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Laurel Highlands Fun Facts

Did you know?

The Laurel Highlands not only receives the largest cumulative snowfall in Pennsylvania and is home to the highest point in the state, but the region is also full of firsts, one-of-a-kind attractions, and tons of interesting facts. (We’ve barely scratched the surface here!)

The Birthplace of Greatness

Idlewild & SoakZoneWelcome to Mr. Roger’s neighborhood. His timeless legacy live on today in Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, a show inspired by Rogers’ original program. Daniel Tiger and friends invite you to Idlewild & SoakZone to ride the trolley through the neighborhood. Nostalgic Fred Rogers viewers can tour an exhibit in his honor in the Fred Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College. A new statue of Fred Rogers can also be found in downtown Latrobe. 

Golf where the late, great legend learned the sport. “The King” himself, Arnold Palmer, left his mark on his hometown, Latrobe, and golfed many of the courses in the area

The classic ice cream treat, the banana split, was created by Dr. David Strickler at his drug store fountain on Ligonier Street in Latrobe in 1904. Celebrate this sweet treat at the Banana Split Festival in August. 

The first Big Mac was prepared at a McDonald’s in the Laurel Highlands. Visit the Big Mac Museum in Irwin to learn more. 550 million Bic Macs are prepared each year in the U.S. alone!

Made in the Laurel Highlands

Maple TastingSatisfy your syrup craving in Somerset County, a region bustling with maple syrup production. In this neck of the woods, more than 90 maple farms and nearly 120,500 taps produce approximately 27,000 gallons every year!

Snyder’s chips, cheese snacks, and popcorn are made in the Laurel Highlands and feature a different local landmark on each flavor of their bags.

Whitehorse Brewing is the only micro-brewery in Somerset County, located in Berlin. 

Try some moonshine from the first legal moonshine distillery in Somerset since Prohibition, Tall Pines Distillery!

Firsts and Historic Moments

Saint Vincent CollegeSaint Vincent College was the first Benedictine College in the United States and is also the largest Benedictine archabbey in the world. 

George Washington lost his first battle at Fort Necessity in 1754, his only surrender. 

The only two historic tollhouses remaining in Pennsylvania from the United States’ first National Road are located along today’s Route 40, in the towns of Addison and Searight, both in the Laurel Highlands. 

Outdoors

Ohiopyle Trading Post RaftingClass I-IV whitewater can be found on the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle State Park. This 7.5 mile stretch offers an adrenaline pumping adventure everyone can enjoy! 

The Great Allegheny Passage, a 150-mile nearly level bike trail, connects with the C&O Towpath in Cumberland, providing a 335-mile motor-free route from Pittsburgh to the District of Columbia. 

Laurel Mountain is home to the steepest slope in the state with a 60% slope and the highest vertical drop on the Laurel Ridge in Pennsylvania at 761 feet. 

Seven Springs Mountain Resort is Pennsylvania’s largest ski and year round resort, home to the East Coast's only Olympic-size halfpipe.

Laurel CavernsLaurel Caverns in Farmington is the largest developed cave in the state with the largest bat hibernacculum in the state. 

The Laurel Highlands is home to the highest point in the state, Mount Davis, at 3,213 feet, located in Forbes State Forest. This is how Somerset County got the nickname “The Roof Garden” for the high mountains and the rich agriculture industry.

The Mountain Laurel begins to bloom the first and second weeks in June and lasts for approximately three weeks. Rhododendron follows and blooms for three weeks. 

Other Fun Facts

Visit FallingwaterThree of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs can be found in the Laurel Highlands, including his masterpiece, Fallingwater®. The Duncan House, located at Polymath Park, is one of only six Wright homes available for overnight stays. Kentuck Knob is the house – almost – without right angles, featuring only two in the bathroom. 

For more than 50 years, Steelers Nation has gathered at Saint Vincent College to watch the team prepare for a new season. Visit Steelers Training Camp yourself and cheer on the black and gold!

Christian W. Klay WineryChristian W. Klay Winery is the highest winery in elevation east of the Rocky Mountains at 2,300 feet. 

Touchstone Center for Crafts is Pennsylvania’s only residential art school, offering lessons in blacksmithing, pottery, glassblowing, and more.  

Powdermill Nature Reserve is home to one of the longest continually running bird banding stations in the U.S.

Somerset has more fishable streams than any other county in the state. Find more fishing information here