May 2019 Real Estate Market Report

This is the May 2019 real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are going this month. Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe. YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

 

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Possible Association Fees Deduction!

You may want to check out SB 539 in text!  

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April 2019 Real Estate Market Report

This is the April 2019 real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are going this month. Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe. YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

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COUNTY LINE BRIDGE WORK BEGINS MAY 6th!

Jeff Himlar of the Trib Live posted that on MAY 6 the County Line Bridge by Somerset Trust will be undergoing renovations. If you’ve traveled to 7Springs you had to have noticed that one lane of the second Rapid Bridge Replacement was higher than the other. Read his story here

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March 2019 Real Estate Market Report

This is the March 2019 real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are going this month. Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe. YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

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February 2019 Laurel Highlands Update

This is the February 2019 real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are going this month. Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe. YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

 

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Home Selling Tips!

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2019 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

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Tax Deductions for Home Owners

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2019 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

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January 2019 Laurel Highlands Market Update

This is the January 2019 real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are going this month. Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe. YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

 

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New Deck Ideas

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Copyright 2019 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

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Climate Change in Pennsylvania

Cindy Adams Dunn is PAs sixth secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Here’s an excerpt from her Jan newsletter “This past year brought historic flooding and rainfall to our state — a trend that’s predicted to continue as our climate warms. As part of our continuing efforts to address this and other impacts of climate change, DCNR published and is moving on a climate change adaptation and mitigation plan.”
One month last year I dumped our rain gauge out twice to record an unbelievable 15 inches of precipitation. No wonder our area broke past rain fall records in 2018! We love our mountains but need to remember that the water flows downhill and flooding in the Laurel Highlands was extensive.
Check with your municipalities to see what their plans are to help your property stay dry. We’ve seen some areas begin to raise taxes to make repairs and corrections due to flooding. Be informed and attend a monthly municipal meeting!

 

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CYBER SECURITY

Everyone is concerned with home security, but few realize the importance of their cyber security. Without precautions your credit and bank accounts could be severely impacted and possibly wiped out. For my real estate license renewal, I took a class in December with Robert Siciliano a sought-after expert on cyber security. I am only sharing information from a class, I am not representing myself as a financial consultant, tax advisor, or attorney. Please feel free to consult with yours before taking action.

For three hours we heard stories of how our identities could be stolen, our good credit reduced to nothing and our banks accounts emptied. The biggest recommendation was to enact a credit freeze at all four credit scoring companies (TransUnion, Equifax, Experian, and Innovis).

We have been able to do this since 2008, but no one seems to be taking advantage of this free procedure. It stops you or the bad guys from opening up any new credit lines in your name. Do not worry you can unfreeze it at any time. So, when you want to buy something (like a car or house) you ask which of the four credit companies they will be pulling your credit history from and you unfreeze those accounts for a few days and then refreeze them.

Here is the shocker, you should do this for all of your children, yes, even the baby. Mr. Siciliano shared stories of kids who were making applications for financial aid for college and their credit history was already compromised making them ineligible and setting up a huge mess to try and straighten it out. Look for his book, “Identity Theft Privacy” on Amazon (Best Selling Author recognition). To learn more here is his website for you to research, https://safre.me/.

Here are more helpful tips.

  • If you would like to see if your e-mail has been hacked go to https://haveibeenpwned.com/
  • Never pick up a thumb drive off the street and use it
  • Do not use the same password
  • Use a 2-factor authentication for all log ins; and
  • Get instant text notification of credit card purchases

Stay safe out there!

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Government Shutdown and Flood Insurance 2019

Once again Realtors are successful in standing up for home ownership rights! This from our National Realtor Association (NAR).

“Congress on Dec. 21 passed legislation that extends the National Flood Insurance Program until May 31, 2019. In an unexpected policy decision, though, FEMA on Dec. 26 said it couldn’t allow insurers to issue and renew federal policies while the partial government shutdown was ongoing. That ruling was unexpected because in past government shutdowns, FEMA continued to operate the program as authorized. NAR, along with other organizations, including the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, urged policy makers to reevaluate the decision. Congress expressed concern as well.

After discussions with NAR and other concerned entities FEMA reversed their unexpected and controversial ruling the agency released earlier this week.

FEMA and the Administration deserve credit for hearing our concerns and acting swiftly to address them,” says NAR President John Smaby. “This new decision means thousands of home sale transactions in communities across the country can go forward without interruption, as Congress intended when it renewed the flood insurance program earlier this week. Our research has shown that 40,000 home sales are lost every month that flood insurance is not available.

In a critical win for home sales while the partial shutdown of the federal government is ongoing, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will issue and renew flood insurance policies.”

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Government Shutdown IMPACTS Home Buying!

Buyers and Sellers be PREPARED! Below are some ways that your transaction MAY be delayed or cancelled due to the government shutdown. Make sure you are speaking with your mortgage processor and REALTOR to be sure where your loan stands!

Verifications of Employment – A furloughed government worker must be back to work before the loan can close. Additionally, in the case of government workers, all government workers must be back to work/on the job through verification before the loan can close.

Social Security Number Verification – Any loan requiring SSA 89 cannot close until the completed form is received.

Tax Transcripts – IRS will be unable to provide tax transcripts due to the shutdown. Loans requiring tax transcripts will be handled on a case by case basis. Closings may be delayed.

West Penn Financial is an Affiliate Company of BHHS The Preferred Realty and is on top of what can and can’t be processed. Here are some insights into some government programs.

FHA – If your lender is a Direct Endorsed lender of FHA loans, the impact will be minimal.  West Penn Financial has the ability to acquire FHA case numbers, remit FHA premiums and receive FHA mortgage insurance certificates.

USDA Loans –  Commitments will not be able to be issued during the shutdown. Accordingly, loans that are not approved by USDA prior to the shutdown cannot close until approved by USDA.

 

 

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December 2018 Laurel Highlands Market Update

This is the December and end of year 2018 real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are going this month. Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe. YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

 

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November 2018 Laurel Highlands Market Update.

This is the November 2018 real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are going this month.

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

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October 2018 Laurel Highlands Market Update

This is the October 2018 real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are going this month.

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

 

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Mortgage market update

We get mortgage market updates from Kurt Seig, a Pittsburgh mortgage broker. We find them very informative. Here is the latest.

 

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September 2018 Laurel Highlands Market Update

This is the September 2018 real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are going this month.

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

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August 2018 Laurel Highlands Market Update

This is the August 2018 real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are going this month.

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

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Abe and Wags selected for the 5 Star Recognition again

Abe and Wags Wagner have been selected as 5 Star Professions in the Real estate Industry again for 2018. They have been selected every year since the award was started in 2011. Five Star Professional surveyed Pittsburgh area residents who purchased a home price more than $150,000 within a 6-month period from June to November 2017. The final list of Agents represent 226 of the 10379 of the agents in the Pittsburgh area and they are the only agents selected that specialize in the Laurel Highlands. Their exceptional customer representation and 4.9 Zillow satisfaction rating are other indicators of their customer satisfaction.

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July 2018 Laurel Highlands Real Estate Market Update

This is the July 2018 real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are going this month.

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

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Northwood and BHHS The Preferred Realty Merge.

HAVE YOU HEARD? 

Our company is growing! This month Northwood Realty Services will become Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty! By merging these two legendary companies together, you can expect even greater connections with over 1,800 agents within 50 offices that will serve 22 counties in Western Pennsylvania and Ohio. This merger will make the combined company the No. 1 residential real estate brokerage in greater Pittsburgh in terms of sales volume, units and listings according to West Penn MLS data through May 2018.

As homeowners, here’s what it means to you:

  • Increased marketing opportunities. More signs, more web presence, more imprinting, more eyes focused on our listings.
  • Increased name recognition of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty to attract buyers to our website and your property. Did you know we are now the real estate sponsor of the Pittsburgh Penguins?
  • MORE ‘For Sale’ signs with our brand!
  • MORE options for buyers with increased services, including financing, settlement, insurance, and home warranty coverage!

We will still be your local connection and remember that the majority of our buyers come from Southwestern Pennsylvania. This is an incredible opportunity for you and us! We hope you’ll reach out to us if you are considering selling or if you have friends that are considering buying.

If you would like to know more about sales at the resorts, we offer a monthly e-mail update or you can check out our website www.LaurelHighlandsLiving.com. We look forward to working with you!

 

~Abe and Wags~

412-897-8535 412-551-1859

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National Flood Insurance Program Extended

More than 129,000 REALTORS sent over 423,000 emails to Senators and members of Congress asking to extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Today, that effort paid off!

Under legislation passed by the U.S. Senate today, NFIP will continue renewing or issuing new insurance for four more months. The bill, which cleared the House last week, is expected to be signed into law shortly (before tonight’s midnight deadline).

We applaud lawmakers for taking this needed action to prevent disruptions to closings in thousands of communities across the country. Now extended through November 30, 2018, the NFIP is in desperate need of reforms that will make the program solvent and sustainable in the long run. The National Association of REALTORS will continue fighting for these reforms as the next NFIP reauthorization discussions loom later this year.

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June 2018 Laurel Highlands Real Estate Report

This is the June 2018 real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are going this month.

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

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May 2018 Laurel Highlands real estate report

This is the May 2018 real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are going this month.

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

 

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April 2018 Laurel Highlands Real Estate Report

This is the April 2018 real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are going this month.

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

 

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March and 1st Quarter Market Report

This is the March 2018 and 1st Quarter real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are going this month.

