The Laurel Highlands is hustling and bustling with bikers, hikers, families, rafters and foodies during the day, but what outdoorsy activity can you do once the sun goes down? Get lost in the stars! While there aren't any dark sky sites in the region, we know a few spots where there is minimal light pollution and not too much tree coverage, making it a great place to get a mesmerizing view of the constellations.
Gather your friends, head to Forbes State Forest and hang out under the stars! The state forest offers more than one area that is absolutely perfect for stargazing. Where else could you get a better view than the highest point in the entire state? Mount Davis may require a little bit of a hike, but it's totally doable in the dark. Remember to pack flashlights! Another great place to set up shop is Roaring Run Natural Area, right off of Fire Tower Road via Route 31. The lack of trees in this area gives you a big wide open to lay on your back and take it all in.
The Historic Summit Inn Resort is hands down the best location to watch the sun set in the Laurel Highlands. One of the only remaining grand porch hotels in America, the Summit has an amazing great veranda front porch. Get there early and enjoy dinner before starting your stargazing adventure with an incredible view of the astounding sunset.
As if the name doesn't give it away, Vin de Matrix Winery in Rockwood is completely celestially themed! That's just an added bonus to the fact that they have an outdoor deck where you can overlook the golf course and get a good view of the sky. So when the sun goes down, make sure you're sipping a glass of Cosmic Cord, Sirius Red or a Bettlejuice Berry and enjoying the views fom Vin de Matrix!
Make your outdoorsy outing complete by sleeping under the stars at a campground. If you're feeling adventurous, sleep outside of the tent or play it safe and rent a cozy cabin. Regardless, you'll have a great view of the sky with the sound of the fire crackling nearby.
Tips and Tricks:
- Many state parks and organizations host special events like night hikes, sunset snowshoeing and educational outings. Keep your eyes peeled for outdoor events as they are announced.
Google a meteor shower schedule and mark dates in your calendar. During the perseids meteor shower in August, you can see up to 60 meteors per hour!
There are four super moons in 2019.
While full and super moons are fascinating, new moons are just as gorgeous. Even natural light hides the stars, so new moons show off layers and layers of glistening stars you couldn't see any on other day!
State parks close at dusk, even their parking lots. Please abide by this rule!