In case you missed this week’s whirlwind of an episode, let’s just say it was jam-packed with comings, goings, and undeniably hard truths. What began with eight contestants remaining, plus one new face appearing seemingly out of nowhere, culminated with a trimmed down pool of four lucky ladies looking at next week’s hometown experiences. Tears, fears, panic, and sporadic moments of joy encompassed the mood for the entire episode, but let’s focus on the joy! Contestants are still enjoying their time at Nemacolin as viewers clearly notice the changing of the seasons, less appropriate for short and sleeveless attire, but you get the drift.
Truth is, there’s never a bad time of the year to visit Nemacolin. You can find amazing activities and amenities throughout the year and that’s honestly an understatement. But perhaps what you didn’t know is that Nemacolin is idyllically situated in the mountains of the Laurel Highlands and has some bucket-list attractions located nearby worth venturing out for. It’s our obligatory duty to make you aware, in full transparency, so let’s round up a few must-sees!
Let’s be FRANK!! Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, Fallingwater, is located just a few short miles from the grounds of Nemacolin. This UNESCO World Heritage-designated site is surrounded by the 5,100-acre Bear Run Nature Preserve and can be toured by guests most months of the year. Pandemic restrictions have closed the house for tours currently but grounds passes are still available for visitors who want to take in the surroundings and explore the property from all around.
Many visitors to the region are unaware of a second Wright-designed home located just a few minutes away from Fallingwater, Kentuck Knob. This Usonian-style home features a hexagonal shape, open floor plan and is situated atop a hill offering panoramic views of the Youghiogheny River and Laurel Highlands landscape. I recommend skipping the shuttle and instead walking the grounds up to the house, taking in the awe-inspiring sculptures dotted across the grounds.
Two more Wright homes are located in the region, the Duncan House and Mäntylä. Both homes are located on the grounds of Polymath Park, located in Acme, PA, and are available for overnight rental.
FLIGHT 93 NATIONAL MEMORIAL
Located just over an hour northeast of Nemacolin sits the Flight 93 National Memorial in Stoystown. The National Park is open from sunrise to sunset daily with no entrance fees. While the Visitor Center is temporarily closed due to the pandemic, visitors are still welcome to explore the grounds and memorials. Be sure to visit the Tower of Voices, pay homage at the Memorial Plaza and stroll miles of Memorial Trails.
OHIOPYLE STATE PARK
Pennsylvania’s largest state park, Ohiopyle, is conveniently situated just a few miles from Nemacolin and serves as a mecca for outdoor recreation enthusiasts. Spanning more than twenty-thousand acres, Ohiopyle boasts hundreds of miles of trails used for hiking and mountain biking including the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail. The Youghiogheny River runs through the heart of the park and draws visitors for water sports ranging from gentle float trips suitable for the little ones to adrenaline-pumping whitewater experiences with class I-IV rapids available to explore. Waterfalls and even a natural water slide can be found throughout the park and easy flat hikes are available for a leisurely outing.
GREAT ALLEGHENY PASSAGE
The Great Allegheny Passage spans 150 miles from downtown Pittsburgh into Cumberland, MD, where it connects with the 184.5-mile C&O Canal Towpath to connect riders directly into Washington, D.C. This nearly-level trail runs through the Laurel Highlands region and can be accessed at any one of the region’s trailheads, including Ohiopyle State Park. Bike rentals are available in Ohiopyle and visitors can hop on the trail for a beautiful ride as it winds along the Youghiogheny River in either direction. The historic rail-trail attracts riders from across the globe and is definitely worth checking out.
Naturally, you’ll find amazing little eateries, attractions, shops and stops as you explore the area. Try Bittersweet Café just a few miles down the road but tucked into the woods in a magical park-like setting. Visit the Stone House Inn where you'll find home-style cooking made with fresh, locally sourced meats also available for purchase at the onsite butcher shop, Stone House Butcher and Provisions. Find Christian Clay Winery and Ridge Runner Distillery tucked into the landscape just down the road from Nemacolin, complete with live music and outdoor scenery perfect for a warm afternoon. And for the art lover, check out Touchstone Center for Crafts – a resident art camp for adults offering 1-5 day workshops ranging from blacksmithing and jewelry to ceramics and painting.