Driving down the long and winding (steep!) gravel road to Savage River Lodge, I understood why the staff recommends guests have all-wheel drive. If it was raining, like it was the day I visited, a smaller car would have a difficult time driving safely. This property was tucked deep into the forest, away from the “crowds” of the tiny town of Frostburg, Maryland. I was about to learn how to travel solo, something I rarely do, and have never done alone in the woods.
Unique Hotels in Maryland
Savage River Lodge is a unique property in Maryland. We don’t have a lot of yurts (a round tent) and log cabin hotels in the state. I’m not sure Maryland is known for any particular type of lodging actually. We do have historic properties, several listed on the Select Registry of boutique hotels and B&Bs in fact. Unless you know where to dig however, you may think this state only carries the vanilla chain hotels you can find anywhere. Conduct a quick search on Booking.com, a site that carries more unique properties than just about any other online booking engine, and you will see this is definitely not the case.
Click HERE to find out what unique hotels are in your state
Unplug at Savage River Lodge
At Savage River Lodge, just outside of Frostburg, MD, you are meant to unplug, get back to nature and rest—three things I am not very good at doing. There is no Wi-Fi, except for in the main lodge and not a single TV on the property. There are plans to extend the Wi-Fi to the cabins and yurts, but it is a slow, expensive process.
It was a rainy spring day when I pulled up to the lodge to check in. The old saying “April showers bring May flowers” seems to be true here in Maryland. There were three other cars in the parking lot, but no one else around except the person checking guests in.
Later I would discover this gal was also the restaurant hostess, just as my bartender at lunch was also my waiter at dinner. Being a weekday, the lodge wasn’t packed. They see most of their spring traffic on the weekends. The lodge is slammed in the summer with hikers, couples looking for a quiet getaway, and outdoor wildlife enthusiasts.
Ecological Lodging and Sustainability
One big draw to this property is their ecological practices. There aren’t many spots in western Maryland where you will find an electric car charging station. There are also solar panels on property, as well as windmills off in the distance that can be seen from the lodge. An in-line water heating system is being installed so energy can be saved on the existing constant water heating system. Other eco-friendly and sustainable practices include:
- No air conditioning – ceiling fans and natural shade keep the buildings cool
- Mostly native plants are used in the gardens
- Natural light and ventilation used to reduce energy consumption
- Washable hand towels instead of paper towels, even in public toilets
- Rain water collected in repurposed whiskey barrels to water plants
- Spent CFL bulbs are collected and recycled to recapture mercury
- Room freshenings are by request only, not daily
- Local produce and goods are offered in the Savage River Lodge restaurant
Not only that, but their log cabins were constructed using wood, which is a renewable resource. The insulation used in the cabins is made from recycled rubber, and recycled wood from Amish lumber yards are used for projects throughout the property. The Savage River Lodge Yurts were made from Douglas fir grown in sustainably managed forests. Each is fitted with radiant heat and in-line water heaters that save on continuous heating that wastes energy.
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How to travel solo
My eco-consious mind appeased, I was given a key to Cabin 5, just up the road from the lodge. My car wound its way through a dark forest of tall evergreens, eerily reminding me that I was here alone to detox from my life. There were several stresses in my life triggering migraines and unbeknownst to me, I needed the downtime for more reasons than I originally thought.
What the heck would I do all day without TV or Internet? Well, I got to know the bartender. No, I did not drink myself into a stupor. It was raining heavily during most of my stay, so I was unable to hike. It was also the beginning of bear season when those massive animals come out of hibernation. I don’t know about you, but hiking by myself in the woods and coming across a bear is not a restful thought. A friend told me to pack my bear spray and I would be good to go. Ummm…can’t say I have bear spray just sitting around!
What to do at Savage River Lodge
So, instead I sat by the fire in the lodge, catching up on writing and answering emails. I ate a steak salad every day for lunch. The first night I sat by myself in the restaurant for dinner, all the while munching on my cauliflower risotto while reading a book. I opted to hang out at the bar the following night. It was brighter out at the bar and I had some company (i.e. the bartender). I can only be alone for so long.
My nights were filled with reading. I read two and a half books. One night I stayed up past 2am just reading. What a luxury! My kids didn’t need me to get them to school in the morning. The dog didn’t need me to walk her at 6am. In fact, my little cooler of breakfast that came with the price of my room would be waiting for me at the front door to my cabin. I had a coffee pot, so really, there was no reason to move at all in the morning.
Realizing that a bit of quiet in the woods is OK
No reason to wake up. Sounds depressing doesn’t it? Strangely, it wasn’t. My cozy little cabin became my refuge. I sat in a rocking chair my first morning, wrapped up in a sweater reading my book, sipping a cup of tea. More often than not my mind would wander. I had a lot of decisions I had to make about a few things coming up in my life. These decisions were not easy. Cell service was spotty. I couldn’t follow my usual M.O. and call everyone I knew to talk through my options. Instead, I learned to pause and listen. It was an odd sensation. Just me and the birds in the woods.
As I packed up my last morning to head to breakfast with a friend who lived nearby, I was glad I’d found this little cabin in the woods. I knew my husband would have loved the quiet solitude. He doesn’t mind being by himself. The quiet doesn’t bother him.
Two nights alone, I realized I needed it more in my fast-paced, always on the go life. It took finding this unique lodge in western Maryland to realize this part of myself. Maybe I should hide out in the woods more often. Who knows what else I’ll learn about myself.
When is the last time YOU unplugged and learned to travel solo?
Want to find more unique lodgings? Check out the Book the US list for more inspiration near you. There are some pretty cool finds that even I hadn’t heard of, but am dying to try next!
This post is part of a paid partnership with Booking.com. As always, my opinions are my own. When they aren’t you will be the first to know.