wide variety of grape, white, and fruit wines including Pinot Noir, Vidal Blanc, Peach, Cranberry, and so much more. You can sit in their outdoor patio and try out their wines while enjoying the views. They also host a variety of events throughout the year. In addition to wine, they also produce olive oils, soaps, pomace brandy, and balsamic vinegar. Wine tastings are offered for USD 8. Tour the winery, taste the exquisite wines, and spend a wonderful evening here.
Tour the Allegany Museum
This museum highlights the cultural history, geography, and history of trade and commerce of Allegany County. It is housed in a historic 20th century building that was formerly a court house and post office. Located in downtown Cumberland, it has over 50,000 exhibits including historical artifacts and local memorabilia dating back to the pre-Columbian times and beyond. The various displays include pictures, dioramas, sculptures, glassware, toys, tyres, paintings, and more. It is open from Wednesdays to Fridays from 1 to 4pm, Saturdays from10 am to 1 pm, and on Sundays from 1-4 pm. Admission to the museum is absolutely FREE.
Picnicking at Constitution Park
This popular park features sports fields, multiple playgrounds, a swimming pool, a scenic overlook, an amphitheatre, basketball courts, a pond, tennis courts, picnic areas, and a museum area. The museum area includes a vintage railcar, a fire engine, a war tank, and an aircraft.
The park is host to numerous events such as musical concerts, Halloween parties, Fourth of July fireworks, and more. You can sit on one of the benches or under the shade of a tree and enjoy watching the sunset. Beat the summer’s heat by swimming in the pool, indulge in a game of tennis or basketball, watch the beautiful ducks, and relish a lovely picnic by the pond. During summers, myriads of music afficionados flock here to attend the concerts. Visit this park to take a break from the mundane and monotonous routine.
Travel back in time at LaVale Toll Gate House
Dating back to early 19th century, this is the first built and last remaining toll gate house on the National Road. It is a historic site and also features a plaque enlisting the toll rates from the period when the toll gate was still operational. Check out this historic house and relish a nice meal in the picnic grounds located here.
Watch a show at Cumberland Theatre
This is an award-winning performing arts theatre in Cumberland presenting numerous plays all year round including comedies, musicals, thrillers, and more. It dates back to 1987 and attracts thousands of theatre afficionados every year. This is the only professional theatre in the Western Maryland region. Get tickets and enjoy a lively performance here. It is a great place for a wonderful evening’s entertainment.
Tour the Union Grove One Room School House
This building was formerly a school in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was sold and converted into clubhouse in 1946. After remaining vacant for many years, the building was donated to Allegany County Historical Society in 2007. Today, the schoolhouse has been restored and is a museum that attracts many visitors. It is also a popular venue for social gatherings. Tour this one-story historic building and explore the fascinating history of this place.