Cleveland Travel: Susan Glaser

Like the rugged-yet-beautiful Laurel Highlands that surround it, the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in southwestern Pennsylvania is an exciting outdoor playground that exudes elegance and charm.

It's a place where big adventure is served up on a butler's tray.

There's always much to do at Nemacolin, no matter the season. For newlyweds to gal pals, to families like our own, Nemacolin is an all-inclusive destination with an activity list as wide as its panoramic vistas.

During the winter, go for downhill skiing, snow tubing, sport shooting, horseback riding and even dogsledding.

Nemacolin also offers championship golf, a first-class spa, a casino, a $45 million art display, and plenty of opportunities to spend your money, at a Forbes five-star restaurant called Lautrec and at boutique shops.

As you might expect, spending cash isn't difficult at Nemacolin - experiencing some of its 70 activities comes with a price. The best way to save is by purchasing a resort package and visiting midweek.

Some of the highlights we found for our two children included playing in an Olympic-caliber gym with a foam pit, for $10 apiece, and taking a "safari tour" that got us up close with some of the resident animals, from marshmallow-eating black bears to a sacred white buffalo. That experience goes for $90 per person.

Part of the resort's attraction is its setting, lying within 2,000 wooded acres of the Allegheny Mountains. Nearby attractions include Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Ohiopyle State Park and Fallingwater, the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed summer home of the Kaufmann's department store family.

Nemacolin's natural appeal has long attracted visitors to the region, beginning with Chief Nemacolin, a prominent Native American who forged a trail that later became U.S. 40. Access brought wealthy industrialists, fancy retreats and hunting lodges.

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