Story Ideas & Facts

Need some fast facts or a good story idea? Look no further!

Check out the story ideas, did-you-knows, and tourism statistics we think are useful in creating your story. There are so many unique Laurel Highlands story ideas to choose from including high adventure, world-class cultural attractions, classic family fun, delicious dining, and locally-crafted spirits. Of course, this information doesn't cover everything, so please contact us for additional story ideas and data.

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About the Laurel Highlands

A magnificent mountainous region, the Laurel Highlands spans 3,000 square miles in southwestern Pennsylvania. Located east of Pittsburgh, the beautiful four-season destination offers some of the most spectacular natural scenery, outstanding outdoor recreation, historic sites and attractions, classic family activities, and world-class resorts. Notable destinations within the region include four architectural masterpieces by Frank Lloyd Wright – Fallingwater, Kentuck Knob, Mäntylä and Duncan House – Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Nemacolin, Flight 93 National Memorial, Idlewild and Soak Zone, whitewater rafting at Ohiopyle State Park, and more.

Located within 200 miles of the major metropolitan areas of Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Washington D.C., the Laurel Highlands can be easily accessed from exits 67, 75, 91, and 110 of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Discover all that the Laurel Highlands has to offer! Contact me for more information or to plan a press visit.

Eric Knopsnyder

Eric Knopsnyder

Director of Public Relations and Community Outreach

GO Laurel Highlands
113 East Main Street
Ligonier, PA 15658
724-238-5661 Ext. 103

Proud Member of

Mid-Atlantic Tourism Public Relations Alliance 20th Anniversary logo

The Great Wright Road Trip - Laurel Highlands, Erie, and Buffalo

Kelly Johns, Kentucky Knob, Dunbar

On this Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired road trip, you’ll experience the romance of the open road that culminates in feelings of awe, appreciation, and wonder as you tour nine sites designed by America’s greatest architect.

The Great Wright Road Trip will allow you to easily explore the career-spanning breadth of Wright’s genius - from the epic grandeur of his mid-career masterpiece at Fallingwater to the burst of the brilliance found at Kentuck Knob that was a highlight of Wright’s final years to the Darwin D. Martin House, the largest Prairie-style house he designed.

Lovingly-cared for homes, restored masterpieces, reinvigorated landscapes, posthumously-built projects, stunning vistas, and furniture from the imagination of the master himself can all be found on this memorable road trip between the Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania and north to Erie, Pennsylvania, and Buffalo, New York.

Touchstone Center for Crafts Celebrates 50 Years

Blacksmithing at Touchstone

In 2022, Touchstone Center for Crafts will be celebrating 50 years of craft education in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. Plans are in development for special anniversary events, increased scholarship opportunities, and an exciting lineup of workshops to be announced this winter. Also in the works – a special at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater in fall 2022.

Do Your Dare to Enter Buffalo Bill's House?

Buffalo Bill's House

If you watched the Academy Award-winning film, The Silence of the Lambs, you definitely remember Buffalo Bill. And now you have the chance to stay in his home—if you dare. The house where the movie was filmed, which was built in 1910, is now available for overnight stays, and all you have to do is be brave enough to book it. Filled with vintage furnishings, movie memorabilia, and some surprises, the Perryopolis home even comes stocked with Bill’s favorite body lotion.

A Toast to Pennsylvania's Laurel Highlands

Passport 2.0 Laurel Highlands Pour Tour

From moonshine, rye whiskey, and IPAs to cider, mead, and fruit wines, get a taste for southwestern Pennsylvania on the new Laurel Highlands Pour Tour! Explore the region’s rolling farmland and towering mountaintops while sampling flavors as the region’s diverse landscape. Every drop and flavor tells the story of the Laurel Highlands – its history, heritage, agricultural diversity, and entrepreneurial spirit.

Inspiring Individuals

Honoring the Heroes of Flight 93

Tower of Voices

On September 11, 2001, four commercial airliners were hijacked in a planned attack against the United States. Two jetliners were flown into the World Trade Center Twin Towers and a third aircraft into the Pentagon. A fourth aircraft, United Airlines Flight 93, crashed into an open field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in the Laurel Highlands. The 40 passengers and crew of Flight 93 had time to realize that this was unlike any previous hijacking, and they developed a plan to try to take back the plane and not let it reach its intended target, Washington, D.C. They succeeded in this effort, but, unfortunately, lost their lives.

The final phase of the Flight 93 memorial, the 93-foot tall Tower of Voices was dedicated in September 2018. The tower’s 40 uniquely pitched chimes are a symbolic representation of the eternal voices of the passengers and crew members of Flight 93.

Explore the Fred Rogers Trail

Original puppets at Fred Rogers Center in Latrobe

“It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Won’t you be, won’t you be my neighbor?” Fred Rogers began his PBS children’s television show Mister Roger’s Neighborhood with this song every weekday from 1968 to 2001, with a total of 895 episodes. Come visit Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood in Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands! Tour the Fred Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College, where you can see artifacts from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, including his iconic cardigan sweater and tennis shoes. Take a selfie with a statue of Fred in downtown Latrobe, his hometown and birthplace of the banana split. Spend a day at Idlewild & Soak Zone where Daniel Tiger and friends invite you and your kiddos to ride the trolley through the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

All Things Arnold Palmer

Laurel Highlands Golf Club

A humble and exceptionally talented man from Latrobe, Palmer loved his hometown and his memory will carry on for generations to come. Explore all things Arnie in the Laurel Highlands, including playing a round of golf at the prestigious Latrobe Country Club or the first course he ever designed, Indian Lake; discover his memorabilia at SpringHill Suites, get a photo with his statue at the Palmer Regional Airport and explore the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve named in honor of his late wife.

