Winter cabins
Winter cabins

Winter cabinsBy Kimberly Marselas

The Horch family of Catonsville has found the perfect Maryland area winter getaway that doesn’t require a pricey hotel stay or the bare bones of camping but allows them to partake in the outdoor activities they love.

Over the past two Presidents’ Day weekends, the Horchs and six other families have rented a ring of cabins in Western Maryland’s Herrington Manor State Park, just minutes from Deep Creek Lake.

They packed their weekends with tubing at WISP Resort, cross country skiing, sledding and making s’mores in a sheltered picnic area’s giant fire circle, mom Tracy Horch explains.

“My husband refuses to camp,” she says. “But we are outdoorsy people.”

Like many cabins available for rent during the winter, Herrington Manor cabins include heat, bathrooms and kitchens. And renting a cabin—whether privately owned and packed with amenities or a bare-bones shelter on public land—can make a winter getaway, with all its outdoor activities, more affordable.

Professional photographer Mark Odell has made the trek from Centreville to New Germany State Park in Western Maryland several times to stay in cabins with his wife and two elementary school aged daughters. With grocery stores nearby and kitchens at the ready, Odell says the experience is “nothing like camping.”

“We take some games along to play with the kids, but we would do a lot of hiking and shoot lots of photos,” says Odell. “They would be pretty whipped by the end of the day and fall right to sleep.”

Horch says the key to a great trip to the cabins is sharing the experience.

“Pretty much, you can survive with anything else, even peanut butter and jelly for five days if you have to,” she says. “But friends were the best thing we could have brought with us.”