August 2019 Laurel Highlands Real Estate Report

This is the August 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.


Play VisualTour
Play VisualTour

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.




Mortgage market update

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



Northwood and BHHS The Preferred Realty Merge.


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 We look forward to working with you!


~Abe and Wags~

412-897-8535 412-551-1859


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.


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.

Play VisualTour
Play VisualTour

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.


The Day the Dupres Disappeared at 7 Springs


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


… 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.


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.


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.


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!


Memories of Memorial Day


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:

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Keystone 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 for more.


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.


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.


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!


Abe and Wags 5 Star Professionals for Pittsburgh 2016


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.


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.”




Oktoberfest SALE at Rustic Lodge Furniture


The biggest sale of the year is on today at Rustic Lodge Furniture on Route 31 in Donegal. Enjoy German Food, Beer, and Wine with music by Madel Jager while you peruse the great selection of mountain theme furniture and beautiful designer ski wear, après ski wear, and outer wear, which is new for this year. See you there. 412-721-9038.


7 Springs Rib and Wing Festival July 24-26


Join us at the annual Rib and Wing festival with plenty of vendors and entertainers at 7 Springs Resort July 24-26. Here is a list and description of the food providers and entertainers.

Armadillo’s BBQ and Rib Company

Over 160 culinary awards, including Best Ribs & Sauce in America, reaffirm Armadillo’s BBQ and Rib Company’s dedication to bring you the very best. Our mobile equipment is state of the art yielding perfect barbecue every time. Weather it is a Big Texas style barbecue, a quaint little steak dinner, or everything in between; “It’s Available.”

Armadillo’s BBQ and Rib Company is the 2006/2007 Pro Football Hall of Fame Grand Champion for the Most Outstanding Ribs and BBQ Sauce. Along with our 160 Awards we were crowned Grand Champion of the Columbus Ribs and Jazz Festival 2006 and Grand Champion BBQ Sauce in the Great West Virginia Rib Cook Off “Huntington 2004, 2005 & 2006″ “Best Ribs 2004 and 2005″ plus many more!

Butch’s Smack Your Lips BBQ

Basting mop clenched in one fist, steering wheel in the other, rolling cooking pit rattling behind, Butch Lupinetti is back on the road. His destination could be Chicago, Minneapolis, Cedar Rapids or anyplace in between. But the outcome will never change. Butch will pour sweat for 20 hours a day, standing in a cloud of wood smoke, exquisitely charring tons of pork ribs, beef briskets and chickens. When it’s over he’ll be loaded and rolling again; very likely with a huge trophy and a check.

Nationally Butch has been repeatedly recognized as one of America’s great barbecue chefs. Butch has been actively competing in competitions since 1992. He has won over 400 awards, including a Grand Champion win for the State of New Jersey – a Kansas City BBQ Society sanctioned event, the Jack Daniels Invitational BBQ and The Best In The West Cook-Off in Sparks, Nevada, the super bowl of barbecue competition events, just to name a few. During those events, his sauce has won 1st place in contests such as the Great America Rib Cook-Off contest held in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2014, Butch’s Smack Your Lips BBQ won Best Ribs, Best Sauce and People’s Choice awards at the Seven Springs Rib & Wing Festival.

Pigfoot BBQ

Pigfoot BBQ Co. is owned by Jerry and Debbie Gibson. They started competing in Rib Cook-Offs in 1982 in Cleveland, Ohio at the National Rib Cook-Off, which was the first Rib Cook-Off as we know them now. Jerry and Debbie began competing professionally in 1989 and have traveled the country from Florida to Toronto, as far west as St. Louis and as far east as Boston.

Along the way they have won over 250 Awards for Best Ribs and Sauce. Including seven time winner of the People’s Choice Award in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Best Ribs and Sauce National Ribfest, Naperville, Illinois; Peoples Choice Greatest Ribs in America, Cleveland, Ohio; Best Sauce and Ribs Twin Cities Ribfest; Best Ribs in Ohio six years straight and many more awards.

Smokin Joe’s Hog Wild Barbecue

Joe is a “barbequer” by choice. He loves the art of barbeque.

Joe retired from the State of Ohio in April 2003 with 30 years of service in the Food Service Department at the Richland Correctional Institution and started his business in June of the same year. Operating a barbeque business has always been what Joe wanted to do in retirement, and now he is “Living the Dream!” Smokin Joe’s Hog Wild Barbecue has participated in rib cook-offs in seven states: New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and West Virginia. Our proudest award was Best Sauce in 2008 at the Naperville, IL Ribfest, notably the largest cook-off in the Midwest. We have won over 100 awards during the past eight years including: Best Ribs, Best Sauce, Best Brisket, and Best Beans in the Midwest.

Randita’s Food Truck

Randita’s is an all-vegan cafe serving organic, healthful, and delicious plant-based food. In addition to our restaurants in Aspinwall and Saxonburg, our mobile food trailer and catering services are available to provide your next special event with food that is good for you and good for the planet.

About The Rib & Wing Festival Entertainment

Martyr Kanin

Martyr Kanin fans run deep. They’ve compared Martyr Kanin to everything from an acoustic version of the Counting Crows to the mellow stylings of David Grey to Bob Segar to Jack Johnson. It’s tough to classify Martyr Kanin’s music as a specific genre: their plethora of originals can be anything from driving and daring to soulful and heartfelt. They also love to entertain crowds with their own versions of everything from Bon Jovi to Michael Jackson to John Denver.


