Everything You Need to Know About the Laurel Highlands

When it comes to day trips from Pittsburgh, we are fortunate to have a number of great options to consider. If you head east out of the city you come to one of our favorite parts of the state, the Laurel Highlands. 

From New Kensington to the north and Ohiopyle to the South, the region known as the Laurel Highlands covers three counties in southwest Pennsylvania and truly has a lot to see.

In this guide, we break down just about everything you need to know when exploring this gorgeous part of Pennsylvania!

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Experiencing Socially Distant Skiing at Seven Springs

We were hosted by Seven Springs when visiting for this story; however, all opinions are our own.

Much like everything else in 2020 (and onward into early 2021), the current environment has resulted in a number of changes for experiences throughout the region. The ski season at Seven Springs in the Laurel Highlands is no different.

While skiing is inherently an activity that can be enjoyed at a distance, the ski resorts in the Laurel Highlands have made many changes for the 2020-2021 season to ensure guests are safe when off the slopes. Naturally, we wanted to see what it was like towards the start of the season and share some things you can expect if visiting Seven Springs this year!

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A Brief Visit to Mount Davis – The Highest Point in Pennsylvania

At 3,213 feet, Mount Davis is recognized as the highest point in Pennsylvania. And at just under two hours driving from Pittsburgh, it is an easy day trip to check off this spot from your Pennsylvania bucket list.

But while Mount Davis' claim to fame is its elevation, I have to admit, visting this one may not be exactly what you are envisioning.

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Laurel Summit State Park – Spruce Flats Bog and the Views

Laurel Summit State Park is an interesting one as it is technically only just six acres in size and can be found within Forbes State Forest surrounding it on all sides.

So while all the highlights you may expect to see when visiting this one are technically in Forbes State Forest, they're often described as being part of Laurel Summit State Park thanks to the trailheads mostly being within Laurel Summit. (The state park maps show this as such as well.)

While this is a somewhat odd naming convention, we're sticking with calling the sights as part of Laurel Summit State Park all the same, and there are several interesting things to see here!

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Laurel Hill State Park is a Favorite in the Laurel Highlands

When it comes to hiking in the Laurel Highlands, there are a number of parks to choose from. In fact, this region is home to ten state parks and state forests that cover roughly 120,000 acres- and that is not even counting the smaller parks, runs, and green spaces as well.

As such, when we say that Laurel Hill State Park may be our favorite of them all, we say that with some gravity behind it.

This park is simply stunning!

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Latrobe Area Historical Society Shines a Light on the City’s Past

We really love going to historical societies when we visit nearby cities and boroughs. These small, often one or two-room museums offer fascinating displays and artifacts that highlight a large cross-section of the region's history.

This is no different in Latrobe, where the Latrobe Area Historical Society operates a modest exhibit where you can learn more about the city's past!

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5 Places to Enjoy Frank Lloyd Wright in the Laurel Highlands

For those who have explored the Pittsburgh region, odds are good you know about the iconic building, Fallingwater, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the Laurel Highlands. It is one of the most stunning houses in the area, and one of the architect's finest works.

But there are actually several spots where you can see buildings designed and inspired by Wright in the Laurel Highlands, as well as a few from a student of his as well!

In this one, we wanted to share all of the spots where you can enjoy some Frank Lloyd Wright tourism fun on an outing (or two) in the Laurel Highlands.

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Helen’s Review – A Fine Dining Gem at Seven Springs

Helen's is a fine dining restaurant on the Seven Springs Ski Resort property with an award-winning wine list and classic dishes served up in a cozy and rustic chic atmosphere.

We've stayed at Seven Springs a number of times over the years and have eaten at nearly all of the restaurants, and we have to say, Helen's is by far the best option on the property. While most of the other restaurants feature things like bar food and buffets, Helen's is truly a standout and a restaurant that, if you picked it up and put it in Pittsburgh, we would gladly choose to patron.

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Aqueous Review – A Seafood Feast in the Laurel Highlands

Please note: As of 2021, the restaurant seems only open to overnight guests at Nemacolin and resort/club members.

From the moment you walk into Nemacolin's Falling Rock, the property's boutique luxury hotel (located about a mile and a half away from the main chateau at their golf course), you may notice some familiar design elements. That is because this property was built using many design elements used by Frank Lloyd Wright.

This theme continues into the property's on-site seafood restaurant, Aqueous, and provides an ambiance that is worth traveling for as much as the food itself!

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Huston’s Haunted Hollow Offers Frights in the Laurel Highlands

In the mood for a haunted house while exploring the Laurel Highlands? Huston's Haunted Hollow is the place to be.

The premise of this one follows a loose storyline that you are a group of travelers looking to take up residency at the Bruner boarding house, and, well, a nightmare unfolds that will leave you fighting for your lives!

I was able to check this one out during a media trip to the region and summarize the attraction's five haunts in this review.

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