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

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Skiing the front range of Colorado by Pat McCloskey

Colorado Soul

You have to give credit to die hard skiers who are willing to get up at 4:00 AM or earlier to beat the traffic on a Saturday morning on I-70 West to get to their favorite ski area. Not really a problem during the week but as our group noticed the line of traffic coming up the mountain on Saturday, we admired the grit and determination of Colorado skiers to get their vertical. Not everyone has the opportunity to rent or own a place in the mountains and those who make the trek on Saturday morning instead of Friday night are to be admired.

After skiing for 7 days at all the EPIC areas, our group of 60+ age group guys were closing in on 300,000 vertical feet. Now to be clear, one guy raced for Dartmouth, one for Cornell, and one was the ski coach at Stowe for many years.  These guys can ski for sure but Saturday morning there was a different feel to the trip seeing the new fluff of several inches in Silverthorne with the prospect of more at the top of the Continental Divide. As we put the rental truck in 4 wheel drive, we made our way up past Keystone and viewed people who were camping and starting their back country adventures along the road. Many of the staunch outdoor people of Colorado avoid the cost of a pass or lift ticket and enjoy paying for their own vertical with their own sweat and physical climbing effort. These are not the types who looked down on us while we were clomping in our ski boots at Beaver Creek after getting off the bus from the parking lot below.( They didn’t look down on us on the slopes though- that is our domain).

Working our way early to the parking lot, we were guided to a perfect place up front of a quickly filling lot next to” The Beach”  where folks set up their tail gate parties ready for a sunny day in the Rockies on their day off. Our fearless leader had us up early to beat all the traffic and as we rode the first chair of the day, we were inspired by the grooming and the beauty of the morning.  But what we did notice was that there was a spirit of comaraderie among the faithful that made the effort to get a close parking spot, and get on the lift as soon as it opened. Lots of “whoops” and ” yee haas” as the sunny day began. No frills at the lodge but what looked like a great skillet breakfast if you wanted to partake. Also lots of cool historical pictures adorning the walls. As we viewed the East Wall, we noticed tracks again of those who delighted in climbing for their vertical within the bounds of the ski area. We had a general tour of the area which provided a different skiing experience than we had all week. Yes there were some thin spots due to the seasonal lack of really deep snow but we successfully avoided core shots to our finely tuned skis. We are a little particular as to the tuning and waxing of our boards but most of the faithful up on top of the Continental Divide that day had no such concern. They made it here and they were going to enjoy every minute of it. Core shots to the bottom of the skis be damned.

Towards the end of the day, folks started to crank up the grills, pop the beers on the Beach and pull out lawn chairs in the parking lot. It was a festival atmosphere celebrating all that is good about skiing and making the effort to get to the mountains. These Colorado people work hard during the week and listening to their stories about how they got here from parts all over the country, you get the feeling that they came to ski. They work to ski. This was a priority in their relocation. The natives are just as zealous but they have a laid back attitude that is ….well….native I suppose.

Most of the areas on the EPIC Pass are resorts. There are a lot of tourists and folks who come to be seen. But up there on the top of the divide, there are no pretentious attitudes. Live and let live and ski to die are the mottos of the day. There are no condos, Starbucks, fur coats and boots, luxury restaurants and faux Alpine base villages.(Not that there is anything wrong with that- PC Pat!) Here is great skiing and basic needs. As we shamelessly changed our clothes at the end of the day and drank a beer in the sunny parking lot, we felt part of a larger group of fun seekers who week in and week out, seek the magic of the Rockies and the communal welcome of good turns on challenging terrain. As we made our way out of the pass at the end of the day, I felt a content, ” these are my people” feeling and reveled in the majestic views at the top of Loveland Pass. Folks- if you want the real spirit of skiing, go to Arapahoe Basin or A-Basin as it is described by the Colorado faithful. For me, a much better experience than most ski areas. Squeezing out every last flake of snow this season, I thank you for reading.

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4th Frank Lloyd Wright house coming to the Laurel Highlands

REPOST FROM THE LAUREL HIGHLANDS VISITOR BUREAU

LAUREL HIGHLANDS, PA., (March 20, 2018) – After a 1,000-mile journey, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Lindholm House, aka Mäntylä, will now join Fallingwater, Kentuck Knob and Duncan House in calling Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands home.

Originally built in 1952 in Cloquet, Minn., the Lindholm House was carefully dismantled and shipped to Acme, Pa., in the spring of 2016, where it is currently being rebuilt by Thomas and Heather Papinchak. As owners and operators of Polymath Park, the Papinchaks are no strangers to Wright’s creations. Their architectural resort offers overnight lodging at Wright’s Duncan House, which was moved from Lisle, Ill., and rebuilt on the site in 2007, as well as two homes designed by his apprentice Peter Berndtson, the Balter and Blum homes.

“The groundbreaking and the addition of Wright’s Lindholm house is keeping pace with the thriving and unique experience our guests encounter at Polymath Park,” said Thomas Papinchak, Polymath Park’s CEO and design-builder. “The Lindholm House has been kept private for decades; it will be exciting for all involved to unveil this original grand Usonian masterpiece.”

Typifying Wright’s “Usonian” style-his effort, late in life, to create affordable housing in a design language that expressed his distinctive perception of the “American landscape.” The Lindholm and Duncan houses offer visitors a truly unique opportunity – the chance to stay overnight in a Frank Lloyd Wright house. The Llindholm House is expected to welcome guests in Summer 2018. When guests reserve either home, they are given access to the entire home, not just a specific room. These homes are two of a select few Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the entire U.S. that offer overnight lodging. Reservations can be made online at www.polymathpark.com or by calling 877.833.7829.

A Must-Do Destination for Architecture Aficionados
To architecture experts, Frank Lloyd Wright was the greatest American architect who ever lived and one of the greatest the world has ever seen. To those who appreciate nature, it’s easy to see how the magnificent natural landscape of Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands inspired the prolific architect.

Wright (June 8, 1867-April 9, 1959) designed more than 1,000 structures in his lifetime and saw more than 500 of them to completion, but the high concentration of homes open for public tours in a setting as beautiful as Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands is an uncommon occurrence.

Perhaps Wright’s most widely-acclaimed creation, Fallingwater, was built between 1936 and 1939 for the Kaufmanns, a prominent family from Pittsburgh. Dramatically cantilevered over a waterfall, the house exemplifies Wright’s concept of organic architecture: the harmonious union of art and nature. A National Historic Landmark, Fallingwater has been selected as one of “50 places of a lifetime” by National Geographic Traveler. Fallingwater is the only major Wright-designed house to open to the public with its furnishings, artwork and setting intact.

Just seven miles southwest of Fallingwater and high atop a bluff overlooking the Youghiogheny River Gorge stands another Frank Lloyd Wright architectural masterpiece, Kentuck Knob. A great believer in the beauty of natural materials, Wright combined the native sandstone with tide water red cypress to create a chorus of color and texture that replicates the surrounding landscape. Wright began this project for the Hagan family in 1953 at the age of 86, five years before his death. In addition to the house, the grounds of Kentuck Knob feature 30 pieces of sculptures by Andy Goldsworthy, Anthony Caro and Claes Oldenburg.

Located within a short drive of the four Laurel Highlands landmarks, Falling Rock at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort provides a tribute to the organic architectural style of Frank Lloyd Wright. Designed by David Merritt, who studied at Wright’s school at Taliesin and then incorporated the master’s philosophies into his own work, Falling Rock features 42 rooms, each of which is served by a butler. In addition to this top level of service, guests enjoy a pillow menu, nightly cookie turndown and exclusive access to an infinity pool.

About Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands
A magnificent mountainous region, the Laurel Highlands spans 3,000 square miles in southwestern Pennsylvania. Located an hour east of Pittsburgh, the beautiful four-season destination offers some of the most spectacular natural scenery, outstanding outdoor recreation, historic sites and attractions, family activities and world-class resorts. Notable destinations within the region include three architectural masterpieces by Frank Lloyd Wright – Fallingwater®, Kentuck Knob and Duncan House – Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Flight 93 National Memorial, Idlewild and Soak Zone, whitewater rafting at Ohiopyle State Park and more.

Located within 200 miles of the major metropolitan areas of Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cleveland and Washington D.C., the Laurel Highlands can be easily accessed from exits 67, 75, 91 and 110 of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Visitors to the Laurel Highlands can find information online at www.LaurelHighlands.org, calling 800.333.5661, www.facebook.com/laurelhighlandsPA and www.twitter.com/laurelhighlands. Established in 1958, the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization for Fayette, Somerset and Westmoreland counties in southwestern Pennsylvania. Check out the 2018 Laurel Highlands Destination Guide!

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Author: Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau

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February 2018 Real Estate Market Report

This is the February 2018 real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are going this month.

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

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What it takes to be a skier in PA.

You Have To Be a Grinder

You know folks, you have to be a real grinder to be a skier in the mid-Atlantic region of our country. We had it rolling this winter with the cold that froze one of my pipes, and created great snow making weather. This coupled with the fronts steamrolling over the Great Lakes provided wonderful lake effect snow and then…………the bottom fell out. 78 degrees last Tuesday with torrential rains coming from, what the weather service calls, a once in a 100 year event. So we go into grind mode and ski in the rain, sleet and other borderline weather that results from low pressure coming up from the Gulf and a shift in the jet stream. But again, we are resilient here in the mid Atlantic/Ohio Valley/Laurel Highlands, and our enthusiasm never wanes.

