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The Alleghenies

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History and hot springs sprinkled throughout 500 miles of mountains.  

By Danielle Bouchat-Friedman


THE VIBE: If you’re looking for a getaway that’s the perfect blend of history and adventure, the Alleghenies is the place for you. Part of the vast Appalachian Mountains and stretching through four Mid-Atlantic states, the region is dotted with covered bridges, tree-sheltered streams, and small Victorian towns. It’s home to Penn State University; the infamous Horseshoe Curve railroad memorial; the Monongahela, George Washington and Jefferson national forests; the Johnstown Flood National Memorial; Snowshoe Mountain Resort in West Virginia; and more.

The range sits on the eastern edge of the Allegheny Plateau, an upland area that also includes the Catskill and Pocono mountains. The quaint highland villages are captivating, and the forests, nature trails, wildlife, and mountain views are breathtaking. Unplug and spend a few days camping, boating, fishing and swimming. There are a number of resorts and B&Bs near the mountains that offer spa services, upscale dining, golfing and other amenities. Pop into any of several places, including Huntingdon, Pa., which was named the fifth coolest small town in 2009 by Budget Travel magazine.

In Lewisburg, W.Va., you can find one of only four Carnegie Halls still in continuous use; Music has been played through the halls of this stately Georgian Revival structure for nearly a century. Lewisburg also ranks among the best American towns for historic sites, thanks to the number of well-preserved 18th- and 19th-century buildings, including log cabins that date to 1755. And, in Western Virginia, the Jefferson Pools were deemed “of the first merit” by Thomas Jefferson himself. Naturally heated and chock-full of minerals, they are a popular wellness refuge among tourists.

(Pictured above: Namacolin Woodlands Resort is fresh off a $30 million renovation.)

 

 

At a glance:

Distance from Wilmington: 5 hours and 30 minutes to The Greenbrier

Location: The range stretches 500 miles from north central Pennsylvania down through southwestern Virginia.

Population: 600,000

Highest peak: Spruce Knob (4,861 ft.)

Best known for: quaint towns, covered bridges, high-end resorts and State College, home of Penn State University

 

 

Where to stay:

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort

1001 Lafayette Drive, Farmington, Pa.
(724) 329-8555; www.nemacolin.com
summer and early fall rates range from $379/night mid-week to $459/night on weekends

Nemacolin (pictured above) just underwent a $30 million resort-wide renovation. The resort’s new Wild Academy is now the impressive headquarters for its extensive animal programs. Other amenities include a spa, two golf courses, a shooting academy, an adventure center, shopping, restaurants and lounges. Located 70 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, Nemacolin is set on nearly 2,000 acres in the beautiful Laurel Highlands region of the Alleghenies.


Omni Homestead Resort

The Omni Homestead Resort has hosted 22 U.S. presidents and is set on 2,000 acres in western Virginia.

7696 Sam Snead Hwy., Hot Springs, Va.
(800) 838-1766; www.omnihotels.com 
room rates range from $200/night for a traditional room to $340/night for a suite

The Homestead makes up most of the city of Hot Springs, Va. Allegheny Springs, its on-site, family friendly water park, boasts slides, a lazy river, a sandy beach and more. If you prefer to stay on dry land, book a hiking tour along the Cascades Gorge, where you’ll be led and entertained by a naturalist through a series of beautiful waterfalls alongside a deep Allegheny mountain gorge trail. Or rent a mountain bike and take advantage of 100 miles of trails within steps of the property.

 


The Greenbrier

The Greenbrier is a National Historic Landmark.

300 W Main St., White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.
(855) 453-4858; www.greenbrier.com
rates for two people begin at $238/night during the week and $278/night on weekends

To stay at The Greenbrier is to stay at one of the finest resorts in the world. Established in 1778 and surrounded by the wondrous and wild West Virginia span of the Alleghenies, this National Historic Landmark offers championship golf, fine dining, more than 55 activities, designer boutiques, a world-renowned mineral spa and a 103,000-square-foot gaming-and-entertainment venue.

 

 

 

Don’t miss:

Fallingwater, the home designed by iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935 and built partly over a waterfall in the Mill Run section of Pennsylvania. Listed on Smithsonian magazine’s list of “28 Places To See Before You Die,” Fallingwater was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966.  It’s the only major Wright house open to the public with furnishings, artwork, and setting intact.

1491 Mill Run Road, Mill Run, Pa., (724) 329-8501; www.fallingwater.org

 

 

Fall foliage alert:

The changing leaves are at their peak during the first two weeks in October, just in time for the Fall Foliage Festival in Bedford, Pa. Celebrating its 51st anniversary, the event draws an estimated 70,000 visitors to Bedford over both weekends. Oct. 3-4, Oct. 10-11 (www.bedfordfallfestival.com)

 

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