North Of Mason Dixon, aka NOMaD, made a tremendous splash on the regional country scene in late 2004 after placing third in a highly publicized, country showdown competition; Since then, this steadily climbing, beyond high energy act has garnered a great deal of success and shows no signs of slowing down.

Opening for national acts like Brooks and Dunn, Toby Keith, and Rascal Flatts (to name a few), being solicited by several tourists destinations such as Ocean City, MD and the Poconos, having performed as a featured artist at some of the areas biggest events and venues (Dollar Bank Jamboree, Post Gazette Pavilion, and the Pepsi-Cola Roadhouse), and performing for such organizations as the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pittsburgh Penguins, this Pittsburgh based band delivers a refreshing and unique sound they call “Hard Rockin’ Modern Country” that defies any other description.

Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers

From the Iron City Houserockers of 1979 to the current incarnation of The Houserockers, this band has always been one of America’s hardest working rock and roll bands. A Rolling Stone review once echoed the words “they are up there with Springsteen, Petty and Seger”. Pretty good company, don’t you think?! From Love’s So Tough to A Good Life, the band has changed but the music remains true to their Pittsburgh, Steeltown roots! Hard edged, rock and roll with fine lyrics from the ringmaster, Mr. Joe Grushecky. More than just a “bar band”, a Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers show is one of the best shows you will see, hands down! And here are the guys that are currently making it happen.

Shot O’ Soul

Formed in Feb 2008, Shot O’ Soul has evolved into one of the top blues bands in the Pittsburgh area. Shot O’ Soul has headlined some of the best stages in the area including Moondogs, Cefalo’s, The Baltimore House, Baja Bar at Fox Chapel Yacht Club, Sharpsburg Guyasuta Days, Millvale Days, Etna Community Park, and various private clubs and charity events. Shot O’ Soul placed 3rd in the 2009 Pittsburgh City Paper Best of the Burgh readers poll in the category of Best Blues Band. A real achievement after so little time on the local scene and a testimony to the enjoyment that Shot O’ Soul brings to it’s audiences! Now featuring it’s most talented lineup since it’s formation, Shot O’ Soul are ready to make their mark on the local Pittsburgh live music scene. This band, fronted by it’s 2 outstanding male and female vocalists and an excellent song selection of original songs and classic favorites, is giving Pittsburgh music fans the best 1-2 vocal punch in the area! Come on out and see for yourself why “everything in life needs a Shot O’ Soul”.

Bo’Hog Brothers

Over its 20 year history, the band got their blues education playing in the Steel City’s smoky bars and still performs up to 100 shows a year. The most recent lineup of the band features the unpredictable Gregg Krupa on guitar, with his ever changing interpretations of the music, and the incredibly musical and creative play of Sudden Steve Binsberger on piano and organ. Hank Raffetto and Nick Crano complete the band with a rhythm section that has worked together for 10 years.

Junction PA

In the early 1970’s six young men came to a small western Pennsylvania town to attend Grove City College. They formed a musical group there that became the most sought after band on that campus.

The band members came from different geographical locations and diverse walks of life. By the time the members met, each had groomed different musical styles. Yet, during their first practices it became apparent that they were developing an unusual chemistry and a unique sound. As one record company exec later stated, “they don’t sound like anybody else!” As they continued working on their original material they sensed that something special was being created. The fusion of their different backgrounds and musical genres became in effect .. different roads leading to this one place. Thus, the band was appropriately named Junction Pa.

Over the years they remained close, occasionally getting together to play some of the songs they had recorded as well as trying out some new ones to see what their combined efforts might generate. In 2011 these “jam” sessions came to full fruition as four of the original members met together to record some of this new material. They also began touring again showcasing their signature vocals/harmony on these outstanding original songs.

The Brighton Boys

The Brighton Boys have been playing around the Beaver County and Pittsburgh area for three years. Since starting as a lounge band at restaurants, they have gone on the share the stage with big names like Donnie Iris and The Cruisers, and play venues such as Stage AE, Mr. Smalls, The Altar Bar and Jergel’s Rhythm Grille. They have built up their credibility as one of the top bands in the region. Their sound combines classic songs with a new fresh style that is popular today.

Walk of Shame

Walk of Shame, based out of Pittsburgh, PA, plays a great mix of “bar/party” rock and is committed to playing all of your favorite songs to sing, dance, and drink along to.

It’s not uncommon to hear “Timber” followed by “Sweet Child of Mine” at a WoS show! The guys try to give something to everyone, and always take requests. Venues like working with the band because of their willingness to play whatever the patrons want to hear. The commitment to forging long-term relationships with places is what has made WoS one of the most sought after bands across the country.

Sydney Hutchko

Sydney has given music a lifetime of dedication, from her classical music education that put her on stage with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Pittsburgh Opera to stints as a Music Row intern while attending Nashville’s Belmont University. While at Belmont, she put a band together, playing shows in Nashville and in the tri-state—Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia area. She threw herself into interning opportunities, including McGhee Entertainment, whose legendary management roster ranges from Darius Rucker to KISS.

In return, she’s already seen the kind of success few singers fresh out of college could even dream of. She has opened for Miranda Lambert, Florida Georgia Line, Brett Eldredge, Charlie Daniels and the legendary George Jones; performed on the long-running Wheeling Jamboree; and spent 22 weeks on the MediaBase country chart with her single “Southern Curves.”

The hard work that ties it all together has her poised for a breakthrough. She continues to shine on stage, both as a headliner and in support of country’s biggest stars.

