Tune into our episode of Eat Play Stay on the Laurel Highlands to see some of our favorite spots to explore the outdoors that are just 90 minutes from Downtown Pittsburgh and 3.5 hours from Baltimore.
Where are the Laurel Highlands?
The Laurel Highlands is a region of Pennsylvania located east and south of the City of Pittsburgh. The region spans three counties (Westmoreland, Fayette, and Somerset) and offers something for everyone. From ways to explore the outdoors to historic architecture to great spots for food and drink, join us to see some of the best places to visit in the Laurel Highlands.
EAT – RESTAURANTS IN LAUREL HIGHLANDS
Nino’s has been serving seasonal Italian fare for over 50 years. The restaurant is now run by Nino’s daughter, Elizabeth Barsotti. The building where Nino’s is located dates back to the early 1900s. It once served as a trading post and possibly speakeasy before becoming a tavern. The menu features Tuscan favorites and even offers gluten-free pasta.
Located right in the center of town, the Ligonier Creamery serves homemade ice cream in various unique flavors.
Things to know about Ligonier: Ligonier was named by Country Living Magazine as one of America’s most charming small towns. For the Gilmore Girls fans, one writer described Ligonier as a real-life Stars Hollow.
[Looking for a place to stay near Ligonier? Here are some of our favorite rentals just down the road in Laughlintown.]
PLAY – THINGS TO DO IN LAUREL HIGHLANDS
Ligonier Country Market
The Ligonier Country Market is one of the largest Farmer’s Markets near Pittsburgh. Stop by on Saturday mornings in the summer to pick up produce, baked goods and more from over 100 vendors.
Shanksville, Pennsylvania, is the site of the crash of United Flight 93. Flight 93 was one of the four planes that were hijacked as part of the attacks on September 11, 2001. Shanksville is located about 20 miles from Somerset, PA. Ten years later, the site has opened as the Flight 93 National Memorial.
The Flight 93 National Memorial is operated by the National Parks Service and is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm.
[Did you know that there are six national parks within 1.5 hours of Downtown Pittsburgh?]
Birthplace of Mister Rogers and the banana split
Latrobe, Pennsylvania, is both the birthplace of Fred Rogers (host of Mister Rogers Neighborhood) and the banana split.
Check out our guide to visiting Mister Rogers sites in Latrobe for details on the statue and the Fred Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College.
Jennerstown Speedway is one of the oldest race tracks in the country. The first race was held here in 1929. Races take place on Saturdays in the spring, summer and fall.
The business originally started as a specialty fruit farm in 1986, and Greendance Winery opened in 1997. Greendance has over 25 wines made with fruit from the farm. The tasting room is open year-round. Greendance Winery sells food for picnics and has a full-service restaurant.
Are you a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright? Have you been to Fallingwater and want to see more houses designed by the famous architect? You are in luck. Polymath Park is a one-stop shop for Frank Lloyd Wright fans. You can even spend the night in a Frank Lloyd Wright House.
Polymath Park is one of the few places in the world where you can spend the night in a Frank Lloyd Wright house.
Polymath Park started with two homes designed by Peter Berndtson, a Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice who designed several houses around Pittsburgh. In addition to the Berndtson houses, two other Frank Lloyd Wright houses, the Duncan House and Mäntylä house. Both of these houses were moved piece-by-piece and rebuilt at Polymath Park. You can tour all of the houses and even spend the night.
Polymath Park also features a full-service restaurant, Treetops, which has a huge outdoor deck and private treehouses for dining.
Laurel Caverns has over 4 miles to explore. There are open spaces with lights for the less adventurous and many more caves for the serious spelunker to explore. Laurel Caverns is closed in the winter, but you can signup to watch for the virtual tour year-round.
STAY – WHERE TO STAY IN LAUREL HIGHLANDS
Conveniently located near the Pennsylvania turnpike, Foggy Mountain Lodge is close to many outdoor activities in the Laurel Highlands. In addition to the two private lodges, Foggy Mountain has five hotel suites and a restaurant that is open Wednesday to Sunday.
Looking for more Pittsburgh area getaways?
Check out the other episode of Eat Play Stay for more great spots for day trips and weekend getaways near Pittsburgh.
If you are looking to explore the outdoors check out this episode of Finding Adventure to learn more about white water rafting in the Laurel Highlands.