Take Robert “Wags” Wagner for instance. He is shown above with his affable smile no matter what the weather is. A successful real estate broker, Wags has a real history of enthusiasm for the Laurel Highlands. http://www.laurelhighlandsliving.com wags@abeandwags.com A veteran Green Beret, a PSIA certified alpine and telemark instructor and ski patroller, Wags always looks at the bright side no matter what. He never says “die” and to his credit, he lit his sign again to hopefully bring more snow to the region. There is a lot of history to this sign which used to reside on the balcony of his girlfriend’s condo. Adrienne lived on the third floor and it was quite a task getting the sign up there. She is now Mrs. Wags. But in later years, it was reconstructed and it sits waiting to be lit every fall outside their home off of County Line Road. Now it is lit again hoping that we salvage some snow and ski weather in Western Pa. We need some help from above for some more winter weather which may return this weekend although now it is 66 degrees.

But again, you have to be a grinder here and be willing to ski in the rain, sleet and snow and faithfully get days in locally. I spend many a day driving to Laurel Mountain no matter what the weather. I even went to a snowmakers website http://www.chssnowmakers.com – Jason Sawin at jsawin@chssnowmakers.com , and purchased a pair of water proof snowmaking gloves to go with my Patagonia Pro Gore Tex bibs and parka. I am totally dry now that I have solved the issue of wet gloves. Like my friends, I will ski to the last flake especially here in Western Pa. Even if it is a soggy flake.

However, truth be told, you do have to subsidize your local days with out of town ski days, out west, or in New England. In the last two years, with the weather and all, I must confess that I have more ski days out of town than locally. My wife and I take trips with our friends and in a few weeks, I will finish off the season with the annual guys trip which this year is slated for Colorado. But like I tell people, you can’t always be out west unless you live there and we live in the mid-Atlantic so we make the best with trips and skiing the local scene no matter what.

But what is up with this weather, man? I have been hiking in this biblical rain., skiing, taking spin classes and trying to stay positive- like Wags. But it is tough when the meat of the winter is taken away by some gulf, moisture laden,sopping wet, low pressure system that seems to linger on and on. Good thing is the west is getting snow seeing that they had it a little thin early in the season. But hey, it could be worse. Just like I always say, ” Things always look darkest before they turn black.”……….. Just kidding!! Truly grateful for many things. Thanks for reading.

Go to Pats Blog for more stores about skiing, biking, and hiking in SW PA.

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The Day the Dupres Disappeared at 7 Springs

1975TrailMap

At one time we blogged on Active Rain. This was a post Abe wrote about the history of Seven Springs and how the change of ownership was removing the Dupres from the resort.

 

We recently discovered that the “Dupre” meeting room at Seven Springs has been renamed “Wintergreen” and that all of the history of the family that created Seven Springs is off the walls. In 1994 Abe wrote this story to honor “Grandma Dupre” and the family legacy. Yes, it’s long but you don’t build a resort in less than 200 words!

In Fond Memory of Helen Kress Dupre

1902-1994

… honoring the years of hard work and dedication she and her family have contributed to creating the Seven Springs we know, love and enjoy today.

Yesterday…

In 1927, Adolph Dupre was raccoon hunting with some friends from Ligonier. A moonshiner, defending his still, took a shot that came uncomfortably close to his ear. The men hightailed it out of the forest! But Adolph just couldn’t forget the magic and beauty of those woods.

Helen Kress cast her own magical spell on Adolph as they dated only three months before tying the knot! The same year they were married, he returned to the woodlands and purchased two and a half acres for thirteen dollars at a tax sale.

 Helen and Adolph made their living from forest management, producing maple syrup, building and maintaining the farm and eventually from renting the cottages they built from the land. Over 20 years, a total of 28 cottages with native stone, hand-hewn beans, slab siding and their own individual half-acre lakes were completed.

Adolph knew that the business and professional people from Pittsburgh and Greensburg (even then) needed a place to escape. Helen had her hands full with the awesome responsibility of feeding and attending to the guests. The three kids began doing chores as soon as they were able to walk! The Dupres kept reinvesting their profits into more land. Adolph was a well-known man at the Somerset courthouse.

Finn Ronne, a prominent Antarctic explorer working for Westinghouse Research, knocked on their door on winter day in 1931. He told the Dupres that he had been to Harrisburg to research records and find out where the “snowiest” place was and that this was it. He wanted permission to ski.

Adolph liked Finn so much that he built him a warming hut. Other skiers weren’t so welcomed, though. You see, the barbed wire fence that enclosed the pasture that the ski slope dumped into stayed up all year round. The skiers had to jump it or try to ski under it, often times ripping their clothes and damaging the fence. Adolph was forever mending it.

In 1935, the first mechanical rope tow, powered by a Packard Automobile engine, was installed for the skiers on Suicide Hill. They used the car wheels, without the tires, as pulleys to carry his tow. It provided smooth channels for the rope.

Twenty-seven years of backbreaking work saw tremendous growth for the homesteaders. They now boasted a club house (the Tyrol house), a ski lodge, nighttime skiing, seven rope tows, six slopes, nine trails and two tennis courts. Adolph passed away in 1955. Helen, Herman, Philip and Luitgarde pushed on with the dream.

The 60’s came with a new indulgent outlook on life. Helen never understood the hippie generation. She said. “You’ve got to have a purpose – something to work for. We’ve never had time to stop & wonder if we’re happy because there is always to much work to be done.”

And work they did. The 60’s saw the private club change to the world-famous resort. The first snowmaking system was installed, construction of the new lodge was completed and an additional 73 deluxe rooms and four executive suites had to be added.

Dining rooms were opened as well as ski shops. Seven Springs became a municipality, two lounges were opened, ski rentals were now available in the lodge and a convention hall with a seating capacity of 1.500 was added to the main lodge.

The next decade saw the opening of the 18-hole golf course, the construction of Lake Tahoe for an expanded snowmaking system and the completion of the ten-story high rise that added 313 rooms to the resort. Exhibit Hall, racquetball courts, a 3,000-foot airport runway and a new ski lodge were also constructed.

In the 80’s, Kettler Forlines was invited to become the exclusive builder developer for Seven Springs, offering resort living in condominiums and townhouse communities in Swiss Mountain and the Villages. Major expansions for skiing and snowmaking occurred, including three triple chairlifts and one quad lift that increased lift capacity in over 20,400 skiers per hour, the addition of Giant Steps, Gunnar Slope and Turtleneck Trail (a skiable terrain which exceeded 500 acres), and the opening of the Learn-To-Ski area for beginners and the installation of the NASTAR race course.

Today (1994)…

The Dupres have grown from a family of five with humble beginnings to a family employing a staff of 1,400 in the winter and more than 800 year round that services one million customers annually. The 90’s are here. Two years ago, Seven Springs celebrated its 60th anniversary. Now that Helen is gone, you may wonder what direction Seven Springs will take. Well, the visionaries are still here. The underlying belief that people want to get away from it all is still deeply imbedded in the Dupre’s philosophy.

Seven Springs is currently working with professional consulting firms in the ski and resort industries to map out plans and improvements for the next five years. They’re reviewing slope planning and development, traffic patterns, food, bar, and hotel services as well as other amenities that may be up and coming. As the builder/developer for Seven Springs, we have agreed that a goal of 40 new homes a year is in line with their game plan.

This year alone you will see improvements totaling in excess of three million dollars at the resort. The indoor swimming pool has a new look from ground up, the hotel lobby has been renovated and new carpeting will appear in many of the lounges, restaurants and meeting rooms. New interior signage has been added, a state-of-the-art bowling alley is up and running (AMF AccuScore automatic scoring machines that speaks ten languages!) and the golf course has a new Verticut mowing unit and a computerized irrigation system. Hair Expressions is expanding and providing additional services, “Calasis at the Springs” will offer facials, pedicures and waxing (look for special discounts for homeowners!) and a new fly fisherman’s club (catch and release) is forming for 1995.

Family fun and adventures are prominent in Seven Springs’ future. Activities for your family in the summer include bonfires with cookouts and hayrides, horseback riding, mountain biking, volleyball, racquetball, golfing, tennis, shuffleboard, bocci, Alpine slide, bowling, swimming and miniature golf.

For the children, Kid’s Korner offers child care services seven days a week for kids that are of walking age of older. Then there is Kid’s Kamp that features sporting events, nature studies, arts & crafts, hayrides, picnics, fishing and indoor and outdoor games for ages 5-12. Lunch and snacks are provided as well as half and full day sessions. Three and five day packages are also available

Festivals have become a real crowd pleaser over the last few years. Mark your calendars for the Wine & Food Festival, Autumnfest/Open Houses, Polkafest and the newest, the Laurel Arts Jazz Festival. It features three days of jazz from Brazilian to BeBop. Day, evening, and weekend passes are available.

Tomorrow…

Twelve years later the resort is sold to the Nutting Family ending the Dupre’s 74 year dream. Family to family, growth and progress continue.

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January 2018 Real Estate Market Report

This is the January 2018 real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are going this month.

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

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Tough teaching an old dog new tricks Pat McClosky

It is Tough to Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

by patmccloskey

Go to Pats Blog for all the photos.