Chris Higbee

Chris Higbee has a passion for country music. He is a complete musical artist skilled in fiddle playing, singing, song writing, and playing various other instruments. Chris’ passion is deeply felt by anyone listening to his work or partaking in a live performance. Chris’ performance energy is so infectious it has been known to convert the most stubborn non-country music fan into HigBillies, the self-named fan base of Chris Higbee. His performances always draw a large and committed crowd.

Shake, Shake, Shake

A marquee value band who took time off this year to rebuild and reinvent themselves around founder/drummer extraordinaire, Justin Betz. With an extensive talent search, he found the incredibly talented frontman, fresh face, Tim Carty. He has all the moves of today’s pop stars and takes the lead on stage to pump up audiences with his star power and passionate vocals. Shake Shake Shake is back with their best lineup to date.

Scott Blasey

Scott started playing music in 1986 with three guys named Rob, Greg, and Dave. We formed the Clarks at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where we were honored as “Distinguished Alumni” in 2004, and spent the last twenty years traveling around the country preaching our brand of rock-n-roll salvation. We sold a bunch of records, toured with some big names, and played on Letterman. We’re hugely popular in our hometown of Pittsburgh and still play about 80 shows a year all over the U.S.A. – from DC to LA, and Appleton to Austin.









New Ohiopyle State Park Office & Visitor Center Officially Dedicated

The beautiful, new, energy-efficient 11,529-square-foot Ohiopyle State Park Office/Laurel Highlands Falls Area Visitor Center was officially dedicated on June 11, 2015. The new center, with its stunning view of the Ohiopyle Falls and Youghiogheny River, offers many features:

  • Interior and exterior viewing areas of the National Natural Landmark Ferncliff Peninsula
  • Improved access and visitor flow for approximately 100,000 commercial and private whitewater boaters launching on the popular Lower Yough
  • In partnership with the LHVB, provides the public with visitor information
  • Cool, interactive, interpretive exhibits that depict the region’s outdoor activities through the years
  • Serves as primary trailhead for some of the region’s iconic outdoor recreation sites including the Great Allegheny Passage and the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.


Back on the Road Again

Enjoy the Ride

by Pat McCloskey

It is mud season now. April showers bring May flowers but for mountain bikers, it is a time for us to wait until the trails are dry so we don’t trash them for the rest of the summer. I bring out my road bike and begin the long process of trying to get in shape after a winter of maintenance trail running, snowshoeing and skiing. I can always ride in the rain on the road bike because I am used to the drill. If you don’t ride in the rain in Pittsburgh, you don’t ride much in the spring. Trust me, as I get older, the process gets a little harder but I am dealing with it in a more mature way which I will discuss in a short. Suffice to say, I don’t blast out of the parking lot these days. I ease on down the road. As I meander on the country roads north of my house, I think back to the painful rides at this time of the year when I raced a road bike. It was always a chore to try to get in shape so that you didn’t get dropped on a training ride or in a race. You had to scramble just to be able to ride with your friends. As I daydream on my current rides, I think back to when I used to meet Art Bonavoglia, Frank Habay, and George Sagan up on Saxonburg Boulevard waiting for a crew to come up out of Shadyside in Pittsburgh. I slowly dragged my sorry butt out of bed and made my way to the meeting point where George, Art, Frank and I waited for the freight train that was coming. Scott Dismukes, a former track cyclist- strong as hell, Bob Gottlieb- Cat 2 rider of local fame, Barb Katzenburg-national class road racer, and Mike Alex- PHD candidate in Electrical Engineering at CMU riding a mountain bike with slick tires. These guys could ride and when they came roaring up the road, you better be warmed up and ready to jump on the pace line or you were history. I would see them in the distance and sigh to my friends,” Here they come.” The pain began. The destination was always Lake Arthur up in Butler County. These are beautiful country roads here in Pennsylvania but all I saw on those rides was the backside of someone faster than me in the paceline. As we exchanged pulls, ( mine were always the shortest), we made our way through pastoral fields and dairy farms. Virtually no traffic which made the ride as pleasant as it could be but the pace increased with each country mile. By the time I got to Prospect, Pa with a stop at the country store to reload on food, I was exhausted. I can remember laying on the sidewalk jamming Fig Newtons in my face and washing it down with Gatorade as fast as I could swallow. I looked at Mike Alex and said,” How the hell do you ride that fast on a mountain bike?” He said the slick tires helped but he was only being humble. I looked at Art, Frank and George and said, ” How am I going to make it back?” But I always managed it somehow. Fig Newtons and bananas were the Cliff Bars and Power Bars of the day. That type of energy food was not available yet. The Newtons and the bananas generally did the trick but when I pulled into my townhouse I was totally gassed. The killer crew left me and roared back to Shadyside logging in excess of 100 miles.

As I come back from my daydream on my road rides now, I am usually alone. I think back to that far away time in a galaxy far, far away. Painful spring rides, wool jerseys, leather hair nets, toe clips and cleats, downtube shifters, and steel road frames. Today I ease into my spring road rides. The equipment is lighter, smoother shifting, and carbon fiber rides a lot more comfortable than Reynolds tubing, although there is something to be said for the classic steel frame. I don’t stress myself. I don’t need to train. If a hill comes, I shift down and noodle up until I reach the top. I don’t have to do what Mac Martin used to tell me. ” Take it out of park McCloskey, and when you reach the top of the hill, don’t just coast- put the hammer down because your competition will be coasting behind you.” I don’t need that pain anymore as the 60 year old kid. My road rides now are enjoyable. I can look at the spring blossoms, ride in the softly falling rain, and really……enjoy the ride. I mostly mountain bike these days but I must admit that I look forward to bringing out the road bike in the spring. It reminds me of my past and I definitely don’t have the pain that I used to go through at this time of year. Like life- I am now enjoying the ride. I see flowers, trees, farms, and sights other than the back of some guys lycra shorts. Haul that road bike out guys and gals, let the trails dry out. Thanks for reading.


