Make 2017 a year to remember in the Laurel Highlands with these bucket list destinations, events, and activities. Gear up for an adrenaline pumping adventure, get a taste of local flavors, explore a new place, or revisit a classic attraction. These Laurel Highlands essentials will keep you busy all year-round!
1. Kick off the New Year at Laurel Mountain!
Don’t miss the exciting reopening of the classic skiers destination in its first operational year for over a decade! Featuring the steepest slope in the state, Laurel Mountain is a not to miss mountain full of character in Ligonier, perfect for the avid skier.
2. Celebrate Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th birthday!
Three homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the world’s most well-known architects, can be found in the Laurel Highlands, including his masterpiece, Fallingwater®. Visit all three homes and celebrate the birthday of this architectural genius with a tour of each home. Stay tuned to see what exciting events are held in his honor in June.
3. Who can say they’ve led their own dogsled team?
At Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, let man’s best friend lead you through a winter wonderland, or experience summer dogsledding with a wheeled sled.
4. Explore the local brewery scene.
Try a pint at each of these locations, some of which offer more than just creative craft brews.
- Bloom Brew
- Four Seasons Brewing Company
- Rivertowne Brewing
- Whitehorse Brewing
- Yellow Bridge Brewing Co.
You’ll find live music entertainment, food trucks, events, and more. Insider tip: if you’re not a fan of beer, the Laurel Highlands is a wine lover’s destination, too. Make your own wine trail through the region and have a tasting or two on these scenic wineries.
5. Play a round on the newest course in the Laurel Highlands.
Golf the new Pete Dye-designed course at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Shepherd’s Rock, which is expected to open in July 2017.
6. Conquer the whitewater of the Youghiogheny River.
Feel the thrills of whitewater in Ohiopyle State Park. Let these experts gear you up for the trip and lead you down the river for an unforgettable adventure on 7.5 miles of whitewater.
7. Picnic at one of the Laurel Highlands most picturesque waterfalls.
Visit Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park. This 30-foot waterfall is nestled in the trees just off the main road through Ohiopyle, which makes for a gorgeous view without the hike.
8. Hike the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.
Hike all 70-miles for a real bucket list accomplishment or hike a section. The first six miles, starting in Ohiopyle State Park, offer a moderate hike which ends at an expansive overlook. The trail also features lean-to Adirondack shelters ever 8-10 miles along the trail, making it the perfect destination for a longer backpacking trip.
9. Try some local flavors at a Farmers’ Market.
From early spring to late fall, farmers’ markets pop up throughout the Laurel Highlands, an agriculturally rich region. Spend your Saturday at the Ligonier Country Market, where the early bird gets the best produce and fantastic food is served fresh and ready to eat. Shop for local sourced meats, cheeses, produce, products, and crafts. Somerset County Farmer’s Market, also on Saturdays, is a producer-only tailgate market with some wonderfully fresh and flavorful products. The Springs Farmers’ Market, the largest farmers’ and flea market in the area and in Amish Country, features Amish goods, produces, baked goods, antiques, collectibles and more as well as breakfast and lunch options. Explore the Greensburg Farmers’ Market on Saturdays and Tuesdays at Lynchfield Park for produce and flavors from local clientele.
10. Fly through the air on a zip line.
Your zip line adventure starts in the Laurel Highlands! Strap in at Seven Springs for a canopy tour reaching speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. Challenge a friend on the dueling Fatbird Superflyer or try the new exhilarating 50’ Quickjump, a daring 4 story free fall at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. Experience the gravity defying thrill at the Ohiopyle Zip Line Adventure Park, featuring two levels of difficulty which allows adults as well as young children as young as four to experience the fun of the zip line park.
11. Visit the highest point in the state!
Explore Mount Davis, the highest point in Pennsylvania with an elevation of 3,213 feet.
12. Make new traditions or celebrate old ones this summer at Idlewild & SoakZone.
Visit with Princess Lily at the new Enchanted Castle in Story Book Forest, home to your favorite characters from fairytales and nursery rhymes. See if you can ride all the rides in one day, or splash away the summer at SoakZone. The whole family is sure to have a blast at Idlewild!
13. Bike the Great Allegheny Passage.
Travel along the Great Allegheny Passage from Pittsburgh through the Laurel Highlands and all the way to Washington, D.C. for the ultimate bike ride. Pick a section, and make it a day out the whole family can enjoy.
14. Experience the blaze of autumn color.
From the covered bridges of Somerset County and the amazing hiking trails in our parks to colorful fall drives and scenic fall festivals, there are so many ways and places to see the beauty of the fall foliage in the Laurel Highlands. The leaves start to change in September and peak fall color is usually in the first few weeks of October.
15. Prove your bravery this Halloween!
Take a trip to some of the most haunted places in the region, and experience a chilling night that will rattle your bones. Cling to your companions and make your way through dark, never-ending corn mazes, explore horrifying haunted houses, and survive terrifying wagon rides. View the full list of haunted attractions here.
16. Find the spirit with these holiday traditions.
Take a holiday candlelight tour of the Compass Inn Museum and enjoy the beauty of the inn decorated for the holidays with natural accents. Celebrate the season at Overly's Country Christmas®, a Christmas Village filled with an array of old-fashioned traditions and treats. Take a wagon ride through the light up display, revel at the model train display, and have your picture taken with Santa.
17. Enter a photo from your travels in the 2017 Laurel Highlands Photo Contest.
The photo contest begins soon and the deadline for submission is July 31, 2017. More details will be announced on Facebook soon!