So,I am up here in the Adirondacks visiting my old friend Mike Smith who I have skied with for 45 years. I have posted about Mike before. Acrobatic pilot, skydiver, marina owner, and general gas pedal to the floor guy. That is him on the left in the picture above. The other guy is Mark Hutchinson, my friend from Vermont. Ex ski race coach at Stowe and PSIA Level III 40 year ski instructor. Hutch coached Eric Schlopy and Chip Knight who were US Ski Team members, World Cup racers, and Olympians. Hutch knows skiing and makes great turns.

Now going back to Mike on the left, he has been hampered as of late with some knee issues because of past sins on a motorcycle. So, I have been hammering him on the use of the new ski equipment which allows for easier turns and shorter lengths. Despite the knee issues, he refuses to ski on the modern skis and insists on skiing with a 20 year old pair of Heads. He ridicules us for using the new skis and vows that he never will even try them and hurls a bunch of expletives which I cannot recount here. Hutch on the other hand, is a proponent of modern ski equipment and will never even think about skiing on anything that is not state of the art. He has had two hip replacements and is skiing like he did 30 years ago. He is in good shape, skis really well, all day long.

Now Smith, because of his knee issue, will only ski half a day any more and if it is not perfectly groomed, he will not ski. He is trying to preserve his knee. So when a foot of new snow fell on Sunday night and we went to Gore, I pulled out the fat boards( 107 under foot) and enjoyed the windblown powder and the skis performed flawlessly in the cut up snow as well. Smith said no way with his old skis and went to the lodge. I told him how easy the new fat boards are but he had no interest. His curmudgeon attitude was coming out strong and he missed a perfectly good ski day

The Summit Chair at Whiteface was beckoning the next day, and as Hutch and I got ready to board, Mike said he would just ski the lower groomed trails and missed all the new fluff at the top of the mountain. Again, his old skis were limiting his fun but he refused to try the new skis that I sent up to him. He has a nice pair of Stockli GS skis in a 183 length sitting in his rack at his marina and refuses to try them. When Hutch and I rode him hard at The Cottage after skiing, over a nice Switchback Ale, he once again rattled off a bunch of lines about how he will never use skis like we use. Hutch and I had a great day at Whiteface, Mike once again packed it in at noon.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to paint a bad picture of my old friend, but he refuses to listen to advice about new equipment that would make his skiing so much more enjoyable and also easier on his knee. Mike has always been a good skier but if you don’t keep up with the times, you are limiting yourself and it only accelerates with age. Granted, Mike is a few years older that Hutch and me and has had a plethora of injuries due to his high risk hobbies. He says, ” McCloskey, I have 100,000 miles on my body and it is starting to show.” And I keep telling him that if he would only try the new skis that I sent to him, he would be so much happier. He said, ” when the Heads break, maybe I will try them.” That is the closest thing I have gotten up here to a capitulation. For a guy who has a successful business, survived 3 plane crashes, and has jumped close to 2500 times out of an airplane, he has lived all of his dreams for sure. We love the guy.

The tough part is that Hutch and I ski all day. We can do that because we take care of ourselves and we use equipment that helps our skiing. Mike admitted that he was sorry that he could not ski all day with us, but it is not for lack of skill, or even the knee, it is his refusal to come into the 21st century and it is costing him time on the hill with his buddies. He is an excellent skier. He could be so much better. He also needs to take care of that knee somehow with some surgery that would render it new again. But that is another discussion that did not go well.

Again, I was a smiling dog on top of Whiteface, and so was Hutch. But I missed my old friend when he threw in the towel and went in at lunchtime. So, what lies ahead? I think I have finally admitted to myself that I will not change Mike’s mind and it will only be him that makes any change. That seems to be a recurring theme with me anyhow and I need to let things go and let people make their own decisions. I can’t force my opinions and beliefs on anyone. I need to let people decide for themselves and if I have presented my case and they don’t follow the advice or the suggestion, I need to let it go. I am hoping that my buddy will get competitive again and get on the new boards and ski with his pals who so desperately want to ski with him. He is a crusty old tough guy, but I know he wants to be able to ski like he has always done in the past. So, if you see him up at the Pilot Knob Marina on Lake George, tell him to hang those old Heads up over his fireplace and get with the times. But don’t tell him I said so, because he will throw you in the lake. Thanks for reading and stay current in all that you do.

patmccloskey | February 8, 2018 at 11:47 am | Tags: Gore Mountain Ski Area, The Cottage- Lake Placid, Whiteface Ski Area | Categories: Aging, Friendship, outdoor activities, outdoor sports, Outdoors, Skiing, Uncategorized, Winter, winter sports | URL: https://wp.me/p31Q99-TP

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NAR Issue Brief on new Tax Code

Our National Realtor Association created this issue brief and we believe whether you are buying, selling or just own a home this is valuable information and you should discuss this with your tax advisor.

Tax Reform Review

 

 

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December and 2017 Real Estate Market Report

This is the December and all of 2017 real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are going this month.

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

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November 2017 Real Estate Market Report

This is the November 2017 real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are going this month.

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

Play VisualTour
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October 2017 Real Estate Market Report

This is the October 2017 real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are starting this year.

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

 

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TAX REFORM, HOME OWNERSHIP MATTERS!

Tax Reform, specifically HOW the mortgage interest deduction will be changed, is something EVERY Home Owner needs to understand! According to a study done by Price Waterhouse IF the mortgage interest deduction is passed as presented, of the 80% of home owners who take the deduction ONLY 5% would still qualify! For properties in PA you would no longer be able to deduct property taxes! Click this link and Let Your Elected Rep Know Where You Stand!

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Fast Freddie by Pat McCloskey

Fast Freddie

by patmccloskey

The first time I skied with Fred Siget was in Snowshoe, West Virginia with Larry Walsh of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. I had some limited training but had experience as a ski instructor. So, as my maiden voyage with a visually impaired skier, I had the original blind skier in our area in front of me headed down Cupp Run. Right turn, left turn, right turn, stay, stay………..all of a sudden the only tree in play was before me as I yelled “crash” and Fred sat down on his way to running into the only tree within hundreds of yards. I felt so bad, but Fred dusted himself off with a smile and said, ” Pat- don’t worry about it at all. This will be one of many.” And we continued down the slope. This began a 40 year friendship with the one and only Fast Freddie Siget.

Fred lost his vision as a result of an accident with a high pressure hose when he was a volunteer fireman. As devastating as this injury was, he was undaunted. He became the first computer programmer for Koppers Corporation that was visually impaired. He continued dancing, and he learned to ski with guys like Larry Walsh, Jim Conley, Lynne(Kravetz) Hartnett, Shorty Leco and Micky Hutchko. People who took the time to work with Fred and make him into a pretty good skier by the time I came along. Fred always had ideas on how to make things easier for blind skiers and how to improve guiding techniques. He was the first guy I knew that purchased a transmitter where the guide had a microphone and he had an ear piece which made calling out commands easier and understandable with snowmaking machines roaring in the background. I used it one time standing on top of a slope and calling commands to Fred as he skied by himself down to the chairlift. With his” Blind Skier” jacket on, people were shocked viewing his run. In the bar afterwards, we had some fun with Herman Dupre the owner of Seven Springs Mountain Resort. I put the microphone on and guided Fred over in front of Herman and told him to tell Herman how much he admired his red flannel shirt. Herman was stunned and later remarked to me laughing that he was starting to “get hot thinking about all the free passes I gave to Fred and now he is telling me how much he likes my shirt!” Hilarious.

Fred was a bus driver in the old days and always missed driving. One night after skiing, I asked Fred if he wanted to drive again. He was puzzled. I took him to the upper parking lot at Seven Springs and guided him into the drivers seat of my Blazer and let him have the wheel. I gave him commands like skiing. Right turn, left turn, stay straight, …the smile on his face was priceless. Then we did some donuts and the laughter was infectious. Fred never forgot that night.

Fred was always anxious to help new guides. He put himself at risk during the training but always felt that it was worth it not only to train guides that could assist him, but to help the other visually impaired skiers who were beginning to show up at the BOLD( Blind Outdoor Leisure Development) outings at Seven Springs.

Fred was a local legend due to his skiing. People knew him and admired him as they skied past him or saw him making turns from the chairlift. They knew him in Vail, Colorado where he skied regularly with the Mon Valley and Pittsburgh Ski Clubs. But perhaps the most compelling thing about Fred was his kindness and appreciation for his fellow skiers and guides. He always remembered your birthday and when he called me, he sang, ” Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, get plastered, you bastard, Happy Birthday to you.” That made me laugh out loud every year. He would always ask about my wife Janet, and my son Jack. Jack would ski with us when he was a young guy and Fred always was interested in how he was doing in school and in his sports. Fred always thought about other people. He was popular for his skiing for sure, but as a person, you could not get a better guy who was always interested in others and never talked much about himself.

We lost Fred this fall at 94 years of age. Although he had an amazing life, we will miss him. I always think of him when I see people who have heartache in their lives or something that has tragically shaped their future. Fred never let his accident slow him down. He always said that he did more as a visually impaired individual than he ever did before losing his sight. He took a perceived bad thing and turned it into opportunity. Shouldn’t we all learn from that lesson? R.I.P Fred, I will miss you for sure. Thanks for reading folks.

patmccloskey | October 19, 2017 at 11:31 am | Tags: Blind Outdoor Leisure Development, Seven Springs Mountain Resort | Categories: Aging, Blind Skiing, Inspiration, outdoor activities, outdoor sports, Outdoors, recreation, Skiing, Volunteering, Winter, winter sports | URL: http://wp.me/p31Q99-Ri

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September 2017 Real Estate Market Report

This is the September 2017 real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are starting this year.