Memories of Brad English by Pat McCloskey

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It was a bright, sunny day last Sunday in Somerset, Pa. when the clan started to arrive. Heidi and Melissa, Annie and Biff, the Bouchers, Lars and Inger, the Baum girls, Linda Belle, Dixon, Porter,Patty, and a host of others who call the English family their friend. You could feel the warmth of long lasting friendships in the building and in many ways, the group was holding each other tight as mountain life enthusiasts do. Mountain people are a tight knit group all held together through a love of sliding down a mountain on skis, riding knobby tires, hiking, fishing, and otherwise enjoying the mountains as a place of rest, fun, and safe haven with friends.

We lost one of our own last Thursday when Brad English was taken from us so unexpectedly. That is why the gathering at the funeral home was in many ways a meeting of the clans from up in the Laurel Highlands. You had the locals, the weekenders, the commuters, all the folks who forged friendships up at Seven Springs Mountain Resort here in Pennsylvania. The North Hills group, the Fox Chapel group, the Mt. Lebanon group, and of course the Seven Springs and Rockwood group. All close knit friends for many years. It was a homecoming of sorts seeing that some of the group had moved away, but as everyone paid their respects to Greg and Mary Ellen English and their family and Brad’s lovely daughter Jenny, you could feel the warmth in the room and the need to hold on to our life in the mountains. Bill Boucher put it best when he said, ” This one really hurts.” And it did. Brad English was one of the good guys. A friendly welcoming man who grew up in the mountains, built his own house, raised his daughter, and was a friend to everyone on the mountain. He was the first guy standing in line at the Gunnar Chairlift every Saturday when I made my way from the North Face lot to the base of the Gunnar chair. Both of us enjoyed the first chair up the hill, and the groomed perfection that lies ahead for the early birds on the ski slopes. Brad had a great sense of humor when he harassed the ski patrol and lift operators to open the lift up early. He wanted to ski and in his own funny, needling way, the lift guys and the patrol scrambled to make his wishes come true. Brad was a skier, a hunter, a fisherman, all things mountain. Interestingly, when I was a young guy skiing at Seven Springs, the English brothers were in my estimation, the best skiers on the hill. Natural talent. Even when Brad did a stint living in Vail, I remarked out there that Brad was still one of the best skiers in Vail. He was an enthusiast, skilled skier, and sportsman. But most importantly, he was a friend. He was welcoming into his home, and was one of us and now he is gone.

Tuesday there was an on slope service, which is what he would have wanted. Friends skiing, watching the celebration of life from the top of the chair, toasting with frosty beverages and literally and figuratively setting Brad’s spirit free to the Laurel Highlands which he loved so well. The Gunnar Chair and slope will always be home to Brad. I will always think of him while riding that chair on Saturday mornings.

Life is so fragile and the message that kept ringing in my head was what my mother always told me. ” To have a friend is to be a friend.” That is why she had so many friends and it holds true with Brad English. Lots of friends on that mountain. Life flies by so fast and it is easy to get caught up in the day to day. Easy to never make plans to get together with friends, easy to let convenience get in the way, easy to let work schedules dictate your life. But in the final analysis, your family and friends are everything. Cherish them. Cherish the old times and keep the friendships alive with a phone call, a lunch, a ski date, or whatever. I am guilty as much as the next guy. But like Bill said, this one hurt. It makes you think when you lose a friend. Embrace opportunity. RIP Brad. Thanks for reading.

Photos and title courtesy of Melissa Updegraff Thompson and Annie Rose Swager.

patmccloskey | March 12, 2015 at 12:06 pm | Tags: Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Skiing Western Pa | Categories: Friendship, outdoor activities, outdoor sports, Outdoors, Skiing, Winter, winter sports | URL:

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Tales of 7 Springs Past


Standard Race

For all of us growing up at Seven Springs Mountain Resort here in Pa., Lars Skylling, the Director of Skiing, was like a god to us. Handsome, with the Swedish accent, and great skier to boot, with Stein Eriksen form. We all looked up to Lars and wanted to emulate him on the slopes. Lars is shown here in this picture below, receiving his award for induction into the Pennsylvania Snow Sports Hall of Fame. He has the Tyrolean jacket on with the green tie- third from left in the back. Great guy, we all love Lars. He is retired now but I had the opportunity to ski with him a couple of years ago in Vail and for a guy in his elder years, he still made elegant turns. IMG_4952
So, when we were kids, Lars was the ski school director and he started an open race every Sunday after the day session ended that was called the Standard Race. My buddy Porter said it was called the Head Standard Race but in any event, it was an open, four gate flyer from the top of the front side of the mountain down to the finish line in front of the old warming hut. If you came within a certain percentage of the time that Lars laid down, you received either a gold, silver, or bronze “7” pin that we all clamored for with every run that we made. As we all got older and into our early teens, we were able to finally get that gold “7” because we were catching up to the master. However, Lars threw a surprise for all of us when he added the upper trail on the Stowe slope and jumped the corner when he made a right hand turn down on the Cortina Trail. Whoa!!!!! We all were taken by surprise and the conversation on the hill that day and on the chairlift to the start was whether we had the guts to jump the corner like Lars did. If we didn’t, there was no way we would get the gold so we all had to see if we had the bravado to do it and if we survived, we got the coveted pin. photo
One year, I decided that if I leaned forward at the finish line and tried to break the beam with my hand, I might be a little faster. Unfortunately, I blew out of my bindings when I lurched forward and took out the whole timing device and the electric eye. John Fraser and his dad came running out of the hut to see if I was ok, but the real challenge was to get the timing device up and running again. As we all crossed the finish line, Bob Rose would herd us into the station wagon that he had strategically placed outside the warming hut and the North Hills clan would eventually make it back to Pittsburgh with a dinner for the crowd at my folk’s house. My parents didn’t ski but they sure could cook and entertain. That was their contribution. All the kids talked about the race and how we ended up. If you got the gold pin, you were a stud, and everyone knew that the next step was the day that you would finally be able to beat Lars straight up. That day eventually came for most of us as we got older and faster. But no matter the outcome, we all loved Lars and if we were able to finally best his pacesetter time, it was a milestone in our skiing career that we would never forget.


