The Fall Road Trip: Some Great Escapes Not Far From Pittsburgh

Fall is one of the most remarkable seasons-my favorite. It makes  you pause and sort out the clutter  in your life while celebrating color, shape, and ever changing light. I am reminded of one of my favorite things to do in the fall which is to take a road trip. Here are some of my favorite day and long weekend trips from Pittsburgh. The list is always changing. But, before I let you in on these places, I wanted to share with you a memory from one of my first road trips as a child.  Can you remember your first trip?

It  was a trip that I took with my parents too a farm just outside of Washington County, Pa.  I was probably three or four, no older as I cannot remember much of it except for how it was told to me.  The night before leaving, I spent most of it awake thinking about my adventure.  The wind was crisp and I left home packed with apple slices for the car ride.  As a kid, the sky always seemed open and endless from the back seat.  I can only imagine sitting back there knowing that I was headed to a place that had every animal in my imagination.

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

It was a beautiful day and while I seemed to pet every animal on the farm, I fell in love with a litter of kittens.  We were getting ready to leave when my parents started a conversation with the owner. What my parents didn’t realize was that I had managed to successfully round up at least two kittens and put them into the back seat of the car.  A “cat-napping” had taken place at Old McDonalds Farm.  Yes, that truly was the name of it.  You cannot make these things up.  I got caught and I cried the entire ride home.  That year, my wish for a pet came true in the form of a giant German Shepherd named Gretchen who had no boundaries and bad breath.  She became one of my best friends who rode along beside me in the back seat of our big Buick Skylark.

That trip was the first of many trips. Some of the best parts of my childhood were spent going on an adventure in the back of the car with that giant windshield looking out unto the earth and sky.

Apple Butter Festival, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
Town of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

Fast forward as an adult, this time of the year until November you will often find me on the road. Below is a list of some of my best road trips from Pittsburgh. Check back as I am always finding new places.

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

WVU, Jacksons Mill, West Virginia
WVU, Jacksons Mill, West Virginia
WVU, Jacksons Mill, West Virginia

Lewis County, West Virginia– Home of the famous Stonewall Lake and Resort, WVU Jackson’s Mill, Lambert’s Winery, West Virginia American Art Glass, and the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum for a good scare. When you are hungry stop at the Thyme Bistro.  This place makes us return every year waiting to sample what they have in store as everything is fresh and local.

Trans- Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Lewis County, West Virginia

Berkeley Springs ,West Virginia– Known for its famous Apple Butter Festival in the fall.  Here you can take in the therapeutic healing waters of the area by going to one of the many spas such as my favorite, Atasia Spa.  If you are looking for a place to be pampered why not try the Highlawn Inn which has the most phenomenal homemade breakfasts around.  In addition, there are homes and cabins for rent as well as other historical properties to stay in for the weekend.  For dining, you cannot miss at Taris restaurant which is a home town favorite along with Lot 12 Public House.  Both of these restaurants are phenomenal. It is a town made for walking and unwinding. In the Fall, you definitely want to check out the Apple Butter Festival. It is a great way to spend a long weekend.

Sugar Creek ,Ohio– Known as, “Little Switzerland”,  it has the worlds largest cuckoo clock which kids love to see. It is a shopping destination for all things Amish as well as local cheeses. There are several restaurants in the area where you can dine on authentic Amish food.

Flight 93 National Memorial– Located in Stoystown, Pa, this site honors some of our greatest heroes who were on board the tragic flight that changed United States History. A must do in the summer and fall for reflection.

Bedford County, PA Here you can spend a night in the beautiful Omni Bedford Springs Resort or just spend the day shopping, dining, and taking in some of the historical sites such as; Old Bedford Village, a fine art gallery, or the local winery.  These are just a few.

Fallingwater– Located in Mill, Run, Pa, the house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935 and incorporates some of his best design elements.  This is a perfect day trip in the fall with its sweeping views of the local fall foliage.  After your visit you might want to stop for lunch at the historic Summit Inn Hotel.  There is also the famous Nemacolin Resort within that area for fine dining and lodging. While in that area, check out Kentuck Knob , Frank LLoyd Wrights other gorgeous design.  Bring your walking shoes as there are plenty of wooden trails that are filled with sculptures from world reknowned artists.

Chautauqua, New York- Home of the Chautauqua Institute, which is known for its vibrancy as it contains a variety of restaurants, shops, and educational opportunities.  Chautauqua is a paradise for those looking to fish or get out on a boat.  It is a quaint and peaceful place.

Old Economy Village, Ambridge, Pa- One of my favorites during the holidays or the fall.  Old Economy is a historical landmark that represents one of the oldest religious groups of the nineteenth century, the Harmony Society.  Tour all of the local buildings and learn what life was like back in the day.

Morning view, Lewis County, West Virginia

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia-Harpers Ferry has something for everyone with its historic town, rafting on its phenomenal waters, kayaking, ghost tours, hiking, and shopping.  It is also one of my personal favorites as it has an interesting historical park along with the famous B&O railroad. It is a perfect place to go for the weekend as it is also close to Shepherdstown, West Virginia which is perfect for touring and overnight stays.

Ligonier, Pa– A very charming town located in the historic Ligonier Valley, Ligonier is home to Idewild Park, the Compass Inn Museum, champion golf courses, shopping, restaurants, “Fort Ligonier Days”, and lodging. This is a perfect day or overnight trip from Pittsburgh.




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Add Your Comment
    • Alex Borkowski
    • September 8, 2017

    Beautifully written! I look forward to reading more of your entries. Always proud of you!

  1. I love you very much and thank you.

    • Angela "Angie" Austin
    • September 9, 2017

    Love all these places!!! Love how you write and capture the true feelings when there.

  2. Thank you so much Angie. I think fall is one of those seasons that energizes the soul. Your words mean so much.

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