Drive Ahead

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Hit the open road and spring forward to one of the region's fun-filled vacation destinations.

Spring has sprung and it is time to get out and get going. Whether you are giving in to the restlessness of your spring fever or looking ahead to the family’s summer vacation, there is no time like the present to start planning your getaway.

Trees are budding, temperatures are climbing and the winter finally is behind us—why not celebrate with a road trip? There is plenty to do and see around the region whether you want to stay close to home or venture a little further away.

Our region is home to top-rated golf courses, luxurious spas, and even nationally-renown amusement parks that soon will be opening their gates for summer thrills. Within a day’s drive, you can reach the sun and sand of the eastern shore beaches or head west to discover what Ohio has to offer. If you are planning a romantic getaway for two or a fun-filled family excursion, you won’t have to look too far to find what interests you—from fine dining to upscale shopping to recreational activities to the simple natural beauty of the great outdoors. Here is some information to help you get started and get going:


Discover Brownsville
(71-73 Market St., Brownsville, Pa. 15417; 724/785-9331) and journey into the past to relive Brownsville’s two significant heydays—the National Road Era and Industrial Era. Situated along the Monongahela River and on the National Road, Brownsville became a hub for travelers embarking on their westward journey. Steamboats, railroads, the river and coal shaped Brownsville and a nation. Get lost in the history that lies just outside your back door. Visit the Frank L. Melega Art Museum and the Flatiron Heritage Center Museum. Call to schedule your visit to Brownsville today.

Creating family memories since 1995, Beach Properties of Hilton Head Island, S.C. (35 Bow Circle Road, Hilton Head Island, S.C. 29928; 800/671-5155) is a locally-owned Hilton Head vacation rental company representing the finest luxury oceanfront homes and villas on Hilton Head Island. The company represents privately owned properties, giving each vacation rental a personal touch and making your experience unique. Hilton Head Island is one of the premier resort destinations in the U.S., making it the perfect location for a romantic getaway, a memorable group gathering, or a fun family vacation. Plan your next vacation in any of the island’s top resort areas of Sea Pines, Sea Crest, Palmetto Dunes or Forest Beach. Luxurious oceanfront and ocean-oriented home and villa rentals offer an ambience of spectacular natural beauty nestled into a serene landscape of beautiful white beaches, world-class golf courses, tennis facilities, dining and shopping. Professional personalized service, exceptional care and attention to detail provide Beach Properties’ guests with unsurpassed accommodations.

In Cleveland, Ohio (800/321-1004), sit front and center for your favorite Broadway blockbuster without breaking your bank. Cruise a crooked river at sunset or commune with Costa Rican butterflies. Sample the ethnic delicacies at a bustling public market. Ride the vintage rails of a scenic railroad through a national park or a mountain bike through a challenging indoor track. Indulge your wild side with a visit to a 168-acre zoo with more than 3,000 animals. Let the kids experiment with electricity at the science center or with gravity on a 93mph thrill ride at Cedar Point amusement park. Dine in the restaurant of a celebrity chef. Shop for retro collectibles at a vintage toy store or indulge in decadent sweets from the largest candy warehouse in the nation. Visit the home of gridiron greats. Admire the work of classic artistic masters at the art museum or the recordings of classic bands at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
This vacation, do it all with an affordable adventure that won’t disappoint. This getaway, discover the unexpected side of Cleveland Plus. For more information or to win a free trip to this lakeside city, visit the Web site.

Your life is patiently waiting…for you. Embrace a quality of life that is second to none—visit Cumberland, Maryland (301/722-4173; discovercumberland@allconet.org). Safe streets, historical tourism, traditional heritage and rich natural resources combined with tax credits, grants, loans and technical assistance for both residential and commercial enterprises will convince you that Cumberland is the place to be. Complemented by a thriving arts community and easy access to the C & O Canal Towpath and the Great Allegheny Passage for biking and hiking, you’ll enjoy the tranquility a small town offers without giving up your desire for urban charm. Great neighborhoods, great architecture, great people - there’s never been a better time to go to Cumberland. Visit today—stay forever.