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

 

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TAX REFORM

Our National Association of REALTORS has been actively engaged in the tax reform debate. The plan is expected to double the standard deduction and eliminate all personal deductions except the Mortgage Interest Deduction and the deduction for Charitable Contributions. The plan eliminates the deduction for State and Local Taxes. This will be devastating to middle class homeowners by removing economic incentives for homeownership and raising taxes by an average of $851. By doubling the standard deduction, the Mortgage Interest Deduction would only be available to the top 5 percent of taxpayers.

PLEASE LET YOUR REPRESENTATIVES KNOW HOW YOU FEEL!!

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The Oldest Guy by Pat McCloskey

The Oldest Guy

by patmccloskey

 

” Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming,” Wow! WHAT A RIDE!”

-Hunter S. Thompson

I have also heard this with the ending, ” missing parts, leaking oil and screaming “Geronimo.” I always subscribe to this way of living because I like adventure, travel and experiences in my own way. However, due to a series of events recently, I have had some thoughts that question my verve. Some of this began a couple of weeks ago when I was discovering that I was the oldest guy on the mountain bike rides. I really should not let that bother me but with the death of my brother in law at 61, and some other news of contemporaries who have had their troubles, I began to question my lifestyle as I march quickly towards 63. Sometimes, I feel like I am in an out of control vehicle and can’t stand on the brakes hard enough. Life is screaming by.

Then God plops me down right in the middle of Somerset county in an old barn for Biff Swager’s 65th birthday party( Is that the greatest name in the world?……Biff Swager!!!). Biff’s wonderful wife Annie organized the surprise party and all the old ski crowd came out in force. The food was wonderful, the band was GREAT, and the group danced their asses off( no other good way to put it), yes they danced their asses off and the joy of life was in full swing. Sue Baum Treacy summed it up best when she marveled at the group and vowed that we all have to get together this winter and ski because that is what brought us all together as kids in the first place. She and her husband John walk the walk by recently retiring and hopping on the back of their motorcycle, touring the west.

So, that was a real shot in the arm and dispelled any thoughts about age when I saw my group of contemporaries really enjoying each other’s company and killing it on the dance floor- of an old barn. Even Herman Dupre who is in his 80s, said he has so much work to do, he wants to live until he is 124. His wife Sis said “I will give him 100 from me and that is it.” We all laughed and as I drove off into the night, I thought what a great group and a great reason to keep living life as large as possible. You don’t have to climb Everest or do something outrageous to be adventurous. For me, taking that first ski turn down a chute out West, or rolling over a giant boulder field in West Virginia on the MTB is adventurous. Just have a positive attitude and engage in new ventures. The joy of a bike ride in cool fall weather can garner the same feeling of adventure that Jimmy Chin feels on a mountain peak. Not as dramatic, not as bold, but still relatively speaking, a personal adventure. Do what you can but like NIKE says…………just do it!!!

I remember asking Scot Nicol, the founder of IBIS Bicycles, one time on a ride,” how long do you think we can keep riding mountain bikes like this Scot?” He looked at me and said, ” Pat- don’t even think about it. Just keep riding.” This is sage advice from a Californian who really enjoys what he does. But what else dispels those internal thoughts that say, ” you are 63- who are you kidding?” Besides the joy of a ski turn and the beauty of the mountains, and the fitness created by riding a mountain bike, there are things that define self worth. The love of a spouse, the caring for friends, volunteering, being there for a cause, and spreading the good word of the Kingdom. True self worth is nothing more that knowing you are loved by the Good Lord. We are so blessed. It is incumbent upon all of us to care for each other, one person at a time, one neighborhood at a time. Make the effort folks, because as I have recently seen, life is fragile and we need to make the most of every moment. The time that is spent with your family and friends is so valuable. Sometimes you don’t realize it until someone is gone.

I know where I am going someday. But in the mean time, I will definitely leak oil, skid broadside in a cloud of smoke, and live life with that promise ahead of me. Who cares if I am the oldest guy? Thanks for reading.

patmccloskey

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Fall Foliage Forecast by PennLive


By Marcus Schneck mschneck@pennlive.com
Unseasonably hot, dry weather throughout much of September may have doomed hopes for a particularly vibrant fall-foliage period this fall in much of Pennsylvania.

“Several factors lead me to believe that what looked to be an excellent fall foliage year has been mitigated by this latest hot, dry weather pattern, coupled with outbreaks of maple anthracnose in a fair number of areas,” noted Ryan Reed, the environmental education specialist in the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources who compiles the weekly fall foliage report for the state.

“Despite this, there will be good fall foliage viewing throughout the state in forthcoming weeks. One may have to simply travel further between areas of brilliant color.”

For now, he said, fall foliage season continues in its preliminary stages statewide. Some northern-tier forest districts are showing more than 50 percent color in stands of northern hardwoods like maple, cherry and birch.

Central and southern forests are showing strong indicators of future color, with bittersweet, Virginia creeper, dogwood, walnut, hickory, birch and a few maples sprinkling color over the landscape.

The recent warm spell seems to have slowed the color transition, and even forced early leaf-drop in some areas.

Southwestern Counties (Allegheny, Washington, Greene, Westmoreland, Fayette and Somerset counties): In Forbes State Forest, peak color is expected during the first and second weeks (Negro Mountain and Laurel Ridge) in October.

The Laurel Highlands are separated by three separate ridges that vary in elevation, often leading to a succession of peak foliage. The Mt. Davis Division encompasses the highest point in Pennsylvania and peaks before any other region of the Laurel Highlands. The Laurel Ridge, extending from Ohiopyle to Seward, is the next area to peak, followed by the western-most areas of the Laurel Highlands, Chestnut Ridge, and Pittsburgh area.

Southern Region (Area south and east of a line through southern Monroe, Dauphin, Bedford and southeastern Somerset Counties): In Buchanon State Forest, several vine species (poison ivy, Virginia creeper, bittersweet) are adding early red and yellow colors to the forest edges. Hickories and birches on drier sites have also turned yellow. Route 30 offers a pleasant view of the Buchanon State Forest, and Tower Road and Bark Road vistas reveal beautiful scenery in the valley.

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The Bike and Box Turtle by Pat McClosky

So, I am pounding up the Bathtub Trail, kind of clearing my head on a solo mountain bike ride this week and I come upon a box turtle right in the middle of the trail. I did something unusual- I stopped. I checked him out and marveled at the way the color of his shell blended in with the rapidly changing leaves all around me. I looked at the texture of his shell and thought to myself, what a wonderful Creator who weaved this beautiful ecosystem we have to enjoy right in my own county park. As I made my way up the trail, I noticed the diversity of the leaves that were beginning to cover the ground. Flaming red maple leaves, brilliant yellow oak leaves, multicolored ash, chestnut, and other species of deciduous trees that spread their foliage like a patchwork blanket before me. Fall has arrived and I am contentedly happy.

Usually I try to ride for a good workout and push myself, even on solo rides. But this day was reserved for more pleasant riding, kind of like mobilized hiking enjoying the natural world all around me. At this time of year, the trails are usually dry and you can pretty much ride as fast as you can and feel “in the zone” as you rail the corners and pound up the hills. This is the time when most of us are in peak shape and the euphoria that you feel after a fast paced ride is intoxicating. But, there are days in the fall when I like to just ride the bike for relaxed transportation in a world that is peaceful, welcoming, and shelters you from the pressures of the real world. The changing leaves are all around and along with the shorter evenings, the cooler temperatures, and the smell of the tannin in the leaves displays something that Western Pa. has in it’s bag of tricks to entice travelers and natives alike. If you are out in it, close your eyes and take a deep breath of that musty, woodsy, cool air into your lungs. Only at this time of year does it smell like that. Summer fragrances, winter blasts of cold air,spring evening smells, are all good eye closing intakes, but the fall air is the best.

The mountain trails in our Laurel Highlands are coming alive with color, and arm warmers, vests, tights, are all practical wear as the cooler temperatures welcome in the coming winter season.

But back to the box turtle. Instead of using him as a speed bump, I took the time to examine him and notice how he fits in. The diversity of the changing flora seem to welcome him as part of their patchwork of color. The buck are starting to surface and as they stare at you with their fully grown racks, they are part of this diversified animal kingdom that makes up the forest in the mountains and parks of Western Pa. Turkey, grouse, groundhogs, raccoons, birds of all species, including the majestic osprey and red tail hawk, are busy preparing for the long winter ahead. Bald eagles are visible in the mountains and their wingspans continually amaze me as I stop to take in their flight pattern in the ridges to the east. I see open chestnut pods releasing their treasure to the scurrying squirrels and chipmunks. Acorns,and seeds of all kinds are being scooped up by very busy little rodents who take great chances using the trails full of hikers and mountain bikers. The come perilously close to losing their life as they dodge the knobby tires of the many bikes on the trails.

But as my mind wandered, I thought about how all of this fits together. The trees, the leaves, the animals, all form the ecosystem that we call the forest. As I ride along, not in anaerobic debt, I take in the smells, the sounds, and the sights of a changing natural world. Yet it is one entity created out of a patchwork of diversity. Kind of makes you think doesn’t it? Enjoy the fall. Thanks for reading.

patmccloskey | September 28, 2017 at 11:41 am | Tags: Laurel Highlands | Categories: American Culture, Bicycling, Culture, Cycling, Diversity, Environment, Faith, Inspiration, Mountain Biking, outdoor activities, outdoor sports, Outdoors, recreation, trails | URL: http://wp.me/p31Q99-QP

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August 2017 Laurel Highlands Real Estate Market Report

This is the August 2017 real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are starting this year.