May 2014 Market Reports

Very interesting month at both resorts but pay attention when Abe reports the short term forecast. These reports give you the inside information based on Courthouse records. 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.

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share in the public domain. If you want the DETAILED UNBIASED story of what is happening in your community and property become our client and become one of the CHOSEN FEW that actually knows the facts. We are the best source for accurate information on property sales in the Laurel Highlands.

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 412-897-8583.

Open the links below for the reports.


Play VisualTour
Play VisualTour


We’ve shared how much we love the Indian Creek Valley Trail (ICV Trial)  just across the Somerset Trust bank on County Line Road for hiking, biking, and flowers.  This week while checking out the banks of BLOOMING white trillium and looking for the rare red and pink ones, Wags came across a whole bed of the red ones!   We did some research on Google and found a link for some more details on these stunning flowers! They may be found by walking from the trail across from the bank OR from starting at Dipola Lane and walking towards the bank. Right after the big fallen tree on the trail look over the left or west bank towards Indian Creek and that’s where you will see them! This is the biggest bed of solid red trillium we have ever seen. Enjoy.


April 2014 Market Reports

Interested in what is selling at the resorts and in what communities? These reports give you the inside information based on Courthouse records. 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.

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share in the public domain. If you want the DETAILED UNBIASED story of what is happening in your community and property become our client and become one of the CHOSEN FEW that actually knows the facts. We are the best source for accurate information on property sales in the Laurel Highlands.

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 412-897-8583.

Open the links below for the reports.


Play VisualTour
Play VisualTour

Trillium in Bloom on the Champion Walking Trail

TrilliumThe trillium beds at mile 1 on the Champion to Indian Head trail have just started to bloom. I have been told by wild flower enthusiast that this bed is one of the largest in Western Pennsylvania and is easily several acres. It occupies the entire east hillside from the trail. To get to it access the trail from County Line Road in Champion and walk 1 mile south or where  Mount Nebo Road crosses the trail and walk north about 1/10 mile. The trail starts on County Line Road about 100 yards from 711 and parallels  711 until Indian Head where it comes out by the bank. The first mile of the trail is rich with wild flowers and Abe has photographed over 100 different species over the years. One our our favorite walks. Enjoy



10 years ago Prudential Preferred Realty wooed Adrienne ”Abe” Wagner, Realtor, then Broker of Record for Kettler Forlines, the developer at 7 Springs, to manage their new Donegal Office. Shortly after this move her husband Robert “Wags” Wagner got his license to assist her. Since then this aggressive team has used their expertise in negotiations and technology to help over 267 clients in the sale or acquisition of real estate in the Laurel Highlands.

This team is experienced and knowledgeable in transacting real estate at 7 Springs, Hidden Valley and the Laurel Highlands. They have brokered some of the most expensive properties in the area and at both resorts.

If you want an experienced team with a proven track record of success to assist you in the sale or acquisition of real estate contact Abe and Wags today at 412-897-8535.

Data from Prudential Preferred agent production records


Hidden Valley December and 2012 Real Estate Market Report

This is the ONLY real estate report on the Laurel Highlands in SW PA that gives you not only the transactions for December but for the entire year and compare the activity and price points of both resorts. Open the visual tour to see the story and how each resort ended the year. Even though we think the political noise slowed down activity for the end of the year we are having one of the busiest January that we can remember. Now that the elections are over we think that many people who where holding back are getting into the market.




Play VisualTour

Hidden Valley September 2012 Real Estate Market Report

Welcome to the September and third quarter real estate market report for properties at Hidden Valley Resort 15501. We’ve got some statistics along with details on Septembers market activity at the resort, and numbers for the first three quarters. Inside you’ll find information on unsold inventory, transfers, price ranges, and comparisons with 7 Springs Resort. Come take a look!

Play VisualTour

Condo Finance Rules Revised

Finally some relief of the super tough rules for condo financing! Hopefully this may allow for faster processing of mortgage applications! Read the story from Inman News here.


7 Springs May 2012 Real Estate Update

NO TRANSFERS for the month of May but 7 Springs is still on track to equal or increase sales from 2011. Inventory continues to increase which is normal for this time of the year as owners who have not used the property get on the market. The smart money has been dominating the buyer profile since fall last year as anyone who is smarter than a tree stump knows that interest rates are great and the selection at this resort has offerings for just about every floor plan and community. View the short visual tour for more facts and figures. Remember, this is only a small part of the statistics we track and share exclusively with our clients.