Unique Events

Westmoreland Arts and Heritage Festival

Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival

Join in on the fun at the Westmoreland Arts and Heritage Festival, an annual summer celebration held at Twin Lakes Park, near Latrobe, Pa. There is more than enough to do during the festival weekend, including more than 50 live performances, 180 arts and crafts booths, heritage and history demonstrations, children’s activities, and tons of ethnic food booths. In addition to art exhibitions and sales, the festival hosts “FestivalCon” for superhero and anime fans and juried poetry and short story contest.

Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp

Steelers Training Camp

Football season officially kicks off for Steelers Nation with the start of the Steelers annual summer training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe at the end of July through mid-August. See why this is the favorite NFL camp experience for one of America's premier pro football writers, Peter King of Sports Illustrated.

Pennsylvania Maple Festival

Maple Queen Maple Festival

Maple season festivities culminate with the annual Pennsylvania Maple Festival in Meyersdale, a.k.a. “Maple City, USA.” The festival features a variety of activities including maple syrup production demonstrations, live entertainment, quilt show, tea with Queen Maple, children’s activities, and tractor and farm equipment shows. Not to be missed are the Grand Feature Parade, Lions Club pancake breakfasts, and “Legend of the Magic Water,” a historical pageant brought to life by more than 100 local residents to depict the discovery of maple syrup as well as the history of Meyersdale through song, dance, and narration.

Adventure Around Every Corner

Whitewater Rafting on the Youghiogheny River


The heart of the fun in the Laurel Highlands is the fast-flowing Youghiogheny River, which attracts whitewater boaters from spring to early fall. With Class III and IV rapids, the seven and a half mile Lower Yough is the busiest section of whitewater east of the Mississippi River.

But you don’t have to be an experienced paddler to join in on the adrenaline-pumping fun. The section known as the Middle Yough features Class I and II rapids, making it ideal for novice kayakers, families with young children, and anglers. Climb aboard an express trip for a shorter ride down the river that doesn't take up the whole day, or jam-pack an entire weekend with fun on the water.

Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail

Hiking the Laurel Highlands

The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail is a 70-mile backpacking and hiking trail in Western Pennsylvania. One of the most celebrated Pennsylvania hiking trails for its varied terrain and wondrous beauty, the trail runs from Ohiopyle State Park to the Laurel Ridge State Park meeting the 1,000-foot Conemaugh Gorge.

On the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, you'll pass eight overnight areas approximately every 8 to 10 miles. All are equipped with fresh water, Adirondack-style shelters, tent pads, and comfort stations. Whether or not you stop along the hiking trail is up to you. But, you'll never be far from a place to rest, relax, or call it a day.

Natural Beauty

Fall Foliage That Rivals New England

Fall in the Laurel Highlands

Mountain vistas, historic highways, fertile farmlands, and thousands of acres of unspoiled state parks, Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands is the ideal destination for a fun, family leaf-peeping getaway. The region’s towering trees are ablaze in a spectacular palette of red, orange, yellow, russet, and bronze colors. Take a drive under a canopy of colors on scenic byways and through picturesque covered bridges. In addition to the wonderful foliage, autumn also brings fantastic fall festivals, harvest goods, haunted amusements, and more.

Pennsylvania's Highest Mountain Elevation

Mount Davis View from Tower

See some of the Mid-Atlantic's most incredible views and rugged natural landscape from PA's highest mountain ridges (Mount Davis in Forbes State Forest 3,213-ft.) Hike the nationally-acclaimed Laurel Highlands Hiking trail a 70-mile hiking and backpacking trail with overnight Adirondack-style shelters. Climb to the top of the lookout tower at Mt. Davis and see three states. The region's high elevation means snow and lots of it! The Laurel Highlands can receive more than 150 inches during the winter season which is great for Alpine and Nordic activities.

Pennsylvania's Deepest River Gorge

Meadow Run Waterslides

The frothy waters of the Youghiogheny River which proved challenging enough to stop George Washington at the Ohiopyle Falls is today a water enthusiast's destination. From Class I-IV white water rafting, kayaking, and fishing, the Yough is the focal point for the 20,500-acre Ohiopyle State Park. Not to miss are Ohiopyle's Meadow Run Natural Waterslides named one of Travel + Leisure's Top Ten Swimming Holes in the Country for Ditching the Pool Crowds!

Largest Cave System in Pennsylvania

Laurel Caverns

A natural calcareous sandstone cave, Laurel Caverns is a three-mile labyrinth with ceilings anywhere from 10 to 50 feet high. Laurel Caverns sits beneath a private 435-acre geological preserve. The cave is also the largest bat hibernaculum, which is why the caves are closed for the hibernation period, November through April.

Tourism Statistics

Economic Impact of Pennsylvania's Travel and Tourism Industry report demonstrates the vital importance of the travel industry to Pennsylvania's…

Fast Facts

Hopefully any of these quick stats will help you write or inspire your next Laurel Highlands article.