LAUREL HIGHLANDS | For generations, the little town of Ligonier in the Allegheny Mountains has been a favorite summer getaway for nearby Pittsburgh’s wealthiest and most influential families. On warm nights, you’re also likely to spot Washington, D.C., politicos window-shopping at the more than 50 boutiques lining the downtown Diamond.
drive time: 4 hours, 30 minutes.
stay here: It can’t get any more convenient than Thistledown at Seger House, an upscale inn and café that opened last year. This early-20th-century, red-sandstone mansion is located on Main Street, within steps of the Diamond’s many shopping, dining and entertainment options. Rates range $150-$225 weekdays, $200-$275 weekends. Breakfast at the on-site café is included. 221 W. Main St., Ligonier, (724) 238-4087, thistledownligonier.com.
eat here: Take a seat on the screened-in porch for some prime people-watching on the Diamond at Ligonier Tavern, which is housed in a Victorianera residence. This moderately priced, family-owned lunch-and-dinner spot has an eclectic menu. Entrées range from jägerschnitzel to roast duckling Montmorency to “better than Mom’s” meatloaf. 139 W. Main St., Ligonier, (724) 238-4831, ligoniertavern.com.
Ligonier locals love the Kitchen on Main for breakfast, lunch and BYOB dinner. It’s tiny— 12 tables inside, more seating outside—and popular, so get there early. Entrées $19-$33, small plates $9-$13. 136 E. Main St., Ligonier, (724) 238-4199, thekitchenonmain.com.
to-do list: Begun as a picnic ground in 1878, Idlewild and Soak Zone has grown into a massive theme/water park. There are plenty of rides and attractions for all ages. Little ones will enjoy Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood of Make-Believe and the Storybook Forest. Day passes are $29.99 in advance, $38.99 at the gate. Route 30 East, two miles west of Ligonier, (724) 238-3666, idlewild.com.
Tour Fort Ligonier, a full-scale, on-site restoration/reconstruction of a French and Indian War fort. It features an artillery park, cannons, an art gallery, an archaeological collection, artifacts from George Washington, and more. $10/adults, $6/kids. 200 S. Market St., Ligonier, (724) 238-9701, fortligonier.org.
For a glimpse at local life in the early 1800s, take a guided tour of the Compass Inn Museum, a seven-room former inn with a cookhouse, blacksmith shop and barn—all furnished with period pieces. Admission is $9/adults, $6/students. 1382 Route 30 East, Laughlintown, (724) 238-4983, compassinn.com.
Hunt for antique treasures along the three-mile stretch between Ligonier and Laughlintown. Graham’s Antique Mall (2397 Route 30 West, Ligonier, 724-238-8611) has 40 dealers, and Laughlintown Antique Mall (1327 Route 30, Laughlintown, 724-238-7533) boasts 50. Ligonier also hosts two major outdoor “Antiques on the Diamond” events in June and August.
for thrifty types: Grab a cone or cup of the good homemade stuff at Ligonier Creamery (105 E. Main St., Ligonier, 724-238-4600), then spread your blanket and unfold your beach chairs for the free Sunday Evening Summer Band Concerts on the Diamond.