Friday, September 2, 2011

Nemacolin Resort and Laurel Highlands

When Pittsburghers yearn for nature they head for Laurel Highlands. Any who want to mix outdoor pursuits with indoor pampering and world-class gourmet meals,  check in at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.

Located on 2,000 mountain acres 70 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, the resort offers just about any outdoor activity you could want. The Botero sculpture that greets you is an indication of what's to come.
Golf                                                                                                 Mystic Rock

Pete Dye's Mystic Rock course is yours for the playing as is The Links. The Golf Academy and practice center will hone your game.

At the Field Club, try the shooting academy, fly fishing, archery or guided hunts. At the Adventure Center it's the climbing wall, Jeep off-road driving academy, Fallingbrook miniature golf, a ropes course, disc golf, paintball, biking and the Fat Bird Flyer zip line.

Omni -turf tennis courts and lessons will serve you well as will pools for swimming and playing and kids' activities.

Winter sports.
Try skiing and snowboarding, snow tubing, snow shoeing or dog sledding with lessons for all and a snow camp for kids.

Walk on the wild or better-behaved side.
The Wildside offers an eight-lane bowling alley, 65 arcade games, RC race cars, a sports bar, pool tables, indoor climbing wall, an exotic bird habitat and miniature train display.
The Wildlife Academy & Habitats includes safari tours, a petting zoo and an equestrian center.
Nemacolin Wooflands offers your four-legged family members hydrotherapy, grooming, obedience training, outside exercise area and luxury day care or boarding. There's also an animal care center.

Nearby there's biking, hiking, kayaking or tubing the Youghogheny River, more golf, scenic drives and of course the two Frank Lloyd Wright homes to tour.

Inside diversions
                                                Lafayette lobby

Lodging. Naturally there are several choices. The Lodge is an elegant English country cottage style while Chateau Lafayette sports very spacious rooms, wide windows and  crystal chandeliers.  
Falling Rock is a 42-room boutique hotel with gold course views and a design inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. There are also townhouses scattered about the property.
Lafayette double.

Dining. In addition to a host of casual offerings there is Aqueous, an AAA Four Diamond restaurant and one of Pittsburgh Magazine's Top 25, in Falling Rock. In the Lodge/Chateau you find Autumn, featuring menus of regional cuisine and local farm and table ingredients, and the much-heralded Lautrec. In addition to its AAA Five Diamond award for the last three years it has also received the Forbes Five Star Award, making it one of only 14 restaurants in the country so honored.

Chef de Cuisine Kristin Butterworth

At its helm is Kristin A. Butterworth, 31, the youngest and only female chef of a five-star resort restaurant. She loves a challenge and habitually produces heart-healthy, vegan and gluten-free offerings.

The Woodlands Spa. You can work out in the 2,400 square-foot fitness center or let a skilled masseuse and a host of aestheticians do the work for you.

It's all the creation of Joseph A Hardy III, a door-to-door vegetable seller who went on to be CEO of 84 Lumber Company, and his daughter, Maggie Hardy Magerko.

Warning: Levelers, Laurel Highlands is hilly and mountainous but I've already told you what to expect in the Wright-designed houses. Most of those hills and mountains are left to the hikers and bicylists, with shops, museums and restaurants situated on level or levelish ground.

At Nemacolin, you will walk a lot, but rarely encounter more than 4-6 steps at a time. Often there's an adjacent ramp. Lots of original art works make flopping into one of many comfy chairs en route part of the experience.


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