Laurel Highlands15 stops
3 days - 15 Stops
Stanton Daily Grind
814 US Route 119, New Stanton, PA 15672
The Laurel Highlands trail cluster goes deep into the Laurel Mountains—part of the Appalachian chain. To get ready for the trip, swing into Stanton Daily Grind (1) for a cup of joe and peruse the artifacts and images from when the location was a rolling flour mill. The coffee shop, owned by the same family who owned the mill, still sells its famous buckwheat pancake mix and other locally made goodies.
West Overton Village
109 W. Overton Road, Scottdale, PA 15683
A short distance away is West Overton Village (2), the land where industrialist Henry Clay Frick spent his childhood. Although his adult years were spent in coke, coal, and steel, his grandfather’s farm was the birthplace of Old Farm Pure Rye Whiskey. A leisurely walk through the nineteen buildings here will take you back to a time when rye was king in Western Pennsylvania.
Saint Vincent Gristmill
300 Fraser Purchase Road, Latrobe, PA 15650
Swing over to Latrobe for a visit to the Saint Vincent Gristmill (3). Built in 1854 by the monks at the monastery, this grist mill has a small museum and grains and loaves of bread for sale. The bucolic setting near the Winnie Palmer (as in Arnold’s wife) Nature Preserve is ready for a walk through the natural habitat after your shopping.
The Lincoln Corridor Museum
3435 US-30, Latrobe, PA 15650
Driving down Route 30, remember that the Lincoln Highway (dedicated in 1913) is the first transcontinental road for cars in the country, traversing over 3,000 miles from NYC to San Francisco. The Lincoln Highway Corridor Museum (4) in Ligonier offers insight into the birth of touring by car and the history of the Lincoln Highway, and admission gets you a slice of pie and a cup of coffee in a restored diner.
3478 PA 711, Ligonier, PA 15658
Time it right on Fridays, and WildFire Bread (5) on Route 711 will be open to purchase the best loaf of naturally leavened sourdough and some house-made granola.
The Original Pie Shoppe
1379 US-30, Laughlintown, PA 15655
Then, make a quick stop at The Original Pie Shoppe (6) for a giant chocolate gob (whoopie pie to some) and a cinnamon roll. The same cinnamon roll recipe is used today as when original owner Melvin Columbus began making them using rations on his Navy battleship during WWII.
Linn Run State Park
770 Linn Run Road, Rector, PA 15677
Before retiring for the night at a cabin (one modern or nine rustic) in Linn Run State Park (7), hike down to see the lovely Adams Falls, or try out their fantastic trout stream for your evening entrée.
1386 Lincoln Highway, Laughlintown, PA 15655
The next day, a tour of the Compass Inn (8), an old stagecoach stop, will enlighten all about days along a dirt road now called Route 30. Learn how they baked bread in the outdoor beehive oven from the 1700s and made pies in the summer kitchen. The docent-led tour explains the roots of words such as Toasting and “upper crust.”
The Mountain Playhouse
7690 Somerset Pike, Jennerstown, PA 15547
The Mountain Playhouse (9) in Jennerstown is Pennsylvania's oldest stock theater and one of only twelve stock theaters left in the country. It is in a beautiful, restored 1805 grist mill. Take in a matinee or an evening performance and enjoy a relaxed meal at the adjacent Green Gables restaurant.
Old Towne Distillery
203 S Somerset Street, Stoystown, PA 15563
After the performance, it’s time for drinking your grains again at Old Towne Distillery (10), where the beverages are distilled in the basement of an old historic secret society, creepy and cool.
Summer Smile Honey Farm
939 Horner Church Road, Stoystown, PA 15905
After theater and cocktails, the next day brings the opportunity to get your hands dirty (or doughy). The women at Summer Smile Farm (11) conduct workshops on bread and pizza making with directions for both their wood-fired oven and your home oven. Darci and Amanda also host farm dinners at their beautiful rural oasis. There is even a small chalet for glamping on their property if you are ready to call it a day.
Somerset Historical Center
10649 Somerset Pike, Somerset, PA 15501
The Somerset Historical Center (12) is filled to the brim with agricultural artifacts that reflect the history of more than a thousand years of farming in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The threshing equipment will tell the story of wheat, oat, and buckwheat farming in Somerset County. If you’re tiring of grains, the story of maple and apples will refresh your brain. Besides a cider mill and a maple camp, the grounds of the museums include a log house that was part of a 1798 farmstead. There is a small orchard, a grain and flax field, and a vegetable garden. Spend a minute talking with the folks about Somerset County and they will surely tell you of the most important culinary treasure besides maple syrup (their main food product), the burnt sugar cake. Folklore tells us that back in the day, residents of this mountainous area filled with sugar maples ran out of maple sugar by the end of winter. To get the taste of their beloved maple, they would darken sugar in a cast iron skillet until the taste of the cooled sugar resembled maple. They would then use this burnt sugar in cakes and soft cookies.
791 N Center Avenue, Somerset, PA 15501
A few bakeries still make burnt sugar cakes and the one spot every Somerset resident mentions when asked about burnt sugar is the Summit Diner (13). Nothing fancy but expect a delicious and unique cake that you probably won’t find anywhere else.
Tall Pines Distillery
9224 Mason Dixon Highway, Salisbury, PA 15558
Down into the deep valleys towards the Maryland line in Salisbury, Pennsylvania, is Tall Pines Distillery (14). It’s not your usual moonshine place; this one actually distills the alcohol on-site from local corn and uses no flavorings, just local fruit and herbs like peaches from Chambersburg and mint from a neighbor’s garden. The difference is in clean taste with no toxic burn.
824 Diamond Street, Berlin, PA 15530
Loop back up toward the turnpike to visit a new brewery that is gaining attention: Whitehorse Brewing (15). Located in the small town of Berlin (as in Snyder’s of Berlin potato chips and pretzels), this small craft brewery uses local buckwheat honey in its brews. Although maple has been the main product in the Somerset area for a century or so, the area is filled with yummy baked goods, finely made distilled grains and brews, and so much farming history.