Our ongoing series of adventures through the U.S. mid-Atlantic region recently included a day trip through the Laurel Highlands area of Pennsylvania, specifically Ohiopyle State Park and the Frank Lloyd Wright house known as Fallingwater. At the center of the park is the very small town of Ohiopyle (population: less than 100), about 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh and 10 miles north of U.S. Route 40.
Much of the scenic nature of the area is due to the influence of the Youghiogheny River, which meanders down from the Allegheny Mountains from Maryland on its way to its merge with the Monongahela River in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. As it passes through the park, the river has numerous whitewater areas. The large parking area right at the town of Ohiopyle provides easy access – and viewing – of the wide spot in the river that includes the 20-foot tall Ohiopyle Falls.
The Great Allegheny Passage – a 150-mile “rail-trail” between Pittsburgh and Cumberland, Maryland – passes through town, with two old railroad bridges within a half-mile of Ohiopyle that offer great views of the river below. The official web site of Ohiopyle State Park includes maps of many more trails in the park.
Just 5 miles north of Ohiopyle is the entrance to Fallingwater, a rare opportunity to visit a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. If you’re a student or fan of great architecture, it’s a “must see” pilgrimage. And if you’re just someone who enjoys seeing beautiful homes in beautiful places, it’s well worth dropping by for one of the informative guided tours.
The Ohiopyle area is definitely on the rural side, with a limited number of places to stay nearby. By far the nicest accommodations in the area are at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort Spa in Farmington, about 6 miles south of Ohiopyle. In addition to a beautiful hotel and excellent spa facilities, Nemacolin Woodlands has two golf courses including the very challenging Mystic Rock course designed by Pete Dye.