Play VisualTour

Didymo (Rock Snot) discovered in the Yough

This is a repost of a e mail from the Mountain Watershed Association

Rock Snot Discovered in the Yough

We’ve received the following notice from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection about the recent discovery of the aquatic invasive plant species Didymo (commonly known as “rock snot”) in the Youghiogheny River.  Please forward this along to others, and read on for precautions you can use to help curb the spread of Didymo to other area waterways.  Thank you!

Didymo has now been confirmed in the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle State Park near Ohiopyle, PA.  A single sample was taken in the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle State Park near some large boulders with tufts of Didymo growing at moderate length. The sample was taken by Erik L. Silldorff, PhD, an Aquatic Biologist.  On Friday, June 1st, The Academy of Natural Sciences verified the identification of the sample submitted by Dr. Silldorff.  Dr. Silldorff noted, “there was plenty of Didymo on the rocks so I had no trouble finding material to collect, and my sample was filled with nice, healthy, living Didymo.  So, in terms of a risk of spread, I would say the Youghiogheny is now a potential launching pad, especially with the combined traffic of whitewater enthusiasts and trout anglers.”  According to the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, Didymo, “can smother entire stream beds with mats as thick as eight inches and can ruin just about any river or creek.”  Additional information can be found here:

As you know, the Ohiopyle area is heavily used for recreation.  All users of the river should take extra precaution to clean all equipment used in the Youghiogheny before entering other waterbodies.   Didymo is a diatom that causes severe degradation of stream habitat in some places.  It can be spread by moving just a small amount – maybe even just a cell or two.  Take extra care in cleaning boats, gear, equipment before transporting to another waterbody!  Gear can be disinfected by using a 10% household bleach and 90% water solution or a strong salt solution (minimally, use at least a true 5% salt solution).  Allow either solution to remain in contact with equipment for at least 10 minutes!  Either solution can be harsh on gear and equipment so be sure to rinse everything with plenty of water after disinfecting.  Take extra care to properly disinfect porous materials such as nets, ropes, cloth items, water shoes, and especially felt-soled waders and wading shoes!

Please forward this email to alert other Youghiogheny River users to the presence of this invasive species and to encourage extra care in cleaning gear so as not to spread Didymo.  Thank you!


7 Springs April 2012 Real Estate Update

SPECIAL Prudential Preferred will be the Hidden Valley on site Broker on June 1, 2012, replacing Northwood. With offices in Donegal and Ligonier it adds to an already strong presence in the Laurel Highlands. Robert “Wags” Wagner, Realtor, says “we are excited about this satellite office and the convenience it will offer to our existing and new clients.” 7 Springs ended April with one of the strongest months in years leading in closed production in both number and volume. Buyers are aggressively shopping the market while inventory offers selection and interest rates are at historic lows. For the full story view the tour.

Play VisualTour

Hidden Valley April 2012 Real Estate Update

SPECIAL Prudential Preferred will be the Hidden Valley on site Broker on June 1, 2012, replacing Northwood. With offices in Donegal and Ligonier it adds to an already strong presence in the Laurel Highlands. Adrienne “Abe” Wagner, Realtor, says “we are excited about this satellite office and the convenience it will offer to our existing and new clients.” Hidden Valley showed lower than expected closings with still records amount of inventory continuing to make for a favorable buyers market. For the full story view the short presentation.

Play VisualTour

7 Springs PA September 2011 Market Report

Play VisualTour

Ski Swap Sunday, Thanksgiving Buffet

Sun, November 21, 2010 @ 12:30PM

Are you looking to sell some of your old gear? Dust it off and bring it to the Mon Valley Ski Swap at Seven Springs Resort. If you’re looking to buy some new gear, then head to the Ski Swap! Buy or sell – this sale has it all – skis, poles, snowboards, boots, bindings, clothing and more!

 The sale will be held in the Maple Room in the Ski Lodge. Merchandise check-in will be between 8:30 – 11:30 a.m. The sale opens at 12:30 p.m. and closes at 3:30 p.m. All merchandise must be picked-up by 4 p.m. or items will be donated to charity. Vendors who are not members of the MVSC will be charged a $5 seller fee in addition to the 15% commission.

 For more information, please call (866) 703-7625.

Click here to download ski swap forms.

For more activities at Seven Springs Resort go to their website.

November 25, 2010 Hidden Valley Resort

Celebrate the holiday with your family enjoying a bountiful feast at Hidden Valley. 
For reservations, please call 814-443-8000 ext. 346 or visit their website.

Clock Tower Restaurant
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.   
$19.95 per adult
$7.95 ages 6 – 11
5 and under free

The Thanksgiving Buffet will feature:

  • Carving station featuring roasted turkey with cranberry sauce
  • Homemade Pumpkin Soup
  • Full Salad Bar with Pistachio Salad, Macaroni Salad, Potato Salad
  •  Baked Broccoli Alfredo w/ Penne Pasta
  • Sour Cream Scalloped Potatoes
  • Peppered Mashed Potatoes w/ Gravy
  • Homemade Apple Walnut Stuffing
  • Homemade Traditional Stuffing
  • Baked Ham with a Honey Peach Glaze
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Buttered Corn Cobbetes
  • Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows and Brown Sugar
  • Kid’s Station: Fries, Mac & Cheese, Chicken Tenders and
    Corn Dog Bites 


Assorted Fall Flavored selection of Cakes, Pies & Chocolate Fountain with dippers


The Marcellus Shale Debate Continues

We’ve read about how oil wells changed communities, families, the environment, lives, to us it seems that our area is experiencing a similar historical event. Every day there is a new article, video, news cast, BLOG post about the good/bad of drilling for natural gas.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Trillium in Bloom this week

Trillium Explosion Champion, PA!