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

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July 2017 Laurel Highlands Market Report

This is the July 2017 real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are starting this year.

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

Play VisualTour
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A Natural Cause by Pat McCloskey


Go to Pat’s blog for the story with photos
A Natural Cause
by patmccloskey

A number of years ago, my wife Janet and I were strolling through Sausalito, California when we came upon a gallery featuring the art works of Grace Slick. Now, I was a huge fan of the Jefferson Airplane when I was younger and Grace fronted the band with her sultry yet powerful voice. I was pleasantly surprised to see that she was also a very talented painter held in great esteem in the Bay Area. People surprise you. Not that you think they are not capable, but it is a pleasant surprise to see folks from one genre of accomplishment, move into another with relative ease. Case in point- my friend Angelo Ross.
I first met Angelo while we both were ski instructors and he was making his way up the PSIA ladder to his current position as a Development Team member of the Educational Staff. Angelo always took ski instruction seriously along with his main line of work as an Environmental Science teacher at Greensburg Salem High School here in Western Pa. I also ride mountain bikes with Angelo and on a recent trip to West Virginia, he told me about yet another passion that has turned into a very interesting business.
You see, Angelo is a talented artist whose work has developed over the years and now is featured on athletic and casual wear.
The story goes that Angelo became acquainted with the equally talented folks at Commonwealth Press in Pittsburgh who saw the value of his work and mentioned to him that they should begin the process of marketing Angelo’s art work on casual and athletic wear. Thus was the birth of http://www.naturalcause.org One of the interesting things about this is that Angelo is marketing his art work through the medium of clothing, but he has another cause in mind besides pure mercantilism. You see, he lives Environmental Science – his passion, and therefore is dedicated to furthering the goals of local environmental causes like the Youghiogheny Defense Fund. This is part of the Mountain Watershed Project http://www.mtwatershed.com which preserves the environmental integrity of the Youghiogheny River among other waterways in our region. Whitewater rafting and fishing are prominent in these waterways and Angelo is dedicated to preserving these for generations to come. A portion of all proceeds that he generates through Natural Cause goes to organizations like these. Another cause for his generosity and passion is the Mt. Davis Challenge bicycle race, run in conjunction with the Confluence Tourism Association which promotes recreational activity in the Laurel Highlands. Jim Sota runs the event and it has been a successful race for many years. Angelo supports the cause. The man walks the walk and does not just talk the talk.
I am continually amazed by people. You know them through one area of your life and then you realize that there is much more to this person than you thought. People have abilities that cross over in their lives and it is refreshing to see that a young guy who you know from skiing and mountain biking has such a passion and such a talent and that he is creative enough to market it and donate to causes that reflect his passion.
I love hearing the stories like Natural Cause. I like to hear how they were created and how the business is doing. There is a lot of negativity swirling around these days and I make it my business to always be positive and encouraging. It is great when I see positive attitude and generosity come from others like Angelo. Natural Cause is a breath of fresh air to our local environmental causes and I hope that you all will go to his website http://www.naturalcause.org, view Angelo’s art work, and order some product. You can wear it with pride knowing that your money has been well spent and that the beneficiary of your generosity are the watersheds, trails, and events that make our region so special. Well done Angelo Ross!!! Thanks for reading.
patmccloskey | July 27, 2017 at 11:59 am | Tags: Mt. Davis Challenge, www.mtwatershed.com, www.naturalcause.org, Youghiogheny River | Categories: American Culture, Art, Bicycling, Culture, Cycling, Education, Environment, Friendship, Hobbies, Inspiration, Mountain Biking, outdoor activities, outdoor sports, Outdoors, Pittsburgh, recreation, trails | URL: http://wp.me/p31Q99-Po

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Hidden Valley Mountain Metric

This is a mountain bike “ride” through the Laurel Highlands on July 15! Options include a metric century (100 km/63 miles), a half metric century (50 km/32 miles), and a free shorter option for casual riders and families. Ride is fully supported and includes 6 categorized climbs!  Get your climb on, get out of the oppressive heat of the city and come enjoy the Laurel Highlands with your friends and family! Here’s the link for registration and more details!

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Independence Day

In honor of our Independence Day here’s a short video from Schoolhouse Rock on how bills get to become laws. As simple as it is, “I’m Just a Bill” helps us to understand the process and the work it takes to turn a bill into law. It also reminds us of how important it is to voice where we stand to our elected representatives.  This video is something you might consider sharing with your children. It’s never too early to help the next generation understand how governance is supposed to work.

 

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Laurel Hill State Park Summer Fun!

We LOVE Laurel Hill State Park! Here are a few of their offerings for this month! Easy to get to from either resort! Call if you have questions, 814-352-8649

  • July 8 Hemlock Hike 4 to 5pm
  • July 8 Moonlight Paddle 9 to 11pm
  • July 12 & 26 Wednesday on the Water 6 to 7:30pm
  • July 15 Bat Facts 8to 9pm
  • July 22 Learn to Kayak 10am to noon & 1 to 3pm
  • July 22 Wild Teas 7 to 8pm
  • July 29 Beginner Bowmanship 9am to 11
  • July 29 Wildflower Walk 7 to 8pm

 

 

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Mortgage Interest Deduction

If you own a home and itemize, one of your deductions may be for your mortgage interest. If the plan that is being considered NOW is enacted studies show that the 75% of home owners who currently use the deduction could be reduced to 5%! For PA homeowners, property taxes would no longer be deductible either! OUCH! Think about HOW this will impact our ability to sell homes! 

A change like this could make us a nation of renters instead of home owners! We strongly encourage you to check out how this might impact you and let your elected representatives know where you stand!

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Route 31 Road Construction

It began May 8 and has a very long way to go!! When you exit the PA Turnpike at Donegal be prepared to experience delays! The project begins just above the turnpike exit and continues down to the turn to Route 711 at Sarnelli’s. In a months time much has been done with much more to come! Please pack your patience and watch out for the workers!

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National Flood Insurance EXPIRES Sept 30!

The last time the National Flood Insurance was allowed to expire approximately 40,000 transactions, a MONTH didn’t happen!! WHY? Because if your property is in a flood zone area AND you don’t have flood insurance, NO bank will finance it! Being active in our local, state, and national Realtor Associations has allowed Abe to meet face to face with elected representatives in DC and Harrisburg to explain WHY it is critical to ensure it doesn’t expire again! Check out the information slides!  

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Memories of Memorial Day

Remember

by patmccloskey

One of my most memorable family trips was when we ventured on a bus tour to Washington, DC. Rob and Denise Dunbar, our friends, organized the trip and one of the highlights was a tour of the White House. Rob’s grandfather was a U.S Congressman and Rob and Denise knew the ropes to getting our security clearance and a tour of a truly magnificent historical residence.

Everyone needs to do this trip several times because there are so many historically significant monuments to see as well as the varied museums and galleries. Our nation’s capitol is remarkable any time of the year and I can’t wait to go back someday. But the memory that sticks out to me, even to this day, was when we were immersed in the solemnity at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The silence of the crowd was definitely noticeable as we watched the guard meticulously march in front of the tomb in the prescribed cadence and number of steps. This ceremony goes on at all times in all weather – night and day. It is a true honor to be chosen as one of the guards in this prestigious ceremony and we were all placed in a somber, reverent mood when we made our way through Arlington National Cemetery. Standing in that silent, and tranquil setting, my eyes gazed upon the rows and rows of the graves of the fallen soldiers who had been buried there. As far as the eye could see, the perfectly aligned sites,adorned with the white monuments bearing the statistics of the fallen, made me stop rigid in my tracks- taking in the enormity of the moment. I am a history buff, as you know from former posts, and I took some time to reflect on all of the wars, the sacrifices, the honored dead that were privileged enough to be laid to rest there. You could not help but think about the service that our men and women in uniform afford us, protecting our freedom every day, in the most demanding of situations world wide. I thought about my Uncle Jack, a B-24 Bomber Pilot in World War II, who flew 52 missions over Italy in the Anzio Campaign. Coming back each night with hundreds of flak holes in his fuselage, only to be repaired and sent out the next day on yet another perilous mission.

I always admire anyone who has served in the military. Their courage, dedication, and sacrifice, is most exemplary. As the song goes, ” Some gave all, all gave some.” On the bus ride back , I sat in silence as my family slept and thought about how close I was to serving. I had a #11 draft number in college and had the Vietnam war continued on one more year, I would have been plucked from my comfortable early post office lounge in my dorm room and splatted down in some rice paddy in South Vietnam battling the North Vietnamese. I am friends with many who went and served and I respect them so wholeheartedly. What a rugged and unforgiving experience they had. Some made it back and some did not. I pray for their families and for all the families of the service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. They should never be forgotten and if you ever stand in the center of Arlington, the moment and experience will be forever etched in your memory.

So, as we embark on the holiday weekend, with our picnics, our mountain bike rides, hikes, horseback rides or rounds of golf, let’s all take a moment and remember those silent warriors who are buried in Arlington and in other sites around the world. Memorial Day is the official start to summer for sure, but it should never be lost on any of us, what the true meaning of that day is to our country. God bless and protect our service men and women and thanks for reading.

patmccloskey | May 25, 2017 at 4:37 pm | Tags: Arlington National Cemetery, B-24 Bomber, Billy Cyrus, The White House, Vietnam War | Categories: Aging, American Culture, Inspiration, Military, Veterans, World War II | URL: http://wp.me/s31Q99-remember

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Bridge Replacements!!

