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ESCAPE KEYS

Wednesday, February 9, 2005; Page C02

GETTING THERE: Savage River Lodge (301-689-3200, www.savageriverlodge.com) is 139 miles -- about 2 1/2 hours -- from the Beltway, just southwest of Frostburg, Md. Take Interstate 270 north to I-70 west to I-68 west, then the Finzel Exit (No. 29). It's about five miles on local roads to the lodge. Snowy roads may require four-wheel drive or chains, or you can arrange to be picked up at the lodge road entrance.

STAYING THERE: Cabins cost $210 for one night or $390 for two, double occupancy (look for midweek specials on the Web site); the owners advise booking at least two months ahead for weekends and even earlier for holidays. Pets are welcome by advance arrangement for $25 per night. The 18 log cabins, arranged in a U shape, each feature a small fridge, coffeemaker and electric teakettle. A basket of homemade muffins and fresh-squeezed orange juice appears on your doorstep in the morning.

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EATING THERE: It's not a destination restaurant, but it is a good restaurant for the destination. The lodge serves dinner nightly (reserve in advance for weekends and holidays). Salads and starters run $4 to $13; entrees, $23 to $32, with an $18 risotto; and for dessert, a bubbling vat of fruit cobbler was $9. Lunch is served Monday through Friday, with main courses in the $8 to $10 range. Brunch, in the $7 to $10 range, is served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends.

BEING THERE: If you're loath to leave your cabin, peruse the spread of magazines or order up chocolate-dipped strawberries ($25), a bottle of Veuve Cliquot ($65) and an in-room massage ($80 an hour). The lodge is in a snow belt that typically receives 100 inches of snow per year. The lodge ski shop rents cross-country gear (skis, boots, poles) for $20 a day or $15 a half-day ; snowshoes (you need hiking boots) rent for $15 a day or $10 a half-day. The nearby Elk Ridge NatureWorks (301-895-3686, www.elkridgenatureworks.com) offers three-hour eco-tours on foot, skis or snowshoes ($25 per person), skiing lessons ($20 for 1 1/2 hours) and guided moonlight tours on their property, 30 minutes away. For the culinary-inclined, the lodge restaurant offers " Chef for a Day" ($300 for one person, $250 each for two; Mondays to Thursdays only), where you spend a day with the chef, planning and preparing a menu.

INFO: Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, 301-387-4336, www.garrettchamber.com.


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