It’s a good thing! Trilliums are beautiful spring flowers that return year after year. We have a treasured bed that runs along the Indian Creek Valley Trail (ICV Trail) in Champion.  This is one of the old rail road passages that have been turned into a hiking biking trail. Go to destination 25 on our MAP for the bed location.

 The white ones are by far the overwhelming majority and cover several hillsides. If you look carefully you will be able to find pink and deep maroon flowers scattered amongst the white. You do not have to leave the trail to find all three specimens.  

 Wikipedia shares the plant details including some very interesting facts! A few include, “Trillium seeds are spread by ants and mice! Picking Trillium for its flower can SERIOUSLY INJURE the plant.” Make sure you bring your camera along!

 Living in the Laurel Highlands allows us (and YOU) to take advantage of the best that Mother Nature has to offer. Take a walk soon as their bloom time is short. Keep your eyes open for the yellow trout lilies too! ENJOY!


Seven Springs, PA New “Premier” Properties

Seven Springs had a booth at the 2010 Home and Garden Show in Pittsburgh last month. They had a sign promoting a new community. Locally we haven’t heard any new marketing concerning the newest offerings across the street from the Villages.

Home Show Promotion

But when a home owner shared that there is to be a model open by this Thanksgiving we dug out the original materials. This community was first pitched back in 2008 and tagged “The next Premier Property at Seven Springs Mountain Resort.” It’s in Middlecreek Township, Somerset County.

According to the Feb 19, 2008 article by Kirk Swauger in the Somerset Tribune Democrat the “The townhomes and cottages were designed by renowned resort architect Jack Johnson Co. of Park City Utah. They will have 9-foot ceiling with vaulted family rooms, private patios, and decks.”

Prices then were to range from the high $400,000s into the half million dollar arena. Two to four bedroom properties were in the plans, many with garages. With only a few Southwind properties undelivered the process of another community appears to be underway. The hand out we have has the following disclosure, “The material presented herein is conceptual only, for general information and does not constitute an offer to sell real estate. All details are subject to change at any time. Any decision to proceed with this or any other real estate project is subject to regulatory requirements, including but not limited to a Public Offering Statement and required municipal and State approvals.”


Seven Springs, PA 2010 March Resale Transfers

2010 March Transfers

B33 StoneRidge   $209,000
4106 Swiss Mtn   $204,000
8067 MeadowRidge   $230,000
3708 Swiss Mtn   $225,000

The first quarter re-sales show that 8 of the 10 transfers at Seven Springs were CASH DEALS. In other words there were no mortgages recorded against the property purchased. In theory that could mean no bank involvement, no appraisal, and possibly no title report.

It could also mean that these folks used a home equity line, cashed out stocks, inherited some money or had it stuffed in their mattress. If you are a CASH BUYER we strongly encourage you to have an appraisal contingency added to your offer.

Sales are up from the past two years where there had been only 6 transfers for the first three months. So is the average sales price, going from $285,641 in 09 to $317,000. From years gone by we can share that when we experience a winter like we just had, sales tend to jump!

There’s plenty of inventory and awesome rates. Whether you are buying or selling make sure you have a designated agent working for you to take full advantage of this market before it is gone!

If you would like to see a monthly active and sold report tailored to your specific criteria and delivered to your e-mail sign up for our Market SnapShot. It pulls information out of the West Penn MLS system. We keep a multitude of statistical information and welcome the opportunity to share our market knowledge with motivated parties.

For EVERYONE, the trick in getting relevant information pertinent to your needs is in the set up! Try going into the advanced screen to tailor the market areas YOU are interested in for buying or selling! Better yet catch up with Abe and she’ll help walk you through!


Great snow for upcoming XC events

By Larry Walsh, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Rick Garstka of Munhall waxed enthusiastic while describing the quality and quantity of snow that has fallen in the Laurel Highlands since Dec. 28:

“Bonanza.” “Heaven sent.” “Phenomenal.”

“We’ve been waiting a long time for this,” said Garstka, the president of the Pennsylvania Cross Country Skiers’ Association. “The season has gotten off to a super start, the best in years.”

And downhill and cross-country skiers, snowboarders, snowtubers, snowshoers, sled-, saucer- and tray-sliders and tobogganists are reveling in it.

“We haven’t seen snowfall like this since the 2002-03 season when we received a total of 208 inches,” said Dick Barron, director of ski and snowboard operations at snow-blessed Seven Springs.

As of 4 p.m. yesterday, the resort had received 57 inches of natural snow since Dec. 28 and more was on the way.

“We’ll have more than 60 inches, perhaps much more, before this system moves on [this] evening,” Barron said.

Seven Springs received the most new snow of any resort in the country — 27 inches — during a 48-hour period this week, according to

The Web site posts snowfall information it receives from resorts. Top honors for the most new snow in 24, 48 or 72 hours usually goes to the big western resorts.

“We received a total of 78 inches for the season so far,” Barron said. “It’s wonderful.”

Garstka agrees.

“We’ve had smiles on our faces since December,” he said. “We hope to have plenty of snow for our scheduled events in January and February.”

