Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Western Maryland is far more rural than the rest of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area, where most of the state's population lives; even Frederick and Washington counties, which are part of the Metro Area, are less urbanized than places closer to DC or Baltimore. Many people still perform a variety of subsistence agriculture for their food needs, and there are few towns larger than 10,000 people, the most notable exceptions being Cumberland and Hagerstown. Western Maryland is noted for its idyllic rural landscapes in its eastern portion and the mountainous terrain in Allegany and Garrett Counties.
The climate is more akin to Vermont or Montana than to any other part of Maryland. Summers tend to be mildly warm, and winters can be brutally harsh. Temperatures in winter often drop to near or below zero degrees Fahrenheit, and snowfall averages from 80 inches farther east to over 100 inches in the mountains. Comparably, Prince George's County, in the Washington, DC area, averages only 25 inches of snow and wintertime temperatures many times exceed 50 degrees.
Western Maryland has a heavily agricultural economy. Its most well known crops are the apples grown in the Allegany valley, but corn, potatoes, beans, and varieties of green-leaf vegetables are grown as well. There is however, a thriving tourist industry, and places such as Deep Creek Lake are frequented by many visitors every year. Garrett County is most well-known for skiing; from late fall until early spring, the natural snow that falls allows for an abundant array of ski resorts, most notably Wisp Ski Resort .
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