Trip Report: Laurel Highlands Camping Adventure

Hey Everyone! Matt and I recently returned from a super relaxing weekend camping in the Laurel Highlands. I posted some pictures of the place we stayed on Instagram and started receiving a lot of questions about our lodging and the trip in general.

Because of all the interest (and the amazing time we had in general), I figured this would be the perfect trip to kick off this portion of the  blog!

Make sure to click the links to head to the pages for everything we did+info on renting the camping site! Enjoy!


We had been looking forward to this trip for months. Literally.  I accidentally stumbled onto the rental page for this “glamping” site and thought it looked fun and unique. -Side note, we decided we hated the word “glamping” and will not use if from here on out-  I sent it to Matt with a “Look at this! We should go!”. I was fully expecting “Cool. No.” as the response, but he was all for it! So we booked one of the last remaining weekends and waited patiently for July to arrive.

The drive from our home to Fort Hill (where we stayed), is about 1 hour and 45 minutes taking the shortest way. However, we had the whole day off and couldn’t check in until around 4, so we took the scenic route and really stretched it out. We took National Pike past the Summit Inn and Nemacolin, and had a lot of fun stopping along the way. We made stops at The Historic Summit Inn Resort for a gorgeous lunch view, Christian W. Klay winery for a tasting, and an antique store that was seriously obsessed with Christmas (the opposite of my feelings toward the holiday). A craft distillery, Ridge Runner Distillery, recently opened next to the winery. We didn’t get to stop in, though. Bummer.

 

After our sightseeing, we finally arrived at our home away from home for the weekend! The camping site is set back a ways from the main farm-house and super private. You have to park you car and walk through the field to get to it- the hosts provide a helpful wagon to lug all your belongings to the site.

This place had everything you could need for a relaxing weekend. The “bedroom” was in a large canvas tent built on a platform. The bed might actually be more comfortable than the one I currently sleep on- pretty good for camping. There were vents you could open to get more air flow through the room, and plenty of lights inside (I initially wasn’t sure what to expect electricity wise). A large porch with an amazing view was built right off the bedroom. Perfect for sitting in the rocking chairs with a glass of wine.

There was also a fully functional outdoor kitchen (I think we made one of the best meals ever in that little outdoor set up), bathtub and sink, and a compost toilet (far away from everything else). It was pretty much just like our house- if all of the rooms were outdoors and had an amazing mountain views from all angles …okay so maybe not like our home.

 

We had our own little ‘non schedule’ schedule for that weekend. Wake up and relax in the beautiful surroundings, head to Ohiopyle for hiking/biking/etc, head back to camp to eat and relax–repeat for the whole vacation.

It was pretty rainy the entire time we were there, but that didn’t stop us from doing the things we had planned in Ohiopyle, we just had to rearrange the plan a bit. The first day, we were going to hike the first few miles of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail to a lookout point. Matt had hiked this trail before on a backpacking trip and was excited for me to experience the hike/see the view. We made it about 1 mile the first day before bad storms started rolling in so we turned back. I’m not a risk taker, so being stuck on a trail in a thunderstorm is not my thing. Once we got back to town, it was just drizzling, so we walked a bit on the Great Allegheny Passage, saw some white water rafting tours (did that in my old risk taker days- never again), and followed a couple trails to Cucumber Falls.  It was a slippery hike, but totally worth it. Day 1 ended with a big burger and some beers at Falls City Pub.

 

We had planned on biking from Ohiopyle to Confluence the next day, but pretty nasty storms were predicted in the afternoon. Again, not being a risk taker, I really didn’t want to get struck by lightning while riding a bike. That’s not how I want to go down. We decided to try the LHHT again, and we made it to the lookout point this time. I learned some things on that short 5ish mile round trip hike.

  1. Not all miles are created equally. This was the most difficult hike I’ve ever done. It was steep and slippery-I’m not sure of how much elevation you gain, but you gain it quickly.
  2. I’m afraid of heights. We made it to the top and we were at this beautiful look out, and all I could think was “I’m going to vomit”. I was able to calm down and enjoy it for a bit, until I realized…
  3. Heading down was scarier than heading up. Look, I’m really clumsy. So me+scrambling down the side of a mountain=danger.