Garstka was referring to the association’s free cross-country lessons for adults and children at Laurel Ridge State Park next weekend and Jan. 23-24, Feb. 6 and Feb. 20. It also has a Nordic Picnic Jan. 23 and the annual Pennsylvania Nordic Championship Races Feb. 7.

The lessons, also offered to those with intermediate skills, will begin at 1 p.m. in front of the rental concession. Although you don’t need to be a member of PACCSA to participate, a trail pass is necessary and can be purchased for $6.

Garstka said beginners will learn double-poling, uphill and downhill techniques and the diagonal stride. The instructors then will take them out on an easy trail to practice what they’ve just learned and will provide individual critiques along the way.

A complete set of equipment — skis, boots and poles — can be rented from the concessionaire at the park (724-455-7303). Rental equipment also is available at Thrifty Ski Rental in Donegal (724-593-6404), Route 31 Board and Ski in Somerset (1-814-443-1282) and Peak Ski and Board near Boyce Park in Plum (412-793-6600).

Be advised: It’s first-come, first-served. Get there early, especially when snow conditions are as great as they are now.

The association has a cross-country ski team — the Yellow Jackets — for children ages 5 to 12. Kids of all abilities, including beginners, are welcome. Garstka said the youngsters learn to ski by using skill sessions and games based on Cross Country Canada’s Bunnyrabbit and Jackrabbit developmental programs.

The team skis Saturdays in January and February at Laurel Ridge State Park and will make occasional trips to Kooser State Park and other locations close to Pittsburgh.

Although registration for this season has closed, parents can learn more about the team by taking their children to the free lesson sessions and/or the Nordic Picnic.

“Cross-country skiing is a great way to stay fit during the winter,” Garstka said. It can be as energetic as you want it to be — from walking pace to race speed.”

A PACCSA membership costs $6 per individual or $9 per family. For more information, go to

Larry Walsh writes about recreational snowsports for the Post-Gazette.

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Heads UP! Bridge to be Demolished

Here’s the story as posted by the PR Newswire today! Many of our readers enjoy hiking or riding snowmobiles throughout the Laurel Highlands. This bridge is midway between the Donegal and Somerset Turnpike Exits. It connects the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail. Something you should be aware of PRIOR to setting off on your journey! Especially since there is NO DETOUR around it!

Here’s another story from the Somerset Daily American, our local paper that was circulated when the bridge was closed.


Seven Springs, PA Winter Pics January 2010

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It truly has been an incredible start to the winter season in the Laurel Highlands! We were out this Sunday and snapped a few shots of our winter wonderland at Seven Springs. If you have ever wanted to try out any winter activity this is the year to do it!! Skiing, telemarking, snowshoeing, boarding, tubing, cross-country, snowmobiling, and more!


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Telepalooza Jan 30/31 at Seven Springs PA

Telepalooza Telemark Ski Event is the Largest in the Mid-Atlantic for the Eighth Year Running.

January 30 and 31st 2010

Seven Springs, PA

Telepalooza, a weekend gathering of telemark or “free heel” skiers is being held at Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Seven Springs, PA.

The event features two days of races, lessons, prizes, food, beverage and fun. The photos above show founder Jim “Kapper” Kapp giving tips to those attending, Robert “Wags” Wagner at the registration desk, and the next generation at rest after a long tele day.

This is the eighth year the Appalachian Telemark Association (ATA) has sponsored Telepalooza and it is anticipated to be bigger and better than ever. 

This multi-day, multi-event, multi-fun festival celebrates “free heel” or telemark skiing, a style that originated in Norway.

Telemark skiing is the predecessor of today’s downhill skiing and is experiencing a resurgence of interest.  The skis are similar to downhill, yet the bindings and boots allow the boot heal to come off the ski.

There will be lessons for children and adults, from beginner through expert from certified instructors.  Children sixteen and under are free and discounted lift tickets are available.  Demo equipment is available from Karhu, K2 and Garmont.  Prizes awarded from great producers such as Cloudveil, Kahru, Leki and more.

The price for two days is $99 and $79 for a single day (Saturday or Sunday).  Early payment discount of $10.  Tickets available on the web site   Pay Pal is accepted.  Discount lift tickets to Seven Springs Resort are available.


To learn more about Appalachian Telemark Association and see the Telepalooza 2010 PDF flier go to

Jim Kapp is the founder  of Telepalooza  and available for additional information at 724-989-8913, or he can be contacted at


Buyers New Years Resolutions

As a prospective buyer for property at ANY resort (or area) here are a few New Year’s Resolutions. These few easy resolutions will help to ensure a sturdy real estate portfolio for MANY MORE YEARS TO COME!!

I resolve that I will research REALTOR.COM  for competitive properties as they are easily found by the zip code in the area I’m looking for property. I refuse to waste my time on other web sites that have outdated or incorrect information.

I resolve myself that I will ONLY work with a DESIGNATED AGENT.  A REALTOR that is looking out for my best interest and NO ONE ELSES (including their own).

I resolve to INTERVIEW the DESIGNATED AGENT BEFORE I agree to be their client. I’ll want to know how long they have worked the market I’m interested in, what type of stats they can share on the properties I’m interested in, if they have continued their education through certifications or designations, AND if they will stay in touch with me through the communication model I choose.

Most of all I promise TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF the greatest selection of inventory, the incredible LOW interest rates, AND THE COMPETITIVE PRICES BEFORE the market begins to rebound! By doing this,

I resolve to never have to say, “I wish I would have bought back when…..”


Check out my Slide Show!

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All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Copyright 2019.

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