Winter Wonderland

Snow in southwestern Pennsylvania has been scarce so far this winter, but that didn’t stop senior editor Norie Quintos and her sons from enjoying a late December visit to the Laurel Highlands:

Okay, so it wasn’t as white and wintry as I would’ve liked, but the optimistic, hard-working folks at Seven Springs Mountain Resort were assiduously making snow and determined vacationers were skiing on it. We opted for the far-less-technical snow tubing down ice-slick runs—get there before 10 a.m., as tickets ($11 per person for a two-hour time slot) can sell out.

And who knew that no white stuff is needed to go dog sledding? At Nemacolin Woodlands, the expansive luxury resort complex owned by the Hardy family (the self-made Joe Hardy founded the hugely successful 84 Lumber), Stephanie Peske, head dog musher, substitutes a German-made four-wheel cart for a sled, and up to ten Alaskan sled dogs pull guests through the woods. The ride costs $125 for two, and you don’t have to stay at the resort to sign up. Another family activity: popping off clay targets at Nemacolin’s Shooting Academy. Introductory packages including equipment start at $45 for youth, $70 for adults (note: children need to weigh at least 100 lbs/45 kg).

Adults and older kids will appreciate Fallingwater. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the nearly 70-year-old house—built in the woods and over a waterfall—is recognized by the American Institute of Architects as ‘the best all-time work of American architecture.’ As such, it draws the crowds, especially after celeb-couple Brangelina made a recent visit. Reserve a spot in advance; tickets ($16 per adult, $10 for kids) are in high demand.

In nearby Somerset County, pay your respects at the site of the United Flight 93 crash that occurred on September 11, 2001. On a hillside overlooking the empty field is a temporary memorial run by the National Park Service. A somber remembrance.

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