There are so many ways to fall in love with Fall in Pittsburgh and Southwestern Pennsylvania.
The outdoors could not be more beautiful with the vibrant tones of the changing leaves, the brisk air, and the bright sun. There are a lot of fun things to do in Pittsburgh in Fall, but today we're going to focus on a few unique and folksy experiences that you can only find in the Southwestern Pennsylvania area.
At Brantview Farms, maple sugaring has been the way of life for the Brant family for eight generations and more than 180 years. Their sugar camp is located in Shanksville PA, and you can learn about the history of maple syrup, see the tools used, and taste test some delicious maple treats. (The photo above is courtesy of the Brantview Farms Facebook page).
One of my favorite state parks near Pittsburgh - Moraine State Park - has something for everyone and is in its glory during the cooler fall months. I especially love Lake Arthur, the largest (3,225 acres!) man-made lake in the state. Kayaking is great here, the water is calm and expansive. You can rent kayaks (or canoes and pontoon boats) at the park. If boating isn't your thing, you can stay firmly on land and rent a bike to enjoy the paved, seven-mile trail from the bicycle rental station to the Davis Hollow Marina.
Grow Pittsburgh is an organization dedicated to teaching people how to grow food and promote the benefits gardens bring to our neighborhoods. They want everyone to have access to fresh, local and healthy food. They offer tours to guests to learn about their work and organic gardening techniques, as well as to experience a working urban farm in full production and learn the impact that the work has on the communities where sites are located.
Healcrest urban farm is located in Pittsburgh's East End and is 1.5 acres growing medicinal and culinary herbs naturally. They are also a community green space and use their land for safe haven for bees, birds and other wildlife that often struggle in the urban environment. Healcrest sells their original tea blends (or you can create your own!), and homemade ice pops with flavors like chocolate lavender and pumpkin chai.
Schramm Farms and Orchards is a family owned and operated farm that has been growing and selling fresh fruits and vegetables in the Pittsburgh area since 1864. You can pick up dessert from adjacent Grandma's Country Oven Bake Shoppe, and then cap off the day with a visit to the Arrowhead Wine Cellar, which is an award-winning Pennsylvania grown wine.
Learning about the history of farming and seeing restored farm equipment at Fort Allen Antique Farm Equipment Association (FAAFEA) is a unique way to understand history. Located in Scottdale, Pennsylvania, FAAFEA believes in the value of education, restoration, and preservation of farm equipment. On Thursday evenings you can even visit the blacksmith shop and take free classes!
One of America's greatest architects Frank Lloyd Wright has three masterpieces in Southwestern Pennsylvania, two of which are open for tours. Fallingwater is the most well-known, and privately-owned Kentuck Knob are the houses you can tour, while Duncan House at Polymath Park occasionally offers the opportunity for overnight stays. They are all surrounded by gorgeous natural landscapes, and are at their finest in autumn.
Powdermill Nature Reserve, the environmental research center of Carnegie Museum of Natural History, has been dedicated to its mission of research, education, and conservation for more than 50 years. It is a place for scientists, for students, and for families who are interested in the natural world.
The Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve is a 50-acre reserve at Saint Vincent College. The Nature Reserve is in Latrobe, and is a beautiful recreation area with nature discovery trails, a habitat trek, pond, wildflower gardens and more.
There's a place in Burgettstown where you can drink great win, eat freshly baked pies, purchases beautiful plants, and imbibe in microbrews. I don't know about you, but this kind of sounds like heaven to me. Kramer's Greenhouse is the site of Raccoon Creek Winery (which offers free wine tastings) and Coal Tipple Brewing. They are family and pet friendly, and encourage you to bring your own food and stay awhile.
No list would be complete without a recommendation for an amazing meal. Mine is to eat at Rockwell's restaurant at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. Rockwell's features dining inspired by local ingredients tied to the Pennsylvania Allegheny Mountain region. The menu establishes a focus on Appalachian style cuisine and supports local farms by purchasing their produce, dairy and proteins, often supplying farm-to-table ingredients within one day.
One of my favorite ways to experience Southwestern Pennsylvania's fall foliage is to explore the Laurel Highlands and Ohiopyle area. If you are looking to take in the beautiful leaves and scenery through a leisurely drive or a hike, check out the Laurel Highland's website to search for the perfect route for you.
Slippery Rock's North Country Brewing Company is a local favorite, and has featured over 100 different types of beers through the years, ranging from traditional to more outlandish and experimental brews such as bacon-flavored brews and chai tea infused ales. You can also enjoy a delicious "farm to fork" meal and a large variety of hand-crafted sodas.