With its quirky events and even quirkier characters, there aren’t many real-life towns like Stars Hollow, the fictional setting of “Gilmore Girls.”
But if we’re talking looks and charm, the Pittsburgh region’s closest offering would have to be Ligonier, over in Westmoreland County. There are unusual events (Ice Fest ice sculpting festival!), antique shops (but probably not as strict as Mrs. Kim’s) and loads of small-town appeal. When you walk down Main Street, don’t be surprised if the “La-La’s” from Sam Phillips’ score fill your head.
Four, 90-minute episodes of Netflix’s “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” are out today. But you already knew that. ICY(somehow)MI: The revival is set a decade after the series finale and follows Lorelai, Rory and Emily through “four seasons of change.”
If six more hours of “Gilmore Girls” just aren’t enough, consider heading to Ligonier, where you’ll find these six places that make it the closest thing we’ve got to Stars Hollow.
The central gazebo for activity to revolve around
One of the most classic landmarks of Stars Hollow is the gazebo in the middle of town, which most events congregate around, including the End-of-Summer Madness Festival with a men’s choir singing “Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy, Days of Summer” on constant rotation.
In Ligonier, the town gazebo, located in what is known as The Diamond, also serves as its center of activity, especially during events like Fort Ligonier Days in the fall and, for the holiday season, Light Up Ligonier, which kicks off at 6:30 tonight. (Check out the gazebo on Google Street View.)
The town hall for the civically engaged
Taylor Doose loves running town hall meetings in Stars Hollow almost as much as Lorelai loves making snarky quips during them. And just as the Stars Hollow Town Hall is in the center of town, so is the Ligonier Town Hall, 120 E. Main St.
The enchanting, old-fashioned soda shop
In addition to being the town selectman, Taylor Doose is also owner and operator of Taylor’s Olde Fashioned Soda Shoppe, and he would be piping mad if he knew about a rival like the charming Ligonier Creamery, 105 E. Main St., which offers everything from delicious milkshakes and soda floats (like its delicious root beer float) to cakes and hand-dipped ice cream. (Check out the creamery on Google Street View.)
The Rory-worthy bookstore
Rory spent a lot of time at Stars Hollow Books, whether it was working there part-time or stocking up on the latest selections. She would be absolutely charmed by Second Chapter Books, 139 E. Main St., which boasts new and used books and a little nook area in the back, perfect for escaping from the world — or even your Dean-Jess love triangle. (Check out the bookstore on Google Street View.)
A hearty haunt for Kirk to haunt
Luke Danes appreciates healthy eating habits (or at least healthier than Lorelai and Rory order), and just like Luke’s Diner, Connections Cafe, 109 S. Market St., offers a variety of yummy dishes. (When you stop in, you’ll head straight to the back to see the food options before you even order.) But unlike Luke, staff members are friendly and will let you use your cell phones. This is the place to get your “coffee, coffee, coffee” (or tea) fix. (Check out the cafe on Google Street View.)
The dance studio where Rory and Dean can crash
Miss Patty’s School of Ballet offers everything from ballroom to tap to, yes, ballet, and so does Bridget Dawn’s Studio of Performing Arts, 200 N. Saint Clair St., which features recitals, dance teams, and more, for all ages and levels. Just don’t accidentally fall asleep there like Rory and Dean — that’s how rumors get started. (Check out the dance studio on Google Street View.)