PLAN NOW!! The last two *bridges* on the picture are the ones back to back on County Line Road by and just above Somerset Trust. If you stop in at the Saltlick Township office you can see the maps outlining the new one way traffic patterns!! The Rapid Bridge Replacement Project will eventually see 588 structurally deficient bridges in PA replaced. For those of us headed to Seven Springs this will mean ONE LANE traffic! There are alternative routes. Catch up with us for some other options!

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Lake Erie Fluff by Pat McCloskey

Click on Pats Name to see the article with photos.

Lake Erie Fluff

by patmccloskey

This week, the west is being pounded with “Snowmageddon”. Amazing amounts of snow in the Tahoe and Mammoth Mountain region. I can’t wait to get out there in March, but for the time being we are treated here in the east to the maddening cycle of snow and cold, rain, warmer temperatures, back to cold, ice, wind, etc. etc. etc. It takes fortitude to be a skier in the East and even if there is no snow on the ground in the city and suburbs, don’t ever underestimate the power of grooming, and snowmaking at the local resorts.

Fortunately cycles change and we are blessed periodically with a phenomena that I call Lake Erie fluff. As with the storms that come from the Pacific that bang into the Cascades, we here in the banana belt see storms that come from Canada. They roll over the warmer waters of Lake Erie which produce locally heavy snows in the Western New York areas as well as colliding with the ridges of the Laurel Highlands and produce a light powdery snow that is the fluff. Lake Erie is our “snow machine” and for those who live in the northwest corner of Pa. and Western New York, it is a reality of winter even in the cyclical winters of late. I went to school in Meadville, Pa where I wore Bean boots from September through May. But to local skiers, we look forward to these storms which can salvage the cyclical damage of the winter rain, freezing rain and warmer events.

My wife Janet and I take advantage of these storms each winter snowshoeing and skiing locally but also traveling north to the Lodge at Glendorn http://www.glendorn.com to celebrate her birthday and to take advantage of mid winter storms in the “icebox” of Pennsylvania. Snowshoeing on the local trails there is a very pleasant experience especially when the Lake Erie fluff falls softly during our outings. The crackling fires of the lodge are welcoming and we have been very fortunate to time these visits with snow events rather than warmer, rain events. We usually combine these visits with trips to Ellicottville, NY to ski at Holimont http://www.holimont.com or Holiday Valley, each of which lie directly in the path of the storms rolling across Lake Erie.

It is not uncommon here in Pa. to see blizzard conditions in the northwest corner of the state with nothing on the ground as you drive farther to the south. Then the snowpack increases as you drive into the Laurel Highlands where you see the results of the storms colliding with those ridges and emptying larger amounts of the fluff on the local areas in the region. A strange weather pattern to be sure but it enables us to have some outdoor winter activities despite not being in the more traditional snowbound areas of New England or the west.

I often hear people say that they don’t ski in the east or they don’t ski locally, they only ski out west. That is fine if you are satisfied with only a week or two enjoying your favorite winter sport. In my mind, take advantage of the local opportunities so that when you do go on a trip, you can be ready to go. In my mind, making turns is making turns. The more you make of them, the better you are prepared and also the more you can enjoy the winter. This particular winter has been a strange one but skiing Wildcat at Laurel Mountain has been a fun experience seeing that it is the steepest slope in Pennsylvania and the area has been reopened after a 10 year hiatus. I know that lapping those runs will get me ready for my Adirondack and western trips but it also has been truly enjoyable in its own right. Janet and I will be venturing north shortly and hoping for a nice dump of that Lake Erie fluff again on our visit. Our friends, Mike and Judy Smith, drive all the way from Philly to join us. They usually only ski the west but were pleasantly surprised with the Holimont experience in Western New York. Also the stay in Glendorn is memorable. Get there if you can.

patmccloskey | January 12, 2017 at 11:28 am | Tags: Holimont, Laurel Mountain Ski Area, Seven Springs Mountain Resort, The Lodge at Glendorn | Categories: outdoor activities, outdoor sports, Outdoors, recreation, Skiing, Winter, winter sports | URL: http://wp.me/p31Q99-KT

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Pat McCloskey’s thoughts on Laurel Mt. Ski Area

The Return of a Classic Ski Area

by patmccloskey

I have skied a lot of areas in my time and most of them were in New England where there are the giant, corporately run areas and the smaller privately held areas. The smaller areas always held my interest because they had a sense of tradition and a feel of skiing in another time. Recently, in our neck of the woods, down here in the Banana Belt, Laurel Mountain came to life again this year. It went from being one of the lost ski areas to a vibrant, resurgence of a classic ski area reminiscent of those areas in New England. In fact, there is a tie to Mt. Cranmore in the Mt. Washington Valley of New Hampshire. Apparently, when the Mellon family first had the idea to develop a ski area in 1939 for the members of the prestigious Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier, they hired Hannes Schneider to lay out the trails. Hannes Schneider was the ski school director at Mt. Cranmore who was brought to the US from Austria by the industrialist Harry Gibson, a friend of Richard King Mellon. Schneider is widely acclaimed as the father of ski instruction in this country.

When you first pull past the stone entrance hut on the mountain road, you feel as if you are driving back in time. The parking lot is never full and as you make your way to the top of the mountain lodge which has been recently refurbished, you can relax in an Adirondack chair by a roaring fire and put your boots on. You can then take your brown bag lunch inside or take advantage of some good comfort food in the new bar area in the base of the lodge. The picture windows look out on the whole Ligonier Valley which is not only scenic during the day, but a sight at night if you choose to night ski. The refurbished snowmaking by HKD and the new Pistenbully groomer make the Wildcat slope a delight to ski and it is known to have the steepest vertical in the state.

I remember skiing Laurel when it was run by the state and had some amazing powder days there with Frank Pipak, a friend who took the PSIA exam the same year that I did. Although, I spent the winter prior to that exam in Sugarloaf, Maine, I often credit my runs down Lower Wildcat with preparing me for the steeper terrain that was utilized in the exam. My friend Hiller Hardie always says, ” if you want to get your legs ready for the western trips, lapping Wildcat at Laurel will put you in good form.” Your legs get a work out on lower Wildcat with the steep vertical pitch.

When Seven Springs Mountain Resort decided to bring Laurel back to life this season, along with the DCNR of the State of Pennsylvania, it was time to promote it. I have told a lot of friends about my good times at Laurel and how they must try it. Like my two snowboarding friends, Tina and Mark Sauers who were totally enthralled with the area and the family feel to the place.

We have some challenges down here in the banana belt with the weather being on the edge of rain and snow. But credit Laurel with good snowmaking and grooming to make it possible for enthusiasts like me to get the most days out of rather dismal early winter conditions. I have a lot of good memories of skiing at Laurel back in the day including fun times with my son Jack and our visits to Fort Ligonier and the Pie Shop in Laughlintown at the bottom of the mountain.

Two years ago, Hiller, John McWilliams, Jeff Balicki and John O’Toole and yours truly used our snowshoes to hike into the closed area and after unloading our packs, took two runs down Lower Wildcat. Four hours plus of hiking for two runs was “having to have it” and it showed our devotion to an area which we all loved. It is so nice now to have Carl Skylling’s new Sky Trac chairlift instead of bootpacking to claim our vertical.

So if you are a local, get over to Laurel. You won’t regret it and if you are visiting, check it out. Lower Wildcat will surprise you even if you are a veteran of steep skiing from points beyond. I am so happy it is back. Hannes is probably up there smiling at all of us. Thanks for reading.

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Update on Laurel highlands Ski Areas

Here is an update on some of the ski areas from  Appalachian Telemark Association Treasurer Jim Kapp.

Just some news you can use.

Info about Laurel Mountain: The state of P.A. spent 6.5 million dollars getting the place ready. Regraded and widen trails, HKD snowmaking. New Winch Cat. The owners of 7 Springs put additional funds in. \

The Mountain has 970 vertical. Chris Plummer is the Technical Operations Director. Signed a 10 year lease 8 years ago only 2 years left they are working to sign a 35 year lease.

 

Info about 7 Springs: Purchased 2 new groomers, Improved water lines and purchased additional ground guns. Lodge remodeled. Tyrol Building remodeled.Instead of an open floor plan it has 5 separate bedrooms with various capacities.

 The old game room next to the bowling alley is now the 710 Bistro. Nice small lounge with cozy furniture and big screen T.V. The bowling alley is also going to be redone/upgraded.

 Matterhorn updated/remodeled. Foggy Goggle new carpet and bathrooms remodeled.

All the remodeling will be finished for the end of November. They are saying now that opening day will be Black Friday. Yea! Pray for snow!

Jim Kapp

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Best Fall? Laurel Highlands or Vermont?

fall-bridge

Below a blog post by biker, skier Pat McCloskey.

My friend Helen Durfee always said that the fall season in Western Pa is just as nice as Vermont, just a little less dramatic. She grew up in the Laurel Highlands and lived the first part of her married life in Vermont. I agree that Vermont and New England are famous for “leaf peeping” but I have to say that this particular fall here in Western Pa. has been spectacular.

