Travel

A perfect fall escape Laughlintown & Laurel Mountain

Take a day trip or a weekend getaway for a peak fall experience

Ligonier gets all the attention, but head a few more miles down the road to the east of Ligonier, you’ll find Laughlintown. This little quiet little town sits at the base of Laurel Mountain. If you are looking for a weekend getaway, there are several rental cabins to pick from (more on that below). This part of the state is one of the best places to see the fall foliage. (Looking for more places to do some leaf-peeping? Check out our guide on where to see the best fall leaves.)

Ligonier is a town in Westmoreland County that is located about an hour east of Pittsburgh. Th surrounding area offers picturesque Pennsylvania landscapes of mountains and fams. The town is in impeccable shape for a small town in Western Pennsylvania. Casey Barber is a food writer who lives in New York but grew up in Pittsburgh. A few years ago she wrote about a Ligonier restaurant and gave what I think is the best description of the town…

“think Stars Hollow, but with more golf courses and cows and less quirk”

(Also, Casey is the author of “Pierogi Love,” an entire cookbook about pierogies.)

Like Stars Hollow (for those who have not watched the complete collection, Stars Hollow is the fictional town where the “Gilmore Girls” takes place), Ligonier has a little downtown area with a gazebo and shops and a Giant Eagle; it is all very cute, but still kind of bustling.

Part of the charm of Ligonier is that it is in the Laurel Highlands – a region of Western Pennsylvania that spans Westmoreland, Somerset and Fayette counties. The Laurel Highlands is known for outdoor recreation – everything from hiking to skiing and cultural attractions such as Fallingwater.

So if you are looking to get away for a few nights, you likely don’t want to stay right in the Ligonier town square. Head on down Route 30 for another 10 minutes or so and you will find Laughlintown and Laurel Mountain borough.

The Pie Shoppe: donuts, sandwiches, staples and pie

One of the best parts about Laughlintown is The Pie Shoppe. This little bakery has been there for as long as I can remember, so at least the mid-80s, and has everything you need for the weekend: donuts, cookies, sandwiches, pizzas and you can also pick up the newspaper here or a quart of milk. I have some friends who now live on the other side of the country and still talk about the pumpkin cookies from The Pie Shoppe.

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Waiting on my panini #theoriginalpieshoppe

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Laurel Mountain State Park

Keep heading east past The Pie Shoppe and you will start to head up the mountain. At the top you can find access to Laurel Mountain Ski Resort and Laurel Mountain State Park.

There is lots more to do near Laughlintown

Ligonier offers shopping, antiques, Fort Ligonier Museum and the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art.

The wait is over! Another great lesson from Kelly. ENJOY! https://youtu.be/1oY1NeQTbsU

Posted by Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art – Ligonier Valley on Monday, July 6, 2020

On your way to or from Ligonier, you can make a stop in Greensburg to visit The Westmoreland Museum of American Art, where admission is free every day. (If you aren’t ready to leave the house, The Westmoreland also has an online collection you can browse from home.)

Between Greensburg and Ligonier, you will pass through Latrobe, where you can find the Fred Rogers Archive at Saint Vincent College. Check out our interview with Jenna McGuiggan, who is one of the co-authors of a book about the Fred Rogers Archives.

You can see more of my suggested stops on this TripAdvisor itinerary for Laughlintown.

Where to stay near Laughlintown: Laurel Mountain Park borough

One of the reasons I wanted to write about Laughlintown is that there are now several rentals to choose from and you aren’t just limited to one or two places. The selection of rentals is also nice if you are looking to rent a few houses with friends; the rental cabins here are close without being too close together.

If you want to hike or ski, it’s a short drive up the mountain to the summit. If you want to watch the skiers, the lodge at Laurel Mountain has incredible views and is never crowded.

If your idea of a hike is strolling through antique stores, then Ligonier is a great place to spend the day.

If you want to do nothing, Laurel Mountain borough is great for that too. The borough has a community pool, and the neighborhood is perfect for walking outdoors without having to gear up for a hike.

[Note: a quick search on the internet will turn up The Country Inn. This hotel closed last year and is currently not open for business. ]

Here are a few other places to stay if you are looking for an overnight getaway:

Sugar Berry Cabin

  • 4 bedrooms, 3 baths

Laughlintown Cabin

  • 1 bedroom with bunk beds and a queen bed in the loft
  • This rental is more like a guest house

Laughlintown Cottage

  • 3 bedrooms, 2 baths

Serene Mountain Cottage

  • 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths

Sunset Cottage

  • 2 bedroom, 1 bath

Looking for more ideas for a getaway near Pittsburgh?