Laurel Ridge Cross Country Ski Center is a Perfect Winter Day Out

If there is any state park in the Laurel Highlands that we have had trouble exploring properly over the years, it would be Laurel Ridge State Park.

The reason for this is simple- the state park is sprawling. Instead of covering one (often round) area with nested hiking trails, Laurel Ridge State Park follows along Laurel Mountain through four counties.

Short of through-hiking on the 70-mile Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, getting to enjoy Laurel Ridge State Park often comes in small segments.

In the winter, one of our new favorite sections of the park is the groomed cross country ski and snowshoeing trails maintained by the Laurel Ridge Cross Country Ski Center. Seeing the beautiful of the state park in winter? Sign us up for this one!

Although this one offers rentals in addition to the paid entry to the groomed trails, we picked up our own snowshoes and went out for a day of winter fun in the Laurel Highlands!

Read more

Epic Pass Review – An All Access Pass to Vail Resorts

We are quite fortunate enough to have several major ski resorts right in our backyard- Seven Springs, Hidden Valley, and Laurel Mountain.

These Laurel Highlands gems have been our go-to spot for winter skiing each year. But at the end of 2021, these properties were sold to Vail Resorts to become part of the larger global brand of ski resorts.

With the merger came access to Vail Resort's incredible Epic Pass, a season pass valid at most all Vail Resorts properties with little restriction.

We were fortunate enough to get our hands on this pass for a few seasons courtesy of Vail Resorts and wanted to share a bit more about our experience in this one!

Note: Epic Pass sales are typically only available prior to the start of the season. In 2023, Epic Pass sales will end on December 3rd. After that, only individual lift tickets will be available.

Read more

Sweet Rust Review – Libations and Farm to Table Cuisine

Sweet Rust is a Vatting House concept that bottles and sells single-barrel, cask-strength spirits from Pennsylvania and around the world. While the company doesn't distill their own spirits, they bring a wealth of knowledge and experience from their Pennsylvania Libations business to offer high-quality spirits in and around Pittsburgh.

Sweet Rust also operates a restaurant of the same name in Ligonier, located inside the historic Thistledown Hotel. We recently visited as guests of the restaurant to try their farm-to-table cuisine, plus a few cocktails made with Sweet Rust products, of course!

Read more

Seven Springs Resort Review – A Mountain Resort for All Seasons

We've been fortunate enough to visit Seven Springs in the Laurel Highlands on many occasions. Sometimes just to ski, others as a hotel base to explore the region at large (in nearly every season, too).

This has allowed us to experience most of the property, and in this one wanted to share more in a rather comprehensive review!

Read more

Hidden Valley Resort – A Great Ski Resort for First Timers

We are quite fortunate to have a number of ski resorts in the Laurel Highlands with slopes suitable for all skill levels.

But for those who are beginners to the sport, like myself, one property sticks out as being a stellar option for those looking to learn- Hidden Valley.

With several easy-to-navigate trails, modest on-site amenities, a wonderful staff, and a relaxed ambiance all around, Hidden Valley should be the first stop for those looking to learn to ski in the Laurel Highlands!

Read more

A Quick Hike Around Kooser State Park – A Smaller Gem

Kooser State Park is a smaller park by Laurel Highlands standards, coming in at approximately 250 acres in size.

While this one lacks in size compared to other state parks nearby, it makes up for it with a gorgeous lake, a trout run, and beautiful nature all around.

A visit here can be quick, but the park presents many opportunities for those who want to stay a while as well!

Read more

Buffalo Bill’s House is a Must for The Silence of the Lambs Fans

We love checking out movie set locations in Pittsburgh, and one of the most famous films shot here is none other than the 1991 thriller The Silence of the Lambs.

You may know that some of the movie's most iconic scenes were shot at a set built inside Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland (where they typically recreate the set for a screening most Halloweens). But did you know that the house used as Buffalo Bill's residence is located about an hour south of the city just outside of Perryopolis?

Up until 2021, this house was maintained as a private residence, but when it went up for sale a horror movie fan (and worker in the film industry at large) bought it up to transform it into a private rental and museum for tours. 

Naturally, as a fan of the movie myself, I had to visit this one as quickly as possible once it opened for the public and had my chance during a media tour via our friends at Laurel Highlands tourism.

You'll want to check this one out as fast as possible! 

Read more

Treetops Review – Fine Dining With a Frank Lloyd Wright Vibe

The Laurel Highlands in southwest PA is a hub of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, and Polymath Park in Acme, PA, takes things one step further with their on-site, Wright-inspired restaurant- Treetops. 

As we are always down for fine dining in unusual locations and the Wright architecture experience in the region at large, you know we had to check this one out to see what it is all about.

Read more

5 Great Activities to Enjoy Christmas in Westmoreland County

Southwest Pennsylvania truly comes alive during the holiday season, and no matter where you look there are a number of great Christmas and seasonal activities to enjoy.

This is especially true in Westmoreland County, one of three counties in the Laurel Highlands, as they are home to some wonderful events ranging from the popular Christmas village Overly's Country Christmas, concerts at the Westmoreland Symphony, and more.

So in this one, we thought it'd be fun to share all the great ways to enjoy Christmas in Westmoreland County!

Read more

Linn Run State Park is a Quick Stop in the Laurel Highlands

Normally when we think of state parks in the Laurel Highlands, we think about them in terms of their massive size. Laurel Hill State Park clocks in at almost 4,000 acres. Forbes State Forest is almost 60,000 acres. Ohiopyle State Park is about 20,000 acres. We could go on.

But some state parks in the area are much, much smaller while still offering a wealth of things to see in a quick visit.

Linn Run is one such state park, and while this one is only 612 acres in size, it makes for a great spot to check out a waterfall after a rain, for a quick hike, renting a cabin for a weekend, or to go fishing if licensed!

Read more