Now that the deep freeze has hit pause, winter’s a bit more bearable. To truly embrace the season, head east to the Laurel Highlands where it’s always a little colder and a little snowier, and life seems to move a little slower. Enjoy the 90-minute ride because it’s this gorgeous.
“It’s an easy drive from Pittsburgh to get away,” said Anna Weltz, director of public relations for the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau. “To go away without really going far away.”
From literal dog sleds to horse-drawn carriages to cozy accommodations, here’s where to head for a winter wonderland getaway in Pittsburgh’s backyard.
Gawk at (a frozen) Fallingwater
Iconic no matter the season, Fallingwater is striking during wintertime. Bare branches pull away their curtain of leaves, revealing an unobscured view of the Frank Lloyd Wright house.
The site is closed for the season until March 9, but grounds passes are available during January and February, so you can sneak a peek of the house and the falls — which might even be frozen.
Shop like you’re in Stars Hollow
Basically the Stars Hollow of western Pennsylvania, this tiny town is full of cute shops for jewelry, decor, books, stationery and antiques. The town’s central gazebo looks great no matter the season, but add in a some snowfall, and it demands an Instagram.
Take a sleigh ride through the snow
If you’re a skier or snowboarder, you know all about this powdery paradise (and if not, here you go). But even if you’re not into winter mountain sports, there’s snow tubing, snow shoeing, a cozy lodge to hang out in, and … horse-drawn sleigh rides through the snow (!!!). Bring a group of friends (up to six people for $35 each), or make it a romantic two-person outing for $101.
Experience a dog sled adventure
Nemacolin’s Wildlife Adventure
Alaska? Nope, it’s Nemacolin. Meet a pack of Alaskan huskies, learn about dog sledding and then climb in for a tour of the of the snowy Laurel Highlands at speeds up to 20 miles per hour. Tours are limited to two people per sled for $150 per person.
Find all of western Pennsylvania’s covered bridges
Architecture that’s admired no matter the time of year, the covered bridges dotting western Pennsylvania really pop in the wintertime. The Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau offers a map of all the covered bridges around the region — gotta catch ’em all.
Treat yourself to some comfort food
Country Pie Shoppe, Donegal
For sweet, decadent treats, this homestyle bakery delivers. Stop by for a guaranteed sugar rush to brighten any winter day.
Stay overnight at a farm
Horizon View Farms
Ever dream of life on the farm? Here’s your chance to experience it — for a few nights at least. Horizon View Farms offers overnight accommodations not far from Seven Springs. Look for two century-old barns on the farm’s 465 acres. Room rates include a hot breakfast featuring local ingredients.