The mountains, rivers and lakes of Garrett County, Md. (888/387-5237) and the Deep Creek Lake area offer an abundance of activities in every vacation season. The area’s natural beauty is the perfect destination whether you seek days full of activities or just plain relaxing. The multitude of activities in Garrett County and the Deep Creek Lake area is as endless as the mountains in which they’re nestled. From extreme adventure to total relaxation, casual nightlife to fine dining, there’s something fun in store for everyone—anytime of the year. View vistas that inspire renowned photographers; traverse river banks with exciting falls or enjoy the gentle rock of your boat on Deep Creek Lake. Few destinations along the East Coast offer such a variety of seasonal outdoor activities, attractions and accommodations.

At Gateway Lodge (Cooksburg, Pa. 16217; 800/843-6862), tucked away in the quiet woods bordering Cook Forest State Park, there is a getaway treasure just waiting to be discovered. Since 1934, Gateway Lodge has grown from a rustic country inn fashioned from pine and hemlock logs into a grand blend of old and new. With its wood-plank flooring and beamed ceilings, the original structure houses the lodge’s dining room, where each mouth-watering menu item is prepared to perfection. A choice of over 130 highly-rated wines just adds to a memorable dining experience. Down the hallway is the towering Great Room—part of an addition that includes suites with whirlpools, fireplaces and outdoor balconies. The Great Room, with its hand-hewn beams and wood-burning fireplace, invites you to pour a cup of coffee, read a book or simply enjoy the forest view. Just outside you’ll find tree-lined trails, with canoeing and horseback-riding nearby. All this and more awaits you…only a short drive away. The April 23-25 weekend features a unique “Wine and Dine” experience; call about this and other specials…just down the road at Gateway Lodge.

Just a short drive from the Pittsburgh area, Historic Gettysburg (
571 W. Middle Street, Gettysburg, Pa. 17325; 800/337-5015) comes alive in the spring—with its majestic battlefield, festivals and events, and the apple blossoms that dot the rolling hills of Adams County. Through such events as the Apple Blossom Festival, Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival and the town’s Memorial Day Parade—one of the country’s oldest—visitors have fun in this historic landscape. Spring is a great time to bike the battlefield, take a hike at Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve or spend a day antiquing in neighboring New Oxford, Pa. It’s also the perfect time to shop at local farmer’s markets, take a scenic drive or visit Gettysburg’s boutiques, art galleries and cozy restaurants. This spring, discover your passion for Gettysburg.

In Hocking Hills, Ohio (800/HOCKING) waterfalls, remarkable hiking trails and amazing wildlife await. Whether it’s antiques, fine art, breathtaking scenery, a hike to Old Man’s Cave or a getaway in a woodland cabin, you’ll find it all just outside Logan in southeast Ohio. Stand beside a crystal clear waterfall; hike a craggy cave; wander along a lush woodland trail; or shop for antiques and fine art treasures at boutiques and galleries. The moment you enter this breathtaking natural area of Ohio, you’ll feel the stress of the work-a-day world fade away. You’ll marvel at some of the nation’s most spectacular natural beauty. Finding fun things to do in Ohio and outdoor activities has never been easier. The official website of the Hocking Hills Tourism Association will be your tour guide for your next Ohio vacation, and help you and your family find amazing places to visit in Ohio and in Hocking Hills. Search for Hocking Hills lodging, dining, and 99 thrills in the Hocking Hills with the Official Hocking Hills, Ohio Travel Guide. Preparing for your Ohio vacations is a breeze with the Hocking Hills Visitors Guide, which is available by mail and also can be viewed online. For your planning questions, travel counselors are available at the welcome center seven days a week.

Remember the good ol' days at America's First Nostalgic Guesthouse, "The Good
Ol' Days House"
(914 Broad Ave., Belle Vernon, Pa. 15012; 724/331-3654). Relax with an overnight stay where the 1950's, 60's and 70's come alive.  This recently restored and renovated home is filled with family treasures that bring you back to the decades of the past. Built in 1928, the Nostalgic Guesthouse offers an authentic nostalgic experience and displays many of the vintage items of the past 100 years for guests to enjoy as they take a trip down memory lane or simply want to learn a little bit of history and heritage from an era gone by.  These unique 'retro' features throughout the home differentiate the house from any other guesthouse experience here in the United States. Capture new memories while taking a step back in time to remember those good ol' days.

