Driving through the Pennsylvania countryside during peak fall foliage season should be on everyone’s yearly to-do list. Which is why this October you need to plan one of your scenic drives one hour southeast from Pittsburgh and enjoy all that is Ligonier.
Ligonier, a charming small town in the Ligonier Valley within the Laurel Highlands, is home to quaint shops, relaxing strolls, and a boutique hotel. You can’t visit a small Pennsylvania town without encountering something unique and Ligonier is no exception. For small town charm with big time fun plan your visit for October 8th – 10th to be treated to the annual Fort Ligonier Days; a three-day event featuring battle reenactments (of a key battle during the French and Indian War of 1758), juried crafts, food, music, a 5K, and a parade.
Or just plan your weekend (or weekday; we won’t judge!) getaway any other time and you’ll still be in for a delightful time. Here’s a few cool places to know before you go. Be sure to check them out when you’re there.
Treat yo’self to Thistledown at Seger House – the cozy, better-than-a-B&B boutique hotel that’s family-friendly, welcoming, and in a 20th century mansion built by coal baron John Seger. It is locally owned-and-operated by Adam and Michelle Gardner who have restored the wood and glass work. Even if you can’t stay overnight be sure to still visit so you can check out its beauty. And in a perfect nod to its small town-ness, you can enjoy coffee and tea 24/7 at no extra charge. While they don’t have a restaurant on-site they are walking distance to options in town.
At the heart of any town is its coffee shop, and Abigail’s Coffeehouse is Ligonier’s. For 23 years this family-owned business has been the town’s gathering place and always makes visitors feel like home. Offering breakfast, lunch, and specialty coffee drinks that are curated each season (like the bourbon caramel apple latte), Abigail’s is known for its pepperoni rolls, world-famous chicken salad sandwich, and even non-coffee drinks like iced teas and hot chocolate. Be sure to visit Abigail’s during Fort Ligonier Days even if it’s just to say hello.
Pittsburgh is only possible because of Fort Ligonier. Visit this authentically reconstructed fortification from the French and Indian War to find out why. You’ll also learn how the fort was designed and constructed, see a unique collection of archaeological artifacts excavated from the site, and in the museum’s galleries view original artwork from the 18th and 19th centuries. Fort Ligonier offers field trips, escape room experiences, and even battle reenactment events.
For more than 50 years the Tree House boutique apparel shop has been clothing newborns and teenagers (up to size 16) in adorable apparel. A visit to their shop will have you discovering unique gift ideas, going home with the perfect little bonnet, or having your baby all ready for his or her Christening. And don’t forget to grab a Brighton accessory for the woman in your life (even if that woman is yourself).
Not just a shop, Laurel Highlands Olive Oil is a tasting and learning experience, too. With more than 50 varieties of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, curated international and specialty foods (like French mustards, Italian pasta, Greek fig salami), along with vegan, gluten free and organic options your tastebuds will be in for a treat. The shop also is a great place to pick up some gifts too – like olive wood cutting boards, olive oil beauty products, custom made gift boxes, wedding favors, handmade organic CBD topicals, and made-in-house pet products. You can also check them out via a private tasting party or cooking demonstration.
Those seeking a fun vibe while gift shopping need to head to My Honeybee, a woman-veteran owned/mother-daughter owned eclectic gift boutique. Offering items that are either Made in the USA, have positive messaging, or that give back to charity at My Honeybee you can find brands like NaturalLife, Hydra Aromatherapy, Finchberry Soapery, Baggalini and more while you indulge in a shopping experience focused on promoting positivity and fun.
Just like with coffee, a town just isn’t a town without a good pizza place – enter Roman’s Pizzeria. Just off of Main Street, Roman’s Pizzeria is a three-time winner of the Quest For The Best Pizza in Ligonier. They are a family-owned and operated business serving up authentic New York Style pizza along with gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options. With both indoor and outdoor dining options you can enjoy your ‘za whichever way you like.
Head to Ligonier and find yourself some big time fun with a heartwarming side of small town charm. Oh, and do this ASAP because those tree leaves sadly won’t be blasting their fiery-hot colors forever.This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.