The Laurel Highlands in Southwestern Pennsylvania draws outdoor adventure seekers, spa-lovers, and architecture aficionados. If those travelers happen to be wine lovers, they are in luck.
While planning a trip to this scenic region, make sure you add local wineries to your itinerary.
Things to See
Ohiopyle State Park
Boasting 14 miles of the Youghiogheny River Gorge, this gorgeous state park draws contemplative hikers and adrenaline junkies alike to its rushing waters. Known for some of the best whitewater rafting on the East Coast, Ohiopyle also features mountain-biking trails, a Zip Line Adventure Park, camping, rock climbing, waterfalls, and natural waterslides.
Integrated into a waterfall, this iconic Frank Lloyd Wright home draws visitors from across the globe. At one point, the American Institute of Architects named Fallingwater the “best all-time work of American architecture.” One of the things that makes the site so magical is its isolation, deep in the woods of the Laurel Highlands. And the Wright-o-phile need not be satisfied with one stop — there are several other Wright buildings in the area, including Kentuck Knob and Polymath Park. Guests can even stay overnight at the Duncan House and experience one of his designs in a new unique way.
Seven Springs Mountain Resort
Whether you’re looking to hit the slopes or relax in a hot tub with a view of the stars, this massive all-seasons resort has something for you. In addition to traditional hotel rooms, guest can rent cottages or chalets that sleep up to 21 people. Though originally founded as a ski resort, Seven Springs offers activities for every season such as clay shooting, indoor swimming, spa services and shopping, in addition to a yearly summer wine festival.
Places to Stop and Sip
Christian W. Klay Winery, Chalkhill
Located just 15 minutes west of the Ohiopyle State Park Visitor’s Center, Christian W. Klay Winery has been in operation for over 20 years. It was Fayette County’s first commercial winery and today offers a range of wines, from dry styles like their Fort Necessity Chardonnay to sweet wines made from native grapes like Catawba. Enjoy a tasting of their wines in their beautiful restored barn, which dates from the 1880s. An added bonus: The winery is less than a 10-minute drive from Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, a 2,000-acre property featuring award-winning restaurants and luxurious accommodations.
Glades Pike Winery, Somerset
Founded by Steve and Karen Addleman, Glades Pike Winery is set in a beautiful spot with views of the rolling green hills. The enterprise actually began as a school project — Steve had to develop a business plan to complete his MBA and chose a winery. Glades Pike specializes in dry and off-dry wines from grapes such as Riesling, Vidal Blanc, Cabernet Franc, and Tempranillo. In addition to tastings, the winery offers private behind-the-scenes tours that can be booked in advance.
Greendance: The Winery at Sandhill, Mount Pleasant
If you’re traveling to the Laurel Highlands from points north, then build some time into your schedule for a visit to Greendance: The Winery at Sandhill. The winery, which specializes in fruit wines from their sister farm Sand Hill Berries in addition to traditional grape wines, offers complimentary tastings year-round and plenty of outdoor fun during the warmer months (May-October). Stroll the gardens, purchase snacks for a picnic, or explore the orchards.