If you’re looking for a getaway that’s the perfect blend of history and adventure, the Alleghenies is the place for you. Part of the vast Appalachian Mountains and stretching through four Mid-Atlantic states, the region is dotted with covered bridges, tree-sheltered streams, and small Victorian towns. It’s home to Penn State University; the infamous Horseshoe Curve railroad memorial; the Monongahela, George Washington, and Jefferson National Forests; the Johnstown Flood National Memorial; Snowshoe Mountain Resort in West Virginia; and more.
The range sits on the eastern edge of the Allegheny Plateau, an upland area that also includes the Catskill and Pocono Mountains. The quaint highland villages are captivating, and the forests, nature trails, wildlife, and mountain views are breathtaking. Unplug and spend a few days camping, boating, fishing, and swimming. There are a number of resorts and B&Bs near the mountains that offer spa services, upscale dining, golfing, and other amenities. Pop into any number of places, including Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, which was named the fifth coolest small town in 2009 by Budget Travel magazine. In Lewisburg, West Virginia, you can find one of only four Carnegie Halls still in continuous use; music has been played through the halls of this stately Georgian Revival structure for nearly a century. Lewisburg also ranks among the best American towns for historic sites, thanks to the number of well-preserved 18th- and 19th-century buildings, including log cabins that date back to 1755. And, in Western Virginia, the Jefferson Pools were deemed “of the first merit” by Thomas Jefferson himself. Naturally heated and chock-full of minerals, they are a popular wellness refuge among tourists.
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WHERE TO STAY:
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort
1001 Lafayette Dr., Farmington, Pennsylvania
Rates range from $379/night mid-week to $459/night on weekends during summer and early fall
Nemacolin just underwent a $30 million resort-wide renovation. The resort’s new Wild Academy is now the impressive headquarters for its extensive animal programs. Other amenities include a spa, two golf courses, a shooting academy, an adventure center, shopping, restaurants, and lounges. Located in 70 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, Nemacolin is set on nearly 2,000 acres in the beautiful Laurel Highlands region of the Alleghenies.
Omni Homestead Resort
7696 Sam Snead Hwy., Hot Springs, Virginia
Rates range from $200/night for a traditional room to $340/night for a suite
The Homestead makes up most of the city of Hot Springs, Virginia. Allegheny Springs, its on-site, family-friendly water park, boasts slides, a lazy river, a sandy beach, and more. If you prefer to stay on dry land, book a hiking tour along the Cascades Gorge, where you’ll be led and entertained by a naturalist through a series of beautiful waterfalls alongside a deep Allegheny mountain gorge trail. Or rent a mountain bike and take advantage of the 100 miles of trails within steps of the property.
300 W. Main St., White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
Rates for two guests begin at $238/night during the week and $278/night on weekends
To stay at The Greenbrier is to stay at one of the finest resorts in the world. Established in 1778 and surrounded by the wondrous and wild West Virginia span of the Alleghenies, this National Historic Landmark offers championship golf, fine dining, more than 55 activities, designer boutiques, a world-renowned mineral spa, and a 103,000-square-foot gaming-and-entertainment venue.
AT A GLANCE:
- Distance from Poughkeepsie: 8 hours to The Greenbrier
- Location: the range stretches 500 miles from north central Pennsylvania down through southwestern Virginia
- Population: 600,000
- Highest peak: Spruce Knob (4,861 ft)
- Best known for: quaint towns, covered bridges, high-end resorts, and State College, home of Penn State University
Fallingwater, the home designed by iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935 and built partly over a waterfall in the Mill Run section of Pennsylvania. Listed on Smithsonian magazine’s list of “28 Places To See Before You Die,” Fallingwater was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966. It’s the only major Wright house open to the public with furnishings, artwork, and setting intact. 1491 Mill Run Rd., Mill Run, Pennsylvania. 724-329-8501; www.fallingwater.org
FALL FOLIAGE ALERT:
The changing leaves are at their peak during the first two weeks in October, just in time for the Fall Foliage Festival in Bedford, Pennsylvania. Celebrating its 51st anniversary, the event draws an estimated 70,000 visitors to Bedford over both weekends: October 3 and 4, October 10 and 11 (www.bedfordfallfestival.com).