Check out these photos from last weekend:
Pretty sweet hiking, right?
These shots were taken as we tramped through Rocky Gap State Park in North-Western Maryland. Before you heap praise on Shira for being such a trooper you should know that we didn't camp in the state park. Nope, we lived it up and stayed at Rocky Gap Casino and Resort. That's right, when we weren't outside roughing it, we were inside playing blackjack and craps.
Imagine my shock when I learned that we could stay at a casino and yet have all the outdoorsy fun of a state park at our fingertips. It really is true. Unlike the fake facades of Vegas and Atlantic City, Rocky Gap really is the authentic outdoor experience the brochure promises.
We did the 5 mile hike around the massive man made lake. During warmer months you can also rent boats and play golf. Heck, they'll even rent you fishing equipment. This is definitely my kind of casino experience!
The casino itself is a relatively small one, with the notable games being two craps tables and one non-continuous-auto-shuffled blackjack table. What was more surprising was how warm the crowd was. It's like Shira and I stumbled into a small town bar; everyone wanted to introduce themselves and learn our names. You could definitely tell the regulars and by the end of the weekend we nearly felt like one of them.
Another bonus: the minimum on the craps tables was $5.00. Given how many bets you can have going on simultaneously, the low minimum is really appreciated.
Shira tried her hand at 2 deck blackjack, the style where you actually hold your own cards and have to keep them hidden from other players. It was an interesting experience, and one where when played right, has by far the best odds in the house. It's unfortunate that this game was played at a single table, yet, Shira never had any problem getting a spot.
If I was to level one criticism against the 'resort' it's that the food was less than stellar. They need to up their vegetarian game, and the food offered in the executive floor lounge was bordering on pathetic. But hey, the place was clean, non-smoking and price wise quite affordable (especially when compared to a weekend rate in Atlantic City).
As casinos go, any one that recommends I bring along fishing and hiking gear is a winner in my book!