52 Great Weekend Getaways
Whether you're a rock climber, arts lover or foodie, we've got a destination for you.
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Slippery Rock, PA
Frostburn is Pittsburgh’s answer to the notoriously bizarre and impressively artful Burning Man Festival. If you like snowball fights and polar bear plunges, concerts, art shows, and an extreme camping adventure — all with a groovy Woodstock spirit — this is your kind of party. The unique event takes place every February at Cooper’s Lake Campground.
A conservatory as well as a college, Oberlin rings with music of all kinds — from The Tallis Scholars to eighth blackbird, the famed contemporary sextet. The town-gown scene includes dozens of small hotels and B&Bs and, of course, ideal late-night bistros. Don’t miss: The Inn at Honey Run, a sleek lodge built into a hillside in the Amish country of Holmes County.
Grab your rowdiest friends, bring or rent an RV (since hotel space is scarce) and party straight ’til dawn on Groundhog Day, a can’t-miss experience for every Pennsylvanian. The scene includes Phil’s top-hatted handlers, plenty of music and revelers wearing groundhog hats and T-shirts (my favorite: “Free Phil”). Don’t miss: The 2013 celebration, which falls on a Saturday. Road trip!
If you’re looking for a rugged adventure (where you can sport hip boots), then Erie is worth a cold-weather trip. Every winter, the shallow streams that feed Lake Erie boil with steelhead trout. The wily 3- to 8-pounders put up a fight, but ultimately, they’re easy to catch. Experienced guides can help you find the best fishing holes in Steelhead Alley, the stretch of the southern lakefront that offers the best prospects for a huge haul.
One of only two Relais & Chateaux properties (a worldwide label of impossibly comfortable, quaint and charming accommodations) in the entire state, The Lodge at Glendorn offers a five-star romantic winter weekend in the woods. Think roaring fires, gourmet dining and exquisite service in a suite at the main lodge or your own secluded cabin. If you have to ask what there is to do, you have no imagination.
Snow Days turns Progressive Field into a family winter-sports haven, with the Batterhorn (snow tubing), the Frozen Mile (a mile-long ice skating track around the outfield) and more for the holiday season. More icy fun is on offer at The Rink at Wade Oval, close to the city’s Botanical Gardens on University Circle.
Berkeley Springs, WV
Located halfway between Washington and Pittsburgh, Berkeley Springs is a historic spa town nestled in the West Virginia mountains. For the ultimate hot-tub experience, sign up for a Roman bath (750 gallons of steaming mineral water). Town businesspeople swear the waters have healing powers, so there’s a New Age-y, magic-crystals-and-astrology theme to the shops, galleries and B&Bs along Washington Street. Don’t miss: Tari’s, everyone’s favorite dining spot.
Think of the Pennsylvania Farm Show as an old-fashioned county fair … that’s indoors. It’s held in early January, attracting herds of city slickers as well as proud young farmers and their prize-winning livestock. Admission is free (thanks, Department of Agriculture), and the show has a truly outstanding food court — all Pennsylvania specialties, from trout to apple dumplings with ice cream. Don’t miss: Go 2 miles down the road to see the most majestic state capitol in the nation. Take the tour. Stop by the kid-friendly Welcome Center (weekdays only), with the Rube Goldberg-like contraption called “Making a Bill.”
Winters are quiet at Stonewall Resort, the lovely, relaxing retreat the state opened at Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park in 2002. The golf courses and marinas may be closed for the season, but the views of the icy lake are superb, along with the spa specials and ballroom dancing weekends. Don’t miss: The annual Culinary Classic, which always attracts some of the state’s top chefs.
It has seafood, yes — but it also has culture. With the Walters Art Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art and the American Visionary Art Museum (the latter exhibiting only self-taught artists), Baltimore has a well-established art scene. And while Charm City’s indie music cred leaves something to be desired, performers like Ponytail, Animal Collective and Dan Deacon did get their start here. Hip and historic Fells Point, a few blocks from the Inner Harbor, is the current hot neighborhood, chock-a-block with bars and restaurants. Be sure to check the band lineup at Leadbetters Tavern during weekends.