I have been treated to some amazing days of mountain biking and hiking this fall where I have taken the time to enjoy the color of the leaves. I have taken the time to “savor” the days like a fine steak or fresh seafood. I try to take little bites and enjoy the flavor. Like my commute to work on Squaw Run Road. I don’t go the fastest route to work but rather the scenic roads to enjoy the changes in the leaves each day. This year the changes have been remarkable.

Another contributing factor to my enjoyment of Fall 2016 has been the app that was suggested to me by my friend Eric Durfee( Helen’s husband and native Vermonter). It is called ProHDX and can be downloaded on your I-Phone. This particular app allows you to shoot a photo and really get the focus and colors sharply so that the end result is an I-Phone photo that looks particularly good compared to most. I am not a real good photographer and the only camera I have is on my I-Phone. But I have really enjoyed using this app and the convenience of the I-Phone on a ride or a hike can yield some spectacularly sharp images.

The one nice thing about a hike or taking in the view from a mountain bike is that you can avoid all of the cars packed with “leaf peepers” and enjoy the quiet transformation of the season in the woods of Western Pennsylvania. Many past seasons have been rushed with race pace rides looking at nothing other than the persons backside in front of me. Games, practices, kid’s activities take a lot of time and effort for many of us. But as you age and the seasons of rushing to activities wane, it is a great practice to slow down, take in the seasons, and enjoy the flames of the maple leaves, the golden colors of the oak trees and even the pale shading of the ferns on the forest floor. In my old backpacking days, I did take the time to hike and enjoy the fall in the Laurel Highlands. But in the many years since, those times had been replaced by soccer games, basketball games and general activities with my wife and son. Now I have a college student who does his own thing, and my wife and I are trying to slow down and enjoy what God provides for us by way of a natural display of color.

So, I guess the message here is to savor your experiences. The yearly season change where the warm days try to hang on into Indian Summer, create some spectacular viewing if you take the time to enjoy the days. You don’t have to go to the mountains to enjoy the scene. Just look out your window, your windshield, or take a walk in the neighborhood. Smell that fall aroma of leaves. See the tannin of the leaves change the creek colors. Notice the difference. Slow down. Thanks for reading.

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Keystone Balance

bobs-balance

Searching for some local artwork for the master bedroom I came across these photos of stone balances and was pleasantly surprised that they were the talent and photographic skills of old ice and rock climbing friend Tim Anderson. Tim had been restricted from the climbing world due to a shoulder injury and found he had this unique talent for stone structures and balance. These balances use unaltered stone, local rock, no glue, and are destroyed once the photo is taken. Some are so delicate of a balance the slightest breeze can knock them over. You may find Tim in one of the many local streams and locals in the Laurel Highlands. He has travelled to festivals all over the world to exhibit his unique talent. Go to his website www.KeystoneBalance.com for more.

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Laurel Mountain scheduled to open

Excerpts from recent article in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

“Finally, Laurel Mountain will be open this year for skiing. It’s finally going to happen — that’s been the feeling around here,” Buchan said.

The resort atop Laurel Mountain, along Westmoreland’s border with Somerset County, closed at the end of the 2004-05 ski season. Seven Springs signed a 10-year lease with the state in 2008 to operate the Laurel Mountain slopes.

On Friday, workers were making progress on the ski lodge after the resort was infused with $6.5 million from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Buchan said the upgrades include a modern ski lift, significant improvements to the trails, snow-making equipment and nearly double the snow-making capacity from a new pond with a 27 million-gallon capacity.

Ligonier Construction Co. in Laughlintown was awarded the $5.158 million general construction contract. Merit Electrical Group in Oakmont received a $369,800 contract.

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PINEROCKS Construction

marks-bouldersYou drive by the BHHS (first building after Out of the Fire) Donegal office every time you come to the Laurel Highlands. Mark Neiderhiser, just created a rock garden in the back parking lot! PINEROCK is his business, and he’s set up his own Stonehenge, water fall, picnic table, and throne, ALL out of boulders for you to see the work that he can do. He can be contracted for rock walls, boulderscaping, natural rocks, and boulder supplies. Stop in and take a look! Catch him at 724-455-7060.

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Transfers Through Aug 31

Through Aug 31 there were 36 transfers recorded at Hidden Valley and 24 at Seven Springs. We offer monthly real estate updates for both resorts so make sure you sign up to receive our e-mail! Or you can stop back and visit  to see what else is happening in and around!

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PENN SCENIC VIEW SOLD!

This incredible 183 acre parcel of breathtaking views, trails and a lake recently transferred. Court house records show the transfer for $999,000. For years it has been a favorite wedding destination with picturesque settings and background vistas. It has a multitude of trails, some rentals, and the main building for entertaining. Records show that the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy was the purchaser.

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Abe and Wags 5 Star Professionals for Pittsburgh 2016

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Abe and Wags Wagner have been selected as 5 Star Professions in the Real estate Industry again for 2016. They have been selected every year since the award was started in 2011. Five Star Professional surveyed Pittsburgh area residents who purchased a home price more than $150,000 within a 6-month period from June to November 2015. The final list of Agents represent less than 5% of the agents in the Pittsburgh area and they are the only agents selected that specialize in the Laurel Highlands.

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Abe and Wags Team Awarded BHHS Presidents Club Award.

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Abe and Wags Wagner were given the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices National Presidents Award recently at the William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh PA. This award is for closed sales  and places them in the top 3% of all Berkshire Hathaway agents in the United States. With their tested “Keys to Close” marketing and closing systems and their Luxury Marketing program they were able to close over $8.4M of sales with 26 Sides.

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Pursue Your Happiness

Pursue your Happiness

Just got word that the new slogan and logo for PA Tourism was has been unveiled! Take a look at the video and see what you think! It made me want to get out of the office and have some fun! Check out the Visit PA site to see it live! Look for the next editions of the state’s travel guide to be called “Happy Traveler” and the e-newsletter renamed “Happy Thoughts.”

 

 

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Abe and Wags Team earn Platinum Customer Satisfaction Award.

Seated

The Abe and Wags Team were awarded the Platinum Customer Service Award from Quality Service Certified this year. This award is based on independent customer surveys on the service provided by the Team. They are rated on areas such as communication, contracts, negotiation, follow up, and other areas of the real estate transaction. The Abe and Wags team has been given this award 9 out of the last 10 years. It is only given to 2% of the over 60,000 agents who are Quality Service Certified in the United States. You can see the rating at www.RatedAgent.com and search for Robert Wagner.

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Family Fun at our Local State Parks Feb 19-21

Family Fun at our Local State Parks Feb 19-21

If you are looking for something different to do consider visiting Laurel Hill, Laurel Ridge, or Kooser State Parks over the weekend of the 19th to the 21st! Activities may include horse drawn sleigh rides, hillbilly curling, sled dog demonstrations, live music, snowman/snow sculpture contest, and outhouse dash, guided cross-country skiing and snowshoeing (equipment available), sledding under the lights and more! 814-445-7725

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Bridge Replacement on County Line Road

Heads up!! Bids just went out for BOTH bridges on County Line Road through the PA Rapid Bridge Replacement site! Here’s a link to the site that talks about how the RBR was created. These are the two bridges you cross if you are going to 7 Springs from Champion. They are in the first 100 yards of County Line Road after east of Route 711.

The first bridge on the schedule is the second bridge before the big curve. This project is referred to as Bridge 498. The calendar shows a start time of May 2016 through April 2017

The second bridge to be replaced is the one right after you make the turn on to County Line Road to head to Seven Springs. It crosses over Indian Creek right by the ICV Trail. This project is referred to as Bridge 497. Start date on this one, Aug 2016 to May 2017.

From my conversations with the project manager there will be temporary lights installed to handle the traffic flow. Stay tuned as we’ll be updating the process. You may want to become familiar with some of our back roads!

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Avoiding the traffic backup at Sarnelli’s Corner

Sarnellis Corner

If you are coming from Seven Springs to the Donegal Turnpike Exchange you probably go through the intersection at Sarnelli’s Store. If it is a holiday weekend and after 3:00 that could be backed up with many cars. Avoid that intersection by turning right on Tannery Road about a mile before 711 off County Line Road. This is across from Back Creek Road and at the corner of the open field. Go to the stop sign and turn right again and this will take you to Route 31. Turn left to the turnpike. If you miss that turn then cross Route 711 and continue on County Line Road and go to the first stop sign. Turn right on Hellin School Road to the end, turn right on Route 31 to the Turnpike. Either alternate route should save you the time and frustration of waiting your turn to turn left at Sarnelli’s.

CLICK FOR THE MAP

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Updates to 7 Springs ski slopes

7 Springs Snowmaking

This is excerpts of a November 15 PG article by Larry Fine. 7 Springs purchased 4 Pisten Bully ParkPro snow groomers and 5 HKD SV 10 Impulse snowmaking tower at the top of North Face. Snow Boarding magazine rated the Spot as the 2 best boarding area on the East Coast. They have created an Uphill Ski Access program from 7 to 9AM for skiers who want to skin up the slopes. They are also opening the Highlands Market on County Line Road just outside of the main entrance. It will have seating for 30, offer house made food, a large craft beer selection, and grocery. Foggy Brews on the second floor of the base lodge will be open every day during ski season.

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Snowmaking starts in the Laurel Highlands

With 3 days of temperatures forecasted  to be below 30 at night snowmaking has started at both 7 Springs and Hidden Valley resort in the SW of PA. Both resort are working on getting the front intermediate slopes and trail network open. Although no opening date has been announced we could see opening this weekend. Pictures were taken earlier today.

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All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Copyright 2019.



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