Duration: Two days and one night
Here among the meandering blacktop and handsome mountains, there's a bounty of art treasures just waiting to be discovered. Get ready for the Handmade Along the Highway tour, which combines old-world artisans with local materials into a dozen marketplace gift shops along the famed Route 30. This is where handmade means made by the hands in front of you, not a factory a continent and a slow-boat container away. Revel in sturdy, well-made goods for the home, for your house-sitter or for yourself. Just keep an eye out for the Handmade Along the Highway signs in shops, and you'll find so much handmade art you'll need more hands to get it home.
The first stop of the morning is Irwin, a community that has a vibrant historic downtown – from the unique shops and cultural opportunities, to the three-story mural that graces a building on the historic Lincoln Highway (see it at 75 Pennsylvania Avenue). Muralist Wayne Fettro captured the community's strong ties to the mining industry, the four streetcar companies that operated in Irwin, and the first stoplight.
Head north on Main Street to the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, one of the most inviting galleries you'll ever pop in on. Check out their American Marketplacefor take home gifts/souvenirs. And before you leave, spend some time strolling the Pennsylvania Avenue specialty shops.
Head east on Pittsburgh Street (the old Lincoln Highway) and watch for the beautiful mural at 112 West Pittsburgh Street. It tells the story of Greensburg being the very first community in the Commonwealth to have a PA State Police unit.
After rejoining Route 30 east, travel to the traffic light at the entrance of Saint Vincent College. Make a LEFT and follow the road to the new security building at the stop sign. (If you are visiting in late July or August, you might be able to catch a glimpse of the Pittsburgh Steelers who use the the Campus for their training camp!) Make a RIGHT to the end; followed by a LEFT. You'll see the 1854 Saint Vincent Gristmill on your right. In addition to the great Gristmill video, you'll be able to purchase fresh and delicious Monastery Bread. Also head around the back of the Gristmill for a cup of coffee that rivals anything from Seattle or a fancy shmancy espresso machine.
Head west for about 15 minutes and then turn left onto Arnold Palmer Drive off Route 981 (yes, that Arnold Palmer). You'll not only pass Arnie's home, but you'll pass his country club as well as you head into the community of Youngstown. Here you'll want to make your way to Main Street to experience some quaint little shopping spots.
Now onto the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art in Ligionier. That's where you'll discover, among many other treasures, an unbelievable selection of paperweights. This Trail is dotted with tons of outdoor murals, bistro-galleries and more, so pull over often so you can satisfy your handmade art fix.
The first home in Ligionier with indoor plumbing, this 1895 Victorian mansion turned restaurant and inn has been lovingly renovated over the years to its present casually elegant atmosphere. Also check out the Millcreek banquet room, the large Civil War-era restored barn out back, for bigger parties and events.Read More >
Start your day bright and early and head up and over the mountains towards Jennerstown just a short drive away. We recommend breakfast at the Green Gables Restaurant where you will be surrounded by terraces, waterfalls, antiques and fireplaces. Be sure to ask for a table by the waterfall. After breakfast, look in the parking lot for one of the vintage reproduction gas pumps painted by professional artist Nat. An added bonus: the Mountain Playhouse, Pennsylvania's oldest professional stock theatre company is next to the restaurant. If you're here in the summer or early fall, get tickets for professional theatre at its finest – from Broadway musicals, to British farces, to original screenplays – all in a refurbished Grist Mill.
Next up is Schellsburg and keep an eye out as you'll get a kick out of the Vincent Van Gas pump located outside the Lincoln Highway Garage on your left.
For a real eye-opener, you'll spot a 2½ story Giant Coffee Pot located at the entrance of the Bedford County Fairgrounds. A few years ago, the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor saved the 1927 building from demolition, moved it less than ¼ mile from its original location, restored it, and had it listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Definitely photo op-worthy.
When you round the curve heading into Bedford, you can't help but fall in love with the storybook setting. Tour downtown Bedford for the shops, and go to the Fort Bedford Museum. Then a hop, skip and jump north of Bedford is Old Bedford Village, where the past is present, and the arts are aplenty.
Finally, if you still have time and you're the adventurous type, hop in the car for a short ride over to Gravity Hill, the phenomenon where cars roll up hill and water flows the wrong way. Look for the "GH" letters on the road, put your car in neutral (be sure to make sure no cars are coming), and you'll roll uphill. When you've been sufficiently awestruck, it's time to head back to Bedford.
Savor the warm hospitality within the thick fieldstone walls of this original building from the 1760s. Huge fireplaces and chestnut beams complement the expertly prepared entrees, from filet mignon sandwiches to lobster ravioli.Read More >
For deluxe accommodations, there's nothing like a room with a view at the newly renovated Bedford Springs Resort and Spa. This luxe and legendary hotel has hosted everyone from Benjamin Franklin to Nathaniel Hawthorne, and they'll give you the royal treatment too.Read More >
Legendary architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, built this masterpiece in the forests of Western Pennsylvania in the 1950’s. These days it’s an international tourist destination for admirers of art and architecture.
Bedford County Art Center
Monthly shows and exhibits take place in this graceful 18 thcentury building on Bedford’s main street. Stop by and catch a show or even join in on a workshop.