Kerr Memorial Museum (402 Delaware Ave., Oakmont, Pa. 15139; 412/826-9295) brings to life the middle class experience in the area at the dawn of the 20th Century. Experience the warmth and charm of life as it was lived by a small-town doctor, his wife and daughter in their gracious home in Oakmont. The Kerr House, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior, was commissioned by Dr. Thomas R. Kerr in 1897 and functioned not only as the residence of Thomas and Jessie Kerr and their only child Virginia, but also as the location of Dr. Kerr’s medical office. Public tours are offered Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Private or Group Tours of eight or more persons may be scheduled for any day of the week (excluding major holidays) between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., based upon availability, with at least two weeks advance notice.

Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores and Islands (888/908-3743) deliver two extremes of pleasure—restful tranquility and adrenalin-pumping adventure—and everything in between. Reach new heights on one of the tallest roller coasters in the world at Cedar Point; explore by kayak around the coves of Put-in-Bay and Kelleys Island; nurture mind, body and spirit at Lakeside, a Chautauqua community; learn the struggles of America’s ancestors from historical sites and museums; and discover your favorite “watering hole” for fishing, swimming or beverages—the options seem to be endless. Request a travel planner with Shore Savings Card good for valuable discounts.

E
veryone needs an escape plan. That perfect escape can be found just one hour north of Pittsburgh in Mercer County, Pa. (800/637-2370).  Experience four-star golfing in the area ranked by “Golf Digest” as one of the country’s Top Golf Destinations. The County is also home to one-of-kind shops such as Wendell August Forge and Slovak Folk Crafts.  Find great value at Prime Outlets, Grove City, or the World’s Largest Shops (Reyers Shoes, Daffin’s Candies and The Winner) in Sharon. Enjoy a romantic getaway at luxurious inns and unique lodges. Visit the Web site or call for your free Escape Plan Coupon Book.

Head to the Sharon area of Mercer County for world-class inns, shopping and dining. Just 90 minutes from Pittsburgh you will find the original Quaker Steak and Lube, now franchised across the country, featuring the restaurant’s world-famous wings that have even been spotlighted on Food Network. Visit the Buhl Mansion Guesthouse & Spa and Tara—A Country Inn; perfect for romantic getaways or executive retreats. Tara, inspired by “Gone with the Wind,” offers southern hospitality with lavish guestrooms, gourmet and casual dining.  Buhl Mansion boasts opulent guestrooms and a world-class spa in an 1890s castle. Guestrooms at both inns have fireplaces, Jacuzzis, and provide the ultimate in luxury and pampering. They have been honored as America’s Top 10 Romantic Inns and Pennsylvania Innkeepers of the Year. For more information, visit the Web site at winnerhospitality.com. Beautiful downtown Sharon is home to the “world’s largest stores”, hometown owned and operated and recently featured on The Travel Channel. Daffin’s, the world’s largest candy store, has created quality homemade chocolates since 1949.  Reyers, the world’s largest shoe store, offers over 100,000 pairs of shoes including hard-to-find sizes for men, women and children. The Winner, the world’s largest off-price fashion store features the latest designer fashions and accessories at discounted prices. For more information, visit the Web site at worldslargeststores.com.

Ocean City Maryland Hotels by Harrison Group Resort Hotels (800/638-2106) operates 10 oceanfront hotels and motels in Ocean City, Md. The Ocean City vacation destination, Harrison Group has reservations for your next family vacation, golf trip, group meeting, tour package, senior beach week or relaxing ocean getaway. If you are looking for a luxury, oceanfront or just a simple hotel or motel in a great location on the inlet in Ocean City, you’ve found it. Choose from 10 unique hotels under one umbrella—a collection of premier properties including: Hilton Suites Oceanfront, Holiday Inn Suites, Holiday Inn Oceanfront, Quality Inn Oceanfront, Quality Inn Boardwalk, Flagship Oceanfront, Harrison Hall Hotel, Seabonay Motel, Oceanic Motel, and Plim Plaza Hotel. Visit the Web site for more information about reservations and other vacation services including dining, golf packages, tour packages, meetings and banquets, and more.