 

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All in all it was totally worth it, and I totally felt like I earned every bit of my delicious meal at the Ohiopyle House Cafe afterwards. The best part of the meal? The most gigantic and delicious iced coffee ever (for the least amount of money) Win.

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Still dreaming about this iced coffee

So, if you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway , I highly recommend staying at Campbell Farm (or anywhere in the area really).

If you do want to book the tent at Campbell Farms, I have just a few tips.

  1. Bring a flashlight/lantern. It’s helpful for late night walks to the bathroom or from your car if you get back late.
  2. Be careful storing anything on the door of the refrigerator. I put wine bottles there, and they promptly fell to the ground and one shattered. Then I melted down in true Rachel fashion.
  3. There are no mirrors. So if this is something you require, make sure you bring one. There are plugs for hair dryers/etc. I didn’t bring those with me and it would have been too hot to dry my hair anyway.
  4. Accept that you will still see some bugs. It is beautiful and relaxing- but it is still camping. There was a seriously large spider in the tent right before we were ready to sleep- and it ended with Matt charging it with an umbrella in one hand and a dirt devil in the other. He then promptly told me to shut my eyes and not look around the tent. That was the worst of it, and honestly it was pretty hilarious.
  5. Don’t forget your sense of adventure!

 

Have you ever visited the Laurel Highlands area? What are your favorite places? We will definitely be returning to explore some more so let us know what else to check out!

 

 

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Pittsburgh Pup- Summer Events Edition

Do you ever feel the urge to go out and have some fun, but then you look over and see those sad puppy eyes begging you to stay? Happens to me all the time. Luther has excellent sad puppy eyes, and they always make me feel guilty about leaving him behind.

If you’re in the same boat- check out this listing of some summer events that are people and pooch friendly- everyone wins!

Here is some photographic evidence of the cutest pup ready to party…


Dog Days of Summer

  • Where: Apis Mead– Carnegie
  • When: 11am-11pm
  • Cost: Free!
  • If you haven’t jumped on the Mead wagon yet, here is your chance to try this delicious beverage with your furry friend in tow. All proceeds from the day benefit the Humane Animal Rescue. Revival Chili will be out front for some food for you and there will be treats for your pup, too! Live music starts around 8pm.

Puppies and Pounders

  • Where: Spirit (on the patio) – Lawrenceville
  • When: July 29 3pm-7pm
  • Cost: Free!
  • Once a month, the patio at Spirit is overrun by pups. Bring your pup down for the fun, and enjoy the weather with a PBR + some tunes from a DJ.

Barks N’ Brews

  • Where: East End Brewing Company– East Liberty
  • When: July 29 5pm-7pm
  • Cost: $12
  • After your done at Puppies and Pounders, head over to East End Brewing Company for this event! There will be a ‘Pooch Smooch’ station (who doesn’t love that?), a treat eating contest, and all kinds of goodies to pets and their parents. Ticket purchases benefit the Humane Animal Rescue.

Pirate Pup Nights

  • Where: PNC Park – North Shore
  • When: August 1, 8, 22 and September 5, 19, 26 all at 7:05pm
  • Cost: $35 (Human and dog ticket combo)
  • Take your pup to the ballgame! The Dog ticket package includes entrance for one dog and one human with seating in the Miller Lite Rooftop section. Don’t forget to bring your vaccination records to show upon entry! You’ll also be asked to sign a waiver before you enter. After that, just relax and enjoy all the pups and the game! A portion of all tickets sales benefit local shelters.

Shelter Dog Birthday Paw-Ty

  • Where: Couch Brewery
  • When: August 2 4pm-7pm
  • Cost: Free!
  • Celebrate the pups in your life at this birthday extravaganza! Craft beers for you, treats for the pup- everyone is happy. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Humane Animal Rescue. Stop by to celebrate for a good cause!

The Dog Days are Over!

