Best Holiday Escapes Near Baltimore

December 8, 2012 6:00 AM


Escape Baltimore this holiday season: Go skiing in the Tuscarora Mountains of southcentral Pennsylvania, visit Harpers Valley, W.Va., beat the winter blues in the bright lights of a Maryland casino, or enjoy the culture and history of Washington, D.C. Nothing beats the best holiday escapes in the area this year. 

Getting there

Within a two- to three-hour drive of Baltimore lies winter fun for the entire family. Most of these destinations may be reached by jumping onto I-695 north, traveling to Frederick, and then heading west on I-70; or taking U.S. Route 15 and traveling north into Pennsylvania. 

whitetail Best Holiday Escapes Near Baltimore


Ski Whitetail Resort
13805 Blairs Valley Road
Mercersburg, Pa. 17236
(717) 328-9400
Prices: from $21

Located just north of the Mason-Dixon Line in southcentral Pennsylvania, Ski Whitetail Resort is nestled in the Tuscarora Mountains. A full-service resort, it features skiing, tubing, snowboarding, golf at a nearby professionally designed course, lodging and a choice of dining facilities. In the winter months, the resort attracts winter sports enthusiasts from Maryland, D.C., West Virginia and Pennsylvania. From December through February and, depending on temperatures, into March, Two Top Mountain accommodates novice and experienced skiers with an interconnected system of 25-parallel courses, all featuring steady sustained vertical drops, and there are two terrain parks. Skiing and snowboarding lessons are available for all ages. The resort offers ski packages for individuals, families and groups, equipment rentals, equipment sales, child care and a host of dining options including the Windows Restaurant, which provides slope-side dining.

Related: Park Service to Plant New National Christmas Tree

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
P.O. Box 65
Harpers Ferry, W.Va. 25425
(304) 535-6029

Prices: $10 per single, private vehicle/$5 for individuals on foot or bicycle or motorcycle

Harpers Ferry, W.Va., is known for its involvement in the Oct. 16, 1859 raid on the U.S. armory and arsenal by John Brown, a militant abolitionist and a group of 21 men. Brown’s plan was to seize muskets, rifles and pistols, which would be taken to the south to arm a slave rebellion in the southern states. Ironically, the raid failed when it was intercepted by U.S. Marines under the command of Lt. Col. Robert E. Lee, who would later become the commander of the Confederate States of America Army. The area was first settled in 1732 and is located along the Potomac River. During December, the O Be JoyFull Christmas Customs and Traditions Show, held in a 19th century-era parlor, features journey of Christmas traditions through history, music and songs . The area offers ample lodging and dining options. While there, stop by the John Brown Wax Museum, or take a hike on the nearby Appalachian Trail.

maryland live1 Best Holiday Escapes Near BaltimoreMaryland Live! Casino
7002 Arundel Mills Circle
Hanover, Md. 21076
(443) 842-7000
Shake off the winter doldrums, and step into the light of Maryland Live! Casino. The third largest casino in the country, the casino features 4,750 slot machines and electronic game tables. Offering dining options such as Bobby’s Burger Palace, (created by Bobby Flay), the Cheesecake Factory and Phillips Seafood, the facility also boasts a 5,000-space covered parking garage. Nightly live entertainment is offered at Rams Head Center Stage. Enjoy football on Monday night; Tuesdays are ladies night; and dance to country music Wednesdays. A variety of lodging options are available nearby. Take a break from the casino and enjoy shopping at the near Arundel Mills Mall as well.
Related: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

hershey Best Holiday Escapes Near Baltimore


Christmas in Hershey
27 W. Chocolate Ave.
Hershey, Pa. 17033
(800) 437-7439

There’s no better way to enjoy the holidays than with festive Christmas lights mixed with the rich aroma of chocolate. Hershey, known as Chocolate Town, U.S.A., is about 90 minutes away from Baltimore, off of I-83 north. Famous for the Hershey chocolate factory, the town offers ample dining and lodging options. During the holidays, Hersheypark’s Christmas Candylane comes alive with 2 million lights. Hershey’s product characters don their gay apparel as they roam the amusement park meeting and greeting visitors. With more than 30 rides, the park features a visit by Santa’s reindeer and a sing-along at A Rockin’ Music Box Christmas. Hershey offers overnight and spa packages as well as special holiday dining options.

smithsonianmuseums Best Holiday Escapes Near BaltimoreSmithsonian
1000 Jefferson Drive
Washington, D.C. 20560
(202) 663-1000

Prices: free
For an educational, cultural and divergent escape experience, the museums and zoo operated by the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., offer visitors a taste of the world in one location. The largest museum in the world, the institution includes 19 museums, including the Air and Space Museum, the American Art Museum, the American History Museum, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. It also operates the National Zoo. During the holidays, events include the Smithsonian Gardens Holiday Tradition tour of the Haupt Gardens, a visit to the large holiday tree and create-your-own botanical decorations classes at the Ripley Center. For the kids, the Smithsonian offers the Winter Break Children’s Programs that includes sessions exploring and creating art. Of course, D.C. offers a huge variety of lodging and dining options, and entertainment for all ages as well.
Jeffrey B. Roth, has won numerous state and national news and feature-writing awards during his career. A well-known crime writer, investigative reporter and a feature writer, Roth writes for a number of magazines and newspapers. Listed in the Locus Index of SciFi and Fantasy authors, Roth is the author of a number of published short stories and poetry. His work can be found on
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