After the spring thaw, Seven Springs Mountain Resort (777 Waterwheel Dr., Seven Springs, Pa. 15622; 800/452-2223), offers much more than great snowsports. Close enough for a spontaneous family vacation, yet far enough to get away from it all, the resort offers something for everyone, from fishing, hiking, biking, sporting clays, golf, spa treatments, downhill mountain biking and much more. Families can gather for a safe getaway and enjoy a variety of activities in one location, which makes it a perfect spot for a family reunion. And, Seven Springs is is close to many other vacation destinations in the Laurel Highlands, like Idlewild and Fallingwater. Golf enthusiasts of all abilities are welcome to enjoy the dramatic beauty of the resort’s top-rated golf course. For those looking for some pampering, Trillium, the resort’s full-service spa, is a sanctuary that boasts eight treatment rooms designed to provide guests with an indulgent spa menu. Adventure seekers can explore the bike park’s lift-serviced downhill mountain bike terrain along with the Alpine Tower, rock wall, Eurobungy, paintball, and more. Family fun also includes camps, paddleboats and picnics along with the lodge’s many amenities.

Stonewall Resort (940 Resort Dr., Roanoke, W.Va. 26447; 888/278-8150), located just 3 miles off Interstate 79 at exit 91, combines the rustic charm of an Adirondack-style lodge with luxurious accommodations and modern amenities. Surrounded by 1,900 acres of rolling countryside, the resort was meticulously designed to blend in with the breathtaking natural surroundings. The lodge features luxurious guest rooms, spacious suites, two outstanding restaurants, Mountain Laurel Spa and 14,000 square-feet of IACC-approved conference space. Winner of Meetings Magazine’s Pinnacle Award, Stonewall Resort’s meeting space for 25 to 300 people is equipped with the latest wireless technology. Leisure activities include an award-winning Arnold Palmer Signature golf course, club house featuring Lightburn’s Restaurant, fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, and water craft rentals. Guests also enjoy hiking and biking on beautiful trails surrounding the peaceful lake. Close to nature, far from ordinary, Stonewall Resort has earned the AAA Four Diamond Award for six consecutive years and is ideal for family vacations, romantic getaways, weddings and meetings.

In Wayne County (800/362-6474), spend the day in Amish Country and the evening at the opera. Visit one of the many unique historical societies and dine at one of the locally-owned and -operated restaurants. Make your own personal collectable piece and see lasers cut inspirational messages. Taste Wayne County’s home grown wine and peruse 350 varieties of jams and jellies. Stop by a rambling general store and find products you thought they quit making years ago. Drive through a beautiful arboretum, complete with a 3-acre rose garden, and explore diverse landscape theme gardens and plant collections. Shop in an award-winning downtown, and stay over night in a Colonial style inn. Whatever your interests, Wayne County shares pieces of the past and glimpses into the future. Wander the Wonders.

The Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau (877/723-7114) invites you to spend the night…and make life a little easier. Sitting between Ohio and Pennsylvania, Weirton is just 20 minutes from an early morning flight at Pittsburgh International Airport and six miles from a late night concert at the First Niagara Pavilion and Pepsi Cola Roadhouse. Avoid the traffic and find affordable lodging on Three Springs Drive in Weirton. Enjoy the excitement of thoroughbred racing and table games at Mountaineer Casino Race Track and Resort... or the rural retreat of the West Virginia outdoors at Tomlinson Run State Park, or Brooke Hills Park.
Throughout the year, the top of West Virginia’s ethnic culture is featured in numerous local fairs, festivals and events such as the Festival of Nations, Discover Brooke County, Renaissance Festival, River Fest, Homer Laughlin’s Fiesta Festival, Applefest and more. The Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau invites you to log on to the Web site for a complete calendar of events and be sure to register to win an overnight stay.

Centrally located on the East Coast and boasting over 35 miles of beachfront property, Virginia Beach (800/VA-BEACH) entices visitors to “live the life.” Enjoy outdoor adventure, exciting events, coastal cuisine and Virginia Beach’s three-mile long boardwalk, perfect for strolling, biking or just watching the passersby. Paddle a kayak alongside frolicking dolphins, charter a fishing boat, explore a national wildlife refuge and hang ten on a surfboard. Discover Virginia Beach’s fascinating marine life, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center features over 700,000 gallons of aquariums and more than 300 hands-on exhibits. Virginia Aquarium has unleashed Restless Planet, an interactive journey through four modern-day habitats that chronicle Virginia’s ecological history. For dining and nightlife, Town Center spans 17 city blocks of shopping, dining and entertainment.

 

For resources to help you plan your next getaway, click here to sign up to receive free information from these Pittsburgh Magazine Travel Guide advertisers.

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