  • Where: Humane Animal Rescue (East End Location) – Homewood
  • When: August 6 11am-3pm
  • Cost: Free!
  • Celebrate summer with fun for the whole family (even the furry ones!). There will be music, games, vendors, and more. During the event, you’ll also receive 10% off any purchases in their Rescue Re-Tail store!

4k 4 Paws

  • Where: North Park– Allison Park
  • When: August 13 10am-2pm
  • Cost: $30 + (Depending on number of “paws”)
  • Get some exercise in at this inaugural race event benefitting Animal Friends and Bow Wow Buddies. Race starts at the North Park Boathouse and will end at the off lease dog park. Stick around for food, beer, and plenty of vendors selling treats and gear for your buddy!

Family Feast for Fido

  • Where: Wigle Whiskey Barrelhouse & Whiskey Garden– North Side
  • When: August 27 6pm-8pm
  • Cost: $25
  • BBQ, games, and drinks for a good cause? Count me and the pup in. Head to Wigle for a BBQ picnic benefiting Animal Friends 43 Friends program. You can even order a whole meal to have at home for after the party, too! There will be games, vendors, and much more!

As any dog owner knows, there are also those times when you or the pups just want a break- no fear, we’ll be back with our regular event postings next week! Keep an eye out in September for a Fall version of pup friendly events!

 

And now some evidence of Luther wanting to do absolutely nothing…

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Can’t you just go out without me?

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I would go, but I’m already in bed.

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Now I’m wet. Worst day ever, Mom.

 

A Good week starts with—Tequila.

Hey all! We are going to keep this short and sweet since I’m technically still on an unplugged weekend- Shhh.

Let’s get started !


 

Monday July 24

National Tequila Day

  • Where: Take your Pick!
  • When: All day!
  • Cost: Damage done is up to you!
  • Okay, so this is a little different than usual. Since it is National Tequila Day, I’m just going to encourage you to head out and support one of your local watering holes. Some of my favorites for margaritas -El Campesino, Mad Mex, Round Corner Cantina, etc. Cheers!

Tuesday July 25

Whiskey Pairing w. Smallman Galley Chefs

  • Where: Smallman Galley– Strip District
  • When: 8pm-9:30pm
  • Cost: $35
  • Smallman Galley is celebrating their new batch of chefs with a whiskey pairing evening. Each chef will prepare a small bite to be paired with a specific whiskey. Click the link for the menu! If you want to make a night of it, get there early to have dinner from one of the chef options and enjoy happy hour from 5-7 with half off drinks. Smallman Galley is a unique restaurant option helping chefs break into the industry on a smaller scale and hopefully accelerate their career after their time there. Each chef in the class has their own concept “restaurant” within the galley, and you can try something from each whenever you go –I really encourage you to go support what they are doing there!

Wednesday July 26

Aged to Perfection

  • Where: Wigle Whiskey Barrelhouse & Whiskey Garden– North Side
  • When: 6pm-9pm
  • Cost: $10 donation at the door
  • KidsVoice Young Professionals is hosting a Speakeasy themed event to help raise money for the Bootstrap Project. The project’s mission is to help foster system youth as they age out of the system and begin to live independently –essentially giving them help and support in a time where they need it most. There will be live blues and country music at the event, as well as games, prizes, and spirits for sale. Wigle Whiskey is donating 12% of all drink and merchandise purchases to the organization…drink up for a good cause!

Thursday July 27

Furniture Chalk Painting

  • Where: Vintage Reborn– Beaver Falls
  • When: 6:30-9pm
  • Cost: $35
  • Always wanted to upcycle a piece of furniture? Envious of the beautifully painted dressers, mirrors, etc all over Pinterest but have no clue how to start? This class is for you. Vintage Reborn will teach you step by step how to rehab your own piece of furniture. Bring you own small piece to work on, or they have pieces to purchase ($5-$25). Your fee includes all materials to transform your piece. BYOB welcome! Follow the link to reserve your spot!

 

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Keep your eye out for the weekend post and a special separate “pup friendly events” post highlighting some remaining summer events where you can bring your pal along! You can also check Instagram throughout the week to preview some photos I took for an upcoming “Trip Report” post. Cheers!